Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Eight is Enuff!!

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Eight is Enuff!!

Cottagers and tourists can take a hike, not into nearby Algonquin Park where terrorists disguised as bears and moose will surely lurk, but back to their homes in the city. They won't be welcome in this usually visitor-crazy Mecca called Muskoka. No, officials don't fear an outbreak of bubonic plague, although locals may consider it to have happened, for in exactly two years' time, this place will be swamped with 5000 media and as many security operatives, politicians and their hangers on. So stand by for the most vacuous, meaningless, most-heralded event of each year, the G8 summit. In 2010 it will be staged at the Deerhurst Resort – Spa, Golf Course, Heated Pool-Cool Pool, Three Restaurants, Four Bars, Much Waiting, High Prices, Low Service – and Country Club just up the road from me.

The advance guard for this retreat has booked up every hotel, motel, shed, barn and outhouse – in New Zealand they call outdoor lavatories, dunnies, why, I have no idea but the term is just as relevant as Summit – within a three hundred kilometre radius.

If you care – and I do, desperately, since I'm writing this gem – the G8 began in 1985 as the G7, the Group of Seven. No, no, no that Group of Seven great Canadian artists. The only artists in this group are of the b.s. kind. The G7 comprised the self-appointed world's leading industrial nations. Today the snorefest has grown to nine. Nine? Count them: Canada (We're number eight! We're number eight! Yay!), the EU (as a collective body), France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. So why is it called the G8? Perhaps the members got tired of lugging their giant brains around and didn't have the energy or mental capacity to add up to nine.

But, but, please, kind sirs, if you say you are the world's eight, or nine, leading industrial countries, how come you're not the G11 or 12 or 18? Ow! That hurt. But I must persist. Why are China, India and Korea absent from your fat, round table? And what about the very rich, industrious and far more powerful and influential oil producers like Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Libya and Iran? Ow! Again! Will you stop doing that! Because it won't stop me asking another question: why are there no countries from the Southern Hemisphere? Too colonial, still? The Aussies speak with a funny accent so that should keep them out. The Nigerians? Well, they're, um. ah, you see, they are, how shall I put it? Black. And the Brazilians talk a funny language. Sounds a bit like that dreadful Portuguese, so they're out. And that Venezuela is so hot-headed, unlike the calm Italians, the humble French and the demure U.S.A.

Despite the verbal beatings, on second thoughts, I'm fine with all of this. The fewer, the merrier. So I'll have to get security clearance to go out and buy a toilet roll. I can do one of two things: hang on for dear life for three days; or offer it up to Deerhurst where it will be sorely needed.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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John Scully

John Scully has been a journalist for almost fifty years and has covered stories in seventy countries for major international news and current affairs organizations. His book, Am I Dead Yet? A Journalist's Perspective on Terrorism, was published in spring 2008 by Fitzhenry and Whiteside.

Go to John Scully’s Author Page