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Council launches 'summits expense clock'

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The Council of Canadians launched a "Summits Expense Clock" on its website this morning to highlight the excessive costs of the G8 and G20 summits.

Between today and Sunday, the G8 and G20 leaders will have just 16 hours of formal meetings. But given their agenda has not been made public, we had to calculate on the basis of the summits running from Friday at 9 am to Sunday at 12 noon.

By that calculation, our 'summit expense clock' will add $405,180 per minute throughout the weekend.

While that is an outrageous per minute cost, a spokesperson for the prime minister has admitted that the per minute cost of actual leaders' meeting time is an incredible $833,000.

Go to www.canadians.org over the course of the summits and watch how quickly the Harper government is willing to spend public dollars on a photo op, while real global and domestic needs are left unmet.

A recent Angus Reid opinion poll found that 78 per cent of Canadians believe the $1-billion-plus price tag for the summits is unjustified.

A Canadian Press-Decima poll found that of the 70 per cent of Canadians who had heard about the cost of the summits, 61 percent said "they were too expensive to be worth it."

The Council of Canadians has argued that these summits should be scrapped. The place to address global issues is at the United Nations, also referred to now as the G192.

The UN's annual (365-day)operating budget is $1.9 billion. The $1.24 billion price tag for the 3-days of G8/G20 summits is expected to climb to about the same amount.

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