G20 Dispatches: "The Institution of the Federal Government Doesn't Understand Toronto."
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G20 Dispatches: “The Institution of the Federal Government Doesn’t Understand Toronto.”

Christopher Bird and Christopher Drost are Torontoist’s staffers accredited for the G20. They will be reporting on the inside for the duration of the summit; Torontoist’s complete G20 coverage, including reporting from the streets, is here.

David Miller speaking with an NGO representative. Photo by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.

Earlier today, Mayor David Miller wandered over to the G20’s Alternative Media Centre to chat with NGO representatives—and catch the tail end of the Italy/Slovakia World Cup game—after his official press conference, in which he extolled the virtues of Toronto to visiting media. We caught up with him for a brief one-on-one interview, and asked for his thoughts on how the summit’s planning process has unfolded.

My position was—and I was very public about it at the time—that the G20 should’ve been here, Exhibition Place. There’s a permanent fence with barbed wire here, and we’re building another fence right now for the Indy, and I felt quite strongly—there were negotiations with the federal government, we came very close to an agreement and I think there might even have been an agreement in principle, that this be the host site.
Think about what would happen in Toronto if this was the host site and the media was at the Convention Centre. It’d have an entirely different impact. I’m not blaming the Prime Minister, although he’s accountable for this, because the institution of the federal government doesn’t understand Toronto.
Mr. Chaudhary was on the radio a couple of days ago on the Current saying, “Well, it’s on the weekend, and nobody goes downtown on the weekend in Toronto.” Like…hello? You’re laughing! Right? There’s thirty or forty thousand people who live walking distance from the Convention Centre, there were the Jays—and so that decision resulted in a lot of what we’re seeing. It was the wrong decision, and it resulted in a lot of the costs being what they are, but it’s been taken and from the city’s perspective we have to live with it and do our best.