Justin Trudeau lauds La Malbaie as 'ideal location' for next G7 summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke in La Malbaie today, the site of next year's G7 summit. He says the solution to security challenges there is planning and "partnership with the local community."

PM pays visit to Quebec town ahead of next year's global meeting

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and La Malbaie Mayor Michel Couturier stand on the pier in La Malbaie, Quebec on Thursday. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to concerns about security challenges that could arise at next year's G7 in the Charlevoix, saying the solution is a collaboration with local authorities. 

"We really see it as a partnership with the local community, the people here," he said in a news conference in La Malbaie, Que., today visiting the town where the summit is to be held.

"There are several models, we saw how it was in Taormina and Kananaskis, which resembles a little more what we can do in the Charlevoix."

Trudeau was referring to Kananaskis Country, Alta., the park in the foothills of the Rockies where the G8 summit was held in 2002. Security costs for that summit were more than $200 million, according to a University of Toronto study.

"We will spend responsibly, while making sure everyone is safe," the prime minister said.

He added that gender equality would top the agenda, saying it's something he wants to highlight "both at home and abroad."

Trudeau met the mayor of La Malbaie and local business and tourism representatives this morning. He said the town is an "ideal location" for the global meeting.

La Malbaie, a town of about 9,000 people, is 150 kilometres northeast of Quebec City and accessible by a two-lane highway, by rail on a tourist train and by water.

A security expert recently described the challenge facing law enforcement as a "beautiful nightmare."

"You will have to make a big security setup here because you have the St. Lawrence River, you have the railroad. They will have to look at the logistics at all levels — transportation, communications, lodging, food," said Jean Racine, a retired Surêté du Québec officer who provided security over 28 years for eight Quebec premiers.

"Every year, the G7 is an opportunity to take stock of our progress on the world stage," Trudeau said. "Canada as a host will be in a unique position to advance our priorities."

The Manoir Richelieu sits above the St-Lawrence in the Charlevoix region. (Photo: Fairmont Hotels)

A crowd formed around Trudeau as he made his way from the Manoir Richelieu to the podium through a row of white Adirondack chairs. He stopped to shake hands, chat and take pictures.

The G7 comprises the seven richest economies in the world, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"In 2018, eyes will be fixed on the Charlevoix, a magnificent and ideal location in the image of our country, to welcome world leaders," the prime minister said.

It will mark the sixth time that Canada has hosted the meetings, including in the Muskoka region of Ontario in 2010, Alberta's Kananaskis in 2002 and Halifax in 1995.

with files from The Canadian Press