OTTAWA - The Canadian government paid George W. Bush's former press secretary $24,500 to help communicate with Americans before this month's G20 summit.

Documents filed with the U.S. Department of Justice say Ari Fleischer was paid to help promote the strength of Canada's banks, its positions on trade and the economy, and to set up interviews with U.S. media.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has hired both Bush's former spokesman and Bill Clinton's ex-spokesman Mike McCurry to help spread Canadian messages in the U.S.

Until now, the PMO has refused to discuss payment details of its arrangement with the former presidential press secretaries.

But the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act requires the spokesmen to disclose details of their arrangements with foreign governments.

Harper spokesman Kory Teneycke says Canada is pleased with the services it's received from Fleischer and McCurry.

"We believe we're getting good value for money," Teneycke said.

"We expect we'll be using the services of consultants going forward."

He says McCurry received an amount similar to Fleischer for the more recent Summit of the Americas, but that the information hasn't yet been posted on the U.S. Department of Justice website.

He also quipped that Canada's public-relations spending is modest - compared with Libya's $200,000 monthly bill for PR.

The disclosure documents from Ari Fleischer Communications Inc. say the company performed four main tasks - none of which involved lobbying the current U.S. administration.

The tasks included helping Harper develop statements and talking points; advising the PMO on media appearances; arranging interviews with American TV and print media; and helping brief Harper for his interviews.

Fleischer helped Canada communicate its position for the G20 economic summit, which began April 2 in London.

"The means to be employed are to educate and inform the U.S. public about the views and positions of the Prime Minister of Canada with regard to these and related issues," says the document.

Harper got the chance to articulate a number of those positions in interviews he did with CNN and the Fox News Network.

Over the course of a wide-ranging Fox interview, viewers heard about Canada's role in Afghanistan, its far lower corporate taxes than the U.S., and about it being the only G7 country that hasn't required a bank bailout.

Harper also described his position on the ideal size of stimulus packages.

But the most-quoted line in the interview with Chris Wallace came when the host tried more than once to draw Harper into criticizing the Obama administration.

Harper was asked whether his own policies were better than Obama's plan to raise taxes for the wealthy.

Harper replied cautiously: "I'm not going to be drawn in, Chris, as you can imagine, to commenting on American domestic policy."

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