31/05/2010

The Bare Naked Ladies Couldn't Even Count That High

One Billion Dollars

So the Harper government is going to spent $1 billion on secutiry for the G8/G20 meetings. Who knows what the rest of the uber-photo-op is going to cost us.

To be honest I am not sure how we as Canadians calculate how much a billion is. The UK has more zeros in their billion than the US does in theirs. Who knows where we stand on the calculation but no matter how we make the determination, it is one hell of a lot of money.

Let's assume that we use the American way of counting, just for this blog posting.

So, how much is a billion dollars. Well, perhaps the easiest way to viliualze how big a billion is think about it in terms of time.

  • A billion seconds ago it was 1959
  • A billion minites ago the Romans were building Hardian's Wall 
  • A billion hours ago we were in the stone age
You get my drift. So, what would that much buy us.

    • The average elementray school would cost about $6.5 million to build these days.  You can do the math too but, that is about 154 schools.
    • Olivia Chow suggests that “Three percent of that $1 billion would provide all Canadian children a nutritious and healthy breakfast or snacks every day. We can lift all seniors out of poverty by increasing the guaranteed income supplement”
    • Think 19 top scholars for $200 million was a good deal? How about another 94 for $930 million?
    • We could’ve given the 500,000 Canadian college and university students a real edge next September. The money could have bought each of them a 64-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only iPad.
    Or the federal government could have forgiven the student debt for:
    • 33,214 graduates in Atlantic Canada, where the debt at graduation is $28,000 (the highest in Canada).
    • How about a year’s supply (about three litres) of maple syrup for every man, woman and child in the country. There’d be enough money left over to mail souvenir containers of the stuff to the leaders and their entourages. And maybe even a T-shirt, too.

    In comparison, the UK only spent $30 million last year to put on the same kind of event in a London, city known for terrorist bombings. The US only spent $18 million in Pittsburgh which has a murder rate 2.8 times higher than Toronto. 


    That price tag does not include salaries, contractors, meals, booze, hotels, airfare, taxis or hookers for that matter. Just security.

    Think of all this as a kind of back door deal for the law and order Haper to funnel money into the RCMP, the Armed Foaces and CISIS.

    Harper thinks it is fine to spend over a billion on these meetings when Canada's place in word standings in infant mortality has slipped several points. Canada gets a “C” and now ties the U.K. for 15th place out of 17 peer countries. Its infant mortality rate is shockingly high for a country at our level of socio-economic development. When are we going to get rid of that man?

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