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Canada's Approach to the G20 Hamburg Summit

John Kirton, Co-director, G20 Research Group
July 6, 2017

Priorities

Canada wishes to showcase the G20 as a body that stands united against the voices of anti-globalization and protectionism, and as a beacon of sustaining economic growth. Canada's first priority is economic growth, with an emphasis on inclusivity, particularly for women in the economy, and managed migration. The second priority is free and progressive trade. The third is climate change and clean energy, including ending fossil fuel subsidies. Given the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Canada knows this is will be a challenge.

Positions

Canada has clear positions on most of the major issues the summit would address.

Inclusive Economic Growth, Gender and Migration

The first is inclusive economic growth. On the key gender component Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will emphasize gender issues as outlined in Canada's recently produced development policy statement. The statement featured a feminist international assistance policy based on gender equality and the role of women and adolescent girls in spurring economic growth and development as a whole. Canada sees women and girls as agents of change, rather than as victims.

On the World Bank Women's Entrepreneurship Facility, which could be the centrepiece deliverable of the summit, Canada has already contributed several million dollars. Canada is very excited about this fund, which it considers a real game changer, and is very pleased that the U.S. has pushed it.

Canada is also proposing the creation of the Women's Business Council (WBC) to complement the Women's Entrepreneurship Facility that the Hamburg Summit will launch. The WBC will be composed of prominent high-profile women business leaders, a little like the Canada-U.S. Business Council, but in expanded form. It would examine the global challenges to women's entrepreneurship and leadership in the international economy. Its members would brainstorm, network, share best practices, reach out to stakeholders and produce recommendations for Argentina's 2018 G20 presidency. It would be G20-wide, so both developed and developing countries would participate and complement the World Bank Facility. Accenture would help finance it.

Canada strongly seeks G20 members' compliance with their gender commitment made at the 2014 Brisbane Summit to reduce the gender gap in the work force by 25% by 2025.

Canada wishes to emphasize that with managed migration, migrants and refugees can be integrated into society and the economy and thus benefit Canada from an economic and social perspective. On labour market integration and refugees, Canada seeks to expand the strong emphasis of the German host.  

On youth employment, Trudeau, who is also the minister of youth, is very keen, especially on skills training and education.

Trade

On Canada's second priority of trade, Canada will again push hard to have the most urgent issue of steel overcapacity addressed, and further push to add aluminum overcapacity, arguing it should at least be mentioned as another issue that needs to be addressed.

Climate Change and Energy

On Canada's third priority of climate change and energy, Trudeau will stand firm and continue to push hard. Trudeau has had conversations with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and other G7 leaders at the Taormina Summit on May 26-27, 2017. Trudeau will push for limits on heavy vehicles and ending fossil fuel subsidies. On the Paris Agreement, Canada was disappointed on where it had gone. The last thing it wanted was only a chair's statement on the issue. Canada also wants an endorsement of the value of carbon pricing. On clean technology Canada has ideas on how investments can be made and how they can contribute to economic growth.

Other Issues

On terrorism Trudeau continues to be passionate about the G20 refusing to pay ransom to terrorists, as he has been at his previous G7 and G20 summits.

On the issue of anti-microbial resistance (AMR), Canada would like to include a reference to tuberculosis, given that its treatment is a closely implicated to AMR.

On the Compact with Africa, Canada has examined whether it wants a separate compact with individual African countries, or a more comprehensive package covering several.

On civil society, Canada will push for strong language on inclusive growth and transparency. Trudeau is clear on the role women and girls play, but has also spoken about Indigenous Peoples and others in relation to the G20. Canada always supports civil society organizations and a healthy democracy and governance. At the G20 it has secured strong language on some of these issues, given the countries around the table.

In all, Canada strongly supports Germany's central message, priorities and approach.

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