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06/01/2010

Feds have moral obligation to compensate G20-related damage, Gerard Kennedy says

The Federal government has moral obligation to compensate any Toronto residents or businesses that lose sales or suffer property damaged because of the G20 summit, Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy told the House of Commons Tuesday.

“Incredibly, despite having mismanaged the price tag for the Summit to over $1.3 billion, the Harper government is still not covering many basic cost,” said Kennedy, the opposition critic for infrastructure, cities and communities.

“This government is turning the honour to Canada of hosting the G20 into both a financial debacle, and an unfair burden on the businesses, residents and government of Toronto.”

As reported earlier, the feds turned down the city’s request to post a bond to cover damage claims.

Last week, federal cabinet minister John Baird seemed to open the door to compensation, but stopped short of promising any money.

“I understand people in Toronto have every right to expect that they’ll be treated fairly, as we have at other summits and we’ll ensure that’s done,” Baird said.

The minister of transportation, infrastructure and communities didn’t explicitly say businesses will be compensated, suggesting such a promise would give “the green light to every hooligan that they’ll be an unlimited cash flow.”

“What I’m not going to say, is to give an invitation to every vandal, thug that they have an unlimited right to destroy downtown property. We’re going to put all of our focus on keeping the city and property safe and obviously we will treat the people of Toronto fairly as we have at other summits.”

People suffering damage should look to their insurer, according to a memo from the federal government’s Summits Management Office.

Kennedy added Tuesday: “The City of Toronto has informed the federal government that they should remove the summit to a different location to reduce disruptions and possible damage to public and private property. The federal government has refused this advice.”

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