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Remarks from Prime Minister Harper at the opening of the G-8 Summit in Huntsville, ON.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as Chair of the G-8 Summit, made the following remarks on the opening of the Summit:

“Let me begin by welcoming you to Canada and to beautiful Muskoka, Ontario. I know we have much work to do in the hours ahead, but I do hope you are able to pause for at least a few moments and take in the natural beauty and hospitality for which this region of Canada is so well known.

“I’d like to offer a special welcome to our new attendees here at the G-8 meetings this year, prime ministers Cameron and Kan and also van Rompuy. Also, I would like to extend a special welcome to our African colleagues. I am glad that once again we are able to build on the G-8’s strong tradition of outreach to African partners.

“Later this week, some of us here will join our colleagues in the G-20. In the meantime, however, there is nothing that can substitute for the wide-ranging, frank and intimate discussions that occur between old allies and long-time friends.

“With this in mind, our Muskoka agenda will focus on some urgent issues, including peace and security, development challenges and, our number one priority, maternal and child health.

“We will discuss the Muskoka Initiative — a commitment of new resources to mobilize global action in reducing maternal and infant mortality and improving health of mothers and children in the world’s poorest countries.

“I should mention that I’ve announced Canada’s new contribution today, bringing our total contribution to nearly $3 billion over the next five years.

“Next, we will look at a range of peace and security issues: nuclear non-proliferation, Iran and North Korea, terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking.

“To enhance the credibility and effectiveness of the G-8, we will be holding a productive debate on strengthening accountability. We must follow through on our initiatives and meet our commitments

“Because if the G-8 fails to address the most difficult problems facing the world, no one else will

“Let me repeat that: accountability is key. We must follow through on our initiatives, and meet our commitments.

“If the countries with the greatest resources will not take action on the most urgent global issues, who will?

“The world wants more than good intentions from us; it expects action.

“Thank you for being here, and I look forward, colleagues, to our discussions on these important matters.

“Thank you.”

Julie Carmichael    6/26/2010


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