Iqaluit to host G7 finance meeting

Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, will host a major meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors in early February.

The capital of Nunavut will host a major meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors in February, federal officials announced Wednesday.

The Iqaluit meeting, slated for Feb. 5-6, will be the first of a series of important finance meetings to be held in Canada in 2010, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters in Ottawa.

It will be followed by the G8 and G20 leaders' summits to be held in June.

Flaherty said the G7 colleagues he spoke to in Italy last summer all expressed interest in travelling to Canada's Far North for the February meeting.

"We have to limit the size of the delegations so that we can use Iqaluit, but I'm really looking forward to showing my colleagues from around the world the beauty of the Canadian Arctic in February," he said.

"It's spectacularly pristine and gorgeous. And yes, it's very cold."

Flaherty was joined by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, the Conservative MP for Nunavut, at Wednesday's announcement.

The meeting will include discussion on actions to strengthen the global economy, ways of following through on financial sector reforms, and ways to strengthen international financial institutions.

G7 members include Canada, the United States, Britain, France and Germany, Italy and Japan.

Flaherty, who last visited Iqaluit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in August, acknowledged that his counterparts from countries such as France, Japan and Italy may be shocked by Canada's cold winter conditions, especially in the Far North.

"I promised I would get them big coats and dress them properly," he said.

Flaherty said he is also not fazed by the possibility that a February blizzard could affect travel to and from the Nunavut captial.

"I've been stuck in a blizzard in Toronto in February," he remarked. "I mean, this is Canada, after all."