Working Together for a Better World; Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien Writes for the Birmingham Post on His Country's Hopes for the G8 Summit
Chretien, Jean, The Birmingham Post (England)
For me, the Summit is one of the most important opportunities for international consultation and co-operation on Canada's multilateral agenda. In an environment of increasing globalisation, I consider the Summit one of the most important tools for buildi ng global economic, social and political stability.
Decisions on the format and focus of each summit are firmly guided by the host government and I commend this year's host, Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for continuing the trend of recent years of streamlining the summit and challenging us with economic iss ues that are truly global and timely.
The Canadian government has been working hard to get our house in order to create an environment that will stimulate economic growth and job creation. As a result, Canada's economy is in better shape now than it has been in 25 years.
In February this year, Canada tabled its first balanced budget in almost 30 years - a dramatic improvement on the $42 billion (Can) deficit Canada recorded in 1993-94. Inflation in Canada is also at its lowest sustained level in three decades. Together w ith the sound public finances now in place, this will help maintain the low interest rates that have revived job creation and economic growth in Canada. More than one million jobs have been created over the last four years and 372,000 new jobs were creat ed in 1997 alone - all full time and all in the private sector. In March of this year Canada's unemployment rate stood at 8.5 per cent - its lowest level since September 1990.
The financial decisions we in government had to make to achieve these results were not always easy ones. Canada had to cut its spending dramatically to achieve a balanced budget.
Canada can also credit a good portion of its growth and job creation success to our expanding trade. In Canada more than one in three jobs depends, directly or indirectly, on exports. I am in Birmingham to talk to my G8 colleagues about the need to expan d trade liberalisation and strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system.
A particular concern for me at Birmingham is the serious social and economic falut created by the recent Asian financial turbulence. Although Southeast Asia remains one of the most dynamic regions of the world, co-ordinated global co-operation will be es sential to the region's recovery. …