Flaherty defends G20 costs

June 26 to 27 marks Canada’s turn to welcome leaders from the world’s most industrialized and emerging-market economies. However, since the announcement of Toronto as the G20’s host city, problems and criticism have plagued the summit whose theme is “Recovery and New Beginnings”.

While the concerns of area residents and business owners have long been established, as of late, it is the event’s growing security tab that is raising the most alarm.

In a May 27 teleconference from the Third Meeting of Ministers of Finance of the Americas and the Caribbean in Peru, Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty was forced to address concerns regarding the Toronto G20 Summit’s rising price tag.

While acknowledging the event’s price tag as “substantial”, Flaherty called it “essential”. The finance minister explained that with the attendance of such high profile individuals, “security demands are high.” Further, he noted that the high cost of security is responsible for the mounting tab – which is reportedly nearing the one billion dollar mark.

Before ceasing all discussion on the issue, Flaherty concluded, “we live in a world where extensive security precautions are necessary for a host country to take.”

G20 meetings have taken place on a regular basis since the group’s conception in the wake of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Such events serve as an opportunity for the world’s most economically powerful nations to discuss timely economic issues.

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