The invoices are in and it appears as if Canada paid top dollar to hold the G8 and G20 Summits.
The four-day funfest near Huntsville and Toronto did eventually cost us you and me brothers and sisters, $1.2 billion.
We can't get resource equalization payments and now we know why.
The hotel bills alone were $200 million, we've been told.
That seems a little steep, even for 20 delegates and their entourages of eight to 10 people. Couldn't they at least get a convention rate?
Come to think of it why did Canada's taxpayers have to pay for hotel rooms?
And the list went on from there. Forget about the $57,000 fake lake and the $1 million fake scenery, how about $334,000 for sun screen, bug spray and hand sanitizer! Hey, didn't they provide soap in those $200 million hotel rooms, and who was wearing shorts, sandals and T-shirts?
The public works people spent $222 million for the four days. That's money that won't be coming to Saskatchewan for public works I guess.
Those infamous security fences cost $4.4 million. They must have been gold embossed and emblazoned with the prime minister's insignia.
There were over 100 contracts signed off for communications and security equipment.
The lease for the Toronto Airport was $12 million. I don't really know what that means, but it cost us $12 million to have exclusive use of the Toronto Airport for a certain amount of time. I hope you took advantage of it while it was on the taxpayers' clock. I guess France and Germany don't have travel budgets or frequent flyer points for their headliner politicians, Canada paid that bill too.
Box lunches in Muskoka cost $2.5 million let's see now. Maximum of 200 official delegates, 130 hangerson and Jim Flaherty. That's oh round it off to $6,000 each for lunch. Good deal. Napkins were extra, I suppose and required a separate invoice.
I just hope that the boxes that those lunches came in were recyclable.
Apparently the box lunches weren't that bountiful because the snacks back at the Hyatt Regency later came in at another $85,000.
Car rentals for one day $2.2 million. Again, how come Canada picked up that tab?
Don't these delegates have a corporate rate with Hertz or Rent-A-Wreck?
Oh, by the way all the contracts were sole sourced meaning that they were done without any tendering which meant the Canadian "I want to be important and I'm in the loop" bureaucrats who made the outrageous deals could give them to whomever they chose. Rest assured none of them called on Saskatchewan friends. We send them a dozen or more MPs every four years and they kinda send us a Hallmark card (procured without tender) purchased in Quebec or Ontario once in awhile to make us feel wanted and appreciated. And they don't like it when we threaten to cut off the money pipeline.
And if you think I'm just picking on the current government. I'm not. The other guys did the same thing. We sent them one MP and they kinda said "thanks, but we wudda liked more, but at that rate of participation, we can ignore you."
Now they're just saying "keep it up, you're doing a great job Saskatchewan. We know you can't send us any more MPs for our side, so we can continue to ignore you."
We also understand that highways and streets in Huntsville and Toronto that weren't even remotely close to summit drivers were rebuilt and resurfaced in record-setting time.
Meanwhile back in Maple Creek, four months after the flood, they're waiting for one mile of the Trans-Canada Highway to be restored. The folks there are being told that "this all takes time and we'll get around to it as soon as we can and as soon as the budget allows." It's now a provincial problem.
Bet the summit planners didn't hear anything like that.
But then I could be wrong.
But c'mon, $1.2 billion for a four-day convention?
I hope they at least had a cash bar.
My suggestion for the next Canadian hosted summit we'll threaten the bureaucrats into letting Saskatchewan run the beer gardens.
Bring those $4.4 million worth of Escalades, Bentleys and limousines right behind the hotel. Then park 'em rear-ends to the centre and we'll have a whoop-de-doo-beer-for-a-toonie- tailgate party they'll never forget, and this time we'll keep the damn profits.