Justin Trudeau has eyes on Security Council seat during UN speech

Jonathan Rumley
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his first address to the UN General Assembly. Photo from Jason Szenes/EPA via CP.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to put the spotlight on Canada in his speech to the UN General Assembly.

The Liberal leader will address Canada’s relationship with First Nations and the path toward reconciliation, a senior government source tells CBC News. This will include an acknowledgement of past failures on that front and the government’s willingness to address issues that continue to plague Indigenous groups.

The highly-anticipated New York City speech will also be an opportunity for Trudeau to make his case for Canada to be considered for a rotating UN Security Council seat in 2021. CBC News reports the prime minister has already met with the leaders of Panama, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Uganda. The meetings appear to be part of Trudeau’s strategy for whipping up support for Canada’s UN agenda.

Part of Canada’s plan will likely include ways it can spearhead change around the world, primarily through peacekeeping missions. While the country has already pledged to take part in a UN peacekeeping program, the details remain unclear.

In May, Trudeau said the federal government is taking the “the appropriate amount of time” to decide where to send hundreds of Canadian troops.

“We have to make sure that it’s the right approach, that it’s the right mission, that they have the right training and equipment,” Trudeau said.

The French appear eager to have Canada join the peacekeeping mission in Mali. A spokesman for the French embassy recently told the Toronto Star that Canada would be an asset for French forces, due to the fact some Canadians speak French and the two countries have worked together before.

“We are used to working with the Canadian military and we know their expertise, and we know how good you are,” Eric Navel told the Star.

When pressed this week on where 600 Canadian soldiers and 150 police officers would be sent for the UN mission, Trudeau still couldn’t provide transparency.

While the Canadian position hasn’t been decided, the desire for a temporary spot on the Security Council has been. The UN election takes place in 2020 and if election, a two-year term would begin in 2021.