Canada’s twin summits are ringing in at nearly a million dollars a minute but the cost is worth it because Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other leaders will get a chance to let their hair down and talk “face-to-face,” a PMO spokesperson said Friday.
Explaining the eye-popping cost of next weekend’s meetings, which will ding taxpayers for about $833,000 per minute of actual leaders’ meeting time, Dimitri Soudas said G8 and G20 leaders face daunting challenges from a struggling economy, global warming, rogue nuclear states and crises in Afghanistan, the Korean peninsula and the Middle East.
“You actually need leaders sitting around the table having these difficult discussions, making progress,” Soudas told reporters in a pre-summit briefing.
The leaders “sit down and make collective decisions on what’s best for the global economy,” Soudas said. “So that is exactly why we need these type of summits, that is exactly why leaders sitting around the table face-to-face—and not through Twitter, Skype or video-conferencing—will eventually produce more results.”
Soudas also suggested that once leaders get down to business, any questions about Harper’s credibility as a result of the $1.2 billion cost of the meetings and the controversy over the “fake lake” at the media centre will be left far behind.
If the Conservatives feel they will be able to enumerate a list of tangible benefits from the summit let them do so. Let them also provide us with a statement on the return on the 1.2 billion+ investment we have made in this. Would this money have been better spent on reducing the deficit? Funding healthcare? Building a Chalk River replacement? If Mr. Soudas would care to provide a credible cost-benefit analysis relative to other possible uses for this enormous sum all will be forgiven.