Good morning, Chair. Thank you for inviting me here to discuss Canada's G-8 and G-20 summits that were held in June.
This will come as no surprise to you that we consider 2010 to be Canada's international year. Hosting a meeting of the world's top political leaders is a huge undertaking and an activity that is extraordinary to any regular government operations. The host must shepherd the process of setting an agenda, must ensure all delegates will be housed and fed when they arrive, that media will be able to cover the event, and, most importantly, that all who participate are safe and secure.
Every foreign leader comes with a large group of delegates. While they are responsible for their own accommodation expenses, we nonetheless must plan for this massive influx of people and ensure the seamless delivery of two important international events.
In the House I have repeatedly heard opposition members minimize the significance of G-8 and G-20 summits, calling them a two-day event. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, I take issue with that claim because it does not even begin to describe the full scope of what we accomplished.
Indeed, our work began as far back as 2008, when we began laying the groundwork for our highly successful events. To develop the final summits' agenda, from December 2009 to June 2010 the Department of Foreign Affairs summits management office organized 29 preparatory meetings across Canada for officials from G-8 and G-20 countries, including three ministerial meetings.
Our government spearheaded and hosted the ministerial preparatory conference on Haiti in Montreal, which was put together less than two weeks after Haiti's devastating earthquake in January.
I called upon our Summits Management Office to organize this meeting, and my officials rose to the challenge admirably and delivered a flawless meeting.
In addition to the G8 and G20 leaders' summits, Canada played host to two other major international events. As soon as the G8 Summit ended, Summits Management officials turned to supporting the B20 Business Leaders' Summit which was hosted by the Honourable John Manley of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives in Toronto in the hours before the G20 Summit began.
Meanwhile the official youth summit, known as My Summit 2010, started two days ahead of the G-8 summit and lasted through to the end of the G-20 summit, with activities in Muskoka as well as in Toronto. University-level delegates from around the world observed the summit process, engaged in their own summit on themes of global importance, and met senior officials, leaders, and other dignitaries. More than 150 future global leaders came to Canada for this youth summit, and we obviously fed them as well as housed them throughout their stay.
Canada also distinguished itself through spearheading the Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Initiative with a $2.8 billion contribution over five years to make significant and tangible differences in the lives of the world's most vulnerable people.
In total, we hosted four summits. By hosting these summits the weekend of June 25, 26, and 27, the summit management office used the same airport and the same international media centre. Most notably, we used the same core planning staff of about 200 people in the lead-up, and around 600 joined the actual summits themselves.
We must also consider the scope of our outreach and leadership. Canada invited more than 30 delegations beyond those already in the G-8 and the G-20, welcoming new voices to the table. Close to 5,000 officials and over 3,700 media applied for accreditation.
In closing, colleagues, I would like to reiterate once again that hosting summits such as these is extraordinary to any government's daily operations, but Canada met the challenge and fulfilled the responsibility that comes with global leadership. We have been fully transparent in the disclosure of the costs of these duties to a degree never seen before, not in Canada, nor among any other international hosts of such summits.