Bad Blood & the G20


Real life - in the form of a civilian hell in Syria is intruding on the plans of the G20 leaders, so much so that they have converged on Russia with their foreign ministers now in tow. With geo-politics askew ... what happens to the economic questions? We're turning to an architect of the G20 summits for some perspective and hear from former Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"I don't think we should ... fool ourselves. This is G7 plus one. That's what this is. G7 plus one. Mr. Putin and his government are supporting the thugs of the Assad regime for their own reasons that I do not think are justifiable and Mr. Putin knows my view on that. But we will not -- unless there's a big shift of position on his part -- we're not going to get a common position with him".

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn't even try to hide his frustration with Russia's Vladimir Putin at last June's G8 summit. And last night, before he even landed in Russia for the G20, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird continued to voice Canada's displeasure with Russia, suggesting Mr. Putin's policies have enabled the Assad regime.

"This is going to dominate this economic conference. Russia's intractability to work with others on this issue, in some respects the heart of the problem".

John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs


Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird speaks with
media about the situation in Syria during the
flight to the G20 in Russia. (CP/Adrian Wyld)

John Baird, and all G20 foreign ministers, weren't even supposed to be part of the summit. They were all hastily added to the roster because of the ongoing crisis in Syria.

Geo-politics is casting large shadows on this economic summit. President Obama and G20 host Russian President Vladimir Putin are eyeball to eyeball over Syria. And then there's the matter of the U.S. National Security Agency allegedly spying on some of the attending leaders.

Paul Martin: Time to expand the role of the G20 — CBC News (2010)

Former Prime Minister Paul Martin knows firsthand what it's like to look for concessions where there seems to be only divisions. He is an architect of the G20. He joined us from Montreal.

For more insight into what may or may not be accomplished at the G20, we were joined by two guests attending the summit.

  • John Kirton is the founder of the G20 Research Group at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. He feels the G20's economic goals won't be derailed by Syria or other tensions because leaders are dedicated to follow through on G20 promises.

What are your thoughts on the G20?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal and Vanessa Greco.

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