The federal taxpayer will cover the full cost of guarding the June G20 economic summit in Toronto, it was announced yesterday, although what that cost might be was left unspecified.
Security at the two-day conference will be the joint responsibility of the RCMP and Toronto police.
The huge event will take place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on the edge of the financial district in the downtown core, federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt said.
RCMP Chief Superintendent Alphonse MacNeil said the broad security plan involves a system of concentric circles, and that those who live and work inside the perimeter will be required to show identification.
"As you approach the MTCC you will come to different levels of security," he said.
"It's our hope and our plan to keep the city functioning as per normal as much as possible, right up to the actual event."
The summit logo was also unveiled yesterday, clearly inspired by the design of the CN Tower.
Ms. Raitt said Ottawa picked the MTCC as the venue - over some vociferous objections - because of its technological infrastructure and its past history in hosting big international events.
Exhibition Place, west of the downtown core, had been the preferred location of some city politicians and officials, given that the summit will coincide with one of Toronto's busiest summer weekends - the launch of gay Pride Week, and a Toronto Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre.
However, the Pride parade, which always draws a big crowd, has since been pushed back a week.
Assistant deputy minister Peter McGovern, who oversees the summit organization, said the security costs are covered under an established framework, and that the federal government will pay them all.
Ms. Raitt added that the summit is deliberately being held over the course of a weekend to minimize its impact on downtown residents and businesses. But not all the critics were mollified.
Federal MP Olivia Chow, who represents the constituency where the summit will be held, predicted local businesses will still be hit hard and urged they be compensated, noting that for many merchants Sunday is one of their busiest days.
"There's a lot of mixed messages coming out of Ottawa," agreed Toronto councillor Adam Vaughan, in whose ward the G20 event will take place.
"There needs to be full disclosure as soon as possible for the hardships that residents and businesses are going to face."
Carol Jolly, executive director of the Waterfront Business Improvement Association, said she is worried about the toll the summit's chaos - and the weeks of preparation pandemonium surrounding it - will take on her member businesses.
"Certainly I'm concerned about the community's ability to continue when there are barricades all over the area," she said, adding that she's been warned there will be at least three weeks of setup leading to the summit. "On the heels of the recession, I've got concerns about our businesses that are struggling."Report Typo/Error
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