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S'enregistrer au Flux RSS Le Sénat du Canada

Post under ‘G20’ tag

Security Costs at G8 and G20 Summits

10 June 2021 at 16h06

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

A few days ago, I heard a French news report indicating that the total cost for the G8 summit held in Deauville cost French taxpayers just under C$30 million. Compared to the numbers listed in the Auditor General’s report on the G8 and G20 summits that we received this morning, our figures seem to defy both logic and a key Conservative value, which is prudent fiscal management. (more…)

The EurekaWatt prize goes to Stockwell Day (according to unreported votes)!

5 August 2021 at 12h50

euerkawattmetre3

I have decided to award the EurekaWatt prize of 0 Watts to the Honourable Stockwell Day P.C. for his comments at a press conference on the rise in unreported crimes. Apparently, this government possesses the gift to measure data that has yet to be collected.

Thus, according to the non collected data of the conservative government, I have the pleasure to announce the disappearance of CO2 emissions, the elimination of our public debt and an incredible increase in tourism around the G20 fake lake.

With such an ideology and such great illusionists at the head of our country no wonder statistics Canada is unnecessary!

Harper: $875,000 for a fence in 2007 is good, but $5.5 million in 2010 is better!

11 June 2021 at 13h45

cloture

QUESTION PERIOD

Public Safety

Security at G8 and G20 Summits

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

I think I am having a déjà vu. In 2007, the government began its experiment with so-called good financial management at the summit in Montebello. A fence surrounding the summit site cost $875,000, or nearly four times its market value.

Honourable senators, according to La Presse, the fence that will surround the G20 summit in downtown Toronto will cost $5.5 million. I am sure Canadians are dying to know why the fences from the Quebec City and Montebello summits are not being reused. According to the minister at the time, those fences were to go into storage.

Can the Leader of the Government in the Senate tell us how many more millions of dollars have been budgeted to add to this fence? In order to provide absolute security to the heads of state, does the government intend to install an electric fence, trenches, searchlights, German shepherds, gate houses and barbed wire? I would like to know whether this fence is part of the government’s action plan or part of the G20′s security.

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, summits are very expensive, especially in this day and age with the security threats that all governments face, and we are hosting back-to-back summits, the G8 and the G20.

With regard to the use of the fence, I am not certain whether any of the fences that were used previously are being put to use now, but there is obviously a large area that must be fenced off. The fact is that we have between 10,000 and 12,000 people coming to Canada to attend the G8 and G20 summits, more people than the number of athletes who attended the Olympics, with a security level much higher because many of the world’s leaders will attend these summits at the same time.

There is obviously a significant cost, but there is not a single security expert in the world who has criticized the government for the extreme measures that are being taken to secure the safety of our world leaders, their delegations and the large contingent of international media that will be attending as well.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I remind the leader that the World Trade Center disaster took place in 2001 and I am talking about a fence in 2007. I suppose if there was a threat, we would know about it.

To be more specific, when did the leader’s government file a request for the proposal for the fence? Who established the specifications? Who selected the supplier? Could the leader tell me the origin of the fence? At Montebello, the main supplier was from Alabama, to the great amazement of Canadian entrepreneurs who asserted they were able to supply the same product at four times less the price actually paid.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, we could get into trivial arguments about fences, but there is a significant difference between Montebello and where the summit is being held in downtown Toronto.

In addition, and I continue to point this out, the G8 and the G20 are back-to-back events. The security measures are being taken by the government on the recommendation of our public safety and security officials. We have outstanding public servants, outstanding police and outstanding experts on whom we are relying. Surely no one would suggest that the government should question the advice and the direction we are getting from security experts who are trained and skilled in this area. Surely no one would want us to question their advice to us when such important meetings are being held in Canada.

(1400)

It is a chance for Canada to showcase this wonderful country to the world. Surely no one is suggesting that we take measures that in any way would jeopardize the safety of world leaders, their delegations and our other guests.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Since the leader belongs to a government that insisted, supported and drafted the accountability bill, at least she will understand why we hold them to account on these principles.

I would like to quote someone who has written about the G8, because the minister seems to attach a lot of importance to it and the fact that we spent several hundred million dollars for that event.

[Translation]

Today in La Presse, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner — who is not new to politics — had this to say about the G8:

Too much money is spent on these things. Billions of dollars is too much.

France’s top diplomat thinks the G8 is bound to disappear.

It is a meeting. We push some paper around and then we leave.

How does the government justify such an expensive tab for the event in Huntsville and why is it going beyond the expectations of the other heads of state?

[English]

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I am aware of the comments of the French foreign minister. These summits are expensive. I read his comments. He was talking about summits in general. That is how I interpreted what he said. I said in this place a couple weeks ago that it is true that these summits are very expensive. However, with the summit about to take place, we cannot be questioning security officials. The advice that we are getting with regard to what they are saying must be followed in order to provide security for the world leaders and for these large delegations that accompany them.

However, I can understand the French foreign minister’s concern, because next year France is hosting both the G8 and the G20 summits. When I saw his remarks, I did not take offence because he is realizing, as we are, that to host these meetings is hugely expensive. One would not expect any government to take shortcuts or question the advice that government is receiving from the people who are skilled in the areas of intelligence and security. That is what we are doing; we are taking their advice. Not one single security expert has told the government or suggested, either privately or publicly, that we are not taking this matter seriously. We will do everything possible to provide security for our guests.

G20: How many millions for mosquitos?

10 June 2021 at 14h55

moustique

QUESTION PERIOD

International Trade

G8 and G20 summits

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: Honourable senators, my question has to do with the spending on security for Canadians during the G8 and G20 summits.

Every day brings a new list of items: $1.9 million for an artificial lake; $400,000 to restore a boat none of the delegates will board; a gazebo big enough for only half a dozen delegates; not to mention a $23 million arena that could probably hold all the journalists in the world, but where none of the activities are due to take place.

I question all these expenses for the security and well-being of the Conservatives and their international guests. To protect the dignitaries against the nasty Northern Ontario mosquitoes that could transmit all sorts of diseases like West Nile virus, how many thousands of dollars has the government included in its budget, in the name of security, to buy screens or mosquito nets, spray repellent and ointment to treat bites while these guests are in Huntsville?

(1410)

[English]

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, that is a typical question from the Liberals. Never let the facts get in the way of a pithy question. The fact is that the gazebo and the arena have little to do with the G8 and the G20. They are part of the Economic Action Plan infrastructure programs and were built with the stimulus, which, by the way, has worked.

In fact, the cases that the honourable senator mentioned are all projects approved under the Economic Action Plan and were built with funds contributed equally by the Province of Ontario and the municipality in which the facilities are located. Senator Hervieux-Payette can run around the country, and the next thing we know, there will be a hockey rink built in Quebec that she will blame on the G8 and the G20.

With regard to the marketing pavilion, the honourable senator knows full well there is no such thing as a $2 million lake. The marketing pavilion is where world media will be gathered, and it is no different than any other pavilion that has been built, whether it was at the Olympics or at the World’s Fair in China. The pavilion itself cost $2 million, and many of the features in it promote Canada. The actual cost of the so-called “lake” was $57,000. Those are all expenditures to promote Canada.

We are interested in showcasing Canada and pointing out to the world what a wonderful country we are.

Senator Mercer: You could have showed them a real lake.

Senator LeBreton: Before the Olympics, there were complaints about the torch run, the security, our pavilion, and then we got a complaint that the pavilion was too cheap because it was pre-fabricated and temporary. Then, to the great disappointment of those on the other side, I am sure, the Olympics turned out to be a tremendous success, a great success story for Canada, in which we won a whole bunch of gold medals. The G8 and the G20 summits will be a great success as well.

Senator Tkachuk: How many arenas were built in Quebec?

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I have not seen any in my riding.

An Hon. Senator: How would you know?

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I go there every week.

The leader’s government is claiming that its fake lake will cost only $57,000. If we can at least clarify where the funding is being allocated, we will be making some progress. However, we must remember that the average Canadian income is only $44,000, and this Conservative government day after day is clearly living on another planet, preaching fiscal restraint but spending more than the average Canadian earns per year, according to Statistics Canada.

Moreover, turning to Canada’s Economic Action Plan that claims to invest in infrastructure and help Canadians find employment and stimulate the economy, I would like to know how many jobs the government has created in the fake lighthouse, the fake Canadian scenery and the fake lake.

Let me quote an editorial in The Globe and Mail:

Industry Minister Tony Clement may wish to view the lake as a “reflective pool” . . . but to many Canadians, it will be viewed as the perfect metaphor for the Harper government: shallow, artificial and costly.

When can Canadians expect the Prime Minister to show fiscal restraint and good governance when dealing with conferences as important as the G8 and G20, to stop thinking like Hollywood and acting from a script for movies or television, and to act in the interest of Canadians?

Senator LeBreton: Since the honourable senator is referring to newspaper articles, perhaps she could tell me whether the Liberal Party of Canada will take the advice of the lead editorial in the National Post this morning with regard to Pablo Rodriguez?

We all know that our job is to promote Canada, our tourism, industry and the country as a place to invest. This pavilion, which will have many visitors, will promote Canada, just as Expo 67 did, although we will not get into the costs of that event.

The honourable senator asked about jobs. According to Statistics Canada, 24,700 new jobs were created in May, the fifth straight month of job gains. Since last July, Canada has created almost 310,000 new jobs, and Statistics Canada has announced that Canada’s economy grew 6.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, representing the strongest quarterly rate of economic growth in a decade. With numbers like that, as economists have said, Canada shines.

The fact is that this marketing pavilion will attract people to Canada. The whole pavilion cost $2 million and the so-called lake cost $57,000, which is still $38 million less than the Liberals stole and gave to their friends in Quebec.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: Would the leader tell honourable senators if she is happy with the unemployment rate at 8.1 per cent? We have not seen that for many years.

Senator LeBreton: The honourable senator had better check her facts. During the 1990s, the unemployment rate never fell below 9 per cent, except for one year, 1999. Unemployment at 8.1 per cent is a high rate. Much of it is because of the worldwide economic downturn, but when Canada’s debt to GDP ratio is compared to other countries’ debt to GDP ratio, we are shown to be in the best position of any country in the world. That is why the main thrust and purpose of the summit is the continuing growth of the economy and jobs.

At the same time, since these world leaders will be in Canada, we want to showcase our country to get people to invest in our country, which will create more jobs. We are proud of our country.

 

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