NEWS
05/26/2016 21:52 EDT | Updated 05/27/2017 01:12 EDT

Trudeau sifts for positives through G7 leaders' 32-page final statement

SHIMA, Japan — Justin Trudeau's office says it's pleased to find specific items on health, infrastructure and paying ransoms mentioned in the final leaders' statement Friday at the Group of Seven summit in Japan.

But the prime minister's push to encourage leaders of all the G7 advanced economies to commit to boosting government investment as a way to help the stagnant global economy did not yield across-the-board support.

Instead, the G7 leaders pledged to implement their own individual strategies, though they also vowed to use a more-balanced response to lift growth. They also agreed that monetary policy cannot alone create stronger, sustainable growth.

The 32-page declaration did commit to fight protectionism and called the potential United Kingdom exit from the European Union a serious risk to growth — two positions Trudeau had publicly supported in recent days.

Overall, the document touches on a range of subjects, including refugees, health, terrorism, security, climate, trade and the global economy.

Trudeau spokesman Cameron Ahmad said Canada was encouraged to see the G7 mention the importance of quality infrastructure, highlight an upcoming Global Fund conference in Montreal to raise cash to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and a reiteration of its opposition to paying ransoms in exchange for kidnapped citizens.

However, the content of the G7 stance against paying ransoms did not appear to go much further than the leaders' position on the same issue at a summit three years ago.

In the document, the leaders said they "unequivocally reiterate" their resolve not to pay ransoms to terrorists.

"It doesn't seem like a firm commitment does it?" said David Welch, CIGI chair of global security at the Balsillie School of International Affairs.

"This was a Canadian push, that much is clear. Whether the Europeans, in particular, follow through will be interesting. Europe has a long tradition of paying ransom to solve hostage situations."

Recent events have made the issue of hostages of particular concern for Trudeau and his government.

Last month, Canadian hostage John Ridsdel was beheaded by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines who had demanded a large sum of money in exchange for his release.

Another Canadian, Robert Hall, was kidnapped by the same group and is still being held hostage in the Asian country.

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