Saturday, June 26, 2010

G8 / G20

G8/G20 ramblings.

The G8 / G20 Summits have come and gone.

Billions of dollars have been spent. "Security" costs alone are over $1billion. Add to that the cost of housing, transportation, food, lost income by business. Add to that money spent by all the countries who sent representatives. And the key question: was anything actually accomplished? will anything really change as a result of these 2 events?

As a twitter friend of mine [Chris From Canada - actually his father-in-law] suggested, why not put them all on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Doesn't that solve all the security issues?

Why do we need delegations of 100's of people? Why not simply have the head of state and 5-12 associates? And isn't a lot of the "work" actually done ahead of the meeting(s)?

& then there is the issue of protest & violence.
I am a firm believer in the right to protest [I wrote a major paper in seminary that was pro civil disobedience] However, to suggest, as some have, that if they can't get close, the leaders will not know their objections, I think that is rather naive. The leaders are well aware of the issues, even if they choose to ignore them.

Violence, on the part of some - whether the police or in the crowd [I am being careful not to label the protestors as being violent, because the majority were not] is not acceptable. Neither is Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty failure to clarify the secret law that was passed. This enabled the police (who didn't clarify the law either) to abuse civil rights. [and since when do we start passing secret laws in Canada?]

The federal, provincial and municipal governments transformed downtown Toronto into a no-go zone. This created a flash point for both legitimate protest and anarchist destruction. In that sort of environment, people react, often out of fear. Building the fence, created a point for anarchists to rally around. Blaming the protestors is invalid. Canadian society holds that people have a right to different points of view and to make those views known [again, this does not include violence]. The police to not have the right to use excessive force or unlawful arrest.

On June 16, Conrad Black wrote:
"I am old enough still to rejoice that Canada is finally considered important enough to be at such meetings... hosting the meetings is worthwhile for Canada and Toronto."
Read more:
Enough with the "we are now a big country"... we host a primaily 1st world event that ignores a lot of real issues. It's time to rethink G8/G20 gatherings. What do they really accomplish.

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