Canada

Flaherty defends summit costs

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the cost of the G20 and G8 summits this month is the price that must be paid for Canada to be on the world stage.

'Necessary so that everyone is safe'

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty faces the media before speaking at the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) annual meeting in Toronto on Monday. ((Adrien Veczan/Canadian Press))

The cost of the G20 and G8 summits this month is the price that must be paid for Canada to be on the world stage, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday.

The total cost of hosting the meetings of world leaders in the Ontario community of Huntsville and Toronto hasn't been tallied yet. However, the cost of security alone is estimated at nearly $1 billion.

"I'm familiar with the budget for security," Flaherty told reporters in Toronto after returning from Busan, South Korea, where he met with G20 finance ministers over the weekend.

He added that the United States and United Kingdom have hosted the events previously and now "it's Canada's turn."

"Canada's playing an important role and it's one worth playing from time to time," Flaherty said.

"In today's international environment unfortunately, it's necessary to spend substantially on security. It's Canada's turn. Either we don't take our turn or we pay the appropriate amount necessary so that everyone is safe."

Flaherty also says the majority of G20 countries will not implement a tax on banks to pay for government bailouts — a position that Canada has championed.

With files from CBC News

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