Jump to content

2010 Olympic Security To Cost $1-billion: Federal Government


mr.x
 Share

Recommended Posts

Olympics security costs rise five-fold to $1-billion

COLIN FREEZE AND ROD MICKLEBURGH

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

January 29, 2009 at 4:43 AM EST

TORONTO, VANCOUVER — Security costs for the 2010 Winter Olympics are now anticipated to come in at just under $1-billion, an amount in the upper range of recently revised official estimates and more than five times what was budgeted when Vancouver won the right in 2003 to host the Games.

Federal officials who say they are familiar with the "very sensitive" matter confirmed the budget figure, but refused to shed further light on the billion-dollar package.

With barely more than a year to go before the Games begin, Ottawa has yet to disclose publicly what will be far and away the Olympics' largest single, government-funded item. There was no mention of Olympic security in Tuesday's federal budget.

With taxpayer unease at the price tag of the Games already growing because of the recession and the well-publicized financial troubles of the athletes village, the federal government may be loath to release the full cost of providing security.

Ottawa has also been involved in months of haggling with the B.C. government over sharing security expenses.

Keeping the Games safe from terrorist attacks and free of disruptions from activists has been described as the largest peacetime security operation in Canadian history, with more than 12,000 police, private security personnel and members of the armed forces expected to be deployed.

Yet the original security budget was set at $175-million, a figure derided by experts and International Olympic Committee officials as far too low.

Now, officials are bracing for blaring headlines about the billion-dollar cost of protecting a 17-day event.

Public Safety Canada spokesman David Charbonneau said yesterday that the department would not comment on any dollar figures. "The final costs will depend, in part, on how the Games proceed," he said in an e-mail. "A new cost-sharing arrangement with the province is expected soon."

B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen, also the Minister Responsible for the Olympics, is particularly anxious to have final security costs nailed down in time for the province's own budget on Feb. 17.

Mr. Hansen has shown increasing irritation over the failure to reach an agreement with Ottawa, accusing federal bureaucrats of trying to shift unwarranted costs onto the province.

The two sides have a deal to split security expenses 50-50, but only for securing actual venues, not for providing protection outside Olympic sites or underwriting normal operating costs of the RCMP and the armed forces.

"I guess one of my concerns is the way the federal government has approached the overall security number is to include a lot of numbers that I would suggest are part of base budgets," Mr. Hansen told reporters this week.

"If anything, I think the number the federal government will use is an inflated number to what the actual incremental numbers will be."

However, the head of security for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, which took place a few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, said that a billion dollars is a realistic figure "in today's day and age."

Dave Tubbs, a retired FBI agent who served as executive director of the Utah Olympic Public Safety Command, said he was adamant early on, in visits to Vancouver while working for a private security company, that the original $175-million security budget was totally unrealistic. "I insisted it couldn't be done [for that]... I know it's grown dramatically since then."

He said Olympic security officers have to plan against all kinds of emergencies, from shutting down airports and harbours to clearing blocked roads or even preparing for earthquakes. "When you add everything in, $1-billion would make sense to me."

Meanwhile, the head of the RCMP-led Integrated Security Unit for the Olympics, Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer, said he is not letting budget uncertainties get in the way of preparations for the Games.

"No one is disturbed or unfocused by the lack of [budget] clarity," he said.

He hopes there won't be a huge public outcry when the budget is finally made public. "We are responsible for protecting residents, visitors, the IOC family, athletes and officials. We have an obligation to ensure that while they are here, they are safe.

"There is not a family in the world, which will have their children here as athletes, that doesn't expect them to come home safely," Assistant Commissioner Mercer said.

One potential problem is the federal government's decision last month to roll back a projected wage increase for members of the RCMP. Staff representatives are urging members not to relocate to B.C. for the Olympics, unless ordered to do so.

"There is a swell among the membership because of the Conservatives' [action]," Staff-Sergeant Brian Roach said. "They are not going to be voluntarily putting their hands up."

Warships, fighter jets take part in Games drill

David Pugliese, Canwest News Service

Published: Friday, January 30, 2009

The first major security exercise in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics will be launched next week using warships, CF-18 fighter aircraft and RCMP and Canadian Forces units.

The Canadian military and the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (ISU) will take part in what is being calling Exercise Pegasus Guardian 2.2 as a warm-up for a larger event involving all federal, provincial and municipal organizations involved in Olympic security. The event is being dubbed Exercise Silver.

The various security events, running from Feb. 4 to 13, are taking place around Vancouver and Whistler, B. C., the site of the Winter Olympics.

As many as six warships based out of Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, near Victoria, will take part, including frigates, maritime coastal patrol vessels and other small craft. Canadian Forces Griffon helicopters will operate around Vancouver and Whistler, transporting RCMP emergency response teams, while CF-18s will conduct practice interceptions of unidentified aircraft.

Security planners have followed a graduated process for preparations for the 2010 Olympics. Exercise Bronze, held last year, was essentially a planning meeting of all agencies involved in the security aspects of the Games. Exercise Silver is to be a rehearsal of how to respond to various security scenarios.

Exercise Gold, to take place in the fall, will be a final test of the various agencies to see if they are ready for the Games in February, 2010. Planners expect to deal with a variety of scenarios, ranging from terrorists seizing a ferry off the coast of British Columbia to unidentified aircraft trying to approach Games facilities when events are underway.

Officials with the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit did not return phone calls. The unit is responsible for securing the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games. It is led by the RCMP and consists of members of the RCMP, the Vancouver Police Department, the West Vancouver Police Department and the Canadian Forces.

Defence Department officials declined to comment.

Government officials are expecting the final cost estimates in the Olympic security budget to be announced sometime in February. The original estimates were $175-million, but it is now believed they could reach $1-billion.

Last year, the Vancouver Sun obtained documents in which the ISU described potential threats to the Games. Although al-Qaeda, First Nation activists and anti-corporate organizations were mentioned, the April, 2007, threat assessment determined that organized crime remained "the most probable and immediate security risk" to the 2010 Games.

A Canadian Security Intelligence Service report obtained by the National Post last year found there is no indication that al-Qaeda or other related groups intended to attack the Games. According to that report, the most likely threat will come from domestic protesters who have already committed a few incidents of anti-Olympic vandalism.

"There is no evidence at this time that any group in the anti-2010 movement has both the intent and capability to undertake attacks at the Games," stated the CSIS report.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ i hope that's sarcasm.

Anyhow, from the article it sounds like all six warships at Esquimault and other vessels will be participate in the drill.

Canadian warships at Esquimault near Victoria.

Cfb-esquimalt-aerial.id.jpg

800px-HMCS_Algonquin_(DDH_283)3.jpg

800px-HMCS_Regina_(FFH_334)_1.jpg

ship.jpeg

CF-18CloseFormation.jpg

Yes, Canada has a navy...and an airforce....and an army.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

not sarcasm at all. i honestly feel that spending on security should certainly not be that high.

canada is a safe country that nobody really wants to attack. maybe a few hooligans but thats about it.

you should use your navy and all existing resources but all this additional money is a bit of a waste.

there will be no security incidents in Vancouver.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The existing police in Vancouver are not enough to do the job. Most of the money is going to pay the security people (RCMP and the Vancouver Police).

And Canada (Like the US, Australia, Japan, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK) has been directly threatened by Muslim extremist attack.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'member Munich? Surely things have changed since 1972 and because of the "anybody-can-roll-over-us-sure-be-my-guest" image that Canada has comfortably established internationally, I think it's one of those rare instances where canada is trying to make a sincere effort to think ahead and to prepare for anything. We commend the effort.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

not sarcasm at all. i honestly feel that spending on security should certainly not be that high.

canada is a safe country that nobody really wants to attack. maybe a few hooligans but thats about it.

you should use your navy and all existing resources but all this additional money is a bit of a waste.

there will be no security incidents in Vancouver.

Canada is the second largest NATO force in Afghanistan with 2,500 troops on the ground, we have consistently been targeted by Al Qaeda and the Taliban. And Canada is one of two nations (Italy) on Al Qaeda's hit list yet to be attacked. Don't forget that we are America's largest trading partner, their largest oil supplier, a major electricity exporter, etc.

A year ago, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) reported that they were monitoring as many as 1,000 groups for terrorist activity.

Finally, two years ago there was a major terrorist attack foiled in Ontario. Twenty home-grown terrorists had managed to get their hands on three times the amount of explosives used at the Oklahoma Bombings. They had planned to blow up the downtown Toronto CSIS office and the CN Tower, and had also planned on storming into the Canadian Broadcasting Centre in Toronto and Parliament Hill in Ottawa with machine guns. They also planned on taking hostage the Cabinet members, and beheading our Prime Minister.

It sounds like something out of 24 doesn't it? It's all real.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/06/...rror/index.html

Not to mention that Canada has previously been attacked with the Air India bombings and the FLQ crisis.

I believe Vancouver is expecting 4,000 soldiers in the city come 2010.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

not sarcasm at all. i honestly feel that spending on security should certainly not be that high.

canada is a safe country that nobody really wants to attack. maybe a few hooligans but thats about it.

you should use your navy and all existing resources but all this additional money is a bit of a waste.

there will be no security incidents in Vancouver.

It's not a matter of whether somebody wants to attack Canada or not: the Olympics, as a mega-event attracting worldwide attention, is a potential target for terrorism, no matter where they take place.

Vancouver's initial security budget was way underestimated and that was acknowledged by many in the Olympic Movement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not a matter of whether somebody wants to attack Canada or not: the Olympics, as a mega-event attracting worldwide attention, is a potential target for terrorism, no matter where they take place.

Vancouver's initial security budget was way underestimated and that was acknowledged by many in the Olympic Movement.

Well you hit it right on the head squarely . Germany certainly wasn't a country that arab terrorists would think of in regards to support of Israel but they attacked in Munich and Killed Israeli Athletes . This probably could of and would happened in any host city that year planet wide simply because it was the focus of world media attention and striking there certainly gets attention.

Vanoc's estimate flies in the face of what Torino 2006 spent . When Bid and Local Organizing committees can actually start from the last hosting then they will have more accurate estimates . 175 million was a huge under estimation . Even Salt Lake City was a Billion dollars on security

Jim Jones

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Canada is a safe and happy place.

There will be no serious security incidents in Vancouver with or without the security spending.

Wasn't the same said of Munich back in 1972?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Canada is a safe and happy place.

There will be no serious security incidents in Vancouver with or without the security spending.

You seemed to have missed my last post entirely....AND you've also ignored history, Munich 1972.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You seemed to have missed my last post entirely....AND you've also ignored history, Munich 1972.

That's just Mo"s ego speaking, the ultimate expert cannot possibly be wrong...

Though, to be honest, I hope he is right in predicting no major security incident for Vancouver.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Truthfully the numbers don't make sense. I think 1 billion dollars is overkill.

I would like to see where all the money is going.

Security costs include police and military labour wages that would have been paid regardless....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No they won't have. Its extra deployments and most police will be paid overtime hours.

If you had 1500 police/military at 35 dollars an hour for every hour of the games that only accounts for about 25 million dollars. Even at 6000 police/military an hour its only 1/10th of the alleged security budget.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...