Whether Terrorists or Hooligans the End Result is Still The Same Mess

Last week’s Panel Discussion regarding the May 18th bombing of the Royal Bank branch at the corner of First and Bank in the Glebe brought to light many interesting insights including the consensus that this was not a terrorist act but an act of vandalism perpetrated by disaffected youths – probably from the neighborhood.

That said the resulting consequences are nonetheless quite real in that there was both extensive property damage to the bank’s branch, as well as a “tightening of security” that John Baglow said would lead to a tougher crackdown on legitimate protesters at the actual G8 and G20 Summits at the end of June.

With the estimated costs of security rising from what now appears to be a modest $179 million allocation in March to an estimated $930 million today, the government is throwing its own equivalent of a firebomb on what can only be described as already enflamed protesters who are still reeling from the the price tag for hosting the recent Olympics.

If you are like me, and most every other Canadian, the chasm between the Summit and its detractors represents a nebulous void of vague understanding and feigned interest based mostly upon the event’s presence in the media.  In short, we have our own financial systems with which to be concerned so as long as either side doesn’t directly impact our daily lives we are content to co-exist in a kind of non- codependent ignorance.

Starting from this neutral point of indifferent objectivity I thought that I would exercise the gray matter between my ears and make an honest effort to understand the basics of the G8 and G20 Summits.

For example, the G8 used to be the G6 which when it was first conceived in response to the 1973 oil crisis was originally called the Library Group.

Originally consisting of what at the time was the world’s six major industrialized democracies which were France, Italy, Germany, Japan the United Kingdom and the United States, the group later expanded to include Canada in 1976 and Russia in 1997 to become the G8.

The G8 actually has 9 participants if you include the European Union, however because members of the European Union cannot host or chair Summits they do not warrant acknowledgment as a G8 member.

That said and in a sort of hand-me down gesture, the 6 most populous countries in the European Union are now referred to as the G6.

Now, and following in the great tradition of the music industry’s Blink 182, UB40 and Sum 41 bands, the Outreach Five also known has the G8+5 includes what the G8 refers to as the developing economies of Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

However, and before we expend any additional energy in our efforts to understand what more closely resembles a quarterback’s audibles at the line of scrimmage versus a economic meeting of the minds, the above all means very little as the G-20 major economies, which purportedly grew in stature as a result of the 2008 Washington Summit led to the announcement at the Pittsburgh 2009 Summit that the G8 will be replaced by the G20.

Wait a minute . . . who’s on first?  Toiling laboriously in ignorance suddenly seems appealing.

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