Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to participate in a question-and-answer session on the economy on the sidelines of a three-day trip to New York City this week. He will also highlight Canada's efforts to improve maternal and child health and make his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly since 2010.
Mr. Harper has stayed away from the global body's annual assemblies since Canada lost its bid for a temporary seat on the UN's Security Council four years ago, so his address to fellow leaders this year will be closely watched. He is also expected to attend an event on maternal and child health and a dinner focused on climate issues with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders during his trip to New York.
However, Mr. Harper will not attend a larger summit on climate change that's planned for Tuesday, leaving Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq to participate in the day-long event in his place. The leaders of China and India, two of the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters, are also skipping the event.
A press release from the Prime Minister's Office on Monday indicated that Ms. Aglukkaq will announce new initiatives for tackling climate change, but did not indicate whether the new measures will include long-promised regulations for the oil and gas sector.
Mr. Harper will be accompanied on the trip to New York by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, International Development Minister Christian Paradis, and Lynne Yelich, minister of state for foreign and consular affairs.
Despite skipping the larger, day-long climate summit, Mr. Harper will join other leaders at a dinner on climate issues Tuesday evening, which will be hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
On Wednesday, Mr. Harper will participate in a question-and-answer session on the economy moderated by the editor-in-chief for the Wall Street Journal. The session is targeted to New York City's business and financial communities, the Prime Minister's Office said.
He will participate in a meeting on maternal and child health – a key personal priority for Mr. Harper – on Thursday, along with Mr. Ban and other government leaders.
Mr. Harper is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on Thursday evening. His speech this year is expected to address the threat of Islamic State extremism, Russian intervention in Ukraine, and the need for maternal and child health to stay on the UN development agenda, among other issues.
On Monday, Mr. Harper met with South Korean President Park Guen-hye in Ottawa.