Canada 2010: G8 & G20

Written by  //  September 26, 2011  //  Canada, David Mitchell, Globalization  //  1 Comment

The story that won’t go away
NDP calls for ethics investigation into Clement over G8 fund
New Democrats are calling on the parliamentary ethics committee to investigate Treasury Board Tony Clement’s involvement in a G8 fund that poured about $50 million into his Muskoka riding in Ontario, some of which was used for dubious infrastructure projects.
The official Opposition said Monday it also has forwarded information obtained through access-to-information laws from the town of Huntsville, Ont., to the police in order to assist with any possible investigation.
The NDP said the emails, which were released publicly by party ethics critic Charlie Angus and Treasury Board critic Alexandre Boulerice, suggest Clement was interfering in the process and that he circumvented “all normal checks and balances” that usually go into funding decisions. (La Presse) G8: Tony Clement a tout fait pour répondre aux demandes du maire de Huntsville ; (Globe & Mail) NDP targets Clement’s constant ‘bending of the rules’ on G8 cash
UPDATE: July 3 2011
(RCI) Some disquieting security lapses are found in a police review of the Group of Eight summit in Canada last year. The review was made by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The review says that the site of the summit in a wooded area of Huntsville in northern Ontario offered ideal conditions for snipers to assassinate the summit delegates. The review also criticizes Canada’s decision to host the Group of 20 Summit in Toronto immediately after the G8 summit. Providing security for the second summit led to a complete re-examination of the first summit. The two summits involved the largest security operation on Canadian soil. More than twenty thousand security personnel took part at a cost of CDN $930 million. The G20 Summit in Toronto was disrupted by violent demonstrations and clashes with police. Hundreds of people were detained. The RCMP review was obtained by the Canadian Press under Canada’s Access to Information law. (CBC) G8 summit venue ‘ideal’ for snipers

G8 Muskoka Official site
Globe & Mail G8/G20 site
G20 history — accounts for 85 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product
CBC G7-G8 video archives – great history
G8 Information Centre and G20 Information Centre  G8 Research Group
Policy Options
Globe & Mail G8/G20 Local View ; National Post Toronto G20 archives – not a very happy picture!
The summit junkies
Just as in 1988, when University of Toronto professor [John Kirton] founded the G8 Research Group, Toronto, and Muskoka, are preparing to host the world. That means Kirton’s team of summit scholars and researchers is running at a frantic pace to live up to its reputation as the unofficial memory and information vault of the globe’s most powerful club.
Lest we forget– How Canada made the G20 happen
(Globe & Mail) The expanded group of leaders from Western and developing nations might never have existed, and certainly not in its current form, without a long, determined push from Paul Martin.


7 August 2010

Success of globalization rests with G20, Paul Martin says
Unless the G20 can adequately deal with climate change, development assistance to poor countries, food security and the financial crisis, globalization can’t be made to work, says the G20’s inventor, former prime minister Paul Martin.
The seminal task of the G20 – the 19 countries with the world’s largest economies plus the European Union – is to send the right signals, to demonstrate the right commitments, he told the annual Couchiching Conference on public affairs on Saturday.
4 July
The Unaccountable G-8
by Jeffrey D. Sachs
When hosting the 2010 G8 summit of major economies, the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, called for an “accountability summit” to hold the G8 responsible for the promises that it made over the years. So let’s make our own account of how the G8 did. The answer, alas, is a failing grade. The G8 this year illustrates the difference between photo-ops and serious global governance.
3 July
Hubert Bauch has the last word – or at least, summarizes reaction well, clearly and concisely G20: Spectacle vs. substance
… Donald Johnston, formerly a senior federal cabinet minister and later secretary-general of the OECD, has extensive experience with high-level international conferences and said this week the current summit format needs a rethink. “The process has evolved in a different direction than foreseen at Rambouillet. Apart from the cost, the numbers at the G20 level have really become a huge management challenge.”
Proposals from various quarters for making summits much cheaper and more manageable include cutting the leaders’ entourages of officials-in-waiting down to something like two dozen per, as opposed to the several hundred they now typically bring along; U.S. President Barack Obama alone flew in a supporting cast of 500. Another is that they should be held in either remote locations, possibly an island dedicated for summit purposes with jointly funded infrastructure, or already secure places, such as major military bases. There is also widespread agreement on what not to do again: hold summits in the downtown of major cities or hold back-to-back G8 and G20 summits in separate locations. In other words, what Canada did this time.
It is encouraging to see that the realization that summits should be done differently is dawning on future summit hosts, thanks in large part to the Canadian example on what to avoid. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who will host next year’s, promised -some thought a tad undiplomatically -to bring his off at one-tenth the cost of the Ontario extravaganza. British Prime Minister David Cameron, the scheduled 2013 host, suggested that G8 meetings should be scaled down and more narrowly focused, and possibly coupled with top-level United Nations and NATO meetings.
Possibly the greatest benefit to emerge from these Canadian summits is that they might serve as a lesson to the world to stop doing summits this way. If that lesson stands, the world will owe us a billion thanks.
2 July
Maude Barlow: ‘The World Has Divided into Rich and Poor as at No Time in History’
(Common Dreams) As world leaders gathered in Toronto for the G20 summit last week, leading activists from around the world joined thousands in Toronto’s Massey Hall to oppose the G20 agenda. Among those who spoke was Maude Barlow. She heads the Council of Canadians—Canada’s largest public advocacy organization. She’s founder of the Blue Planet Project. This is a part of what she had to say.
“On the eve of this G-20 gathering, let’s look at a few facts. Fact, the world has divided into rich and poor as at no time in our history. The richest 2% own more than half the household wealth in the world. The richest 10% hold 85% of total global assets and the bottom half of humanity owns less than 1% of the wealth in the world. The three richest men in the world have more money than the poorest 48 countries. Fact, while those responsible for the 2008 global financial crisis were bailed out and even rewarded by the G-20 government’s gathering here, the International Labor Organization tells us that in 2009, 34 million people were added to the global unemployed, swelling those ranks to 239 million, the highest ever recorded. Another 200 million are at risk in precarious jobs and the World Bank tells us that at the end of 2010, another 64 million will have lost their jobs. More facts and figures
29 June
C.P. Chandrasekhar — G20: Where no side wins
There is only one message that comes out of Toronto, where the G20 summit has come to an end. The formation, ostensibly created to reflect changing power equations in the world economy, serves no purpose. It has turned out to be one more talking shop in which agreement to disagree is presented as a consensus.
The disagreement that matters today concerns the near-global rush to reduce public debt by curtailing government expenditures. Occurring so soon after the Great Recession this policy stance is threatening a second recessionary dip.
28 June
Do-little G20 summit cheers spared bankers
(Reuters) – Bankers voiced relief on Monday after world leaders abandoned a global bank levy and eased the timetable for new capital requirements at a G20 summit in Canada which posed questions about the forum’s effectiveness.
G20 backs drive for crackdown on banks
(FT) Leaders of the world’s largest economies insisted on implementing tough capital rules, to force banks to hold sufficient buffers to guard against a future crisis
World Leaders Agree on Timetable for Cutting Deficits
(NYT) The Group of 20 countries endorsed a goal of cutting deficits by 2013, despite concern by the U.S. that reducing spending too quickly might set back a fragile global recovery.
G20 countries make common cause on economy, environment
G20 leaders agreed to take action on global economic concerns and the environment at the group’s meeting this weekend in Canada — vowing to halve budgets deficits by 2013, reduce government subsidies for oil companies and increase efforts to protect marine species. The economic measure gives countries room to make fiscal adjustments to stimulus and incentive plans enacted during 2009 at their own pace. Canadian authorities arrested more than 400 protesters during violent confrontations that saw restaurants, banks and retail outfits attacked over the weekend. Los Angeles Times (6/28) , The Independent (London) (6/28)
And then there is Terence Corcoran’s bizarre opinion piece in praise of the lack of agreement on just about anything.
Global governance, one of the drearier hallucinations of statist think tanks and back-room bureaucrats — and the phantasmagorial nightmare of anti-capitalist black-clad ideological crazies — crashed into the great wall of national realities at at the G8 and G20 Toronto summits and went up in smoke. But that does not make the Toronto summits a failure. What still stands tall in the world economy and in global politics — as it should –is national sovereignty.
The governance camp will try to scrounge fragments of globalist achievement out of the official verbal and rhetorical shambles generated in the final communiques and closing comments of the Toronto summit leaders. But there is little in the end that could be reassembled into a coherent statement of collective action.
He concludes: The message from Toronto — of which Mr. Harper could claim credit if he wants — is that capitalism and global governance are not synonymous. The strength of market economics rests in the constitutional sovereignty of nations, and not in the fantasies of the collective global governance movement.
G20 Protests: Is this What Harper Wanted?
PM’s disastrous decision to hold the summit in Toronto: a cunning plan?
By Michael Byers,
( Was Stephen Harper’s decision to hold the G20 summit in the heart of Canada’s largest city a stupid mistake or a cunning plan?
Harper makes these mistakes because he does not tolerate advice that contradicts his pre-established views.
The RCMP and CSIS must have seen the folly of Harper’s decision to hold the G20 summit in downtown Toronto. They knew the venue would attract anarchist gangs, place the police in a situation where they could not protect G20 leaders, private property and public safety concurrently, and add $1 billion in security costs to an already burgeoning federal deficit.
27 June
Fears of another crisis spur nations to promise cuts
(Globe & Mail) G20 governments to slash hundreds of billions of dollars in public spending in unprecedented co-ordinated belt-tightening
World Leaders Agree on Timetable for Cutting Deficits
(NYT) The Group of 20 countries endorsed a goal of cutting deficits by 2013, despite concern by the U.S. that reducing spending too quickly might set back a fragile global recovery.
G20 leaders agree to Stephen Harper’s call for deep cuts to deficits by 2013
(Globe & Mail) G20 leaders plan to adopt Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s call for deep cuts to their budget deficits and ongoing fiscal prudence.
G-20 Leaders Sneak World Cup Peaks on Sideline of Deficit Talks
(Bloomberg) — For all the debate among world leaders gathered in Canada this weekend about differentiated responses to deficit reduction, there was wide agreement on the importance of at least one issue: the World Cup.
26 June
Leaders at Summit Turn Attention to Deficit Cuts
(NYT) The separate approaches represented by Mr. Obama and Mr. Cameron reflected the splintering that is occurring within the G-20 as the global economy recovers, if haltingly, amid some fears of another recession. In three previous summit meetings since the financial and economic crisis began in 2008, the Group of 20 has coordinated on stimulus measures, banking regulations and anti-protectionist measures.
G20 protest violence prompts over 400 arrests — PM, Toronto mayor say ‘thugs’ to blame for attacks
(CBC) When the demonstration started just after 1 p.m. ET at the legislature, the mood was upbeat and peaceful. Protesters danced, clapped and chanted while carrying signs, flags and umbrellas as they first moved south down one of the city’s main thoroughfares, University Avenue.
But the mood turned ugly as members of splinter groups broke away in attempts to move toward the summit site near Lake Ontario. They used a tactic known as the Black Bloc, in which protesters wearing black hoodies, masks, balaclavas and skateboard helmets engage in violent behaviour. (Globe & Mail) They took Toronto’s streets, but for what?
David Mitchell comments: Meanwhile, here’s a summary of threats and issues facing us and our offspring; it’s enough to make one shudder without thinking about wars and oil volcanoes.
Our so-called news media didn’t offer much about events in Toronto during the G8 and G20 except for distractions. I thought this from Democracy Now might be of interest. It is a rush transcript of a video from the parallel meetings in Toronto last week
Maude Barlow: “The World Has Divided into Rich and Poor as at No Time in History”
As world leaders gathered in Toronto for the G20 summit last week, leading activists from around the world joined thousands in Toronto’s Massey Hall to oppose the G20 agenda. Maude Barlow was one of the key speakers at the event. She heads the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization, and is a founder of the Blue Planet Project.[scroll down for rush transcript]
2010 G8 communiqué released (7,795 words)

Don Martin: Harper has flair for dramatic
But Mr. Harper had to do something dramatic and make it sound impressive. Looking down the agenda list, it seems possible Mr. Harper will walk away from his weekend in the world spotlight with only a maternal health plan to call his own and little else to show for this prohibitively costly back-to-back summiteering.
The Prime Minister is also facing an increasingly difficult challenge to convince G20 nations to cut their deficits in half by 2013 and begin reducing their debt-to-GDP rations by 2016 as U.S. President Barack Obama and many other leaders wander off that script.
It would be ridiculous to write off Mr. Harper’s summit successes even before the second half begins, even though the fracturing positions on bank taxes and fiscal policy threaten to split the summit.
25 June
Canada commits another $1.1B to maternal, child health
(CBC) Canada has pledged $1.1 billion to its global initiative on maternal and child health for developing countries, announcing the money on the first day of the G8 summit near Huntsville, Ont. The “Muskoka initiative” will also include an accountability mechanism to ensure the G8 follows through on the initiative and meets its commitments, the prime minister said. More
Policy Conflicts Seen as Obama Arrives at Meeting of Leaders
(NYT) Less than five hours before his arrival, Congressional negotiations reached agreement on sweeping legislation to overhaul the architecture of financial regulations, an accomplishment that gives momentum to his role at the meetings of the Group of 8 and the Group of 20 countries.
“We need to act in concert for a simple reason: This crisis proved, and events continue to affirm, that our national economies are inextricably linked,” Mr. Obama said on the White House lawn before leaving for Toronto.
But the world’s richest countries find themselves divided on several areas that require global coordination, including proposals to tax giant banks and impose tougher capital and liquidity requirements on them. (CBC) Summit reveals G20 financial rifts
Perhaps the biggest area of potential disagreement is when and how indebted countries, including the United States, should pull back the extraordinary spending programs they undertook to revive their economies.
G20 summit: less-developed nations still struggle to shape agenda
(CSM) As competing agendas descend upon Toronto for this weekend’s G20 summit, the so-called BRIC countries expect to get an equal voice, but less-developed countries remain concerned about being heard. But as their stars have risen, other less-developed countries in the G20 and worldwide have been left wayside. G20 members South Africa, Mexico, Argentina, and Indonesia – along with the world’s least developed countries, which aren’t even at the table in Toronto – remain overshadowed.
Jeffrey Sachs on The Current
Leaders of the G-7, G-8 and G-20 countries have made a lot of very impressive promises over the years. But according to Jeffrey Sachs, they’ve got a less-than-inspiring record when it comes to delivering on them to the point that they are now at risk of losing their credibility.
24 June
Better G20 representation for Africa sought
(Globe & Mail) The new G20 brought more of the world into the club that steers global economic policies, but the emerging group must better represent Africa, says the President of Nigeria, the continent’s biggest nation.
It is a dilemma: the old G8 lost its role as an economic steering committee because it didn’t represent major emerging economies which had to be at the table to address global economic threats. The G20 is already unwieldy, and in practice numbers more than 20. But even with a summit that now includes China, India, Mexico, and Brazil, there’s still a major continent, arguing it represents economic potential, if not current financial power, that’s barely represented.
And the likely expansion of the G20’s mandate – the next host, South Korea, intends to put development issues squarely on the group’s agenda – will only heighten arguments that the world’s poorest continent is missing.
Jeffrey Simpson: It should have been Stephen Harper’s shining hour
While the PM racked up some diplomatic gains, the summits haven’t paid off for him
Canada invites 10 developing countries to G8 summit
(FT) Canada is seeking to reinvigorate the Group of Eight industrial countries by inviting ten African, Caribbean and Latin American nations to take part in the group’s summit in Ontario this weekend.
UNEP urges G20 to act on global green economy
Investments in measures to promote a green global economy are lagging despite promises of $500 billion in funding from countries around the world, the United Nations Environment Programme says. UNEP urged world leaders to commit 1% of gross domestic product, or $750 billion, to a “Global Green New Deal” in 2008. UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner is calling on the G20 leaders to act decisively on the green economy, particularly in the fields of energy, water, forestry and agriculture. (6/24)
23 June
(RCI) A leaked document obtained by the Canadian Press indicates that the G20 leaders will be chiefly occupied with questions of international development and climate change at their summit in Toronto this weekend. A draft final communiqué dated June 11 also shows the leaders want to combat the underlying causes of the recession and to work together on tougher banking regulations. The three-page draft contains two full paragraphs concerning climate change that commit countries to investment in green technologies and co-operation to hold a successful climate-change conference in Mexico at the end of the year. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had hoped, apparently in vain, to limit the summit discussions to the global economy. He has also argued that the proper forum for discussion of international development is the G8 meeting because the biggest donors are among its members.
(Toronto Star) Climate change debate to get radical overhaul Let us hope so!
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has tried to downplay any talk of climate change at the meetings, preferring to focus on the economy. But environmental stalwarts Brazil and Germany are forging ahead with the creation of a high-level panel made up of heads of state, government ministers and eminent individuals to advance troubled negotiations to cut the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and halt global warming.
21 June
G8/G20 Waste Clock: Sit back and watch the millions fly by
By now you’ve probably already heard how the Conservatives mismanaged their way to a $1-billion G8/G20 security bill boondoggle. Between fake lakes and landlocked vintage steamboats, Canadians are rightly concerned that if Stephen Harper can’t keep the spending reigned in at a meeting, he won’t be able to dig Canada out of the deficit.
That’s why we’ve built the G8/G20 waste clock. Sit back and watch as millions are spent due to mismanagement and poor planning.
(CBC The Current) Environment & G20
Maurice Strong is a former CEO of Petro-Canada. He was also the first Executive Director of the UN Environment Program and the Secretary-General of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. And Jim MacNeill is the former director of the environment for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). He was also the Secretary-General of the World Commission on Environment and Development … the commission that coined the term “sustainable development.” Maurice Strong and Jim MacNeill were both in Toronto. And Lorne Gunter is a senior columnist with the National Post and the Edmonton Journal. He was in Edmonton.
20 June
Even the Economist takes note of the fake lake:

LEADERS of the G8 group of rich countries gather in Muskoka, a Canadian holiday resort, for a two-day summit starting on Friday June 25th. The meeting overlaps with the two-day G20 summit that begins the next day in Toronto. Both get-togethers will give the opportunity to world leaders to discuss global financial regulation, reforming international financial institutions and responses to the crisis in the euro zone. The Canadian hosts have been criticised at home for the vast cost of the summit, in particular on the creation of a huge artificial lake for the media centre in a country with more real lakes than anywhere else in the world.
Muskoka Accountability Report takes stock of recent G-8 commitments related to development,assesses the results of G-8 actions and identifies lessons for future reporting. Muskoka Accountability Report – Executive summary*
19 June
Excellent summaries of issues and background On the Agenda: Iran, terrorism & the ‘Muskoka Initiative’: Kathryn Blaze Carlson looks at plans for the G8 Summit What exactly is the G8 anyway? 
Classic Conrad – not a word about the discomfiture of the citizens, businesses and hapless tourists.
Conrad Black: G20 summit puts Toronto in a new league
Despite all of these negatives and limitations, hosting the meetings is worthwhile for Canada and Toronto. It is evidence of the rise of Canada in the world that it has a place at these meetings, and Toronto has become a presentable enough city by world standards to showcase to world leaders. All the money spent will be spent in-country and qualifies in the recessionary argot as economic stimulus. Of course a lot of it is pretentious nonsense: the platitudes, the staginess, the vapid communiqués at the end (which have probably been written already). But this is one of the rites of passage as this country has made its way from the back to the front row of the world’s nations. Let’s just see these pompous meetings as a celebration of that.
18 June
Manmohan Agarwal: Limits and Possibilities: What To Expect from the G20
(CIGI) The advent of the G20 leaders’ summit is a major advance in international economic policy governance. The forum has been successful in broadly orchestrating the return to stability in the international financial system by agreeing on fiscal and monetary measures in developed and many emerging economies, and by assigning new responsibilities to international financial institutions. However, expectations of what can be accomplished in steering the world economy onto a stable growth path, particularly in the short term, have to be keyed to realism and be informed by the past history of international economic coordination.
17 June
Canadian summitry: A loonie boondoggle
Ostentation in a time of austerity
FOR all his gifts as a political tactician, Stephen Harper, Canada’s Conservative prime minister, may have miscalculated how much Canadians want to pay to host the G8 and G20 summits from June 25th to 27th. As the government struggles to close a large budget deficit, it is spending C$1.2 billion ($1.2 billion) to host the world’s leaders—60% more than Japan, the previous record holder, coughed up for the G8 gathering in Okinawa in 2000.
16 June
President Obama’s letter on financial regulatory reform addressed to G20 leaders
14 June
Tories put climate change on G8 agenda after pressure from world leaders
A spectator watches a climate-change-related projection at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December.
Canada has added climate change to the G8 agenda after coming under pressure from world leaders and environmentalists.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Monday that climate change will be on the table at both the G8 and G20 summits.
Nobel Peace Prize laureates and environmentalists had joined chorus calling to put climate change on the table
Green groups accuse Canada of G8, G20 environment snub
Excluding climate change from the upcoming G8 and G20 summits would be a snub to poorer nations, environmentalists said on Monday, urging under pressure host Canada to add it to the agenda.
Canada has invited Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa, as well as Colombia, Jamaica and Haiti to a special summit session.
“If we invite those people and we don’t talk about climate change, it pretty much amounts to a slap in the face because they are bearing the brunt of the impact of climate change,” charged Steven Guilbeault of Montreal-based green group Equiterre.
Liberal ads attack ‘Waste Summit’
With security costs that make the three-day G20 summit the costliest ever, and a promotional fake lake within a short walk of the real thing, Liberal public safety critic Mark Holland said the event will come to be known as the “Waste Summit”
In a radio ad that starts nationally on Monday, the Liberal party criticizes the “billion-dollar boondoggle, Canada’s most expensive photo op,” and makes its greatest push yet to capitalize politically on what is expected to be a huge inconvenience to anyone who lives or works in downtown Toronto.
13 June
Harper pressured to put climate change on G8, G20 agenda
It was described by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a “sideshow,” but international leaders are mounting pressure on the Canadian government to include climate change as a major issue on the agenda at upcoming G8 and G20 economic summits.
7 June
Tories drowned by calls attacking $2M fake lake
Opposition MPs hollered at the Conservative government Monday for a decision to spend about $2-million to build an indoor fake lake in downtown Toronto to impress international journalists attending the G20 summit It’s not a ‘fake lake’ it’s a fake ‘water feature’
Fake Muskoka costs real bucks
Plan to take the great outdoors indoors for global media more than a little loony
… the federal government is shelling out millions of dollars to re-create cottage country — complete with a small lake — inside a Toronto convention facility that will warehouse most of the media during the three-day windfest.
Your tax dollars at work.
5 June
G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Communiqué
… recognized the need to work together so as to foster the wide-spread application of the overarching principles of propriety, integrity and transparency in the conduct of international business and finance.
4 June
Richest countries back off on African aid
A leaked G8 communique shows the world’s richest countries are ditching a 2005 commitment to doubling aid for Africa, according to British media reports.
The document, dated May 26 and drafted a month before the summit in Huntsville, Ont., doesn’t mention the 2005 Gleneagles summit pledge to increase aid.
A leaked draft of the final communiqué for the upcoming G8 summit suggests Canada has dodged a bullet on the thorny issues of abortion and climate change. More
3 June
Onward to Muskoka! (By way of London and Paris.)
Stephen Harper makes his pre-summit rounds.
… the bank tax? Financial regulation? A neat and co-ordinated end to the global gusher of stimulus spending? The G20 will have to deal with all that and it won’t be clear sailing. The markets are nervous and the European-American axis no longer runs the show. Neither China nor India had to bail out their banks. Nor did Japan or Mexico. So why would they agree to a bank tax? On this, Harper will not be alone.
But that only leads to an agreement on what not to do – which doesn’t make for a communiqué that will ring down through the ages. And Harper will not add climate change and poverty to the G20 agenda as his predecessor, Paul Martin, urges. (Ex-PM tells G20 to confront climate change, poverty) There’s enough on the plate already, says the PMO.
G8 draft calls for renewed focus, action on MDGs
2 June
Prime minister rejects Paul Martin’s advice to expand limited G20 agenda
The former prime minister says Ottawa has a responsibility to put global warming and poverty at the top of the G20 agenda because they threaten the stability of the world just as much as economics.
But the economic challenges are so great right now that they require focus, without distraction, said Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman, Andrew MacDougall.
The G20 established its effectiveness in 2008 and 2009 by agreeing to an unprecedented and co-ordinated effort to stimulate the global economy back to health, Harper has frequently said.
Now, he’s urging leaders not to lose that resolve — especially as Greece’s sovereign debt crisis threatens to engulf Europe and drive the global economy into a funk once again.
Harper has spent much of his pre-meeting limelight lowering expectations for the G20 summit in Toronto and the G8 summit in Huntsville, Ont., at the end of this month.
For the G20, he wants countries to stop talking about a global bank tax and decide on common principles for good banking instead. He wants advanced countries to figure out how to get their deficits under control. And he wants emerging markets, especially China, to increase their spending and let their exchange rates float.
Improving performance on meeting Millennium Development Goals related to maternal and child health will feature prominently on the agenda when the G8 meets June 25 and 26, according to a draft text released in advance of the summit. The global economic crisis has jeopardized 2015 goals on poverty, disease, education, environment and maternal and child mortality rates, the draft warns. G8 representatives will also discuss creation of a legal framework for joint action on climate change. (5/31)
29 May
Huntsville to become securityville as G8 Summit approaches
Undoubtedly, one of the major security features at the summit will be a $3.9-million fence that is being built around 324-hectares at the Deerhurst Resort. The three-metre high fence, about eight-kilometres long, will cut through the resort’s manicured golf course and into the surrounding Muskoka bush. It’s yet to be completed but can be seen as far away as nearby Highway 60.
28 May
Commitment phobia: Rich countries will miss their targets for aid to Africa
(The Economist) THE Group of Seven (G7) industrialised countries met at Gleneagles in 2005, and pledged to raise their combined aid to sub-Saharan Africa. But at the end of last year, collectively they were only 44% of the way towards hitting the 2010 target according to ONE, a London-based lobby group. A few countries have met their goals, in some cases by setting low targets (as Canada and America did). Focussing just on aid can detract from big issues such as trade or migration. Promising a bit more aid is easier than dismantling food subsidies that favour Western farmers but devastate African ones. The importance of foreign aid from the West may also be exaggerated. China and other big emerging economies are also pumping in aid, though do not disclose amounts. Still, the failure to meet these promises is shameful.
27 May
Rex Murphy: One billion dollars, zero sense
Face time, as the ugly phrase has it, is valuable, but it’s not worth a billion dollars, nor a fraction of it, in the middle of a recession. Meet in the White House, or in a resort, or at Al Gore’s house (if space is a consideration) — anywhere but in a 21st-century downtown of a modern city, where security suffocates the meeting, and protesters are given the most expensive magnifying glass the world has even known.
The G in G20 must stand for Gross
You’re the head of a minority government that has just shepherded Canada through a global downturn with considerable success. You are hoping to turn this feat into political support based on the image it provides of prudence, discipline and financial acumen. In pursuit of this goal, you decide to:
1. Keep a close eye on expenditures, limiting the outflow of tax dollars to only the most pressing needs, until you are able to eliminate the deficit and get the national debt back under control.
2. Take the opportunity to reduce or eliminate unnecessary costs, exploiting public support for economic security to get rid of frivolous programs previously protected by political concerns.
3. Throw a three-day talkfest nobody cares about, blowing more than $1 billion on security while turning the country’s biggest city into an armed camp in midsummer, when it should be attracting tourists rather than storm troopers in riot gear.
If you picked #3, we have a place for you in the cabinet of Stephen Harper, which has single-handedly tossed away whatever financial credibility it garnered over the past 18 months, by pledging itself to the care and feeding of the G20 and G8, two international bodies whose members make enough money to feed themselves.
Toronto’s G20 plan is a paranoid’s dream
It now appears that the strategy for selling Toronto to G8/G20 delegates is to impress them with the eerie silence it’s possible to impose on a city of two or three million people.
A deserted core, empty streets, deathly quiet other than the faint echo of caged-up protesters obediently chanting their slogans at designated protest zones well away from any other human life form.
One has to wonder what message Toronto is trying to convey — or, rather, what message Ottawa is trying to convey, since the city of Toronto urged Ottawa to hold the summit at the CNE grounds, where it could easily be ringed off without entirely disrupting normal life. But no. For some bizarre reason, the Conservatives insist on holding it in the centre of the city, perhaps to impress all the other political heavyweights with Ottawa’s ability to bring the country’s biggest city to a screeching halt on a summer weekend.
25 May
Abortion debate stalling maternal-health initiative, group says
Centrepiece issue could derail June meeting in Muskoka, says group founded by Bono and Geldof
17 May
Globe & Mail’s Geoffrey York reports from Johannesburg on what Africa hopes to bring back from the G8/G20 summits in Toronto (video)
Brett House and Desiree McGraw: Finishing what they started
(National Post) The activist echo chamber surrounding June’s G8 and G20 summits is becoming filled with the din of lobbyists clamouring for action on international poverty.
The earnest hopefulness of these requests is laudable. And, granted, new needs sometimes require new forms of assistance. But instead of pressing the G8 to make a raft of new promises, it might be more useful to ask G8 countries to fulfill the pledges they already have made.
28 April
Canada: G8 backs maternal aid despite abortion row
(Reuters) – The world’s leading industrialized nations support a Canadian proposal to boost maternal health in the Third World, even though Ottawa refuses to fund groups that perform or advocate abortions, Canada’s aid minister said on Wednesday.
29 January 2010
UNICEF: Canada’s G8 focus on maternal and child health will help global efforts
This week’s announcement by Canada that it will make maternal and child health a priority when it hosts the G8 summit in June will further help put the global spotlight on such important issues, UNICEF said today.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement that his country would champion a major initiative to improve the health of women and children in the world’s poorest regions.

Making History: G20 Governance from Pittsburgh to Muskoka
The seventh accomplishment [of the September 2009 Pittsburgh G20 Summit] was the historic decision to institutionalize the G20 as the new centre of global economic governance. Such G20 governance would finally give the central role to the emerging and established powers, reflecting a predominance of capability and a broad array of the world’s diversity. It would treat established and emerging powers as equals. It would add the new Financial Stability Board to the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, as a fourth pillar of the global civil service to advise the G20 and implement what the leaders would collectively decide to do.
By deciding to hold the next G20 summit under the joint chair of Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and Korean president Lee Myung-bak in Muskoka, Canada, in June 2010, where the G8 summit would be held, Pittsburgh affirmed the equality between established and emerging countries as hosts. Both the G8 and G20 finance ministers’ platforms now would serve the new G20 summit and both the G8 and G20 institutions would cooperate rather than compete. This cooperative spirit was evident in the Pittsburgh communiqué, which on several occasions noted, endorsed, built on or promised to implement previous decisions of the G8. Moreover, essentially the same group of leaders would gather to govern the globe twice a year rather than only once, even after the current financial and economic crisis had faded away. To strengthen its own capacity to do so, the leaders created new G20 ministerial gatherings on energy and labour, and perhaps development as well.

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