Last weekend I passed through Toronto. The city was bracing for the over priced and utterly pointless G20 dog and pony show. The G20 circus did not disappoint. On cue the usual crew of recreational anarchists left their parents basements long enough to engage the police, set cars on fire and smash store windows. The police responded by arresting hundreds of protestors and holding them for hours in horrific detention facilities that did not offer vegan food! Hey, it’s Canada, a gluten-free diet is probably enshrined somewhere in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Mirroring the idiocy in the streets the G20 leaders wasted tax dollars in grand style by literally phoning one in for the children. They also muttered something about reducing government debt and doing a better job of pretending to be fiscally sane. Hey G20! I have a suggestion for that debt reduction thing — how about no more G20 meetings! Video conferencing software does a pretty good job; give it a try!
Given the pitiful track record and high costs of the G20 one wonders why any sane country would host such a boondoggle. Nothing of importance is ever achieved at these photo-ops and if something worthwhile accidently emerges it will be ignored or sabotaged. I know it’s good for our rulers to get out and meet with their peers: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Still it’s hard, in ostensibly democratic countries like Canada, to sell the public on the awesome benefits of hosting the G20. Do you remember how the Canadian public refused to fund the G20 when asked in the pre-conference referendum? Oops sorry, I was thinking of how things should work! Nobody ever asks the public if they want to pay because the answer would be a resounding no.
The G20 is coveted, courted and consummated for exactly the same reason that more expensive boondoggles like the Olympics and the World Cup are: it’s a great opportunity to punt public funds to your friends.