G8/G20 summit security cost to reach almost USD 1bn
Toronto: Security costs for world leaders coming to Ontario next month for the G8 and G20 summits, are expected to be USD one billion.
The Canadian government disclosed today that the total price tag to police for the elite Group of Eight meeting in Muskoka, as well as the bigger-tent Group of 20 summit
starting a day later in downtown Toronto, has already climbed to more than USD 833 million.
It said it`s preparing to spend up to USD 930-million for the three days of meetings that start June 25.
The G20 will be held June 26 and 27 in Toronto, and the community of Huntsville, Ontario, will host the G8 on June 25 and 26.
US President Barack Obama, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President
Nicolas Sarkozy will be among the world leaders to attend.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has defended the estimated USD 930 million cost for security for next month`s G8 and G20 meetings as the "most efficient and effective" use
of public money for Canada`s "unprecedented" hosting of back-to-back international summits, biggest security events in the Canadian history.
Security plans for the G20 meeting in Toronto feature two fenced areas ? an outside fence that will close off a large section of the downtown and an inner fence that will
control access to hotels and the convention centre, according to Alok Mukherjee, Chairman of the Toronto Police Service Board.
Referring to two different security zones, Mukherjee said that the security zones would be created around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and at least three major hotels
nearby, including The Royal York, the Intercontinental and the Harbour Castle.
He said that the first zone, encompassing the Convention Centre, would be under the control of the military and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Anyone entering this zone will be processed through five levels of airport style security screening.
A second perimeter would be under the control of the Toronto Police.
Both perimeters would be completely fenced in by unscalable, three-metre-high walls and access will be strictly controlled, he said and added that "world leaders may not have
community engagement due to security reasons". Mukherjee said the G20 meeting in downtown Toronto a busy part of a bustling city ? is a major security challenge.
"They are in a residential area. There are high rises nearby. They will have to monitor so many different things," he said.
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