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Challenging the Norms - Why host the G20 in Toronto?

Every now and then I like to look at different situations, ask why it is done that way (and often the answer is ... because that's the way it has always been !) ... and try to0 come up with different solutions.

So here I am a few days ahead of the G8 and G20 conferences and I'm working in downtown Toronto. I am told that there was a demonstration yesterday with some arrests ... and that was Monday. It is going to get worse.

The cost of hosting these events has been pegged at $1 billion or more and that does not include the cost to the hundreds of businesses that have been and will be impacted in productivity. It also doesn't incorporate the direct costs on those businesses who will have to shut entirely.

We live in a changing world ... 20 years ago it might have been economically beneficial to invite the world's leaders to your city, to showcase it and to let the world see what your country has to offer. In today's world the visit results in the city being locked down, the visitors do NOT experience the city or see what a great place Toronto is. What do they do see is security fences, heavily armed police and screaming demonstrators.

So why do we keep doing this?

How about this for an alternative?

  • Take 25% of the budget and build a luxury resort on a major military air base (perhaps CFB Trenton here in Canada). Build it big enough to house all of the delegates and their entourage.

  • They are already inside a secure area, but it can be beefed up with military help easily;

  • It is an airbase so flights can land there directly;

  • The location is away from major centres so minimal disruption to the public;

  • The location is fairly remote so much easier to contain and manage the demonstrators, and less for them to damage.

Side benefits:

  • The resort could be used again and again, so the investment is not lost. It could be made available for government conferences and other events requiring security or even generate some profit to cover its upkeep.

  • Building the resort will generate employment ... could have been a "stimulus initiative".

Just saying ... eh!