G8/G20 costs include $80M for food, lodging
The Liberals are strongly criticizing the federal government over expenses incurred during the G8/G20 summits, which, expenditure reports reveal, included $80 million for food and accommodation, $85,000 for snacks and $14,000 for glow sticks.
"This is totally unacceptable," said Liberal MP Dan McTeague, who tabled the expenditure reports in the House of Commons on Thursday.
McTeague had requested details on all contracts for goods or services relating to the G20 meetings.
"The reams and reams of documents present a very disturbing trend and tale, I think, for Canadians," McTeague said. "It suggests there is a very deep and serious problem. There was no accountability or oversight in terms of those expenditures. Money was no object."
According to the documents, $80 million was spent on food and accommodation, more than $34 million on telecommunications and electronics and almost $17 million for vehicle rentals and transportation.
Of the accommodation costs, the RCMP spent under $7 million.
McTeague also asked how many of the contracts were sole-sourced.
He said the released material shows the government's "reckless" attitude toward spending for the events.
But the government defended the costs, saying the majority were security-related.
"Obviously, the bulk of the costs were for security: RCMP, OPP, municipal police forces," said House leader John Baird. "We obviously don't put those out to tender. Those are employees who work for the public, and that's really the bulk of the costs."
"Don't forget we were bringing together about [10,000] or 20,000 people, probably 50 or 100 of the most powerful people in the world. There was not only just the issue of terrorism, and the issue of people trying to disrupt the summit, some violently. So, obviously, we have to spend what is necessary to ensure that we keep these people safe."
Items include headgear, glow sticks
The expenditures include $4.5 million for the security fence around the exclusive Deerhurst Resort in Ontario's Muskoka region, the G8 event host site, along with more than $300,000 for sun screen and insect repellant for the police guarding the fence.
An $85,000 tab is listed for snacks at the exclusive Park Hyatt hotel in downtown Toronto and $68,340 was spent on Nikon cameras, according to the documents. Another $45,000 was spent on binoculars.
In addition, the costs include $1.2 million on condominium rentals, $14,049 for glow sticks and more than $13,000 for "miscellaneous textiles, headgear and umbrellas," the documents show.
No final tally has been given yet on the price tag for Canada's hosting back-to-back summits in Ontario's Muskoka region and downtown Toronto in late June, but the overall cost has been estimated to be about $1.24 billion, including at least $930 million for security.
The auditor general's office says a report on the security costs of the G8/G20 summits is scheduled for spring 2011.
- An earlier version of the story stated that RCMP accommodation costs were $20 million. In fact, the actual total is just under $7 million.Sep 23, 2010 9:18 PM ET