Georgia should follow Kananaskis, Alberta’s example in organizing a G8 Summit, John Kirton, director of the G8 Research Group at the University of Toronto, told GlobalFax last week, because of its success in containing the violent activities of protestors who flock to the events to demonstrate against the group’s policies.
The summit held in 2002 in Kananaskis contrasted markedly with that in Genoa, Italy, in 2001, which experienced 500 personal injuries and more than $11 million in property damage, he said. Georgia is to host a G8 Summit at Sea Island June 8-10, 2004.
Mr. Kirton was invited to speak at the University of Georgia recently because of his expertise in the G8 Summits, which are studied by his research group.
According to Mr. Kirton, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien assigned Robert Fowler, his personal representative for the G8 summit, to meet with civic groups to prepare for the Kananaskis event.
“The U.S. delegation could assign a personal representative to educate Georgians about the summit,” said Mr. Kirton.
He suggested President Carter or former President Bush, who has family connections to the area and whose parents spent their honeymoon at the Cloister resort, as candidates.
He also recommended that Georgia sponsor a people’s summit for non-governmental organizations and others. For example, Bill Graham, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, moderated a session at the University of Calgary, which is the largest city near Kananaskis, on the eve of the 2002 event, he said.
Gov. Sonny Perdue should also consider meeting ahead of time with civil society groups or NGO’s to bring some of the protestor issues into the open for the event.
“Gov. Perdue might want to host a picnic on a Georgia farm for protesters where comments could also be recorded and then presented to President Bush,” he added.
For more information, contact Mr. Kirton at (416) 946-8953.