Canada urges G7 coordination on financial crisis

Mon Oct 6, 2008 1:31pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada wants the Group of Seven industrialized nations to coordinate action on the global financial crisis in such a way that does not harm taxpayers, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Monday.

Harper, leading in polls in the campaign for the October 14 general election, also repeated that Canada's banking sector is not in crisis and that he is optimistic about the overall Canadian economy.

Top U.S. officials said on Monday that policymakers around the world must act in "forceful and coordinated ways" to restore stability. G7 finance ministers and central bankers meet this weekend in Washington to discuss the crisis.

"We are prepared at meetings, working with our counterparts in Europe and the United States, to be helpful wherever we can be helpful... The main concern right now is the tightening of credit around the world," Harper told reporters in Ottawa.

"Our main advice is to obviously encourage coordinated action, to encourage actions that will stabilize the situation without creating a great deal of moral hazard for taxpayers," he said, without giving details.

U.S. legislators passed a $700 billion bailout package last week, prompting anger from some voters and politicians over what they saw as the wrongful use of taxpayers' money.

Harper -- who says only his Conservative Party can be trusted to run the Canadian economy -- said that unlike other nations, Canada does not have to bail out major banks.

He then made a remark on preparations for help for banks, if necessary, which spokesman Kory Teneycke later clarified.   Continued...

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper receives a high-five during a campaign stop at a day-care in Ottawa October 6, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>