PM to lead del­e­ga­tion to UN next week

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OT­TAWA Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau will ad­dress the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly in New York next week, un­der­scor­ing Canada’s com­mit­ment to mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism as it vies for a cov­eted seat on the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil.

He ad­dressed the open­ing of the Gen­eral Assem­bly last year as well, mak­ing for a per­fect at­ten­dance record since tak­ing of­fice in late 2015.

That’s in stark con­trast to for­mer Con­ser­va­tive prime min­is­ter Stephen Harper, who only at­tended UN events spo­rad­i­cally, fa­mously choos­ing in 2009 to at­tend an open­ing of a Tim Hor­tons in­no­va­tion cen­tre in Oakville rather than speak to the Gen­eral Assem­bly.

Harper’s thinly veiled dis­dain for the world body has been widely blamed for Canada’s fail­ure to win a seat on the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil in 2010. Un­til then, Canada had won a coun­cil seat ev­ery decade since the UN’s in­cep­tion.

Trudeau last year an­nounced that Canada will try again for a twoyear term be­gin­ning in 2021. To that end, he has re­peat­edly em­pha­sized Canada’s re­newed com­mit­ment to the world body and a mul­ti­lat­eral ap­proach to for­eign pol­icy.

The Gen­eral Assem­bly, “with its 193 mem­ber states, pro­vides an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity for Canada to voice its com­mit­ment to strength­en­ing mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism and the rules-based in­ter­na­tional or­der, ad­vanc­ing hu­man rights, in­clud­ing gen­der equal­ity and women’s em­pow­er­ment, and cham­pi­oning di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion,” the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice said in a news re­lease an­nounc­ing Trudeau’s visit to the UN next week. How­ever, Trudeau may have some ex­plain­ing to do, par­tic­u­larly as to why his gov­ern­ment has still not de­liv­ered on its twoyear-old prom­ise to reen­gage in UN peace­keep­ing mis­sions. Last year, the gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to de­ploy 600 Cana­dian troops to var­i­ous mis­sions but it has so far not iden­ti­fied any mis­sions in which they’ll take part.

Asked Wed­nes­day what he’ll tell the UN about that fail­ure to make a de­ci­sion, Trudeau said our al­lies “know that Canada is se­ri­ous about step­ping up, about do­ing the right thing, about be­ing a pos­i­tive ac­tor on a chal­leng­ing world stage.”

“I look for­ward to re­turn­ing to New York, to the United Na­tions, to talk about all the pos­i­tive ways that Canada is con­tin­u­ing to en­gage in the world. This is a world where we’re see­ing a broad range of chal­lenges, con­flicts stem­ming from re­source de­ple­tion, to climate change, to sec­tar­ian vi­o­lence or mi­gra­tions of peo­ple from one cor­ner of the world to the other,” he said as he wrapped up a two­day cab­i­net re­treat in St. John’s, N.L.

“There are many chal­lenges in the world and Canada, as al­ways, will look to be help­ful ... It’s who we are, it’s what we do.”

Trudeau made no apolo­gies for the de­lay in de­cid­ing where to send peace­keep­ers.

“Cana­di­ans ex­pect the gov­ern­ment to make the right choice by both the brave men and women of the Cana­dian forces but also by the coun­tries and com­mu­ni­ties where we will be serv­ing and that’s some­thing we’re go­ing to do prop­erly.”

Justin Trudeau

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