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Canada, Europe and the Economic Summits

Sylvia Ostry

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My topic -- Canada, Europe and the Economic Summits -- deals with one aspect of a much broader topic which is the title of this morning's session: Canada in the International Political Economy. I hope that my review of summitry, along with the other two papers in this session, will help launch a discussion of the broader issue, the role of a middle-sized power in a multipolar world.

Let me begin, then, with a short history of summitry before turning to an assessment of the Canadian and European roles.


It is useful to distinguish two parallel features of summitry: to use the terminology of Marshall McLuhan, the medium, by which I mean the institution; and the message, or policy outcome. The two are intimately intertwined, of course, but not quite to the point that would satisfy McLuhan's aphorism "The Medium is the Message"!

Source: Presented at the All-European Canadian Studies Conference, The Hague, 24-27 October, 1990. Unpublished. Reproduced by permission of Dr. Sylvia Ostry.

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