IN THE NEWS ~ Olympics security tab rises fivefold; Ottawa, B.C. work out split of $900 million policing budget

PUBLICATION: The Toronto Star
DATE: 2009.02.20
EDITION: Ont
SECTION: News
PAGE: A17
SOURCE: The Canadian Press
COPYRIGHT: © 2009 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 179

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Olympics security tab rises fivefold; Ottawa, B.C. work out split of $900 million policing budget

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Security for the 2010 Winter Olympics will cost $900 million, more than five times the original $175 million estimate.

Federal and provincial officials released the budget yesterday after more than a year of negotiations.

Ottawa will now pay $647.5 million, as well as cover any unexpected costs. The province's share is equivalent to $252.5 million, but only a fraction of that will actually be spent on security.

Instead, the two sides struck a deal that sees Ottawa picking up more of the security tab but chipping in less for new buildings and roads over the next three years.

B.C. Finance Minister Colin Hansen said the deal was win-win for provincial taxpayers at a time when B.C. faces a deficit situation.

"This allows us to take what was going to be a pressure on the operating budget and cap it, so we didn't have to divert dollars away from other programs in the province, such as health care and education," he said.

Federal NDP Games critic Peter Julian slammed the timing of the announcement, saying it was deliberately released on the same day as U.S. President Barack Obama's visit.

"They're hoping it won't become a story. It will die a quick death and somehow people will forget."

The RCMP-led Games security will involve more than 8,000 people with participation by the military and local police.