Why not use cheap soldiers instead of expensive cops for G8 security? Fear of Liberal opprobrium, says Tory minister

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is one of those politicians who, if they think they see a chance to take a shot at the opposition, they take it. There are politicians like that on all sides of the political spectrum.

I raise that point because I think that instinct must surely explain this odd exchange, aired today on CTV's Question Period, in which host Craig Oliver discusses the $930-million tab for the security of the G8 and G20 summits with Toews. The summits are to be held on the same weekend in Canada at the end of June. The government had originally believed security would be somewhere around $150 million.

Oliver, like many Canadians and many journalists, wonders why the government just didn't use the army to guard world leaders rather than pay overtime, etc. to unionized police forces like the RCMP and OPP. Toews presents an odd argument: If we went with the soldiers, the Liberals would have got upset:

OLIVER: You're spending hundreds of millions of dollars here on RCMP overtime.


OLIVER: Who made the decision not to use the army more, especially for rather simple security jobs like perimeter defence and things like that? Their basic salaries are dramatically lower and they don't get overtime. I mean why didn't you use the army?

TOEWS: Well we did, in fact, use the army in the Olympics. It's quite another thing when you start bringing the army in a civilian context, into a civilian setting. You know, of course, what the opposition parties would say, the Liberals, they would say the army in streets with guns. Do you remember that advertisement? It's exactly the kind of fear that Liberals want to invoke in terms of Canadians. Canadians understand that in a democracy you have the police rather than the army in the streets. And so those are political decisions you make, but I think they're very, from a perception point of view, very, very important.

OLIVER: So the fact that you were worried about what the Liberals might say could have cost Canadians a couple hundred million dollars?

TOEWS: What I'm very concerned about is that Canada has certain principles. We are a democratic nation. We don't resort to the military in our streets unless we come to very extreme circumstances. We obviously are working closely with the military on this, but we believe that the best, the best organization to conduct the security in a civilian context are police rather than military.

10 thoughts on “Why not use cheap soldiers instead of expensive cops for G8 security? Fear of Liberal opprobrium, says Tory minister”

  1. Wow… I am speechless. This is the stupidest argument I have ever heard.
    I particularly like the fact that Toews pointed out the army was used in the Olympics but that “it's quite another thing when you start bringing the army in a civilian context, into a civilian setting”.
    Last I check the Olympics were held in Vancouver. From my TV screen I saw countless civilians.

  2. Toews: [Liberals] would say “the army, in streets, with guns.”
    Unlike, for example: the police, in streets, with guns?

  3. Idiocy of Liberalism needs to be exposed at every opportunity. Still to many people vote for idiot Liberals especially in downtown Toronto. Catering to sensitivities of idiot Liberals and people who vote for them costs money but this is cost of running the country that is full of idiot Liberal and their supporters.

  4. Has anyone checked how security has been delivered in other countries hosting G8/G20-scale summits? I'd be curious re: use of cops vs. use of troops.

  5. Politicians calling themselves “conservatives'. In Parliament. Wasting wads of my money. In Canada.

  6. This lavish and arrogant government has inspired me to start a campaign of my own. If they are still in power next tax time I am sending in my tax forms redacted in order to protect my personal and financial security. I refuse to give these incompetent, irresponsible, immature bastards any of my hard earned dollars to be used for 10%er campaign advertising, big cheques with their logos, buying mortgages from greedy banksters, law suits that Harper took out against people that got under his thin skin, wars that suggest they are complicate in torture, war machines that are not protecting THIS nation, paid shills on forums, salaries and pensions they don't deserve for lack of representation for 75% of the countries population, their tough on crime optics and now this Billion dollar waste of money on protecting those that have not bothered to protect us on top of the huge deficit they have accumulated buying their time in office.
    Am I mad? You bet I am!
    Anyone else that can and wants to join in feel free to spread the campaign around. I'm calling it “redacting taxing”.

  7. They would run with this and frame everything the CPC does as fear of LPC – so-called crime policies, everything crafted because they fear LPC reaction – I could spin it easy that way and I am looking for work.

  8. Liberals did run election ads trying to scare voters with vision of Canadian soldiers on the street with guns if Conservatives would ever get elected to run the government. As idiotic as it might sound today it was the best that Liberals could offer to people who vote for them not so long ago.
    The fact that Liberals neglected Canadian military for many years when they run government and than tried to cast Canadian military as an oppresive force that might be unleashed on Canadian public in case Conservatives get elected should be remembered for many years to come as it proves that these clowns are unfit not only to govern they are unfit to sit in HoC as opposition as well (we can keep few Liberal clowns there as form of entertainment).

  9. As usual, the opposition misleads Canadians, citing London and Pittsburgh as prime examples of “frugality” in holding G8/G20 summits.
    But according to a security expert on Evan Solomon’s show (Friday ?), Canada has made its budget PUBLIC, whereas most other countries do not usually do so.
    As far as other G8s being less costly
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/34th_G8_summit#Budget [The 34th G8 summit took place in Tōyako on the northern island of Hokkaidō, Japan from July 7–9, 2008]

    “… Japan spent an unprecedented amount on hosting the G-8 Summit. Although a full accounting has not been announced, the estimated total budget was more than ¥60 billion:
* ¥30 billion (£283 million; $561 million) used by the National Police Agency for patrolling the venues, including taking counter-terrorism measures. …
    A foreign ministry spokesman suggested that “the number of parties attending this year is unprecedented, which has admittedly complicated the arrangements, and it’s simply not fair to compare it with previous summits. …”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/28th_G8_summit [The 28th G8 Summit took place in Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada on June 26 and June 27, 2002.]

    “… Kananaskis was selected because of its isolated location. Security was augmented by F-18 jet fighters and helicopters which patrolled the skies non-stop; all major thoroughfares were closed, many of the shops in nearby Calgary were boarded up, and police reportedly outnumbered protesters six to one. It was the largest peacetime security operation in Canadian history.
Security was very tight at the summit, costing taxpayers in excess of $200-million. It attracted thousands of protesters and security was provided by 5,000 to 7,000 police and military officers. …”
    Also, compare the growing number of international organizations, with their attendant retinues, that participate:
    Heads of international organizations
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1995


    Kananaskis, Alberta, 2002
    * United Nations United Nations Kofi Annan, Secretary-General

    Northern island of Hokkaidō, Japan, 2008.
    * African Union

    * Commonwealth of Independent States

    * IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency

    * International Energy Agency

    * United Nations

    * UNESCO

    * World Bank

    * WHO World Health Organization

    * World Trade Organization
    The 36th G8 summit is to be held in Huntsville, Ontario, from June 25-27, 2010. The meeting will take place at the Deerhurst Resort. It will be the fifth G8 Summit hosted by Canada since 1976.
    * African Union

    * Commonwealth of Independent States

    * International Atomic Energy Agency

    * International Energy Agency

    * United Nations

    * UNESCO

    * World Bank

    * World Health Organization

    * World Trade Organization
    And more facts re: other G8s here:
    Perhaps future G8 & meetings should be permanently held in New York, at the UN, and G20s in Geneva. Or maybe on some remote island that would be more difficult for anarchists and professional protesters & rabble rousers to get to.

  10. Setting aside the issue of money do we have, potentially, thousands of soldiers available?
    Then there's the issue of what powers a policeman can bring to the job versus a soldier. Can a soldier use physical force on a civilian? Arrest a citizen?
    I suspect that, in legal terms, a police officer and a soldier are considerably different beasts.

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