Ottawa releases costs for G20, G8 summits
The federal government opened the books on its G20/G8 spending this summer, revealing at least $860 million in costs, which included bills from Future Shop for microwaves, thousands on pins and trinkets for spouses and millions in hotel bills.
Some of the more head-scratching costs include at least $86,000 on zipper-pulls, and $4,400 on $100 pens for world leaders.
However, the majority of the costs were for security with the RCMP's bill coming in at $330 million.
Some of the RCMP's costs:
- $65 million for accommodations
- $44 million for meals and travel
- $39 million for command centres
- $33 million for private security
- $18 million for "specialized equipment"
Other security agencies sent big bills to Ottawa. Toronto police were paid $144 million by the federal government, Peel Regional Police took in $16 million and Ontario's Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services was compensated a whopping $100 million.
The final security bill appears to be about $676 million.
Other spending includes art that was rented and insured for $30,000, tablecloths for $12,131, and $32, 762 for "foot powder and Gatorade."
The summit spending was released in the House of Commons by Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose on Friday afternoon – when the government typically dumps its bad news on the media.
"If they did have that kind of good news, one would have thought it would have waited for the beginning of the week, when everyone's here and they would have been able to crow about it," NDP MP Thomas Mulcair said.
Ambrose said the bills were preliminary and more may still be tallied.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said he was "encouraged" by Friday's numbers, but said the final cost won't be known until everyone files their claims.
"By March 31, there will be a full audited accounting for the numbers," he told CTV's Power Play.
When asked about some of the odder spending during the summits, Toews said "the officials responsible for making those decisions will, in fact, have to account for them."
"There are many things that may not be obvious at the onset but can be readily explained. If there are things that cannot be explained, then officials will have to answer for that."
Still, as it stands, government officials note the preliminary costs are far below the estimated budget of $1.1 billion.
But critics say it is still too much and money could have been saved by holding the G8 and G20 summits in the same place.
The G8 took place in Huntsville, Ont. and the G20 in Toronto.
"I don't understand, why do we have to spend so much money?" Liberal MP Denis Coderre asked.
"We can be focused and keep our priority for safety of the people, but at the same time we have to control and have better check and balance.
"If it's not a boondoggle of a billion dollars, it's gonna be a boondoggle of $857 million."