Canada's finance minister said Thursday countries calling for a global bank tax are not focusing on the most important issues in worldwide financial reform.

Jim Flaherty made his remarks to the Toronto Board of Trade two days before the city hosts world leaders at the G20 summit.


Flaherty says Canada already taxes its banks quite heavily. ((Jim Ross/Canadian Press))

Flaherty said the countries calling for the tax, such as Britain and the United States, used taxpayer money for bank bailouts, but Canada already taxes its banks quite heavily, and there is no need for a punitive tax in this country.

Australia, Brazil, Japan, and South Korea also are opposed to the tax proposal.

Flaherty said the tax would take funds away from banks' ability to lend at a time when lending is crucial to help boost the recovery.

"Is there going to be a global bank tax? No," Flaherty told a news conference afterward. 

"Why isn't there going to be a bank tax? Because the majority of countries in the G20 don't want it. "

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said Canada plans to use its role as host of the summit to focus attention on what his government regards as a more important issue: the need to reduce national deficits.

With files from The Canadian Press