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Prime Minister Stephen Harper is facing a decision that could fundamentally change the ordering of global affairs and determine Canada's future role on the international stage.
Away from the more pressing concern of nurturing a fragile economic recovery, governments in the Group of 20 nations, whose leaders reconvene in Pittsburgh this week for the third time in less than a year, are engaged in a debate about whether the G20 will remain the global economy's steering committee once the financial crisis has finally passed.
By historical accident, Mr. Harper finds himself in a position to play a pivotal role in determining the outcome.
As host of next year's meeting of Group of Eight wealthy countries, Mr. Harper must choose whether to expand the summit to include India and other developing countries, or exclude those nations in favour of the clubbier and less chaotic G8 structure.
The stakes are high.
For the ...