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Olympics Security Cost To Taxpayers Per Minute...

$900 million for 2010 security is the official price tag. Staying with this figure, we can begin to put the costs to you and me into a more immediate context by considering how much securing the Games is costing taxpayers right this minute. Although 2010 security planning and related expenditures started soon after Vancouver won the bid in July 2003, documents obtained by the Vancouver Observer under Freedom of Information legislation show that the largest fraction, about two thirds of the $900 million, will be spent during 2009/10 as the city counts down to the opening of the Olympic Games on February 12, 2010 up until the end of the Paralympics some five and a half weeks later.

Taking $600 million as the likely final year cost from the one year countdown until the Olympics depart gives us the following general numbers: $44.4 million/month, $1,481,481 per day, $61,728 per hour, and $1,029 per minute.

Note that the entire 2008-09 budget of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the main biomedical research organization in Canada, was $960 million. About $1 million of this would fund a large university research team working on finding effective treatments for cancer or neurological disease for five years.

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A federal government estimate of the costs of Olympic security in 2010 acknowledged in October 2008 that the bill to taxpayers could reach nearly a billion dollars. Stockwell Day, then Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, acknowledged that the number was an estimate based on potential threats to the Games, but denied that the final tab would exceed $900 million.

At a public forum in March 2009, RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer, head of the Vancouver Integrated Security Unit (VISU), acknowledged that $900 million was the current working figure, but could go higher based on future circumstances. VISU, headed by the RMCP, is in charge of all 2010 security planning, preparation, and activities. Cost breakdowns for the contribution of the Canadian Forces have not been released, but are thought to be part of the overall $900 million.

The related costs of the Vancouver‘s Police Department, including for staff overtime and new equipment, have not been released to the public and are not part of the $900 million figure. The most recent Winter Olympics in Torino in 2006 had a security bill of over $1.4 billion. Security for London in 2012, over three years in the future, is expected to be least $3 billion.


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