United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for more details about a multibillion-dollar Canadian pledge to help developing countries fight climate change when they meet in Ottawa on Thursday as part of an effort to forge a new relationship after years of Conservative government neglect.
Mr. Ban is coming to the capital at a time when the new Liberal government is looking to reinvigorate Canada’s role within the the UN and renew its bid for a rotating, non-permanent seat on the Security Council.
Kate White, president and chief executive officer of the United Nations Association in Canada, said Mr. Ban’s visit is significant, especially so early on in the Trudeau government’s mandate. Thursday marks the Prime Minister’s 100th day in office.
“It seems to me that this is really a new page for Canada at the United Nations. A very positive indication that the new government believes that Canada can move its strategic issues and interests through the UN,” Ms. White told The Globe and Mail.
“I think that from the United Nations’ perspective, that there will be a real welcoming of Canada back to the international stage and I would expect that the Secretary-General will bring this to the Prime Minister.”
Mr. Trudeau campaigned on the need to improve ties with the United Nations and to win a seat on the Security Council. The former Conservative government was often highly critical of the UN.
“His [Mr. Ban’s] relationship with the previous Canadian government was not good,” said Paul Heinbecker, a former Canadian ambassador to the UN. “Particularly after we lost the UN Security Council vote in 2010 … you began to smell a lot of sour grapes with Canadian policy.”
David Runnalls, a distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and a veteran of UN climate summits, said he expects Mr. Ban will want Mr. Trudeau to spell out the details of his $2.65-billion commitment to help developing countries tackle climate change that he made at a recent Paris conference.
“I would be surprised if the Secretary-General doesn’t ask Canada for some more details on what it’s going to do with that money,” Mr. Runnalls said in an interview.
He also said Mr. Ban will probably ask Mr. Trudeau if he intends to set new greenhouse-gas emissions targets for Canada to improve on the former Conservative government’s goals – to reduce GHG emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
In a statement to The Globe, a spokesman for the Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric, said Mr. Ban is confident that, under Mr. Trudeau’s leadership, “Canada will show continued global leadership in the shift to a low-emission, climate-resilient economy,” specifically citing the $2.65-billion commitment.
Canada’s plan to resettle tens of thousands of Syrian refugees will also be on the agenda. Mr. Ban has commended the government for its response to the refugee crisis, citing Canada as a model for other countries to follow.
The Secretary-General will also raise Canada’s commitment to UN peacekeeping operations, which the government pledged to “renew” in the Speech from the Throne.
“If he says anything on the subject, it’ll be along the lines of how much they would welcome more Canadian participation,” Mr. Heinbecker said.
After meetings with the Prime Minister and Governor-General David Johnston in Ottawa, Mr. Ban will head to Montreal, where he will meet Mayor Denis Coderre, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and members of the International Civil Aviation Organization. He will also deliver an address at McGill University.Report Typo/Error