Letter to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Re: possible hearings on the G8 - June 2, 2009

June 2, 2009

Ms. Angela Crandall
Clerk of the Committee
Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6
Dear Ms. Crandall:
We are writing to request that the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE) consider holding hearings and cross-Canada consultations this fall on the Canadian Group of Eight (G8) agenda for 2010. As you know, Canada will host the G8 in Huntsville, Ontario, from June 25-27, 2010.

In February 1995 and again in January 2002, the then Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade held several months of hearings on the G7/G8 agenda in the lead-up to the Halifax and Kananaskis Summits. The Committee released reports, based on those hearings, a few weeks prior to the Summit. In both cases, the Committee traveled across the country to solicit the views of different stakeholders, responding to the perceived importance for a constructive and participatory engagement of Canadians in the process for Canada’s G8.

Like Kananaskis and Halifax before it, 2009-2010 is an important time to consult with Canadians. The G8 Summit will mark the first major meeting since the conclusion of the Copenhagen conference on climate change; 2010 is two-thirds of the way towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals; and countries in the North and South will likely still be grappling with the impacts of a global recession.

Setting Canada’s G8 agenda for 2010 is an important and unique moment for Parliamentarians to engage with Canadians on some of the most important global issues facing our planet and our future. To be consequential, we feel it would be important to hold the hearings sufficiently early. In the final reports produced for both Kananaskis and Halifax, Committee members expressed disappointment that the hearings and report came out too late to inform the Summit. An early set of hearings could bring these views to the attention of the government at a more formative stage.

Given the existing precedent and the Committee’s own past recognition of the need for a process that starts early, we would like to encourage FAAE to consider holding hearings starting in October, with a view to producing its final report by January.

We would appreciate it if you could circulate this letter to all the members of FAAE

Yours sincerely,

Gerry Barr                                                                
Canadian Council for International Co-operation                                              

Graham Saul
Executive Director
Climate Action Network

Catherine Coumans                                                  
Halifax Initiative coalition                                

Dennis Howlett
Make Poverty History
On behalf of the 2010 G8 Canadian Civil Society Coordinating Committee[1]

Cc:    Kevin Sorenson, Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Bernard Patry, Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Francine Lalonde, Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

[1] The 2010 G8 Canadian Civil Society Coordinating Committee is a working group of development, environment, faith-based, health, human rights, and labour groups and networks working to ensure constructive citizen engagement on global issues around the 2010 G8. Its members include the following organizations: Africa Canada Forum, Amnesty International, AQOCI, Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, Canadian Council for International Co-operation, Canadian Crossroads International, Canadian Global Campaign for Education (CGCE), Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Society for International Health, Climate Action Network Canada, G8 2010 Interfaith Partnership, Global Treatment Access Group, Halifax Initiative Coalition, Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development, KAIROS – Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Make Poverty History Canada, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam Québec, The Pembina Institute, Plan Canada, RESULTS Canada, Save the Children Canada, UNICEF Canada, World Vision Canada.