Canada hopes G7 summit to be springboard for new ideas
OTTAWA — Canada hopes the upcoming G7 summit it is hosting will serve as a springboard for fresh ideas on key issues including climate change, the global economy and security, the lead organizer told AFP.
"The G7 serves well as a proving or testing ground for discussions that could eventually go into the G20 or the United Nations or international financial institutions," Peter Boehm, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's G7 representative, said in an interview with AFP.
"The beauty of these summits is that there is informal dialogue between leaders," said Boehm, who has participated in several past summits.
Canada assumed the G7 presidency at the start of January and will host the leaders of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States in the picturesque resort village of La Malbaie on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River from June 8-9.
The agenda for the 44th Group of Seven industrialized nations summit includes advancing gender equality and women's empowerment, the implementation of the Paris climate agreement, and the global economy.
Boehm said the discussion on climate change will "inevitably include energy and renewable forms of energy" and "more broadly the resilience of coastal communities."
"We've seen a very bad hurricane season," he noted. "Many of the islands affected by these terrible hurricanes have lost their tourism economies." Protectionism and trade tensions between the major powers will also be a hot topic, Boehm said.
US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and his insistence on renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are likely to come up again, after fueling tensions at the last summit in Italy.
And the topic of gender equality will thread through the entire summit, after allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against now-disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein prompted hundreds of women to speak out on sexual misconduct by powerful men.