The $1.2-billion price tag for the G8 and G20 summits in Muskoka and Toronto this month is so high that other countries will be reluctant to host world leaders in future, Premier Dalton McGuinty warns.
He urged the federal government to see if there’s a way to pare down the budgets for the events, where heads of government attend with large entourages and require a massive security presence because of protesters.
“I have the same reaction as Canadians do — a billion dollars is a lot of money,” said McGuinty, who was in Israel on a trade mission last week when concerns about the costs of hosting and security made major headlines.
“I don’t know if it really has to be a billion dollars, and I hope that the federal government is giving this a second look to see if there’s not some way possible for us to ensure that we host a good event, a safe event, without costing so much money.”
The premier said the summits — with the G8 on June 25 and 26 in Huntsville and the G20 on June 26 and 27 in Toronto — will be a “sacrifice” for local residents who are inconvenienced, but will boost Ontario’s profile on the world stage.
“We’re here, we’re proud to host it, we’re not backing away from this,” he said.