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UPDATE: The Council to counter the G8 in Huntsville

Although a government or two may fall in the fourteen months between now and then, the G8 summit on June 25-27, 2010 is expected to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcome US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to the Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, which is located 200 kilometres north of Toronto.
Stephen Harper has already said, “As hosts, our government will have considerable say over the agenda. It will be a tremendous opportunity to promote Canada’s values and interests; to advocate for open markets and trade opportunities; to assist on global action against global warming; and to champion values like freedom, democracy and human rights and the rule of law.”

The Council of Canadians has started to explore ways to have the concerns we share with millions around the world heard at this summit.

Our messaging would focus on the trade, energy and water agenda of the G8, and on their failed neo-liberal strategies to the global economic crisis.

While it might read as ‘first we take Montebello, then we take Huntsville’, we are looking at:

1. holding a public forum with Maude Barlow in Toronto on Thursday June 24, the eve of the G8 summit

2. circulating a petition to our membership (estimate 10,000-plus signatures), plus launching web-actions such as action alerts

3. organizing a march or rally, as close as we can get to Huntsville

4. sending a canoe flotilla to the summit’s shores

5. producing fact sheets and articles with our analysis of the G8, as well doing extensive media work.

We have also noted that the Canadian Council of Churches is organizing a counter-summit in late-June to coincide with the G8. They anticipate that South Africa’s Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama will be at the multi-faith ‘G8 Religious Leaders Summit’ at the University of Winnipeg.

This conference will bring religious leaders together “for three days of dialogue devoted to advancing the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the G8 countries in 2000.” One of the UN’s MDGs is to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

Trade campaigner Stuart Trew will be representing us at a planning meeting with non-governmental organizations working on this issue (including Amnesty International, Oxfam International, the Ontario Council for International Cooperation, and Canadian Crossroads International) in Toronto this morning. Council staff will be meeting on April 28 to further discuss our intervention against the G8 agenda. We will have ongoing updates as counter-event planning progresses.

More on the G8 Religious Leaders Summit at http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/release-080908

To read more about the Deerhurst Resort, the site of the G8 summit, you can go to http://www.deerhurstresort.com/

The Prime Minister’s announcement that Canada will host the 2010 G8 Summit in Huntsville is at http://pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=2155