Before Mounties and Environment Canada representatives went door to door to Banff Avenue businesses, many retailers had no clue the environment ministers from the eight richest countries in the world are coming to Banff this weekend (April 12-14).
Those who did know about the meeting confused it with the upcoming G-8 Summit in Kananaskis, said Sheila Risbud, a spokesperson for Environment Canada who went on a door-knocking public relations blitz on Thursday and Friday (April 4-5) along with a member of the RCMP’s communication team.
While any political gathering of world leaders brings to mind images of riots and mass disturbance seen last year in Quebec City and Italy, organizers say ministerial meetings generally go unnoticed. The small number of delegates, compared to summits of world leaders, do not attract as many demonstrators or media attention.
During the closed door meeting environment ministers from France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Russia, Italy and Canada as well as the European Commissioner responsible for the environment, will discuss the environment in relation to development, health and effective national and international.
By the end of the weekend they will form together a message to present to the world leaders of the world’s eight most industrialized countries at the G-8 Summit held in Kananaskis from June 26-28.
The leaders of the G-8 will then go to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in August where they hope to be the lead in finding solutions to environmental challenges and more sustainable methods of development.
The three-day meeting will begin Friday (April 12) and take place at the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel.
On Friday afternoon Canada’s environment minister David Anderson and representatives from the other countries in the G-8 will meet with a small group of local stakeholders.
Banff Community High School student Ian McRoberts will deliver a youth declaration to Anderson. McRoberts attended an activist workshop, hosted by UTSB Research, along with 16 other Calgary and Morley students at the end of March to develop a message to the ministers.
At a dinner and reception at the Banff Springs on Friday evening (April 12) Leslie Taylor of The Banff Centre for Mountain Culture will present famous Canadian mountaineers Pat and Baiba Morrow of Canmore.
Pat Morrow was the second Canadian to summit Everest and the first person to climb the tallest summits from each continent. The Morrows will present a slide show of mountain landscapes.
Saturday is a full day of meetings for the environment ministers. They will review papers on the three topics to review. A break from their discussions will involve an outing in Banff, but their exact location will remain secret for security reasons.
An evening reception for the ministers and delegates at The Banff Centre will feature a performance by Jens Lindemann, a trumpet soloist and current Centre faculty member and former member of the Canadian brass.
Sunday will be the final day of discussion for the ministers. They will speak at a press conference Sunday (April 14) at 12:45 p.m. at the Banff Springs.
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