Failed promises of G 20 Toronto Summit

1 Jul

According to Motluk in a commentary on Nature magazine, the G8 – G20 leaders have agreed to a US$5 billion program over 5 years to help the vulnerable and poor in developing states. This is still US $24.6 billion short of what experts believe is needed to reduce global mortality rates and deaths related to pregnancy.

As it stands, about 342,900 women die due to pregnancy complications and during childbirth while 3.6 million babies die within the first month of birth annually. Approximately half of these figures are attributed to sub-Saharan Africa.

It is therefore a glaring discrepancy when the hosting government of Canada acknowledged that the costs of ‘securing’ the summit, borne by Canadian taxpayers, would cost $1.1 billion dollars. Of this amount, $160 million would go to ‘hospitality, infrastructure, food safety and extra staffing’ with the remaining $933 million for ‘security’. This large sum of money exceeds the Vancouver Olympics tagged at $ 898 million (over 14 days) and the last Pittsburgh G 20 Summit at US $18 million.

Considering that this amount of money that could have been put to better use. Instead of tackling homelessness, the authorities have moved the homeless away from downtown to spruce up the city’s image for official delegates. Then, there is the issue of poverty in Canada. According to Make Poverty History (Canada), more than 3 and a half million Canadians are in poverty and the numbers are increasing. They mainly affect Indigenous and young people. For instance, one in every four children of the First Nations and Inuit communities are likely to grow up poor or that the country’s child poverty rate is 15%, three times as high as the rates of Sweden, Norway or Finland.

A local coalition, G8/G 20 Toronto Community Mobilization, have organised a series of activities leading up and during  the meeting in protest against the group economic strategies. As they argued, the summits gave the appearance of ‘the colonial, imperial nature of international politics and the disastrous legacy of “free”-markets’ and that ‘the G8 and G20 “leaders” have no legitimacy to manage the global economy and financial system, nor do they represent the best interests of most people or the environment’. Furthermore, these ‘meetings attempt to fix capitalism by cutting social spending and by pushing privatization in the global financial system, furthering the systems of oppression that have led to poverty, environmental destruction and other social injustices’.

Locally, communities are resisting these G8 and G20 policies as ‘the Canadian (Federal, Provincial and Municipal) governments are using the summit to market Canada as a prosperous and stable place for business investments’. Meanwhile, ‘communities continue to struggle with poverty, violent police repression, cuts to social services, environmental destruction, closed school and increasing marginalization’.

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