Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 5, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie
OTTAWA - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shot back at Germany on Friday after its ambassador to Canada complained about the Conservative government's refusal to shower eurozone countries with a taxpayer-funded bailout.
Flaherty asked Europe's economic powerhouse where they were in 2008 when the American financial and credit crisis broadsided the global economy.
"Well, I have been in this job for a while. I lived through the American banking crisis. The European countries, including Germany, did not support the United States financially when it had its crisis in 2008."
Flaherty said in Quebec City.
Flaherty was responding to comments by Georg Witschel, who said he found it somewhat "irritating" and "disappointing" that Canada - like the United States and other non-European countries - won't come to Europe's rescue.
Both Flaherty and U.S. President Barack Obama are of the mind that it's up to Europe to dig itself out of the hole it dug for themselves.
"These are not poor countries. These are relatively rich countries," Flaherty said. "In fact, they are among the richest countries in the world. So I would respectfully suggest that they first step up to the plate themselves before they passed the plate to others."
The impact of eurozone financial and credit crisis is starting to knock the global economy and is causing considerable unease among investors.
Flaherty has been sounding the alarm for months about the lack of progress by the Europeans to shore up its banking system and adopt tough austerity measures to instill investor confidence.
Obama said Thursday the Europeans understand the seriousness of the situation and the urgent need to act swiftly and decisively.
"What we can do is to prod, suggest, but ultimately they're going to have to make these decisions," he said at a news conference in Washington.
The European crisis will dominate G20 talks later this month in Mexico where Canada and the U.S. will be again prodded to cut a cheque to the International Monetary Fund as part of an international aid effort.
Canada is unlikely to budge from its position.