Justin Trudeau to highlight Indigenous reconciliation in UN speech
Speech to UN comes after a long week of touting Canada in New York
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will use his speech to the world's largest gathering of diplomats to highlight one of Canada's greatest domestic challenges — seeking reconciliation with the country's Indigenous people.
A senior government official tells CBC News the speech to the United Nations General Assembly will be a frank acknowledgement of Canada's failures on that front. It will also include a promise not to abandon the quest of reconciliation because of those past failures.
"Canada is not a perfect place. Canada has its own problems that it is committed to fixing," said the official speaking on background.
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Trudeau is expected to deliver his speech sometime after 1 p.m. ET. CBCnews.ca will carry his remarks live.
It will be a significant departure from Trudeau's first speech to the general assembly one year ago. Trudeau used his debut speech to highlight Canada's success in resettling Syrian refugees, tax breaks for the middle class, and the development of a national plan to price carbon.
This speech will put one of Canada's greatest failures in the global spotlight. But the prime minister hopes it will also show his resolve in dealing with significant challenges at home and on the global stage.
That message comes after Trudeau took advantage of a series of public events in an effort to amplify Canada's role on the world stage as a champion of progressive politics.
He used an appearance at WE Day to celebrate youth engagement, a panel discussion at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum to push for better trade deals, and a sit-down with Melinda Gates to pitch his feminist foreign policy.
He then rushed to UN headquarters for a series of bilateral meetings with countries ranging from Tajikistan to Ecuador to Indonesia. Most of the countries Trudeau met with lack the deep economic and political ties with Canada that would warrant regular meetings, or are too small to be part of the annual G7 and G20 summits.
Peacekeeping plan not expected
But a big part of Trudeau's visit to the UN this year is to campaign for a coveted seat on the UN Security Council. So the list of countries the prime minister met with — including Panama, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Uganda — was tactically drawn to give Trudeau face time with the global electorate he needs to court, but will not see regularly.
- Internal documents detail UN peacekeeping requests for Mali, other hotspots
- Canada's training plan for UN troops will be a departure from classic peacekeeping
While Trudeau was doing all of that, other world leaders spent part of their day at the UN discussing the more dangerous work of global re-engagement — peacekeeping.
Canada has pledged to join a UN peacekeeping mission, but it has been assessing its options for more than a year and other countries say they need help now.
British Prime Minister Theresa May pointedly told the UN that "pledging is only the first step. We must turn this into troops on the ground."
Multiple government officials say Trudeau won't focus on peacekeeping in his speech to the general assembly — it might not even get a mention when the prime minister is at the podium.