Gov’t ensures summits secure

Canada’s economic strength throughout the global economic recession has other countries turning to our prime minister for leadership on economic and financial matters.

Dear Editor:

Canada is hosting the G-8 and G-20 summits in late June. The G-8, or Group of Eight, is made up of the world’s most industrialized countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The G-20 is the economic summit that brings together finance ministers from across the world.

While it is unusual for both summits to be held in the same country at the same time, it is a unique opportunity for our country to show leadership on the world stage. Canada’s economic strength throughout the global economic recession has other countries turning to our prime minister for leadership on economic and financial matters.

The role of chairing these summits rotates between member countries every calendar year. This year it is Canada’s turn. Hosting world leaders is a huge undertaking. We have a responsibility to keep participants safe and to ensure that people and property in Toronto and Muskoka are safe.

The security plan has been developed by Canadian experts. Based on a medium level threat assessment, the budget for security at the summits has been set at $930 million. These are not costs we want to spend — they are costs we have to spend. It is important to keep in mind that these costs are for both Summits. By comparison, security for the G-8 summit hosted by Japan in 2008 cost more than $1.5 billion, and that was for only one summit. As hosts of the G-8 and G-20 summits, we have to be prepared to respond to any possible situation or threat.

If Canada wants to take on a bigger responsibility on a world stage and emerge as an international leader on all fronts, then we must make sure that both the G-8 and G-20 maintain comfortable and safe environments for every participant from every country. We are prepared to take all measures necessary to ensure Canadians, delegates and international visitors remain safe.

The summits will provide international media exposure for our country and are a great opportunity to showcase all that Canada has to offer as a gracious host and a terrific tourist destination. Canada stands ready to welcome the world.

Blaine Calkins, MP

Wetaskiwin