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Photo credit: Maclean's

Germany will assume the G20 presidency on December 1, drawing to a close an ambitious and productive year with China at the helm. As we look ahead, the Canadian government will be seeking opportunities to further advance G20 work in fostering an inclusive and sustainable global economy that works in the interest of all citizens. We will continue to look to our stakeholders, including the B20, for ideas to help get us there.

The handover to Germany presents a chance for us to reflect on this year’s accomplishments and challenges. I believe Canada has shown strong leadership internationally in championing a progressive agenda that reflects the value we place on inclusive growth principles, including gender equality and respect for diversity, as well as the principle of environmental stewardship, to ensure that we are taking appropriate action to address climate change as we pursue our economic growth targets. We have called on our G20 partners to join us in pursuing concrete initiatives to advance these goals.

Prime Minister Trudeau has emphasized at home and abroad his commitment to invest in innovation and social infrastructure to drive future growth, support the middle class, and facilitate access for SMEs to global value chains. The G20’s success in delivering meaningful results in these areas will be the yardstick by which our global leadership is judged. While today the G20 does not face the global economic crisis that necessitated its creation, our economies will continue to lag behind their potential unless we are able to implement real reforms aimed at leveling the playing field, and extending the benefits of trade and the digital economy to all people. We have recognized that part of the solution lies in empowering all our citizens, particularly women and youth, whose important contributions to society and the economy are often undervalued. We can start by securing access to digital and financial resources for all, and by mainstreaming an approach that allows us to address inequalities through concrete policy measures.

Looking ahead to Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2017, and Argentina’s in 2018, we should be considering collectively what we hope to achieve over the medium to long term. We will want to propose fresh ideas that focus the G20’s work and steer it towards innovative and progressive outcomes, building on the narrative Canada put forward in 2016. I believe the B20, together with other engagement groups, has a central role to play in this effort, by continuing to put forward thoughtful recommendations and by holding G20 Leaders to account.

Germany, for example, has indicated a desire to address the global displacement and migration crisis that has posed significant challenges in recent months. No country knows better than Canada the valuable social and economic contributions refugees and migrants have to offer. How can Canada best engage with our G20 partners to inform a coordinated global response?

While in Hangzhou, Prime Minister Trudeau laid down the challenge to the B20 to ensure greater representation among its ranks of women and youth. I believe Canada has the capacity to lead this effort. The B20 has made advances in recent years to better connect with young and emerging entrepreneurs, which has enhanced the richness of the dialogue process with Leaders. I am confident that such a dynamic group of business leaders can find the means to achieve gender balance and create a culture that promotes women’s leadership.

I applaud the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s work this year in engaging your Chinese counterparts within the B20 and helping identify compelling recommendations for our G20 Leaders. As we advance under the German G20 presidency in 2017, I will continue to rely on your help to inform Canadian priorities and positions.

Vincent Rigby
G20 Sherpa to the Prime Minister

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