G7 2018

Written by  //  June 13, 2018  //  Canada, Geopolitics, Multilateralism  //  No comments

Canada’s 2018 G7 Presidency
‘Beautiful nightmare’ awaits Quebec town hosting next G7
Security challenges formidable for La Malbaie, says retired SQ officer

Charlevoix and the 2018 G7 Summit
Canada is proud to be hosting G7 Leaders in the beautiful Charlevoix region from June 8-9, 2018. Quebec’s Charlevoix region symbolizes some of the best that Canada has to offer, from its stunning natural beauty, energetic business environment, and the generous hospitality of its people.
History of Charlevoix
As early as the 1800s, La Malbaie’s inhabitants welcomed excursionists coming to enjoy the region’s hospitality, the sun and the river’s salted water.
One of the renowned excursionists, US President William Howard Taft (1909-1913) said that the air of La Malbaie’s Murray Bay was “intoxicating like champagne without the next day’s hangover”.
The G7 Summit is an opportunity to ensure that the historical presence of four Indigenous communities on the La Malbaie territory is respected. The Innu from the Innue Essipit First Nation (Essipit), the Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation (Mashteuiatsh) and the Pessamit Innue First Nation (Betsiamites), as well as the Huron from the Huron-Wendat Nation (Wendake), have lived on this territory for generations.

13 June
Has the G7 lost its mojo?
Trump’s hampering of the Charlevoix summit may be the final straw for the group, argues John Sinclair. Is it time for global leadership to shift to an enhanced G20?
(Open Canada) The divisive outcome of the summit has reinforced a growing sense among some G7 leaders and outside commentators that the group has lost its way, becoming a clique with no common vision. ‘We are G6+1’ became the bitter flavoured phrase of the day during the summit. Those six members had hoped for a better outcome, even while they recoiled over recent months from the confused and threatening worldview of an American leader who is a non-believer in a structured global order.
What does this all mean for the future of the G7 as a leadership forum which, following the 2008 global financial crisis, has seemed somewhat stuck in a policy rut, with few bold new ideas? There is also an impatience in other countries, notably increasingly powerful emerging economies, that too often felt the G7 has tried to pre-empt a discussion that could have been more effective in a more inclusive forum like the G20, or a specialized committee of the UN. They also question why a supposedly global leadership forum such as the G7 still chooses to exclude giants such as China and India, while having several much smaller countries as full members.
As I proposed a few months ago, part of the answer could lie in a reformed, enhanced Group of Twenty (G20). The G20 was initially a global partnership of finance ministers created by former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin — a combination of the old G7 with a cross-section of faster growing emerging economies, notably the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). It was ‘promoted’ to the status of leaders’ forum as a major voice and most effective actor in terms of bringing the 2008 global financial crisis under control.
The G20 could now lead on discussions on the global future in many ways, even if lacking the G7’s once-cozy style. The G20 is more geopolitically inclusive and represents a significantly larger share of the world economy. Its next summit will be chaired by Argentina in late-November, with all G7 countries invited as members, hopefully present and engaged in preparing its agenda. A shift to the G20 would mean leadership would be held by a much broader-based, hence more legitimate, group, one where G7 and BRICS countries are already present, but within a structure in which no one country, not even the US, is dominant.

9 June

Paul Krugman: Debacle in Quebec
He didn’t put America first; Russia first would be a better description. And he didn’t demand drastic policy changes from our allies; he demanded that they stop doing bad things they aren’t doing. This wasn’t a tough stance on behalf of American interests, it was a declaration of ignorance and policy insanity. … Was there any strategy behind Trump’s behavior? Well, it was pretty much exactly what he would have done if he really is Putin’s puppet: yelling at friendly nations about sins they aren’t committing won’t bring back American jobs, but it’s exactly what someone who does want to break up the Western alliance would like to see.

Trump removes U.S. from G-7 joint statement over escalating feud with Canada’s Trudeau
(WaPost) Trump said Saturday evening that he had instructed U.S. officials to withdraw support for a joint statement with other member nations he had backed just hours earlier, saying the United States would not join after Trudeau publicly criticized Trump’s trade policy.
G7 unity torpedoed by angry Trump tweets dismissing Trudeau as ‘dishonest & weak’
U.S. president threatens again to impose auto tariffs moments after PM’s closing news conference
(CBC) It took just two tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump to shatter what seemed like a fragile consensus reached by G7 leaders after tense talks at their Quebec summit this weekend and raise the spectre of an all-out trade war with Canada.
The tweets, sent as Trump was en route to Singapore for his summit with North Korea, were personal and aimed squarely at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Just moments after the official joint communiqué was released outlining 28 areas of agreement by all seven nations — with a few exceptions — Trump tweeted he was instructing his officials to withdraw support for the communiqué.
And he had suggested more dire consequences were to come.
“I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!” Trump tweeted.
G7 in disarray after Trump rejects communique and attacks ‘weak’ Trudeau
Leaders believed they had a deal until the US president launched a personal attack on Canada’s prime minister
(The Guardian) The US president, who arrived at the summit in Canada late and left early to fly to Singapore to prepare for his summit with Kim Jong-un, shocked fellow leaders with a bellicose press conference on Saturday in which he attacked the trade policies of other countries.
The US had nevertheless appeared to agree a form of words on contentious issues thanks to an all-night negotiating session by officials from all sides.
But after leaving for Singapore, Trump tweeted personal attacks on Trudeau and said that he had told his representatives not to sign the summit communique, turning what had already been a tense meeting of the world’s leading industrialised democracies into a fiasco.

8 June
Germany’s Merkel offers way to solve trade row at tense G7 summit
(Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday floated an idea to set up a way to resolve trade disputes between the United States and its allies, a French official said as consensus appeared to elude G7 leaders at a summit in Canada.
The official described Merkel’s suggestion as a “shared assessment and dialogue” mechanism, but gave no further details.
The proposal, made at a meeting ahead of the two-day Group of Seven nations summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, was strongly supported by other leaders present, the official said, adding that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was ready to invest personally in it.
Expectations for a breakthrough at the summit, however, are low, with U.S. allies focused on avoiding rupturing the G7, which in its 42-year history has tended to seek consensus on major issues.
Trump at G7: Who’s who in Merkel’s photo?

L-R: European Council President Donald Tusk, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose for a family photo at the G7 Summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Trump targets Trudeau in scathing tweets, vows ‘to straighten out’ Canada and other G7 nations
With a cool reception all but assured, Trump has complained to aides about even having to attend the meeting today
(National Post) Trump saluted Canadian Mounties as he was greeted at CFB Bagotville in Quebec. He arrived Friday at the annual gathering, held this year at a picturesque Quebec resort in La Malbaie, but will leave Saturday morning before the event is over, heading to Singapore for his highly anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The White House announced his travel plans after French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled they will use the event to take a stance against new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

7 June
Anger Flares Up as Group of 7 Heads to Quebec
(NYT) President Trump will skip most of the second day of a summit meeting with allies this weekend, the White House said late Thursday, as he engaged in a contentious war of words over trade on the eve of a gathering that will underscore his isolation from the leaders of the world’s largest economies.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, announced that Mr. Trump will leave Canada at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, well before scheduled sessions on climate change, clean energy and oceans. He will attend an early-morning session on “women’s empowerment,” but he will be gone before any joint statement is issued by the other leaders.
Earlier Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron of France and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada lashed out at Mr. Trump for imposing tariffs on their steel and aluminum industries. They called it an illegal economic assault on their countries that is unanimously opposed by the other leaders of the Group of 7 who will gather Friday in a sleepy village in Quebec for their annual summit meeting.
“The American President may not mind being isolated, but neither do we mind signing a 6 country agreement if need be,” Mr. Macron said Thursday in an especially acerbic tweet. “Because these 6 countries represent values, they represent an economic market which has the weight of history behind it and which is now a true international force.”
What’s on Canada’s agenda at the G7 – and will anyone want to talk about it?
The leaders have a to-do list, but tensions over Trump’s policies threaten to sweep it off the table
(CBC) There is an official agenda for this week’s Group of Seven summit in Charlevoix, Que. — though it may be a struggle to get the leaders to stick to it.
There are going to be so many sources of pent-up tension between U.S. President Donald Trump and the other leaders in the room, and so little time to air them. Trump will be on the ground in Canada for only 28 hours.
How do you discuss “jobs of the future” with a president who wants to recruit the next generation of coal miners? How do you agree on “growth that works for everyone” with a president who sees trade as a zero-sum game in which, for America to win, everyone else has to lose?

6 June
Trump plans confrontational approach with world leaders at economic summit
(WaPost) President Trump plans to confront other world leaders at a summit in Quebec on Friday over what he believes is a global economic system tilted against the United States, several people briefed on the plan said, escalating tensions with U.S. allies who have expressed outrage at his pivot toward protectionism.
The summit will put Trump face to face with leaders he has antagonized on a range of issues, including the environment and the U.S. withdrawal last month from the international nuclear accord with Iran.
But the two-day meeting of the Group of Seven, which will bring together many of the world’s leading economies in a picturesque Canadian mountain town, has crystallized into a showdown over trade after Trump’s recent insistence on new barriers that the other nations see as petty and insulting. Most of the other countries represented have a trade beef with Trump that is unlikely to be resolved at the summit — and for each the standoff is one more sign that the United States is pulling back from traditional global leadership roles.
Trump complains about traveling to Canada ahead of Singapore summit with Kim
Trump has complained to aides about spending two days in Canada for a summit of world leaders, believing the trip is a distraction from his upcoming Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to three people familiar with Trump’s views.
In particular, the president said Tuesday to several advisers that he fears attending the Group of Seven summit in rural Charlevoix, Quebec, may not be a good use of his time because he is diametrically opposed on many key issues with his counterparts — and does not want to be lectured by them.

5 June
Trudeau, G7 leaders to confront Trump on tariffs in opening G7 meeting
(CTV) A showdown over the competing economic visions of Donald Trump and his fellow world leaders is shaping up for their very first get-together Friday at the G7 summit in Quebec.
Trump’s fellow G7 leaders will use their initial gathering in Charlevoix to confront the U.S. president over his controversial decision to impose punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, senior Canadian officials said Tuesday.
But Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said Trump plans to use the G7 to extol the virtues of tax cuts and red-tape rollbacks that the U.S. administration says are responsible for fostering robust growth and low unemployment.
The G7 in Charlevoix formally kicks off with a session on jobs of the future and the state of the global economy, which is where Trudeau and others will push Trump to roll back the tariffs, said Canadian government officials who briefed journalists on the condition of anonymity.
Trudeau’s carefully crafted G7 agenda is under considerable strain following Trump’s decision last week to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and Europe. Officials insist there is still room for success on issues such as protecting oceans and educating girls in poor countries.
G7 still negotiating as clock runs down on climate commitments
(National Observer) Environmental policy experts are watching to see if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can deliver a strong outcome on climate change at this week’s G7, as the U.S. continues to avoid consensus deals and Canada faces backlash over its pipeline purchase announcement.
The issue of climate at the summit in Charlevoix, Que. remains front and centre in civil society, as more than 45 foundations around the world called on the G7 on Tuesday to put its commitment to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 into action.
That call comes on the heels of a new report from environment and development groups that showed G7 nations continue to shovel at least $100 billion a year in subsidies toward coal, oil and gas.

2 June
G7 expresses ‘unanimous concern and disappointment’ with U.S. over tariffs
(Globe & Mail) The G7 issued a strong rebuke of its largest member Saturday as it singled out the United States over its decision to impose new aluminium and steel tariffs.
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a chairs’ summary following a three-day gathering of G7 finance ministers and central bankers in Whistler, which took place a week before Canada hosts G7 leaders in Quebec.
“Concerns were expressed that the tariffs imposed by the United States on its friends and allies, on the grounds of national security, undermine open trade and confidence in the global economy,” the statement said. “Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors requested that the United States Secretary of the Treasury communicate their unanimous concern and disappointment.”
The statement is a rare remarkable sign of public disagreement within the group of developed nations. Ministers made clear that discussions of U.S. trade policy will continue throughout the week and into the G7 leaders’ summit.he G7 issued a strong rebuke of its largest member Saturday as it singled out the United States over its decision to impose new aluminium and steel tariffs.
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau released a chairs’ summary following a three-day gathering of G7 finance ministers and central bankers in Whistler, which took place a week before Canada hosts G7 leaders in Quebec.
“Concerns were expressed that the tariffs imposed by the United States on its friends and allies, on the grounds of national security, undermine open trade and confidence in the global economy,” the statement said. “Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors requested that the United States Secretary of the Treasury communicate their unanimous concern and disappointment.”
The statement is a rare remarkable sign of public disagreement within the group of developed nations. Ministers made clear that discussions of U.S. trade policy will continue throughout the week and into the G7 leaders’ summit.
On Friday morning, the official agenda was re-arranged in order to focus immediately on the U.S. tariffs. A senior Canadian government official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the six other nations all expressed in a clear and direct way to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that they opposed the U.S. plans.
(Reuters) G7 finance chiefs kick trade dispute to leaders’ summit in Quebec
(Al Jazeera) US singled out by G7 allies over tariffs ahead of summit
French finance minister describes upcoming summit as ‘G6 plus one’ amid tensions over Trump’s metal tariffs.
Governor of the Bank of Canada Stephen Poloz, left, and Canada’s Minister of Finance Bill Morneau hold a news conference after the G7 Finance Ministers Summit June 2, 2018. (Reuters)

31 May
Trump blows up G7 agenda
US president’s ‘America First’ stance, not for first time, disrupts international diplomatic norms
(Politico Eu) With days to go before leaders of the world’s seven largest advanced economies meet in Canada, organizers have a problem — Donald Trump is making it hard to agree on anything.
The annual gathering of the so-called G7 countries is scheduled for June 8 in Quebec, but there remains unprecedented division over the agenda and what joint statements might be issued out of the summit, according to senior officials in Europe and the United States.
And the disruptive force is Trump. From trade rules to climate change, to defense spending and the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. president has torn up the global consensus that existed under his predecessor, Barack Obama, leaving diplomats scrambling to paper over the cracks in the Western alliance and find any common ground on which to build the event. Failure to come together would break with years of tradition at the G7 summit, which has historically served as an annual affirmation that the biggest Western powers are largely aligned.
“The Canadians have no idea what to do,” one adviser to a G7 leader said on condition of anonymity. A second aide — a diplomat for a different G7 leader who has been working on the agenda for months — said they have never been this close to a summit without having general agreement on what leaders would say coming out of it.

The smell of progress? Quebec farmers told not to spread manure near G7
Farmers in the Charlevoix region near the site of next week’s G7 summit at the posh Fairmont Manoir Richelieu are being asked to refrain from spreading manure lest a world leader get a whiff of it during their stay.
The agricultural newspaper La Terre de chez nous, founded in 1929, broke the story Wednesday, adding many farmers are none too happy about being told what they can and cannot do.
This is a critical time for producers to get their crops in after the long, cold winter.
But the missive obtained by the paper is clear.
“We ask your collaboration so that the stay of our invitees in our welcoming region be as positive as possible,” the memo says. “For this, all elements of hospitality take on notable importance.”
Trump’s ‘absurd’ tariffs central to Morneau’s event for already embattled G7
(Canadian Press) The Trump administration’s “absurd” tariffs on steel and aluminum sent protectionism rocketing to the top of Bill Morneau’s G7 agenda Thursday as he and his fellow finance ministers from the exclusive club of rich countries braced for the inevitable economic impact.
With his pre-selected program shoved aside, Morneau made it clear the discussions in British Columbia’s Coast Mountains will have little choice but to focus on U.S. President Donald Trump’s widely denounced trade offensive against Canada and other G7 allies.
The American move — which prompted retaliatory measures from Canada and others — threatens to drive a powerful wedge into the G7, and could fracture the long-standing multilateral relationship into something observers describe as a “G6 plus one,” with the U.S. as the outlier.

30 May
Canada insists G7 talks going well as questions mount over what Trump will support
The Trudeau government is dismissing concerns that Mr. Trump’s protectionist “America First” agenda has disrupted planning ahead of next week’s G7 leaders’ summit in Charlevoix, Que., which will also be Mr. Trump’s first visit to Canada as President.
A Politico article published Wednesday quoted G7 sources saying talks have been “disconnected and unfocused” and that Canada has “no idea” how to handle the situation.
A senior Canadian government official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, rejected any concerns that Mr. Trump has derailed the G7 agenda. … Another senior Canadian government official said the concerns raised in the Politico article are likely coming from Europe, which is frustrated by Mr. Trump’s protectionist trade policies. The official said the idea that Canada is at its wits’ end is spurious, as the G7 planning, including joint statements and a final communiqué, is on track.
Meetings in Whistler this week include finance ministers, development ministers and central bankers of the G7. … The Whistler summit includes public panel discussions Friday featuring Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde and former Canadian prime minister Paul Martin.
International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said she will ask her G7 counterparts and finance ministers to consider partnerships with the private sector and pension funds in an attempt to diversify development aid financing.

19 May
The G7: Hard Talk or a Sleep-Walk?
By Jeremy Kinsman
If Canada pushes hard, it could blow up. Trump could walk out. Or not show up. However, if Canada goes instead just for a bland chair’s statement, in order to keep him in, it will show the G7 has no added value left. Exhortations to cut back on plastics, save the oceans, and empower women and girls won’t save its global brand for decisive relevance on G7 issues right now if they defer to Donald Trump’s fixations. Hopefully, someone at this meeting—Macron, Merkel—will step up and remind partners that the global economic recession that was the group’s founding raison d’etre has now been succeeded by a global democratic recession, whose reversal should be a challenge these democracies welcome. If they can’t because the biggest member is practising a divisive and unhealthy populist nationalism, the G7 will go the way of Enron and Nortel, and other once-great but mismanaged ventures that sleep-walked into obscurity.
(Policy Magazine June/July issue) The world’s press is coming to cover what they anticipate will be an epic dust-up with President Trump over trade, climate, migration, populist nationalism, and the merits of the liberal international rules-based order. They are asking how the G7 can pretend to global leadership if its leading member is retreating from the world in pursuit of America first, “always America first?”
The Canadian chair, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, hopes to skirt conflict with an agenda of big-canvas hope. Its leitmotif, meant to be the “lens” through which to view everything else, is the Trudeau government’s timely mantra of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Its proclamation is rhetorically uncontested even though the U.S. is slashing funding to abortion-tolerant international health care agencies in ways that will cause real damage to women and girls. Its uncontested reasonableness can’t evade the fact that the agenda’s other four other items are highly divisive:
1. Investing in inclusive growth “that works for everyone,” including “open trade,” which will have to counter evidence that in the G7, inclusivity trends are in the other direction;
2. “Preparing for jobs of the future,” anticipating technological change, which evokes globalization’s export of manufacturing jobs.
3. Climate change and clean growth, bound to challenge the Trump administration’s science-denying isolation.
4. “Building a more peaceful and secure world.” Canada is safely mobilizing the G7 against the exclusion of Rohingyas and the subtraction of democracy in Venezuela, and seeking robust solidarity against Russian misbehaviour. But will the G7 together re-dedicate support for democratic institutions, the rule of law, and social trust at home?
Frank, open, and public disagreement could doom the G7 by exposing its disunity on the most important issues of the day. But the G7 could be equally doomed to irrelevance by an attempt to paper over fundamental differences in favour of loose agreements on hopeful generalities and abhorrence of problems elsewhere, like Myanmar. The G7 is doing what its founders wanted to avoid: institutionalizing itself in ministerial committees and pronouncing on other peoples’ problems rather than knuckling down in candour to confront our own.

13 May
‘We’re in this together’: Canada sherpa confronts potential fractured future of G7 group
Trump’s potential to disrupt the summit — an international meeting in which the prime minister has invested significant political capital — is growing larger by the day
(National Post) Less than a month before Donald Trump sets foot on Canadian soil for the G7, Justin Trudeau’s chief summit organizer is being forced to defend the viability of the G7 itself.
Trump’s potential to disrupt the summit — an international meeting in which the prime minister has invested significant political capital — is growing larger by the day as his June 8 arrival date in La Malbaie, Que., creeps closer.
Trudeau and his fellow summiteers from Britain, France, Germany and the European Union have already expressed their regrets over Trump’s decision this past week to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear agreement.
Trump was already a G7 outlier on trade and climate change. But now there’s growing concern that the group itself could fatally fracture, with the U.S. splintering off. The ambassadors from several G7 countries to Canada were forced to address that recently.

9 May
Iran to be G7 topic after U.S. withdraws from nuclear deal: Trudeau (video)
(Canadian Press via Globe & Mail) The Prime Minister says he ‘regrets’ U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the world’s major powers. Justin Trudeau says Canada is aligned with its other NATO allies.

8 May
La Malbaie transformée en forteresse
Une clôture au coût de 4 millions, une prison bâtie pour l’occasion, des points de contrôle le long de la route… La Malbaie sera transformée en forteresse à l’occasion du G7, les 8 et 9 juin. Sur place, la plupart des résidants s’attendent à un sommet plutôt tranquille à l’ombre du Manoir Richelieu, loin des manifestations à Québec.
L’histoire témoigne de l’état d’esprit de plusieurs Malbéens, qui attendent le G7 avec un mélange de curiosité et de nervosité. D’un côté, la petite ville de 8000 habitants, à deux heures de Québec, a rarement reçu une visite aussi prestigieuse que celle des leaders du G7.
De l’autre, les Malbéens, qui ne sont pas aveugles, ont bien vu ce qui s’était passé au Sommet des Amériques à Québec, ou à Gênes, en Italie, en 2001 pour le G8 : des émeutes, des gaz lacrymogènes et la violence qui vient avec tout cela.
« Les citoyens se posent des questions. Est-ce que la ville va être assiégée ? Est-ce que je dois aller au chalet ? Est-ce que je vais pouvoir me rendre à l’hôpital, à l’épicerie ? La réponse, c’est que ce ne sera pas une ville assiégée. Mais c’est vrai qu’il y a des inconnues, des intangibles. » – Michel Couturier, maire de La Malbaie

28 March
G7 Countdown: How civil society groups hope to get through to leaders
Do grassroots concerns ever catch the ear of G7 members, in particular that of the host country? With meetings already underway ahead of the Quebec summit, Celine Cooper looks at the behind-the-scenes efforts to influence the group’s agenda.
By Céline Cooper
(Open Canada) While much of the world’s attention will be focused on the summit itself, the hard work happens early, largely away from the public eye. Meetings in advance of the Canadian summit have been taking place now for a few months — the first of four ministerial meetings is being held this week in Montreal.
As they do with each host, civil society groups hoping to influence the G7 agenda are now looking to Canada to set the tone and establish spaces for their inclusion and participation. This influence is critical in bringing leaders of the most powerful and prosperous governments closer to the grassroots and various parts of global society, and in advocating for meaningful commitments to be made at the leaders’ summit.
But how does this actually happen? How might Canada’s brokering of the relationship with civil society shape the 2018 G7 commitments and outcomes? What kind of priorities, challenges and opportunities are at play for civil society groups in Canada already working behind the scenes on the road to Charlevoix?

6-7 March
G7 Personal Representatives of Prime Ministers and Presidents Meet at Pearson College UWC
(Pearson College President’s Update) We were honoured that Pearson College UWC students had many opportunities to interact with the personal representatives (known as ‘Sherpas’ in their vernacular) to G7 leaders during their recent (6-7 March) on-campus meeting. No other pre-university school in Canada – or anywhere else that we are aware of – has had the unparalleled opportunity of directly sharing the concerns of young people from across the globe with these influential officials.
Canada assumed the presidency of the G7 at the beginning of this year and will host the Leaders’ Summit of prime ministers and presidents (Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, United States, United Kingdom, European Union) in Charlevoix, Québec in June.  We are grateful to Deputy Minister for the G7 Summit and Personal Representative of the Prime Minister of Canada Peter M. Boehm for bringing this meeting to campus and for encouraging his peers from the G7 nations and European Union to listen to, speak with and interact with Pearson students. I am proud that our students took every opportunity to engage with the G7 representatives and that an open and sometimes challenging dialogue was intentionally and honestly brought forward.
Mr. Boehm led a community presentation and dialogue with Pearson College Students on 6 March. The range and caliber of our students’ questions and comments reflected, as always, the diversity and integrity of our student body – leading him to pronounce this “engagement session” as better than any university group with whom he has met since assuming his role.
As Mr. Boehm put it, “We were quite awestruck – and I talked to my colleagues about this — by the level of preparation that the students took in terms of addressing their questions to us. The themes, the angles (of questioning) and the opinions they expressed are obviously going to be reflected in our further discussions. The students’ questions and our discussions with them brought a lot more clarity to our deliberations and, frankly, we came out of this quite energized.”
Our students had a number of other formal and informal opportunities to engage with the delegations. including a session on 7 March when students from G7 countries met with their respective national delegations.
One of the themes of the 2018 G7 is “working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy.” As part of the 8 March Oceans Roundtable discussion, Marine Sciences Teacher Laura Verhegge was invited to deliver a presentation as a member of an expert panel. With her second-year class looking on, Laura made an impact using visual aides including plastics refuse gathered by Pearson students from ocean waters close to our own Pedder Bay.
Hosting a high-level, on-campus meeting like this was a reminder of the recognition and respect accorded to the students and alumni of Pearson College UWC who are working to fulfill the United World College mission around the world. It was also an important opportunity for some healthy discussions, debates and even disagreements within the Pearson community itself. I was pleased to host two post-G7 listening sessions during which several members of the community shared their thoughts and concerns about the realities of how the “culture” of this type of diplomat-level international organization meeting this differs from our own more informal campus atmosphere. Discussions also touched upon opportunities for even greater student interaction in any future on-campus meetings of this nature as well the appropriateness of the term “Sherpa” in the G7 context.

1 January
Canada is proud to hold the G7 Presidency from January 1 to December 31, 2018, and will use this opportunity to showcase both its domestic and international priorities. As the G7 president, Canada is responsible for hosting and organizing the G7 Summit that will take place in Charlevoix from June 8-9, 2018.

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