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   Undertoad  Sunday Jun 30 02:18 PM

6/30/2002: G8 protesters

"BOYCOTT GAP" what these non-violent G8 protesters are saying.

elSicomoro  Sunday Jun 30 02:23 PM

I was surprised not to hear more about the G8 this past week. Either the pledge deal threw people off, or those Canadians really keep shit under control.

Nic Name  Sunday Jun 30 03:47 PM

The Globe & Mail article says it best ...


Fossils at the conflab


Saturday, June 29, 2002 – Print Edition of The Globe & Mail, Page A2

CALGARY -- As fate would have it, your scribbler was raising a glass with R. Klein last year when he revealed that J. Chrétien had called him on the blower from Europe. The PM was so appalled at the carnage at the G8 conflab in Genoa that he wanted to spare his precious Ottawa, chosen site of the 2002 summit, from being burned down -- which would not look too good on the capital's most prominent politician.

The PM, his geography rather shaky, asked Da Preem if there was not some suitable hideaway in Jasper as an alternate choice. The Alberta Premier explained that Jasper in the Rockies was more than a three-hour drive from Edmonton airport. He suggested there was a tiny spot known as Kananaskis, outside Banff, an hour's drive from Calgary.

And so, this week, as the leaders of the world could spare only 30 hours (including sleep) to solve all the world's problems, J. Chrétien proudly told the G8 honchos that he had personally picked this pristine spot himself, not mentioning that he had never set eyes on the place until this moment. Such is political farce, with the New York Times (accurately) describing world leaders "cowering in a Canadian mountain resort."

This is the fifth G8 "summit" the scribbler has tried to cover, from Venice to "the world's largest log cabin" on the Ottawa River, and the amount of news has gradually shrunk each time. The original idea, pushed by former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, came from the Concert of Europe which had emerged from the 1814-15 Congress of Vienna where Europe's big powers -- Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia and eventually France -- agreed to preserve peace through concerted diplomatic actions. It was, by pure coincidence, the idea on which Kissinger had written his doctoral thesis.

And so, such is progress, 2,500 global reporters were locked in a monstrous room in Calgary, pretending to cover what they cannot see, but what is filtered by "briefing officers" out of the mountain retreat -- rather like Osama bin Laden in his Afghanistan cave. The Canadian briefer, who was to update the 300 Canadian reporters at 11:30 p.m. on what went on at the "working dinner" of the G8 boys turned out not to have attended the dinner himself and had nothing to say. Whatsoever.

It fits the scenario. Dubya Bush sandbags J. Chrétien, whom he clearly does not like (check the body language), by announcing his ukase on Yasser Arafat the day before arriving here and stealing all the headlines. J. Chrétien does not get the African package he wanted as host chairman. Canada promised $500-million to Africa, but spent $300-million for security on this conference that is not a conference but was guarded by 5,000 troops and 14 checkpoints on the road to the cowering retreat.

And the media, with nothing to cover, didn't even get the riots it wanted.

On one protest march, down Calgary's trendiest pedestrian mall lined with sidewalk cafés, the teenaged girls with purple hair and masked faces were outnumbered by middle-aged men in nicely tailored sports shirts (lawyers? loggers? union leaders?)

The most intelligent suggestion came from French President Jacques Chirac, next year's host, who mused that perhaps the whole farce should be done by video feed. Which essentially was the way this thing was done. Certainly would save a lot of newspaper expense accounts, since what you saw could have been seen staying home and watching the telly.

The pols, hypocrites as usual, want the coverage but they don't risk the exposure.

No one takes it seriously anymore. New York Times, best paper in the world, buried its coverage on page 13. Best commentary is that the eight leaders, as farewell gifts, were given fountain pens mounted in pen holders made of 70-million-year-old fossilized oysters dug from the earth in the Milk River valley.

The G8 is a dinosaur that won't fly anymore.

A poke at Cowtown

Just as surely as some people try to fake their personalities, some cities do the same. Calgary is the prime example, trying to push its "Cowtown" image when it is anything but. The city, to welcome the thousands of hacks and world delegates, staged the 2002 Hoot and Holler evening with a sampling under a huge tent of bronco-busting, bull-chasing and all the rest.

Ritual stage Indians, all feathers and headdresses for the tourist cameras. A chap doing rope tricks with a stiff rope, just as Will Rogers did on stage. Plastic white Stetsons. A lonely couple outside an ersatz tepee in "Indian Village." Grown men, trying to suck in their tummies with belt buckles the size of pancakes, teetering on their cowboy-boot high heels. The evening, planned to impress visiting hacks, gets few reporters because they're all tied up overtime in their downtown prison trying to make bricks out of straw, such is the shortage of real facts. The point -- with the Calgary Stampede just a week away -- is that this is an oil-and-gas town, built on it, wealthy because of it. Most of these businessmen trying to look like Gene Autry have never seen a horse.

Nic Name  Sunday Jun 30 04:10 PM

Really, what's the point of all this?

Rex Murphy writing acerbicaly in The Globe & Mail

By estimates that have been cited as credible by any number of news agencies, the cost of Kananaskis -- mainly for security -- may be as high as $300-million.

The news of Enron and WorldCom and Nortel may have dulled us somewhat to the wasting away of vast sums of money, and it may be that we have become blasé when we hear of money talked about in the "mere" hundreds of millions.

But surely there is an obscenity at the heart of the notion of spending $300-million so that eight people can sit together for a day (only one day was set apart for this item) to talk about Africa. The sum spent to protect those talking will be greater than the total some of the individual countries will actually contribute to the dying and the ill of that deeply wretched continent.

Still, $300-million is a vast amount of money -- $300-million, if effectively distributed in some of Africa's most poverty-stricken, famished regions would be a largesse of undreamed-of proportions. There, $300-million is as $300-billion here, such is the disproportion of wealth and power of agency between the so-called First World and the Third.

The First World pays more for its weekend spectacles (George Lucas's Phantom Menace has raked in more than $1-billion if you put the figure in Canadian dollars) than many Third World countries will accumulate in a decade. Our amusements are worth more than their realities.

The G8 is another kind of spectacle. I can grant that the motivations of the leaders, or the citizens who propel them to engage with the world, may be worthy and noble. But to gather at a summit, designed to address relief to the most distressed region of the planet, and then to spend $300-million merely so that eight human beings can sit at a table all at the same time, is a form of moral disharmony.

There will always be disparity between the regions of the world: "For ye have the poor always with you." But the range, the extremity of that disparity, is the hardest fact in the world, both First and Third, to encounter.
Rex Murphy is a commentator with CBC-TV's The National and host of CBC Radio One's Cross-Country Checkup.

zeolite  Wednesday Jul 3 01:44 AM

I live in Calgary. It was a joke. Even the protesters knew it was a farce. A total non-event in every which way.

Does Fotheringham still write for MacLean's? It was the only magazine I read back-to-front strctly because of him. He rules.

Nic Name  Wednesday Jul 3 02:23 AM

Fotheringham in

Nic Name  Sunday Jul 7 03:15 AM

A demonstrator wearing a customized gas mask marches in the
streets of Calgary, Alberta, Tuesday, June 25, 2002, as part of a
protest against the G-8 summit. Although leaders of the Group of Eight
countries are holding their summit in Kananaskis, a village tucked
in the Rocky Mountains one hour's drive from Calgary, anti-summit
activists are organizing protests in Calgary. (AP Photo/CP, Jeff McIntosh)

Protests didn't take off ... except that GAP exhibition!

Scred  Sunday Jul 7 10:28 AM

well, i am glad that the protestors had some fashion sense. i think that adds a whole lot to their message.

oh wait, their message isn't supposed to be "i dont have anything else to do since Jerry died" - so maybe it doesn't.

Torrere  Thursday Jul 11 08:03 PM

I saw somebody from Calgary down at the beach today. He gave some scary comments..

There were actual tanks rolling around the streets of Calgary. It felt like a war zone. Bush arrived in an armada of helicopters, with 3 on each side.

This thing sounds ridiculous.

zeolite  Thursday Jul 11 09:12 PM

There were no tanks in the streets. There were some APC's but of the wheeled variety. Mostly Grizzlys and Coyotes. The roads are in bad enough shape here, we don't need tracked vehicles tearing uup the streets.

When Bush flew out to the summit, he did fly in the Marine Blackhawk you are familiar with as well as several Apaches and Blackhawks. It was pretty cool.

CharlieG  Friday Jul 12 07:30 AM

Originally posted by Torrere
...snip... Bush arrived in an armada of helicopters, with 3 on each side.

This thing sounds ridiculous.
The multiple choppers is NORMAL - what they are VERY afraid of (and have been for YEARS - it's not just Bush) is shootdowns. What they do is fly multiple choppers that look like Marine1, and you don't know which he is in

BTW most high level dignataries do this with limos too - more than one

Torrere  Friday Jul 12 02:21 PM

CharlieG: I'm not all that surprised by that. It still seems massive, even overdone... and I'd really like to be able to see something like that, too =]

CharlieG  Friday Jul 12 03:35 PM

Originally posted by Torrere
...snip...... and I'd really like to be able to see something like that, too =]
Move to NYC - we get the limo convoys all the time, and see the choppers fairly often

Griff  Friday Jul 12 08:29 PM

Originally posted by zeolite
I live in Calgary.
Are you a cowboy, mister?

Undertoad  Friday Jul 12 11:37 PM

Are you a turtle?

zeolite  Saturday Jul 13 07:37 AM

I don't know what the definition of a cowboy is. I have participated in more than one round up and have actually roped a calf for the purpose of working. That does not make a cowboy.

I'm just a simple prarie boy.

Grain, cattle, Outlook; I can help you with all of those.

Nic Name  Saturday Jul 13 05:56 PM

"all hat and no cattle." as they say.

Your reply here?

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