The G-8 summit in Kananaskis will be one of the shortest, most pared-down meetings in the group's history, say federal officials.
G-8 spokesman Mike O'Shaughnessy said Monday the idea is to hold an intimate meeting that packs more discussion and work into a shorter time frame.
"This (G-8 meeting) is designed to provide a focused working summit to discuss important issues," O'Shaughnessy said. "It became clear that the discussions could be achieved in two full working days."
But a national taxpayers advocacy group complains the shortened summit -- which will cost tens of millions of dollars just for security -- is a waste of public money.
"The reduced amount of time spent certainly tips the scales against the event being worthwhile," said John Carpay, spokesman for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Carpay suggested the leaders meet via teleconference, or even "just put the whole thing on a cruise ship, give the media full access and it would save on security."
The G-8 summit will take place June 26 and 27 in Kananaskis Village, a mountain resort about 100 kilometres west Calgary.
The agenda of the summit is undergoing a major restructuring at the behest of Prime Minister Jean Chretien, senior summit organizers said during a week of background briefings for selected foreign and Canadian media.
For example, there will be no final, negotiated communique. Instead, host Canada will write a brief summary of what the leaders of some of the world's top industrialized countries discussed.
"There's a definite attempt by the prime minister to bring the G-8 summit meeting of the leaders more back to the original philosophy," Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham told reporters from Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada.
"A less formal meeting where real discussions about substance can take place, but where there's not a huge amount of attention spent negotiating a communique."
In all, officials have trimmed at least 18 hours from the agenda. It is to begin at noon on June 26 and wrap up at 6 p.m. the following day.
Officials said the goal of a pared-down summit is to end violent protests that have marred previous major meetings in recent years.
Each of the eight summit leaders will have only 24 delegates -- including personal security staff -- staying at the Kananaskis site, which has just 410 hotel rooms. In Genoa, Italy, some delegations had as many 600 members.
The summit agenda has been whittled down to three subjects: the traditional G-8 focus on global economic growth; African development; and counter-terrorism.
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