Justin Trudeau to announce when Canada will seek UN Security Council bid

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations in New York City on Wednesday where he will announce the date Canada plans to run for a seat on the Security Council, sources tell CBC News.

Prime Minister to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is travelling to New York City on Wednesday where he will meet with UN Secretary General Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, left, to reiterate Canada's support for the United Nations and to promote women's rights and gender equality. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations in New York City on Wednesday where he will announce the date Canada plans to run for a seat on the Security Council, sources tell CBC News.

Trudeau's visit to the UN comes after his official visit and state dinner with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House last week.

Trudeau will reiterate Canada's support for the United Nations and promote women's rights and gender equality during a two-day visit to New York City, his first since becoming prime minister.

Several UN country missions have already received invitations to attend his ''remarks'' in the lobby of the Secretariat building Wednesday morning when the announcement is expected to be made.

Trudeau let it be known that Canada would resume its bid for a rotating seat on the 15-member council — something the previous government was unable to achieve — during a joint press conference with Ban in Ottawa last month.

"We're looking at a number of windows in the coming years. We are going to evaluate the opportunities for Canada to mount a successful bid," Trudeau said.

Several UN diplomats told CBC that 2020 would be the earliest slate available for Canada to have enough time to mount a successful campaign.

Currently there are three countries running that year for two rotating seats in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) to which Canada belongs: Ireland, San Marino and Norway. The two-year term would begin in 2021.

Canada has had a seat on the UN Security Council every decade since its inception, but for the first time in 2010 the federal government withdrew its candidacy after two rounds of voting when it became clear it would not receive the votes required to beat Portugal for a two-year rotating seat on the council. Germany had already secured the other seat up for grabs in an earlier round of voting.

The five permanent veto-wielding members on the Security Council are the U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia and China, also known as the P5. The remaining 10 seats are distributed to countries on a regional basis.

Canada has held a seat on the UN Security Council six times. Its last term was in 1999-2000.

Canada's commitment to gender equality

The Security Council bid is just one aspect of Trudeau`s declared ''robust re-engagement'' with the United Nations.

During his meeting with Ban on Wednesday the prime minister will discuss ''climate change, respect for diversity and human rights, and support for international peace operations,'' according to his office.

He will also speak about ''gender equality'' during what's being billed as an armchair discussion with the executive director of UN Women at the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Several cabinet ministers are also taking part in this week's women's conference at the UN in New York City. 
A delegation of cabinet ministers led by Status of Women Minister Patricia Hajdu, left, will travel to New York City on Tuesday in advance of Trudeau's visit to the United Nations Wednesday. Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, centre, will join Hajdu on the visit. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu, who is leading the Canadian delegation, said the ministers will talk about preventing gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive rights and empowerment of women and girls.

"We can also look to the world for some of the successful things that they've done in other countries to address gender-based violence, in particular gender-based violence around indigenous women," Hajdu said in an interview with CBC News Network's Power & Politics on Monday.

Hajdu, whose government has been consulting with Canadians ahead of the launch of an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, said Canada will be comparing notes with other countries and sharing best practices.

"We're taking this issue very seriously in our country, but also tell us what's working in your country."

Hajdu will be joined by Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau.

PM to receive award

The prime minister will be honoured at a gala dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Wednesday evening for his ''leadership in advancing diversity and gender equality,'' according to the non-profit organization hosting the event.

''We're proud to have him on our stage,'' says Catalyst president Deborah Gillis, who adds that this is the first time a world leader will be recognized at the annual awards dinner, which rewards business leaders for promoting gender equality.

Gillis cites Trudeau's ''historic first cabinet'' with equal numbers of men and women as the reason for the special commendation. ''His simple explanation … 'Because it's 2015,' was so powerful because it really said to the world the time for excuses has passed.''

More than 1,500 people will attend the dinner including Fortune 500 CEOs and other executives from corporate America as well as Canadian business leaders such as BMO Financial Group's Bill Downe and president and CEO of  BCE Inc. and Bell Canada, George Cope — both members of Catalyst Canada's advisory board.

Bruce Heyman, U.S. ambassador to Canada, and Marc-André Blanchard who will take up his post in April as the country's new ambassador to the United Nations will also be there, says Gillis.

On Thursday, Trudeau is expected to spend most of his time in private meetings with NYC-based business leaders, because ''there has never been a better time to look at Canada to invest'' he said in a statement.

Gender equality in Canada

6 years ago
Duration 9:34
Canada is 'listening just as intently as talking' about gender equality issues, says Minister for the Status of Women Patty Hajdu.


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