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NEWS: A billion dollar austerity summit?

The Canwest News Service reports that, “Coming up with a plan to reduce deficits and debt is a priority for the upcoming G20 meetings in Toronto, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Friday.”

The article notes, “During the G20 meetings June 25 to 27 in Toronto, pressure will be put on some countries ‘to make sure they come up with a plan to reduce spending to reduce deficits and debt – and not only to come up with a plan but then execute and implement the plan and make sure markets have confidence in that. So that would be a primary emphasis of the G20 meetings.'”

The CBC reported in January that, “Ottawa will face structural budget deficits well into the future even after the Canadian economy returns to normal levels of expansion, suggests a report from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO).”

“The PBO is forecasting structural deficits ranging between $12.5 billion and $18.9 billion for each of the next five fiscal years.”

“A structural deficit describes a portion of a country’s budget deficit that exists even when the economy is running at full capacity during a period of expansion. …A structural deficit happens when the shortfall between income and spending becomes systemic and normally requires deliberate action – typically either tax increases or spending cuts – to rectify.”

The G20 has already decided against a global bank tax and it’s clear that the business agenda is about spending cuts (on public services, of course, not business priorities).

CTV reported in early-June that, “In partnership with the government, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) is co-coordinating and hosting a G20 business summit – dubbed the B20 – that will begin on the eve of the June 26-27 leaders’ summit in Toronto.”

“Prime Minister Stephen Harper has written the other Group of 20 leaders to tell them about the B20, and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has asked each of his counterparts to send two top business leaders to the gathering. The global CEOs will make themselves available June 26 to questions from the G20 finance ministers…”

It is already clear that the billion dollar summits are about a ‘business as usual’ agenda, and will not bring us climate, trade and water justice.

To add your name to ‘scrap the summits’ demand, go to http://canadians.org/action/2010/scrap-summit.html.

Today’s Canwest News Service article is at http://www.montrealgazette.com/story.html?id=3146072.

More on structural deficits at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2654.