Summits | Meetings | Publications | Research | Search | Home | About the G7 and G8 Research Group
|Head of government:||Prime Minister Jean Chretien|
|Deputy Prime Minister:||Herb Gray|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs:||John Manley|
|Federal Minister of Justice :||Anne McLellan|
|Federal Minister of Defense :||Art Eggleton|
|Minister of Finance:||Paul Martin|
|Federal Minister of the Trade:||Pierre Pettigrew|
|Federal Minister of International co-operation and francophonie:||Maria Minna|
|Federal Minister of Labour:||Claudette Bradshaw|
|Central Bank Governor:||David Dodge|
|Federal Minister of Environment:||David Anderson|
|Fisheries & Oceans:||Herb Dhaliwal|
|Federal Minister Health :||Allan Rock||Federal Minister of Industry:||Brian Tobin|
TYPE: Canada is a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral federal parliament; House of Commons of 301 members elected from individual constituencies; Senate of 112 members appointed by the prime minister. The electoral system is based on universal direct suffrage for all citizens over the age of 18.
The main Political Parties: Liberal Party; Canadian Alliance (formerly Reform Party); Bloc Quebecois; New Democratic Party (NDP); Progressive Conservatives.
172 Liberal Party-P.M. Jean Chretien
66 Canadian Alliance-Stockwell Day
13 New Democratic Party (NDP)-Alexa McDonoug
12 Progressive Conservatives (PC)-Joe Clark
National Elections: Held every four years; eligible voters: Canadian citizens 18 years or older.
Most recent elections: November 27 2000.
Next Elections: November 2005
|GDP:||(1999) C $957.9bn;
US $644.7bn (1999, at market exchange rate)
|GDP per capita:||Approximately 22, 700 US$|
|GDP growth :||Average 1995-1999 3.3%, Real GDP growth (1999) 4.5%,
Expected GDP growth for 2001 is 1.7% and 2.7% for 2002.
|Consumer Price Inflation:||2.73 (% change pa; av) non-seasonally adjusted; forecast to be 2.4% in late 2001|
|Unemployment rate:||(2000) 6.83%|
|Interest Rate:||Banks prime 6.25 % per annum (June 26,2001)|
|Exchange Rate:||[Canadian Dollars per US dollar 65.97cents (June 14, 2001)|
(latest 12 months)
|1.3 US$ bln
|Foreign Aid:||$2.5 billion (0.3% of GNP)|
|Major trading partners:||Export to: USA, UK,
Import from: USA, UK
|3 major exports:||motor vehicles, lumber, agricultural crops (wheat, barley)|
While there will be wide range of issues discussed in Genoa, the government of Canada has positioned itself to focus on four key areas: poverty reduction; world economy and trade; climate change and other environment issues; and conflict prevention.
While progress has been made, poverty remains a daunting challenge. Of the planet's six billion people, half live on an income of under US$2 per day, and 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty on less than US$1 per day.
On September 5, 2000, International Cooperation Minister Maria Minna unveiled CIDA's Social Development Priorities: A Framework for Action. In this framework Minister Minna outlined the poverty reduction goals that the Canadian government has endorsed and plans to enter into discussions with its G8 counterparts in order to develop action plan ideas at the Genoa Summit in July. The goals are as follows:
In addition, CIDA is continuing to expand and strengthen its programming in four priority areas including: basic education, basic health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS and child protection. It can be expected that at Genoa, the Canadian government will be a supporter of the new Global Health Fund program and will reaffirm its commitment to support the Global Stop Tuberculosis Initiative, the Roll Back Malaria Campaign, global immunization efforts as well as efforts to ensure the virtual elimination of iodine and vitamin-A deficiency disorders. On Monday June 25, Minister Minna announced that Canada will be committing $73 million Cdn for HIV/AIDS preventative programs in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe. At the Foreign Minister's meeting in Rome, Canada pledged $150 million to the Global Health fund in order to better combat diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Moreover, both Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Minister Minna declared their strong support for the Health Fund and for poverty reduction initiatives in general.
In the area of debt relief, Canada has unilaterally initiated a Canadian Debt Moratorium which halted debt service payments from eleven HIPCs on $700 million in debt to Canada, as of 1 January 2001, based on these countries' commitment to peaceful development and good governance. Once these countries fully meet the conditions of the HIPC initiative, Canada will officially write off their debt. Canada has urged all creditor countries to take similar action. It is expected that the Canadian delegation will also engage in discussions relating to the role of national governments in developing countries and the assistance that G8 member countries can provide to them in the hopes of establishing viable development policies.
Canada also continues to attach importance to bridging the digital divide. The Canadian government has been very active in the dot force launched at Okinawa, and they are likely to continue to stress the importance of taking a broad partnership approach to this issue at Genoa.
Finally, it is the Canadian position that trade and investment are integral components of any development and poverty reduction strategy. Thus, it is important that countries look outwards in order to begin to accrue the potential benefits of global trade and the increasingly interdependent global economy. In this regard, efforts need to be made to assist developing countries in attracting foreign investment so that they may begin to build up their local economies, thereby increasing employment and living standards as well as gaining foreign currency in order to equalize balance of payments difficulties. To pursue these goals, Canada is expected to support the attempts to launch a new WTO round of talks which would examine the reduction of the levels of tariffs and trade restrictions faced by the world's developing nations.
Canada will seek to promote the following areas of interest in regard to the WTO at the G7/8 Summit in Genoa.: Greater transparency, increased openness, inclusion and dialogue, and to stimulate greater concern over the needs of Less Developed Countries (LDC). Trade issues are key to Canadian interests as exports in goods and services account for 45 percent of Canada's GDP (2000) and one in every three new jobs created in Canada is a result of exports. The ongoing slowdown of the world economy combined with increasing fears of a global recession will be a major issue among the G8 leaders. Most recently, at the finance minster conference in Rome the G8 declared they reaffirm their support to increase efforts to reduce volitility and improve the functioning of the international financial system: consensus on improving world trade is key to the success of the summit. Simply put, trade is critical to Canada's economic prosperity making it a top priority for Canada in Genoa.
The G7/8 meeting in Genoa presents a good opportunity for Canada to build consensus for its concerns about the launch of the next round of WTO negotiations which will be debated in November in Qatar . The foremost Canadian interest in the next round is with creating greater transparency. Using examples from the recent Free Trade Agreement of the America's Summit in Quebec City Canadian delegates plan to push for agreement to release the draft negotiating texts and other important documents to the public. Pierre Pettigrew, Canada's Minister of Trade, believes that making important texts public helps to demystify the Summits work and reduce criticism. The G7/8 Summit, which is far more exclusive than either the WTO or FTAA, provides a good stepping stone for Canada to advance an agenda of increased transparency.
Canada can be expected to take a leading role in supporting the IMFs independent Evaluation Office (EVO), which is expected to help increase the effectiveness of its work and accountability. It is also hoped transparency will be strenghened in the public and private sectors; the improvement of prudential regulation and supervision; and the implementation of the monetary strategy agreed to last year by the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) which intends to prevent and manage financial crises.
Canada's stated commitment to increased openness, inclusion, and dialogue at the WTO could be a topic of Canadian concern brought up in Genoa. Again, the idea of the Canadian government is to create an atmosphere of greater inclusion, especially from legitimate, responsible Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs). Canada has led the way on inclusion, instituting a Civil Society Committee and encouraging NGOs to contribute to forums such as the Canada-Europe Round Table for Business (CERT).
Concern for the less developed economies of the world is also a top priority of the Canadian government going into Genoa. Canadian officials believe Canada and the G7/8 in particular, have the ability and responsibility to help. Mr. Pettigrew explained "[Canada] has led the G-7 Countries in the matter of debt relief, most notably in January of this year, by stopping collection of debt servicing from highly indebted poor countries." Canadian efforts in Genoa will most certainly be looking ahead to the WTO Ministerial Conference in November by building stepping stones for Canada's interests in Genoa.
While Canada will continue to push for these and several other reforms to the WTO system it is important to note that it will maintain a commitment to protecting particular aspects of the economy such as the agricultural industry, trade in services, and the cultural market. Canada also maintains its right not to privatize public services such as health care and education.
In its response to the Bush administration's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, Canada has, along with other G8 states, placed climate change as a key priority in Genoa.
Following the U.S. policy change, the Prime Minister as well as the Ministers of the Environment and Natural Resources have clearly stated that they remain committed to the Kyoto process and are determined to meet Canada's target. The Canadian government has begun this effort through their allocation of $1.1 billion for initiatives on climate change and clean air over the next five years as part of the 2000 Action Plan. In June 2001, the Canadian government announced investments in effective transportation through fuel-cell technology development, increasing fuel efficiency and marketing low-emissions vehicles. The government also recently announced that it is reducing its own emissions, as the largest organization in Canada, by 31 percent below 1990 levels by 2010.
In opposition to the United States, the Canadian government has stated that immediate action is necessary on this issue rather than the additional research advocated in the new US Climate Change Policy. In light of this, it can be expected that Canada will attempt to pressure the United States into reconsidering Kyoto or an alternative framework. Debate will no doubt focus on the inclusion or exclusion of developing countries from mandatory emissions reductions, as it was one of the key reasons that the United States refused to sign and ratify the treaty. On this matter, Canada has and will surely continue to advocate that developing countries must be initially excluded from mandatory reductions. Despite its position, the Canadian government has stated that it will work to reconcile the division between the European Union G8 members and the United States.
Prior to the US rejection of Kyoto, the Environment Ministers Meeting in Trieste agreed to discuss the key outstanding issues, like flexibility mechanisms, for the implementation of Kyoto. If discussions in Genoa progress to this point, it can be expected that Canada will re-ally itself with the United States, given its previous position. At the recent discussions in Bonn on July 19, 2001, the Canadian government modified its position on Kyoto significantly to state that Canada would not ratify the final agreement should the terms be unacceptable. In an interview, the Honourable David Anderson, Minister of the Environment stated, "Ratification is impossible to consider until we know what the rules are. We'll face that decision when it comes"
One of the most divisive issues within the flexibility mechanisms discussions is carbon sinks. On this matter, Minister Anderson stated that Canada would seek credit in situations where forests and farmlands are taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The Minister agreed, however, that the Canadian government is willing to take debit when these practices result in carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere. Canada has stated that it would like these sinks to account for approximately 15% of its required emissions reductions.
In addition to climate change, the Canadian government has stated its intentions to discuss Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and the 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johanesburg.
On the issue of POPs, Canada will no doubt try to ensure G8 member support for the early ratification of the recent global agreement on these highly toxic chemicals. Canada has played a leadership role on this issue and was the first country to ratify the agreement.
In terms of the WSSD, these efforts will mainly consist of agenda setting to ensure the discussion and cooperation on key issues like sustainable energy and water, health and environment, and promoting sustainable communities, which was reviewed at a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on 5-6 June. On the issue of water, we can expect that Bush may attempt to discuss the export of Canadian water. The Canadian government has, however, clearly stated their objections to such discussions.
Canada will seek to promote the following areas of conflict prevention at the 2001 Summit: the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons, children in conflict (war affected children), and the illicit trade in diamonds and armed conflict. This demonstrates Canada's continued commitment to human security on an international level.
The G8 foreign ministers have demonstrated their commitment to ensuring that the transfer of small arms regionally, nationally, and internationally are carried out in a responsible and legal fashion, and that the existing destabilizing accumulations are reduced to levels that are consistent with legitimate defense and security needs (as per the 1999 Berlin, and 2000 Miyazaki Conferences). Canada has taken a leading role in setting the agenda for these commitments through its membership in the preparatory committees and governmental panel of experts for the UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects (which will take place from July 9th to the 20th, 2001 in New York). A priority for Canada at the Conference will be to consolidate accomplishments to date and develop an international plan of action targeting areas requiring further work. Canada will encourage stricter regulations and a national export control on small arms; the alteration of national legislation to ensure compliance to the provisions determined at the Conference; and the implementation of confidence-building measures. The conclusions made at the New York Conference may be discussed at this year's G8 Summit.
Canada is expected to be supported by most G8 countries, as many have taken initiatives to resolve the matter of small arms. Japan has played a leading role in global efforts to address the issue at the UN and throughout the international community, and has contributed over $3.6 million (US) from 1996-2000. The U.K. has worked with the UN, EU Partners (under the 1998 EU Joint Action on Small Arms), regional organizations (i.e. OSCE), and NGOs, has produced Annual Reports, and has established, as well as encouraged, new national criteria blocking exports of arms. Finally, Italy has aided the EU in implementing the "International Programme of Action," which is aimed at combating the proliferation of stockpiled small arms.
War Affected Children
Canada is a signatory to and a leading participant in international agreements to protect children, one of which is the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. Canada was also the first to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict when it opened for signature in June 2000. Canada has continued to promote the Protocol's wide ratification and implementation in order to cease the compulsory recruitment and deployment of child soldiers. Building on the accomplishments of the West African regional conference organized by Canada and Ghana in April 2000, Canada hosted the International Conference on War-Affected Children, which took place in September 2000 in Winnipeg. This ministerial-level meeting reaffirmed the growing international momentum emerging from states and NGOs on various aspects of the issue of War-Affected children. Furthermore, the Conference set out a global action plan for consideration by world leaders at the 2001 UN Special Session on Children. Canada has urged the international community as well as G8 countries to commit to the effective protection of children internationally. Canada is anticipated to follow-up with the principles to guide global action (as determined at the Winnipeg Conference). This includes the integration of national legislation that outlaws child soldiers and recognizes children's rights, the establishment of international standards regarding war-affected children, and the promotion of reintegration and rehabilitation strategies. Although the matter is most likely to be addressed at ministerial-level this summer, Canada will generally be supported by the G8 states.
The G8 has demonstrated its concern with the illicit trade in certain high value commodities, especially diamonds (which are used to provide funds for arms purchases), as exemplified by the 2000 Miyazaki Conference. Canada has particularly taken a leading role in the international condemnation of the illicit trade in diamonds. The October 2000 Conference in London (which was called at the Okinawa Summit) reaffirmed the commitment to curb illicit diamond flows through sanctions, monitoring processes, and the strengthening of regional law enforcement. Canada's initiative in the issue area is evident through its promotion of the establishment of an international certification regime. Canada will look to bring closure to the issue of conflict diamonds at the Genoa Summit and ensure that the certification regime continues to be implemented internationally. Canada is likely to be supported by G8 countries, many of which have taken initiatives to prevent the problem of conflict diamonds from continuing (as demonstrated most recently by the U.S. initiated Clean Diamonds Act).
Although Canada's conflict prevention agenda has altered with the conclusion of the Axworthy era, the emphasis placed on the above mentioned issue areas demonstrates the continued importance Canada has attributed to peace-building and human security on a regional, national, and international level. Such issues will be explored by Canada at the Genoa Summit, especially considering Canada's emphasis on conflict prevention and the significance of the issue area to the global community.
Prepared by Bryn Gray, Melanie Martin, Michael Simpson, and Jennifer Stanton, University of Toronto G8 Research Group, June 2001.
||This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Library and the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto.|
Please send comments to:
This page was last updated February 09, 2007.
All contents copyright © 1995-2004. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.