Frankly, I am tired of hearing about all of the criticisms of the G20 that was just completed in Toronto. People argue that it was a waste of money, that nothing got accomplished, that violence was out of control, that the police were overly aggressive…..pick your argument people. It can’t all be bad, can it?
Let’s look at each one individually:
It was a waste of money – I don’t know about a waste of money, but sure it was expensive. You have 20 of the most powerful people in the world coming to your city, so the security concerns are ones that laymen like us will never be able to comprehend. Once we decided to host the Summit, we needed to go all the way to keep it safe. Would you rather be known as the country that spent $1b on the Summit to keep leaders safe or the country on whose soil a world leader was assassinated? Easy choice in my books.
Nothing got accomplished – By the sounds of things, a lot got accomplished. Most of us cannot get any 20 people in a room to agree to what they want for lunch let alone 20 independent world leaders to agree on a direction for the global economy. An agreement on reducing deficits and some individual treaties amongst nations sounds like a pretty good result for 2 days of meetings.
The violence was out of control – are you kidding? We had 20 of the world’s leaders here, the spotlight of the world was on us and what happened? A few windows got smashed and three cop cars got destroyed. This is nothing in comparison to the violence in every other city that has hosted Summits of this kind. The violence was very concentrated in one area and at the end of the day, there was not much total damage.
The police were overly aggressive – this one really ticks me off. On Saturday afternoon, everyone (especially the media) was calling for a tougher hand by the police to stop the violence, so Saturday night and Sunday, they got exactly that. Now everyone is saying the police were using unnecessary force, corralling innocent people for long periods of time. Too bad. If you are part of a non-violent protest where there may be others who have different ideas, or you are trying to get the frontline story, you may be inconvenienced a little bit in order to maintain order. The result was very little violence and damage which is what we all wanted, right?
No one is ever perfect in these situations, nor can you expect everyone to be happy. The bottom line is the safety of the leaders was maintained, we had an opportunity to show our city on the world stage, the damage was minimal and some concrete things got accomplished. Not bad for a weekend of inconvenience if you ask me.