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Denise Balkissoon, Toronto Star
February 12, 2010
Police must protect politicians while limiting interruption of normal life
Ignoring city hall’s recommendations, the federal government has decided to hold the June G20 summit downtown, rather than at Exhibition Place.
“We’ve all been told it will be at the [Metro Toronto] Convention Centre,” said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, although Ottawa has yet to announce officially the site of the June 26-27 meeting of national leaders.
G20 summits involve thousands of police and endless kilometres of security fencing. The relative isolation of the Ex would have made that operation almost painless, say Toronto politicians.
The convention centre, on the other hand, is within walking distance of Union Station, the financial district, the PATH underground routes and Rogers Centre.
Councillor Adam Vaughan said security will be much more severe than for the G7 summit held here in 1988, which he says caused King St. businesses to “lose a lot of money.”
“Everything has multiplied three times since then,” said Vaughan, citing the presence of post-9/11 security concerns and a huge increase in expected protesters.
RCMP spokesperson Cathy McCrory said it’s unlikely downtown residents would be asked to leave their homes. “I can’t see relocating people,” she said.
“I’m glad to hear that,” responded Vaughan, pointing out that, unlike 1988, there are now large condominium buildings on two sides of the convention centre. “I’m not sure they know where everyone lives in this city.”
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