G8-G20 summits fall flat, ignore call for sustainable future
This month “Fortress Toronto”, with its 18,000 strong security forces and four kilometer chain link fence, bore witness to a Peoples’ Summit ripe with ideas and alternatives, petitions signed by 1.75 million asking leaders to invest in the future now, a 25,000 strong peaceful protest, media stunts galore, some regrettable violence, and two deeply disappointing summits.
IMF, European Union look to bail out Greece
Greece’s debt crisis is finally coming to a head, with International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to deal with the country’s deficit and heavy debt load being hammered out in Athens. The European Union and the IMF are negotiating the terms of a bailout as fears mount that Greece’s crisis could soon spread to other countries in Europe and beyond. Other nations carrying significant debt loads, including the United States, are concerned that the Greek crisis is a harbinger of things to come, closer to home.
Government accountability bill returns to the House
On March 3, the Governor General will open a new session of Parliament, ending the recess created when the Harper government prorogued the previous session in December. All legislation that was under consideration at that time was extinguished, with the exception of private members’ bills, which return to the House, unscathed. These bills begin anew at whichever stage of the legislative process they had reached before the plug was pulled on Parliament.
Hon. James Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Department of Finance Canada
140 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G5
Hon. Lawrence Cannon
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G2
1st February 2010
Ref: Immediate debt cancellation for Haiti
Dear Ministers Flaherty and Cannon,
We are writing to commend the government’s efforts to date to mobilise emergency assistance for disaster relief in Haiti and for speaking to the urgency and importance of debt cancellation for the country. The call to cancel Haiti’s remaining multilateral debt, including last week’s highly concessional $102 million loan from the IMF, benefits from a strong Canadian voice. We urge you to keep demonstrating such leadership in the government’s interventions at the Bretton Woods Institutions, and at Haiti’s largest multilateral creditor, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
CSOs push for Common Approaches revamp
Members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are currently reviewing a 2007 Council Recommendation regarding export credit agency (ECA) operations. The Recommendation on Common Approaches on the Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits (Common Approaches) is a “gentlemen’s agreement” that seeks to establish a level playing field regarding ECA environmental practice. CSOs argue that the Recommendation’s impact is undermined by the lack of effective accountability mechanisms to ensure consistent and effective application by member governments.