CBC Digital Archives

G6 Summit excludes Canada in 1975

It began in 1975 as an exclusive intellectual retreat where leaders of the world's industrial powers could discuss common interests face to face. What is now the annual G8 economic summit has been criticized as an expensive, media-oriented display that yields few tangible accomplishments. As Canada plays host for the fifth time in 2010, CBC Digital Archives looks back at the preparations, the players and the protests when the world's wealthiest power brokers came calling in 1981, 1988, 1995 and 2002.

Like a kid brother trying to break into his bigger siblings' treehouse, Canada is anxious to join a 1975 summit of the world's six most powerful industrial nations. Leaders of the six - Britain, France, Italy, West Germany, Japan and the United States - are meeting in a castle outside Paris to exchange their views on economic issues that affect them all amidst a crushing recession. In this CBC Radio report, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau says the French president and summit founder Valery Giscard d'Estaing did not invite Canada because he wanted to keep things small.
• According to the Globe and Mail of Nov. 1, 1975, the United States lobbied heavily for Canada to attend the three-day summit after invitations went out that October. U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said Canada's presence there was "crucial," but d'Estaing declined to extend an invitation to Canada. • The summit took place at a chateau in the town of Rambouillet, south of Paris. According to the Nov. 17, 1975 Globe and Mail, a spokesman said the six nations had held "precise, fruitful and in-depth" negotiations. They agreed set new guidelines for currency exchange rates and world trade and pledged to reduce unemployment.

• During the conference, Pierre Trudeau appeared in an interview on French TV about the summit. "I believe it was a sort of misunderstanding that will be straightened out in the future," he said. "Certainly Canada would have liked to be present. I know that the other participants, except France, wanted this as well."

• Canada was present at the next economic summit in 1976 in Puerto Rico. As summit host, U.S. President Gerald Ford invited Canada so that the meetings would have another North American member to balance all the European nations.

Medium: Radio
Program: Sunday Magazine
Broadcast Date: Nov. 16, 1975
Guest(s): Rupert Cornwall, Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Reporter: David Halton
Duration: 10:17
Photo: Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press

Last updated: February 24, 2012

Page consulted on December 5, 2013

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