Stephen Harper continues push for free trade, while Syria moves to top of agenda ahead of G8 summit

National Post | News

DUBLIN, IRELAND — Prime Minister Stephen Harper heads into the back half of his European trip facing some major policy decisions — but also differences with other Group of Eight partners — on complex issues to be discussed at the G8 summit, including Syria, EU free-trade talks, and how best to combat tax evasion.

Harper arrived in Dublin on Saturday for a two-day stop in Ireland, where he will meet with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny to discuss the Canada-European Union free-trade negotiations — which seemingly remain deadlocked over a handful of issues — before heading to Northern Ireland for the Lough Erne G8 summit on Monday and Tuesday.

International security — especially the deteriorating situation in civil war-torn Syria — will be likely the most pressing issue discussed by G8 leaders.

Harper said Friday he’s convinced chemical weapons have been used by the Assad regime in Syria. However, Canada…

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