Canada's Harper says to press for balance at G20

Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:30pm EST
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday he will call for a balanced approach to solving the global financial crisis, rather than a fundamental remake of markets, at a round of top-level talks in Washington this weekend.

Harper, who joins a meeting of Group of 20 developed and emerging economies on Friday aimed at finding ways to prevent future meltdowns, also said he will make sure any agreements will protect Canada's interests.

"I will be making the case for strong and open economic policies to get the global economy growing again," Harper told about 2,000 members of his Conservative Party gathered for a policy convention in Winnipeg.

"I will be making the case for strong and balanced regulations to ensure the financial crisis never occurs again."

Canada has fared better than most industrialized countries in the crisis, and the country has so far avoided having to bail out any of its financial institutions with taxpayer money.

But Harper, who won re-election last month, cautioned his supporters that the country is still suffering in the global maelstrom. Its manufacturing sector has been particularly hard hit.

"The effects of this crisis will continue to be felt here," he said. "And make no mistake, there are much more difficult times ahead," he said.

However, his government's conservative fiscal policies are helping Canada weather the storm, he said.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones)