Que. provincial police spent $7 million on Montebello summit

Posted by admin on Nov 6th, 2007

Phil Couvrette , CanWest News Service . Tuesday, November 06, 2007

One of a number of police and security forces ensuring protection at the Montebello summit bringing together North American leaders this year, the Quebec provincial police spent over $7 million on the event alone CanWest News Service has learned. On Aug. 20 Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon convened in the Quebec town some 80 kilometres east of Ottawa for a two-day summit as part of the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The initiative aims to deepen the integration of Canada, Mexico and the United States. Security was both tight and expensive, especially as a three-metre high fence was raised to surround Chateau Montebello where the meetings took place, to keep hundreds of protesters away.

A number of local, provincial and federal police forces participated in the security effort on land, water and in the air, and for just one of them the bill climbed over $7 million according to an audit obtained by CanWest News Service through Quebec’s access to information legislation. Figures for the others are not yet available.

According to documents obtained from the audit bureau of the Surete du Quebec, $7,192,635 was spent by the provincial police force to help secure the event, most of it to make sure enough manpower was available. A total of $4,589,965 went to cover overtime during the summit and another $1,416,303 covered lodging, transportation and catering costs.

Various maintenance, communications, and rental needs cover the remaining expenses. An official at the audit bureau said these were the more up to date numbers available at the time of the request for information but not necessarily the final costs associated with the event.

Shortly after the summit the SQ acknowledged in a statement that its agents had infiltrated protesters demonstrating during the protests in Montebello but denied charges by some protest groups that they acted as “agent provocateurs” to instigate violence.

A video posted on YouTube showed three burly black-clad bandana-wearing men being singled out by union organizers and the crowd before trying to force themselves through a police line and getting arrested.

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