OTTAWA: When the G20 leaders meet, they are expected to tackle an ambitious agenda that includes: mapping out a strategy for countries to withdraw enormous economic stimulus, finding a way forward on resolving global imbalances, pressing for an open and rules-based trading regime, and strengthening the global financial regulatory system.
“This summit is an opportunity for Canadian leadership,” says Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Toronto gives Prime Minister Harper an opportunity to promote Canadian values and present solutions that serve our own interests and the global community’s in a balanced way.”
Beaty says the G20 leaders must embrace an effective and efficient rules-based trading system, reaffirm their commitment to open markets, and remove existing barriers to trade and capital flows.
“When so much of our prosperity depends upon trade, the prime minister must call on world leaders to not simply talk about their opposition to protectionism, but to demonstrate their commitment through their actions,” says Beatty.
Beatty also said Canada must remain adamant about its opposition to a global financial transaction tax. Such a tax would increase the excessive risk-taking that led to the financial crisis. It would institutionalize moral hazard by setting aside dedicated funds to help major financial institutions in times of distress.
But Guy Ryder, the International Trade Union Confederation’s general secretary, and Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, say that global leaders need to take more than just finance into account when assessing the economy.
Ryder said global economic recovery is extremely fragile and unemployment levels are still too high.
“There won’t be economic recovery without more jobs,” said Ryder, who along with Georgetti met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week to relay that message.
“I take away from the meeting his repeated phrase…that between fiscal consolidation and job creation, he said ‘it’s a balancing act,'” Ryder said.
The International Trade Union Confederation represents 176 million union workers around the globe and will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other world leaders at the G20 summit this weekend.
With files from Canadian Press