Archived - The Challenge Ahead at the G-7

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May 26, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario

The following commentary by Finance Minister Joe Oliver was published in today’s National Post:

This week, I will meet with my fellow G-7 Finance Ministers in Dresden, Germany to discuss challenges to the global economy. We are coming together at a critical time. Only a few short years ago we faced the Great Recession—the worst economic downturn since the 1930s.

In its wake has come one of the weakest global recoveries we have ever experienced. The IMF forecasts global growth to be 3.5 per cent this year, only slightly up from 3.4 per cent in 2014. What little global growth we have enjoyed has been disappointing and uneven.

Growth in the Eurozone has improved recently, but is subject to uncertainty. The IMF is talking about the "new mediocre." Once-mighty growth in China is decelerating and while Japan has emerged from a recession, it is still struggling to find momentum. Geopolitical strife—in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere—is exacerbating downside risks, and the Greek fiscal crisis is as yet unresolved.

For the welfare of our people and for future generations, we must work together to confront challenges and create jobs and growth. This must be our top priority at the G-7.

This week, I intend to push hard for the G-7 to deliver on promised action, in particular the Brisbane Action Plan at the G-20 Summit last year. Central to that plan is a “two in five” target: raise collective GDP above current projections by at least 2.1 per cent over the next five years, which would add $2 trillion to the global economy. To reach that goal, all G-20 members submitted detailed growth strategies laying out the path to their targets.

We know the overall path to prosperity—address the need for fundamental structural reform, appropriately coordinate fiscal and monetary policy and ensure sound public finances through a credible path to fiscal balance. Through this course we can foster investor and consumer confidence and empower investments that generate sustainable growth.

I believe Canada’s example can inspire others to do what is necessary: focus on jobs and growth, drive down personal and business taxes, constrain structural government expenditures, responsibly grow essential social services, invest in infrastructure and move to a balanced budget. In that way we can heed the International Monetary Fund’s call to truly transform 2015 into the year of action.

Strengthening the global recovery remains our immediate concern. That is the task I will be pursuing with my international colleagues this week.

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Melissa Lantsman
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Finance
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David Barnabe
Media Relations
Department of Finance
613-369-4000

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