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Canada cancels Iraq debt

Chris

Well-Known TRIBEr
Canada cancels Iraq debt
Last Updated Fri, 23 Jan 2004 10:48:00
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND - Canada has agreed to wipe out its share of the $120-billion US debt owed by Iraq, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced Friday at the World Economic Forum of business leaders in Davos, Switzerland.

In announcing that Canada was cancelling its $750-million share of the debt to help put the war-torn country on a "better foundation" for economic development, Martin also called on world leaders to take a more active role to help the world's poorest nations.

Martin told world leaders they have the power to make changes that will help tackle growing social and economic problems, such as restarting failed global trade talks.

"We have to get the right mix of countries into the same room at the same time … on a regular, yet informal basis," said Martin.

"We need some soul-searching, we need some head-knocking. Above all else, some honest talk about what kind of world we want in five, or 10 or 20 years down the road."

The move to wipe out Iraq's debt proves G-8 countries can overcome past disagreements, said the prime minister.

"It's simply one more indication that where there were great divisions, those divisions are beginning to be healed," said Martin.

The war in Iraq caused a deep split among the leading industrialized nations, as the U.S. and Britain supported the action while France, Germany and Canada opposed the move.

Martin shared the stage with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who accepted an invitation to address Canada's Parliament in March. Both Annan and Martin said ending subsidies to farmers in wealthy nations must be top priority in the global talks.

"Agricultural subsidies skew market forces. They destroy the environment. And they block poor country exports from world markets," said Annan. "For all our sakes, and for the credibility of the system itself, they must be eliminated."



Written by CBC News Online staff
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Looks like a noble cause. Don't know that it will help much. The IMF will fuck them hard anyway so this is like throwing a drowning person a cork.
 

KickIT

TRIBE Member
Its great that these countries are forgiving Iraq's debt. That means that all oil revenues can now go to the US.

*c*
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
^ (however there are those that reason Iraq's trillion dollars in limboed oil revenues are going to help them out.)
 
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KickIT

TRIBE Member
Well I'm sure the Iraqis for all their hard work will get a 1% return. That's pretty good.

*c*
 

Adam

TRIBE Member
I know it was Annan who is quoted there, but will Martin also join in on the agricultural subsidies bandwagon?

I can't see that going over too well here.
 

OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Adam
I know it was Annan who is quoted there, but will Martin also join in on the agricultural subsidies bandwagon?

I can't see that going over too well here.

Bandwagon? It's more like a trike right now..

Government subsidies destroy any chance for fare trade as most of the global south's main export is agriculture. Especially in the US where the majority of their subsidies go to industrial farming, subsidies are the bread & butter than enable rich nations to keep the balance of wealth flowing in their favour. Although I beleive that ultimately it will only lead to more industrialized farming and more costs being dumped on the environment, I have no illusions about the evolution of global trade & right now it is heavily unbalanced, and that needs correcting first.
 

Adam

TRIBE Member
Makes sense, but do you actually think it's something Martin would go ahead with? Pissing off the agricultural sector of Canada is a remarkably bad idea for him politcally.

It probably goes without saying Bush won't even think about it.
 
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OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Adam
Makes sense, but do you actually think it's something Martin would go ahead with? Pissing off the agricultural sector of Canada is a remarkably bad idea for him politcally.

It probably goes without saying Bush won't even think about it.

Bush did it for the subsidies the steel industry got. But only after the EU was threatening to sue. It's not a matter of 'ifi, it's a matter of 'when' and 'how'. Developing nations cannot develop if there are mechanisms in place on the global market that are there to basically prevent them from competing. It's one of the basic principles of free market theory which is why free trade should NOT be called that since the pacts established under such a name rarely reflect real free market ideology.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
We've been one of the leaders when it comes to debt forgiveness. Normally we require a more stable government before we do it (can't be a monarch or a dictator) but we have forgiven somewhere in the tune of 30 billion over the last 10 years.

Reality is that we are a very rich country, the vast majority of our debt is not owed to another country. Its owed to ourselves in the form of savings bonds and other internal negotiables.

So the only way to forgive the Canadian debt is to go home and convince our families and relatives to tear up there savings bonds!!

This contrasts for instance the USA where a large portion of there debt is in foriegn hands. Additionally Canada is in a unique circumstance in that the recession that hit the US and Europe never really hit us. Germany is still largely paying for the reconstruction of East Germany, France is paying for many of the other EU concerns along with Britain and the Netherlands.

Canada isn't paying for any of this, thus about 10 years ago there was a fundemenatl shift in Canadian foriegn policy. Chretien pretty much stopped lending money entirely, instead they gave the money free of charge and without any requirement for repayiment. If you want to borrow money go to the IMF, if your in a disaster and need money than we GIVE it to you and assume the costs ourselves.

What we need is Belgium and Luxemburg and Britain and a few others to start doing the same. It makes more sense in the end to just assume the costs right up front when you GIVE the money. This third world debt system simply isn't working.
 

2canplay

TRIBE Member
^^^ Sorry, thats not to sound condescending.

It's just the first time (I've noticed) you've taken any kind of progressive stance on Third world development (I think previously you have taken a "blame the victim" approach).
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by 2canplay
^^^ Sorry, thats not to sound condescending.

It's just the first time (I've noticed) you've taken any kind of progressive stance on Third world development (I think previously you have taken a "blame the victim" approach).

Nope its the same view I've always had.

I just don't think that handing over industries based purely on sympathy makes any sense in the long run.
 
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Adam

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by OTIS
It's not a matter of 'ifi, it's a matter of 'when' and 'how'. Developing nations cannot develop if there are mechanisms in place on the global market that are there to basically prevent them from competing.

This implies that Bush really gives a fuck about developing nations. Enough to put them in front of the interests of his own people anyway.
 

silver1

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Adam
Makes sense, but do you actually think it's something Martin would go ahead with? Pissing off the agricultural sector of Canada is a remarkably bad idea for him politcally.

It probably goes without saying Bush won't even think about it.

Tha majority of the population within the agricultural sector doesn't vote liberal anyway (i.e. west of Ontario).

Canada is very unique in how the relationship between geography and voting goes.
 

silver1

TRIBE Member
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OTIS

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Adam
This implies that Bush really gives a fuck about developing nations. Enough to put them in front of the interests of his own people anyway.

Not necessarily, more that he's scared of sabotaging a trade pact with a high profile lawsuit.. the EU isn't really a developing nation. But it IS possible for an industrialized nation to end unfair subsidies.
 

Adam

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by silver1
Tha majority of the population within the agricultural sector doesn't vote liberal anyway (i.e. west of Ontario).

Canada is very unique in how the relationship between geography and voting goes.

Yeah, this is true.

But with mad cow, etc decimating parts of the agri sector, I can't imagine him removing subsidies.

Well, yes I can, but not until after he wins the election this spring.
 
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