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Trudeau expected to pitch Canada’s return to UN Security Council

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to speak at the UN’s headquarters on Wednesday, where he’s expected to announce Canada’s bid for a seat.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to use his first trip to New York since the federal election to make a high-profile pitch for Canada's return to the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Trudeau is scheduled to speak at the UN's headquarters on Wednesday, where he will explain why Canada wants to sit on the council for a two-year temporary term and what the country will bring to the table, a source familiar with the matter told The Globe and Mail.

All of the representatives of the UN's 192 member states have been invited to attend, the source said, as well as hundreds of Canadians working at the organization.

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It is expected Mr. Trudeau will be introduced by Marc-André Blanchard, Canada's new ambassador to the UN, who officially takes up his post next month.

Mr. Trudeau will also announce when Canada will make its bid, not expected until at least 2020, since other countries on the UN's Western European and Others Group have been lining up their campaigns for years.

Less than a week after his state dinner in Washington, the Prime Minister's two-day trip to New York is a mix of business meetings, gender-equality events and an awards dinner that recognizes the promotion of women.

His schedule Wednesday includes meetings with the CEOs of BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, and Xerox, as well as a lunchtime discussion with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women, and a roundtable on girls' advocacy.

In the evening, he'll receive a special "commendation" in front of 1,600 business and non-profit leaders at the Catalyst Awards in the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

"It's a very special tribute to Prime Minister Trudeau recognizing his commitment to gender equality and diversity," said Deborah Gillis, Catalyst's president and chief executive officer, whose annual awards are handed out to companies that support the advancement of women.

Other guests include Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson and David Abney, CEO of UPS.

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Mr. Trudeau is also set to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday.

Mr. Ban was in Ottawa last month when the Prime Minister first signalled Canada would look toward mounting a "successful" bid for the UN Security Council.

The two will discuss, broadly, the issues of climate change, diversity and human rights, and support for international peace operations, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Mr. Ban "is very pleased that so early on his tenure as Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau will be visiting the United Nations," said the Secretary-General's spokesman, Farhan Haq.

"He thinks it's a testament to how strong a role Canada wants to play in the international community."

The decision to reignite Canada's relationship with the UN comes after the previous Conservative government pulled its bid for a seat in 2010, when it didn't have enough votes, losing to Portugal.

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In an embarrassing defeat for former prime minister Stephen Harper, it was the first time in 50 years that Canada lost a campaign to sit on the council, which has five permanent members and 10 rotating ones tasked with maintaining international peace.

Canada has sat as a temporary member on the Security Council once every decade since its inception in 1946, with the last term ending in 2000.

Mr. Trudeau will be in New York with five ministers: Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett.

On a conference call with reporters, Ms. Bibeau pointed out that four of the five ministers accompanying Mr. Trudeau are women.

"It shows that Canada remains a strong voice and world leader in the promotion and advancement of gender equality and the full realization of the human rights for women and girls," said Ms. Bibeau, already in town for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

Ms. Hajdu announced Tuesday that Canada will also seek a four-year term on the commission, beginning in 2017.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Laura Stone is a reporter in The Globe's Ottawa bureau. She joined The Globe in February 2016. Before that, she was an online and TV reporter for Global News in Ottawa. Laura has done stints at the Toronto Star, Postmedia News and the Vancouver Province. More

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