Smell that? It’s the $20,000 bouquet of federal bullshit. And it smells like roses.

June 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm (Uncategorized)

You know those cute people in their bright vests outside the Skytrain and Seabus stations, smiling and holding out a local 24 or Metro newspaper? I picked one up today on my way to my appointment – bright and early – sat down to have a coffee at a U.B.C. cafe after my visit to the Sports Medicine Clinic , and opened up my 24.  In my efforts to self-educate, I try to read from as many different news sources as possible.  My favorites are online at bbc.co.uk (always up to date, hourly), reading The Globe and Mail or Vancouver Sun, and when I have time and can find one, I LOVE the New York Times.  One of my favorite things to do is spread out the giant pages of the NY Times, sip some really rich coffee, and read it for a couple of hours. 

My 24 paper today? I kind of expected the usual Twisted Panties article, some entertainment, local news about some Vancouver gang issue or the Downtown Eastside (DTES)… as I flipped through, I stopped on page 6 to see a paragraph titled “Feds splash $20M on G8 fiddlers, flowers”. 

What?

Later this month, the G8 and G20 summits will be held in Muskoka and Toronto.  So get ready (and I hoped you filed your taxes and got SOME money back this year), because guess what?  In preparation for these meetings, our federal government has generously opened their wallets and spent almost $20, 000, 000 for:

Dancing troupes, singers, fiddlers, meals, and floral arrangements.

According to 24 Vancouver, the documents containing this information were released through the Access to Information Act.  The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade have issued 156 contracts in the past year for prep meetings in Yellowknife, Victoria, Quebec City, etc.

Almost $22,000 was spent in floral arrangements and interior design (nice word for decorations. Thank you Martha Stewart) at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club. 

Not to mention the almost $11,000 “working” dinner for the visiting G8 foreign ministers.  That must be some hard work.  I hope it was all relatively easy to chew!  Granted I don’t know how many people this was feeding… but lets look at those old statistics of how many people you can feed in the third world for $11,000.  I’m sure this wasn’t entirely necessary or expected.

Did I mention that the costs for security to protect these foreign leaders is about $1 billion? I never considered the cost of this until I read “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who required protection during and after her political career from Islamic extremists everywhere who threatened her life because of her strong feminist ideals and anti-religious statements.  So, security, in my opinion, is a necessary cost.

At least, it’s slightly more important than tiger lilies.  These types of huge events require a few dollars to be spent, yes.  And our economy (artists, etc) does benefit from this, yes.  And that’s great, don’t get me wrong.  But where do you draw the line?  When does government spending become excessive and needless?  I actually hope someone can answer this.  I am not just using my typical biting sarcasm to make a point here…. I really am confused.

Are you confused about our federal budget, too?  Is this what HST is for?  HighLife Supperclub Tax?  Happy Sunflowers Tax?  

Flowers: $20K +.  Women’s Rape Relief Shelter Vancouver: $0.  Yes, I know that last topic is a provincial issue, but look at the big picture.  It’s good to know what our priorities are.   

Does no one see how twisted and hypocritical (tight budget, eh Stephen? Hmmm…) all this is?  Let’s get together and discuss the developing world’s dire need of real help (not more dead aid), all while stuffing our face, smelling the organic roses, sleeping on 1,000 thread-count sheets at the fanciest hotels, and polishing our Italian leather shoes.

Of course I understand that we must feed and shelter these visitors graciously.  We should make them comfortable and be proud to have such an important event occur in our home.  I have the utmost respect for the people who wish to see change in the world, and follow the Millennium Goals, and have a dream: that they truly believe they can work together and plan to develop the poorer nations in the world.  And I’m sure their fat asses don’t need beluga caviar, foie gras, and a parade of orchids to discuss the world’s problems.

All I can say is : let’s hope all this will be worth it in the long run.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all these flowers and fiddlers will be inspiring enough to come up with a few plans that work.

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