Justin Trudeau’s personal brand tied to Canada’s UN Security Council race

Published on Jun 16, 2020 08:34 AM IST

According to a statement from the Canadian PM’s office, Trudeau will “participate in a virtual event with Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, to highlight and conclude Canada’s campaign for a Security Council seat” on the eve of the vote.

Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau has personally spearheaded the country’s campaign to secure a place on the non-permanent seats to the United Nations Security Council and even during the Covid-19 pandemic(Bloomberg)
Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau has personally spearheaded the country’s campaign to secure a place on the non-permanent seats to the United Nations Security Council and even during the Covid-19 pandemic(Bloomberg)
Hindustan Times, Toronto | ByAnirudh Bhattacharyya | Edited by Meenakshi Ray

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will face the biggest test of the impression his government has made on the international stage when elections for non-permanent seats to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) are held on Wednesday.

Trudeau has personally spearheaded the country’s campaign to secure a place on the council and even during the Covid-19 pandemic made multiple calls to leaders of several nations to secure their support ahead of the June 17 vote for the 2021-2022 term.

On Monday, it tried to shore up its global image announcing that Canadian Armed Forces will provide “airlift support to transport urgently needed medical and humanitarian supplies” and these will be transported from distribution hubs in Africa, Europe and the Middle East on behalf of the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization (WHO).

On Saturday, Canada’s foreign minister François-Philippe Champagne was dispatched to New York, where the United Nations is headquartered, and he will remain there and lobby Permanent Representatives of countries.

Trudeau will “participate in a virtual event with Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, to highlight and conclude Canada’s campaign for a Security Council seat” on the eve of the vote, according to a statement from his office.

Canada is vying for one of the two seats from the Western European and Others Group or WEOG. However, it is facing a “close contest”, according to analysts, because the challengers are Norway and Ireland, both of which have been campaigning for a seat longer than Canada.

Trudeau will also call several world leaders on Tuesday, including his counterparts in Spain, Ethiopia and Saint Kitts and Nevis. But the most significant could be his call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

India is near-certain to be elected to UNSC as it is running unopposed from the Asia-Pacific Group. However, as things stand, it is unlikely to vote for Canada despite Ottawa having assured New Delhi of its support.

The reason, Indian officials explained, was not a difference with Canada but simply how international diplomacy is conducted with reciprocal arrangements in place with Ireland and Norway even before Canada entered the UNSC race.

Both those nations have been in the running for a decade, while Canada only entered the contest in 2016, months after Trudeau’s Liberal Party was elected to form the government for the first time.

If India does, in fact, not support Canada it will be a replay of the 2010 elections when it chose Germany and Portugal instead. Canada lost that election and has not figured on the UNSC since.

Trudeau personally announced Canada’s candidacy in 2016, and now is trying to change New Delhi’s outlook by reaching out himself to Modi. The Canadian prime minister will hope that recent history does not repeat itself after he has invested so much capital in the campaign.

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