The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance
G7 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors
February 6, 2010
Good afternoon. I want to start of course by thanking our hosts here in Iqaluit, Nunavut for their wonderful hospitality yesterday and today.
We have had a very cordial, informal opportunity to have discussions. A number of the participants, Central Bank Governors and Ministers, have expressed their views that this is a new start for the G7 in terms of the informality and the welcoming, casual nature of our visit here. So we thank everyone in Iqaluit for this opportunity.
In terms of the global economic situation, obviously we had discussions about that. The global economic situation has, of course, improved and is improving. We do not have a firmly established recovery yet but there are good signs. We need to continue to deliver the stimulus to which we are mutually committed and begin to look ahead to exit strategies and move to a more sustainable fiscal track, consistent with continued recovery.
With respect to financial reform, obviously that was an issue, a major issue of discussion. We discussed capital adequacy. We are agreed and committed to working closely together to ensure among other things that, to the extent a financial crisis is caused by financial institutions, we should let the financial institutions bear the costs of their contribution to those crises.
We are agreed on the timetable which we established asking the IMF to report back to us in April. We had a good, lengthy discussion on issues relating to development, with respect to responsibility, of course, for the Millennium Development Goals, especially maternal health care and child health care. We discussed both resources and reform of international financial institutions to support the poorest in the world.
We had discussions concerning the recent tragedy in Haiti. Unprecedented damage caused by the earthquake requires an exceptional response. We agreed that Haitiís recovery should not be burdened by debt.
We are committed in the G7 to the forgiveness of debt. In fact, all bilateral debt has been forgiven by G7 countries vis-ŗ-vis Haiti. The debt to multilateral institutions should be forgiven and weíll work with these institutions and other partners to make this happen as soon as possible.
We discussed the long term reconstruction assistance that Haiti will need as it emerges from the current urgent situation as a result of the earthquake.
Finally, with respect to the future of the G7, we had a very good fireside chat on that subject. I think our meeting has reaffirmed the proven role of the G7 as the first responder in an economic crisis, as a sounding board for common challenges and as a forum, quite frankly, for the largest aid donors in the world.
We look forward to our next meeting on the margins of the usual spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, which take place annually in April.
The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada, today highlighted the need to focus on continuing fiscal and financial cooperation, following through on development commitments and assisting in the reconstruction of Haiti at this weekend’s meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors.
“This meeting will not revolve around negotiated communiqués and scripted text—it will be a time for frank discussion and a collective determination to help put the global economy firmly on the road to recovery,” said Minister Flaherty. “As the recent global crisis made clear, when the G7 Plan of Action served as the foundation for the G20 Washington Action Plan and all that followed, the G7 still has a vital role to play, even as it continues to evolve. This meeting will make an important contribution to these efforts, in a truly breathtaking part of Canada. ”
“I am delighted to join Minister Flaherty in welcoming the G7 to the land of my birth. The spirit of the North—resilience, resourcefulness and a profound sense of community—embodies the best of the G7. Through frank, open discussion, this meeting should advance the objectives of the broader global community to secure strong, sustainable and balanced growth,” said Governor Carney.
The Iqaluit agenda will begin with a working dinner on the current state of the global economy and international financial markets, including continued risks to the emerging worldwide recovery. It will be followed by a fireside chat including finance ministers and central bank governors on the future role of the G7.
Saturday’s schedule will begin with a candid discussion on financial sector reforms and the need for coordinated efforts by G7 nations to address the underlying causes of the financial crisis, such as a consensus on capital standards. It will be followed by a session on the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth, which was endorsed by all G20 nations at the Pittsburgh leaders’ summit to address global imbalances. The meeting will conclude with a working lunch on development and other issues, with a particular focus on the ongoing need to assist Haiti with reconstruction.
Minister Flaherty added that, as G7 Chair, Canada will use the meeting as an opportunity to highlight the contribution Canada has made to the global economic recovery—a financial system widely recognized as the world’s soundest, a substantial but temporary stimulus program that goes well beyond G20 commitments to create and maintain jobs, significant and ongoing support for vital international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and unilateral tariff reductions that reinforce Canada’s commitment to open markets.
“The G7 cannot play the role it once did, but it can and it must continue to lead by example in whatever role it will play in the future,” said Minister Flaherty. “The first responders to the recent crisis were G7 members, and it was the result of the same frank and open dialogue we intend to have here in Iqaluit. The group’s role in preventing the next crisis must be just as determined, with benefits that go far beyond G7 members themselves. The G7 will continue to evolve in an ever-changing world, while contributing to a more stable and prosperous world for all.”___________________________________
Office of the Minister of Finance
Department of Finance
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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced that Iqaluit, Nunavut, will be the site of the Meeting of G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on February 5-6. The event will be the first of a series of important global meetings in Canada in 2010, leading to the G8 and G20 Leaders' summits in June.
"The February meeting will return to the G7's roots with a more frank and focused dialogue," said Minister Flaherty. "In an ever-changing global economy, the G7 will continue to evolve, with a focus not on paper but on people—not on communiqués and accords, but on constructive dialogue on actions to strengthen the global economy."
"At such an important and challenging time, I could think of no better location for an international meeting focused on collaboration to resolve shared challenges," said Minister Aglukkaq. "Throughout its long history, the people of Nunavut and all of Canada's North have demonstrated a community spirit and steadfast determination to overcome adversity. The strength and resilience found in this region are an essential part of what defines Canada, which is why I am so pleased that G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors will soon experience it first-hand."
The meeting's discussions will include a number of key issues that have been at the heart of international meetings throughout the global economic and financial crisis, such as:
Media accreditation and other logistical details for the February 5-6 G7 meeting will be made available at a later date.