06.20.2010 11:05 AM

Fake lake, billion-dollar boondoggle: Canadians don’t care

…or so says this Harris-Decima poll, below.

What would account for these results?  Are they wrong?  Is the Fake Lake Clambake truly, as some in the Opposition believe, a way to finally defeat the Harper government?  Or has it all been wildly overblown by the media and the Opposition?  Your views are welcome, because – I have to say – this one surprises me.

G8/G20 ok with Canadians despite fake lake and $1B price tag: poll (G8-G20-Poll)

OTTAWA, Ont. – A new poll suggests most Canadians are not unduly troubled by the fake lake or $1-billion price tag of the coming G8 and G20 summits.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll found 76 per cent of respondents said the back-to-back weekend summits in Muskoka, Ont., and Toronto were either very or somewhat important versus 20 per cent that were opposed.

The Harper government has been under fire in recent weeks for the bloated cost of the summits, the vast majority of which is for security, including the $1.9-million Canada Corridor designed to sell Canada to visiting journalists.

At the G20, where the global economy is the focus, 66 per cent of those surveyed said they expected “a little” progress would be made, while 21 per cent expected none at all.

At the G8, where the Harper government has made improving the maternal health of Third World women a priority, 63 per cent expected “a little” progress versus 22 per cent that expect none at all.

The June 10-13 telephone survey of 1,000 Canadians has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times in 20.

(The Canadian Press)


  1. William M says:

    I think a great way to embarrass King Stephen of the Moneybags would be to call on the protest groups not to show up.

    What if they threw a summit and nobody came?

    p.s. How are all those tourists going to enjoy Toronto with a travel advisory on?

    p.p.s Saw Stock Day on QP today. Craig asked him what he thought of “The Economist” mag saying this costs too much. Stock responded, I kid you not, that it was easy for armchair critics to poo poo the spending but that he chose to focus on the same magazine’s assessment that Canada was a model for the world. When they disagree, they are armchair critics. When they agree, well, the kids are alright!


  2. Namesake says:

    Big Grain of Salt time. Looks like they’re really cherry-picking & spinning the results, and it appears they were soft-ball q’s to begin with. Buried in one new account of the poll is this less flattering stat:

    “Of those polled who expressed awareness of the summits, 61 per “cent said they were “too expensive to be worth it,” while 32 per cent said the summits’ costs were justified.”


  3. ARC says:

    Could it be the way the question was worded? I for example might believe the G8/G20 meeting are important, but I might be equally disgusted about the cost. If the question didn’t refer to the wasted money, then my view on that might not be considered, however my view that the meetings are important might be assumed to be tacit approval of Faux Lake.

    • I agree completely. I think the summits are very important and worthwhile, but I also think Harper could have done it at 20% of the cost.

    • Bob says:

      Convenient how whenever a poll doesn’t go the way the Left expects it to, they immediately suggest the test was flawed (sounds like something similar to failing due to the “immigrant and ethnic vote”). How bout this? Instead of living in denial, why not accept the results and say “hmm… maybe if we were less concerned about fabricating faux scandals and more concerned about coming up with actual policy that isn’t stupid we might have a shot at winning a few more seats next kick at the cat…”

      I won’t hold my breath…

  4. Darrell says:

    The Tim Horton crowd don’t really talk about Fake Lakes or the Summit, if it were a tax hike there would be more criticism. The Tim Horton crowd don’t spend time watching Clark, Solomon, Rosie, Craig, Travers etc, etc. Tim Horton crowd watch local news and for the most of them, when Ottawa is mentioned, it’s time for a coffee fill-up. Just a thought, not really sure.

  5. Catherine says:

    I’m betting most Canadians aren’t thinking anything much beyond the end of the school year and summer vacations. Pretty sure that Harper’s people know that also. At the end of the day coming out of the G8/G20 the country is still in decent shape. Perhaps that counts for more then the bluster around these events? I also have a sneaking suspicion that there’s a “when it happens in Toronto it doesn’t affect the rest of Canada” flavour to this and might just be adding to the Toronto critics in the ROC…so no biggy for them. Yes, there’s an overblown component to it too – how else would the dailies move their product without the drama??

    Harper may be hosting but maybe we were the country among many others who could afford to host a twofer? However you slice it the cost is still speculation. I’m willing to wait to see what Sheila Fraser has to say after her audit of the finances of this event.

    Perhaps others are waiting for the same thing?

  6. Namesake says:

    Also, there’s a difference in the poll’s methodology to consider & how it capatures a different demographic. This is a problem with all polls, these days. This Harris-Decima poll is a telephone survey. But who answers their telephone from unknown or blocked callers &/or gets sucked into answering phone surveys, these days? Some (but not I!) would say: mainly old, technologicallly unsophisticated and/or lonely people, who are afraid to go out cuz all they hear about in the news they’re glued to is crime, crime, crime, so of course they believe the guff about all the security being needed.

    In contrast, in an Internet poll conducted at almost exactly the same time, “78 per cent of those polled saying that the expected expenditure of nearly $1-billion is unjustified.”


  7. Maureen says:

    I don’t know why someone hasn’t taken the government to task over their justification of dollars spent or the comparison they make to the Olympics. Prior to the Olympics the public sentiment was negative with respect to the money being spent….yet as the games progressed over that two week period, public opinion changed and we all got caught up in the “I believe” sentiment. The games were broadcast for 2 weeks around the world. This summit is going to be over in a couple of days and I would hazard a guess that the citizens of the world would rather watch soccer. To justify the expense as “showcasing” Muskoka or Toronto is not a valid arguement. If this was a sporting or music event then that rationale may be valid. I would hazard a guess that most people don’t remember where the last G-8 or G-20 summit was held.

    • Catherine says:

      that’s because “most people” aren’t glued to politics and don’t generally follow it unless it hits them in the face at election time. Given that no party has expressed interest in an election Canadians don’t want I would bet that few are following the G8/G20 and will not again unless something really awful happens then the rubberneckers come out and say “we told you so we should have had MORE security” or the flip-side if nothing goes wrong “we told you so, nothing happened so we spent money unnecessarily”.

      Something else to consider is that nothing makes an impact like a visual image and those photos that don’t lie. The PM has an advantage there and good, bad or ugly there will be coverage from somewhere…and not necessarily from our own networks either.

      I have to wonder why we’re not giving the attendees to these meetings some grief too for actually showing up when they can least afford it? If we’re hosting because we can afford to then the folks paying the bills for the visitors can’t be too pleased either.

  8. John says:

    Well whatever the reason, Harper is down to Joe Clark levels in the polls. The only difference is that Joe Clark was still liked and trusted by the majority of Canadians.

    The economy is humming along, he just sprinkled 38 billion across the country in strategic ridings, and the poor guy is stuck below 33%.

    Canadians are NOT warming up to this guy. He is slowly pissing off every single constituency in this country, and is routinely being smacked back to base support (30-32%).

    Libs need to buck up and realize that even if they pick up just 10-25 seats next elxn, Harper is done. The OLO will have a field day destroying whoever the reformatories manage to elect.

    • Greg says:

      Better Joe Clark levels than Dion levels. Good luck with that.

      • Ralph says:

        Rumor on wellington is that Jason Kenney is already holding cash fundraisers, and has secured the support of one Charles Mcvety. If this is indeed true. the path to majority government for the Liberals might simply be two elections away.

  9. keyrocks says:

    I’m not surprised Warren.

    Canadians that don’t seem to have a problem with the G8/20 costs have much more important stuff to do in their lives than pay attention to the media that constantly focus on it. Most Canadians, unfortunately, long ago decided it wasn’t worth paying much attention to all politicians in general, regardless what party flag they wear. Those of us ‘political groupies’ who actually do pay attention to it are a very small minority.

    PS: Father’s day was great at my house… got another rain barrel. 🙂

  10. Joseph says:

    The Harris/Decima commentary doesn’t jive with the questions. Canadians will always be proud of hosting summits. That doesn’t mean they approve of the waste and the obscene price tag.

    Because of all the government polling they do, Decima always has to genuflect to the government. There is also the influence of lifetime Tory, Alan Gregg, in there.

  11. Cynic says:

    Could it be that Canadians have not been given a viable alternate form the Liberals? Surely if the Opposition demonstrated how they would hold the Summit – then we would get the true picture & the Tories would be embarrassed.

    • Namesake says:

      I don’t know about that; true, it doesn’t seem that the OLO has made a clear statement about this, but maybe the public assumes the Libs would just do what they did last time – have it at the Kananaskis, for one-fifth the cost.

      (After all, the Americans aren’t ashamed to keep holding summits at Camp David administration after administration.)

      Or, if the love (and pain) really should be shared among the provinces, the Opp. parties might even agree to the “federal officials” ‘expert’ opinion of the Muskoka location as an appropriate “venue with the traits befitting the modern G8 ? idyllic, secluded, and easy to secure”

      What most everyone outside the govt agrees, tho’, but which they clearly seemed to avoid asking in these gerry-mandered polls, is,

      “Do you agree they need to hold half of it in the middle of the country’s biggest city in the height of tourist season, thereby doubling or tripling security costs and costing the city maybe half a billion more in lost business, tourist revenue, and damages, instead of holding the whole thing at the remote place they’re already sinking hundreds of millions of infrastructure dollars into for this?”

    • William M says:

      Fair point. I wondered why the Libs didn’t come out with their own costing of this summit.

  12. James Bow says:

    It is worth looking into what specific questions were asked in the various polls. Which poll trumps up the high cost of this summit? Which poll downplays it?

    It’s time to rerun that classic “Yes, Prime Minister” scene where Sir Humphrey explains to Bernard how certain results can be obtained, depending on what questions are asked. I’m not saying this was done intentionally, but the context of the question is as important as the actual answer.

    Do you believe that Canadians should welcome dignitaries and leaders from other countries? Of course.

    Do you believe that dignitaries and leaders from other countries deserve a secure stay here in Canada? Absolutely.

    Should the cost of such a stay run to over a billion dollars? Hold on there a minute!

    That’s what I think

  13. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    What should be a spending outrage is nothing more than a passing blurb. Some may wonder why. Not yours truly. Most Canadians consistently vote against this government and yet it remains in office. Perhaps that has something to do with the limp-along strategy favoured in the OLO. You remember that one: yeah, yeah, just you watch, Harper will explode any day now — then the fruit will be ripe for an election and back to power we go. Or so the delusion goes.

    Our last chance to defeat this government (and I mean that quite literally) comes this fall. Our platform will be in place and it will be time for the rubber to hit the road. The present crowd has some serious reassessing to do. If it doesn’t look really good poll-wise, they will do what they do best and more than likely retreat, once again.

    Canadians, by and large, can barely stomach this Prime Minister but they will continue to vote for him unless the OLO finally gets its act together. That means a couple of things: firstly, Michael has to come to terms with the concept that he won’t drop dead if somehow he doesn’t become prime minister. It won’t be the end of the world either, should it happen.

    Secondly, I don’t know about you but I want him to realize that fact and then to find the intestinal fortitude to risk it anyway. The best interests of Canada must come before those of any particular leader or politician. Can any of you honestly say that this country is being slowly transformed for the better under the stewardship of this Prime Minister? One need only look at the conduct of the PM to confirm my argument — why did he reportedly almost bust a gut when Flanagan spilled the beans about the continued success of “incremental” Conservatism. Stephen Harper does best when the Canadian people are as close to comatose as possible. Failing that, as long as they are mostly distracted or uninterested, that default strategy continues to work for him thereby returning another Conservative minority government.

    Fake outrage from Liberals hasn’t done it, so far. Neither has the scandal-of-the-week. Time to move on to something else that most Canadians can relate to — a principled belief that this government is no damned good for the kind of Canada most of us happen to believe in. Canadians have to come to the realization that the road we’re painfully travelling on now only leads to a dead-end where Canada will ultimately no longer be recognizable as a true liberal-democracy.

    Afghan documents, individual accountability of ministerial exempt staff, Freedom of Information requests, the fuck parliamentary committees manual, you name it — the well established pattern continues as long as this government stays in office.

    We can’t wish Conservatives away. Our fate quite literally as a nation will rest on whether the three opposition parties respond in tune to the doorbell of political destiny. Time to suck it up — put away each of our own petty political considerations and vote this government out of office at the earliest opportunity.

    Some of us may go down in that election, but Canadians will thank us for doing what had to be done. Some will have died a heroic death on the political battlefield — but even those will be fondly remembered, for fighting the good fight and paying the ultimate personal cost in pursuit of a just and noble political end. Canada awaits. It needs a reason to bestow its full confidence in us. Are we up to that challenge? For this country’s sake, I hope to hell that we really are.

  14. JH says:

    I think it all goes back to a point WK made in another topic and which has been alluded to here. I think most of us out in small town Canada pay as little heed to the media’s huffing and puffing, as we do to the politicians. We don’t really trust any of them. This past session of Parliament distinguished none of them. While for the Tories it may have been cover up and change the channel, for the media it was gotcha! journalism and for the opposition it was search for the next scandal. I found no intelligent analysis of the issues by any of them. Faux North may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but then again if it pushes the current bunch to a better effort on our behalf it will have served its purpose.

  15. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Yes I am, “young at heart”.

    I put it this way elsewhere: I’ll keep plugging until I drop dead or this government is defeated, whichever comes first.


  16. Rick T. says:

    Nobody outside of Ottawa cares about the Fake Lake. We have soldiers dying in Afghanistan, that what on Canadians minds. By the way it was the Liberals that got us into this war and It will be the Conservatives that get us out.

    It’s a pipe dream if you guys think the Libs are going to get more seats than the Cons in the next election. With the leadership the Libs have they will be lucky to keep what seats they have now.

    • Michael Bussiere says:

      Exactly what they said about Harper when he was Opposition – guy was unelectable. Shame that wasn’t proven true.

    • Scott Tribe says:

      That’s not quite true Rick T. As others have said, and which you’ve conveniently ignored, Canadians do not like the costs of these events:

      Yes, Canadians are ok with us hosting these summits. In fact, they might even feel proud in doing so. But they’re not ok with the expense that’s being racked up when the sample is those who have “awareness of the summits,” i.e., those who know how much they cost: Of those polled who expressed awareness of the summits, 61 per cent said they were “too expensive to be worth it,” while 32 per cent said the summits’ costs were justified.

      That’s a level of discontent backed up by two different polls this past week that both showed overwhelming objection to the billion plus dollars being spent.

    • James Bow says:

      “Nobody outside of Ottawa cares about the Fake Lake…”

      You shouldn’t do hyperbole like that. I’m from Kitchener, and I care about the exceptionally high costs of this summit, and the extravagance of such things like the “fake lake”. Many of the people I talk to are also dumbfounded that the government could get away with such excesses. Their voices are in Kitchener, too, and Toronto, and more than one in Alberta.

      Yes, there are other issues out there that require our attention, but most Canadians are able to walk and chew gum at the same time. Many of the people I know, myself included, voted against the Liberals in the 2006 election because we knew that government was tired and was in need of replacement. Now, we’re perturbed that the Conservatives appear to have met or exceeded such excesses that got the Liberals canned in the first place.

    • Namesake says:

      re: it’s the war Cndns care about, & it being the Libs’ fault, come on;

      first, except for those w. family or friends in the service, I seriously doubt our fatalities in Afghanistan are top of mind for most Cndns; they probably care more about crime, & health care waits, or… depending on the time of year, H1N1 or West Nile Virus, or….

      second, you’re living in a fantasy world if you think of the Conservatives as being more like the NDP in wanting to cease & stay out of wars then start them; it was a Conservative Minister of Defense who said in 1997, “”When the Taliban or al-Qaeda came out of Afghanistan, they attacked the Twin Towers and in those twin towers, 25 Canadians were killed. The previous government and this government will not allow Canadians to be killed without retribution,”

      …and we all know that Harper would have had us lose thousands in a totally unjustified war (Bush family pride doesn’t count) in Iraq.

      • Namesake says:

        oops, that was in 2007, of course. (and “than,” rather than “then.” Must drink full cup of coffee _before_ posting….)

  17. Cam says:

    I don’t believe most polls.

    Full Stop.

  18. Michael Bussiere says:

    The weather was obviously nice on the days they took that poll. It contradicts the earlier one in which only 11% felt there was any merit to this event and the money being spent. Either way, it is a big red target on the backside of the PM and yet another in a long list of goof-ups since the last election. What a litany of pointless games, and the list just keeps getting longer. All that is needed is for him to loose one seat in the next election and they’ll send him packing like Dief!

  19. billybud says:

    Maybe Harper will lose all his city of Toronto seats.

  20. Anne Peterson says:

    Afghanistan is on my mind but I have concluded that my opinion on the matter matters to no one. But that doesn’t mean I am not concerned about the summit and fake lake. I hear Stockwell Day actually say he thinks there could be hundereds if not thousands of violent protesters there. What a woof.

    I am concerned that legitimate protest is being criminalized and protesters demonized and our largest city militarized and Canadians will never really be aware of the issues protesters bring to the event. No media is bothering to report on the rally where Maud Barlow, Naomi Klein and Linda McCaig (sp?) are speaking. No wonder young people are disengaged. I’d be disengaged too if I didn’t think it was so darned important to get rid of that bunch.

    And as for Fox North here is my analysis. Ezra Levant is involved and we all know how long the Western Standard was in publication (it had a government subsidy at the time and it still couldn’t survive). Even Albertans wouldn’t read that tripe. AND if the National Post hadn’t been subsidized by the chain it would have been kaput long ago. And a lot of the people who watch the real Fox News will continue to do so so the new guy had better serve up a good product if they want to be successful. Biased nastiness won’t cut it.

    • Namesake says:

      re: Fox North: I’m not so sanguine. Trouble is, they’re trying to get a ‘must carry’ license — and the scuttlebutt is that’s why they brought in Kory, so that he could, a la Rahim, lobby his buddies to pressure the CRTC to make it so — such that we all end up subsidizing it, if it has to get carried on the basic cable we pay for. Besides, they’ll have no shortage of corporate foundation support to keep them in biz, like the other right mouthpieces like the Fraser & Frontier Policy Institutes.

  21. The poll cited itself says one thing, the CP article says another.

    Nationally, 76% felt these meetings are either very (30%) or somewhat (46%) important. In total, one in three (34%) feel the costs are expensive, but worth it, while a majority (58%) remains of the view that the costs are expensive and not worth it.

    A post-summit obit might change reactions if nothing of consequence is perceived to be done.

    Fake lake was a mini boom for the opposition but if anyone in the OLO thought they could ride that wave for more than a few news cycles, that was overly optimistic thinking if for no other reason that the opposition in total, and the OLO, have not demonstrated any ability to capture the attention of the public. Maybe the Afghan prisoner handling issue had more traction, but really, what mud thrown at the Harper government has stuck? Not much. Why?

    Probably because “none of the above” remains most Canadian’s preferred ballot choice to this day.

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