What’s on the agenda for G8/G20?

Prior to the G8, Prime Minister Harper will hold bilateral with President Hu from China on June 24th who is in Canada for a state visit. The visit will mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and China. Bilateral trade now stands at $50 Billion between the two countries. It is expected that PM Harper will raise the importance of China’s role in helping to bring stability and security to the Korean peninsula as one of the few nations that talks to North Korea and as a permanent member nation of the UN security council.

On June 27th, PM Harper will host bilateral with Indian PM Singh in Toronto. PM Harper will look to build upon agreements signed during last meeting in India which addressed economic partnership and energy cooperation.

Focus of the G8 for the government of Canada:
– focus on achieving 2015 United Nations Millennium Development Goals (halving extreme poverty levels, cutting the spread of HIV/AIDS)
– nuclear non-proliferation and continuing work achieved at non-proliferation treaty review conference in NYC and Nuclear Security Summit in DC. Focus specifically on keeping nuclear arms out of the hands of terrorists.
– Recognition that Iran and North Korea continue to pose threats to global security.
– International cooperation on fighting Latin American, Caribbean, West African and Asian transnational criminal networks.
– Muskoka Initiative on maternal, newborn and child health.
– Progress in Afghanistan, in Pakistan and in the Middle East on combatting terrorism and its link to organized crime and drug trafficking
– G8 leaders will join seven African leaders as well as the leaders of Colombia, Haiti and Jamaica in order to discuss the interlinkages of crime and terror networks.

G20 priorities for Canada:
– G20 should restore public finance while maintaining economic growth in order to achieve global economic recovery.
– Canada implores G20 nations to tackle fiscal consolidation, reduce debt, reduce deficits and for countries to return to balanced budgets
– address root causes of global economic crisis
– fully implement stimulus plans
– prepare fiscal consolidation measures
– resist protectionism
– promote open markets
– continue reforms to financial and regulatory systems
– continue governance reforms to international financial institutions and multilateral development banks
– call upon the international financial institutions and multilateral development banks

English, French and Punjabi?

Canada’s three official languages will be English, French and Punjabi should Jack Layton become Prime Minister according to the Indian Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

From the Indian government’s website:

Toronto, Sep 29 Canadian opposition leader Jack Layton has promised support for a new visa office in Mumbai and official status for the Punjabi language in Canada if he becomes prime minister after the Oct 14 polls.

Jack, whose New Democratic Party (NDP) has fielded a record 14 Indian Canadian candidates to woo the million-strong community, said his party will also roll back a newly passed immigration bill that the community finds discriminatory.

India will be a priority nation for his government if it comes to power and he will visit New Delhi at the earliest, Layton said in an interview.

UPDATE: Not true, says a spokesperson for the NDP who contacted me a few minutes ago via email. Turns out the reporter got the story wrong.

UPDATE: The NDP has been pounding the pavement to get this clarified on this side of the Pacific. From the author of the article,

Subject: from Gurmukh Singh, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), New Delhi

Clarification: Since the word ‘official’ in my report has caused confusion, let me explain it from our Indian perspective.

In India, an “official'” language does not become a “national” language. The acceptance of a language by the government makes it “official”, not a national language.

So Hindi and English are link languages (but never mentioned as national languages in the Indian Constitution), and 21 other languages are our official languages (but not national languages).

So my use of the word “official” might have been confused with the word “national” by some people. But that was not my intention.

All I wanted to know from Jack Layton was whether he will give some kind of recognition to the Punjabi language as it has been here for about a hundred years. Not the status of a national language.

Jack also didn’t promise anything except say that he will support any idea of such a recognition if his party is voted into power.