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Harper challenges G20 leaders to follow Canadian example on debt reduction

Stephen Harper is challenging other leaders at the G20 summit to follow Canada’s lead on debt reduction.

He says his government has set a target of a 25 per cent debt to GDP ratio by 2021 — it sat at 34.6 per cent last year.

Canada, Russia and Germany were among countries pushing for concrete targets for fiscal consolidation among G20 countries as they emerge from the economic slowdown.

But several countries have balked at such targets, given the tenuous state of growth.

While Harper is focused squarely on the core economic agenda at the G20, Syria is still the hot topic looming on the sidelines of the summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says he has doubts a consensus can be reached on punishing the regime of Bashar Assad because if Russian intransigence.