In the wake of the G20 summit, I believe there are three numbers which should be very important to all Canadians.
Number One is in the millions, and it is the amount of damage inflicted on Toronto business owners by the violent protesters during the G20 summit. While an official estimate has not yet become available, it seems very likely that the final tally will be trailed by six zeros.
Number Two is in the very low billions, and it is the total cost to Canada for hosting the G20 Summit. With a bloated security bill exceeding one billion dollars added to the regular cost associated with hosting an event of this stature, the final dollar figure for hosting the G20 will be followed by a caravan of nine zeros.
Number Three, however, is in the trillions, and it is the amount of public funds spent by G20 governments to bail out private banks following the first G20 summit. With Harper's success this past weekend in bringing G20 nations on board to ‘tighten their belts' and ‘cut spending' on ‘non-necessary' expenses like social services, the amount of money effectively transferred from G20 publics to private accounts will be followed by a booming freight train of twelve zeros.
Each one of these Numbers has three more zeros than the one before it -- that's one thousand times bigger. But which of the corresponding events seem to have attracted more attention, more outrage?
Let's look at this differently. Number One, if it were to be shared equally amongst all Torontonians would represent a cost very roughly between $1 to $6 each. Number Two on the other hand has been estimated to divvy out to around $65 per Canadian. That is significantly more. However, incredibly, if whopping Number Three were divided out equally amongst all of the roughly 4.4 billion G20 citizens, it would amount to a head tax of at least $230. Importantly, many of these citizens earn less than $1.25 a day.
Number One and Number Two are huge and important, but beside mountainous Number Three they are like a speck and a bump. A rational public should direct their attention accordingly.
While the Conservative Government in Canada has aggressively attacked suggestions that G20 governments should agree to impose a Bank Tax to recover public funds, what has been the proposed alternative? All signs point to cuts in social spending: a double robbery of the G20 publics whose taxes have bailed out a derailed global economy.
I am a 24-year-old G20 protester. I wore no mask, threw no bricks, and burned no cars. As a recent university graduate, I spent money I did not have and took time off work to join the demonstrations in Toronto. I was also illegally searched and detained by police -- that was wrong, but it is not the worse thing that happened.
With my cardboard sign and my peaceful demonstration, Number Three is what I wanted to draw Canadians' attention to.
Unfortunately that didn't happen in Toronto, so here it is now.
Number Three is what is wrong.
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