Canada looks for ways to keep G7 alive

OTTAWA — When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty welcomes his G7 colleagues in Iqaluit next month, one purpose of the two-day meeting will be to ensure it is not the last of its kind.

OTTAWA — When Finance Minister Jim Flaherty welcomes his G7 colleagues in Iqaluit next month, one purpose of the two-day meeting will be to ensure it is not the last of its kind.

There’s a chance it might be. There are no more on schedule, with the next opportunity — April’s meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington — being given over to the upstart Group of 20 body.

Government sources say Canada is one of several countries seeking to keep the G7 — or G8 when Russia is added at the leaders’ level — going and relevant even though the G20 is now the go-to council for solving the world’s problems.

Officials say there remains merit in keeping the G7 going, and that Flaherty’s plans to re-invent the meetings in Iqaluit on Feb. 5 and 6 as a “fireside chat” among friends, with no formal communique, is aimed at proving the usefulness of the body.

The idea is to make the informal brainstorming “a blueprint for future meetings” that will prove more useful and frank than the formalized dispatches that comes out of the disparate G20 forum, said one official.

Another advantage of keeping the G7 alive is that the countries can provide a united front of the leading industrial powers to the G20 summits, which include countries such as China, India, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Turkey and Indonesia, which have far different agenda’s on many issues.

“There likely is merit in making sure those who are lie-minded and who rely on each other for trade and commerce and investment have some sort of united front,” said one official.

A key reason it’s important to Canada that the G7 remain an influential institution is that collapsing the group into the larger G20 dilutes the country’s influence at the top table.

Canada is not alone in dreading the crowding of the neighbourhood.

Japan has always purported to speak for Asia, and now must share the microphone with China, India, South Korea and Indonesia.

Italy also wants to preserve the smaller group in order to keep punching above its economy’s weight.

“Canada and Canadian leaders have always benefited from being part of this cosy circle that could talk about anything, and be part of that inner core,” explains Andrew Cooper, associate director at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont.

“All of a sudden you’ve got a lot of other countries that were not seen at Canada’s level, (for) five, 10, 15 years , and Canada doesn’t have a privileged position anymore.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This unicorn was stolen from the small community of Delia, northeast of Drumheller on Friday and was recovered, with its bronze horn broken off, on Saturday. RCMP are looking for information on the suspects.
(Photo from RCMP)
Unicorn statue stolen from Delia recovered

Statue found with horn broken off in field about 15 km from Delia

(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe man whose manslaughter sentence was rejected by judge has new lawyer

Judge rejected proposed seven-year sentence for manslaughter in connection with 2019 homicide

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau cottage in Ottawa, on Friday, March 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Liberals to release federal budget with eye on managing crisis, post-pandemic growth

OTTAWA — The federal government will this afternoon unveil its spending plans… Continue reading

Patches are seen on the arm and shoulder of a corrections officer in the segregation unit at the Fraser Valley Institution for Women during a media tour, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. Correctional Service Canada says three inmates at Fraser Valley Institution recently tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Drumheller Institution inmate dies in custody

Inmate’s April 15 death under investigation

In this image from NASA, NASA's experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s experimental helicopter Ingenuity rose into the thin… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

In this Feb. 24, 2020, photo, the Olympics rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant as a server with a mask sets up a table, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Will Japanese Olympians be vaccinated ahead of the public?

TOKYO — The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with… Continue reading

PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, greets Bayern's Lucas Hernandez at the end of the Champions League, second leg, quarterfinal soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, France, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
PSG, Bayern the big names missing from Super League plan

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — The plan for the new Super League soccer competition… Continue reading

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Marion Cotillard, left, and Brad Pitt appear in a scene from "Allied." (Daniel Smith/Paramount Pictures via AP)
Leo Carax’s ‘Annette’ to open Cannes Film Festival

Leo Carax’s “Annette,” starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, will open the… Continue reading

From left, Producer Doug Mitchell, actor Chris Hemsworth and director George Miller attend at a press conference to announce the new "Mad Max" film at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, Monday, April 19, 2021. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)
‘Mad Max’ prequel shot in Outback to be released in 2023

SYDNEY, Australia — A prequel to the “Mad Max” movie franchise starring… Continue reading

In this Feb. 1, 2021 file photo, emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in Independence, Mo. President Joe Biden faces a vexing task as he convenes a virtual climate summit on Thursday. He is expected to present a nonbinding but symbolic goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will have a tangible impact not only on climate change efforts in the U.S. but throughout the world. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)
Biden pressed on emissions goal as climate summit nears

WASHINGTON — When President Joe Biden convenes a virtual climate summit on… Continue reading

Women wearing masks wait near an advertisement ahead of the Auto Shanghai 2021 show in Shanghai on Sunday, April 18, 2021. Automakers from around the world are showcasing their latest products this week in the world's biggest market for auto vehicles. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
VW, Ford unveil SUVs at China auto show under virus controls

SHANGHAI — Volkswagen, Ford and Chinese brands unveiled new SUVs for China… Continue reading

Investigators from the Vancouver Police Department were in Chilliwack Saturday, collecting evidence connected to a double homicide. (file photo)
Police investigate shooting death of man outside downtown Vancouver restaurant

Vancouver police say one man was killed in what they believe was… Continue reading

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start registering people 18 years and older for COVID-19 vaccines

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it’s inviting people 18 years… Continue reading

Most Read