Trudeau, Obama address United Nations General Assembly

Published On September 20, 2016 | By HN Staff | International, News, Politics
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama, seen in this photo from March 2016, both spoke at the United Nations on Tuesday. (EPA/OLIVIER DOULIERY)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama, seen in this photo from March 2016, both spoke at the United Nations on Tuesday. (EPA/OLIVIER DOULIERY)

By: Hunter Crowther

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly later this afternoon.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke at the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Reports say the prime minister will highlight Canada’s commitment to taking in refugees and aiming to regain a seat in the UN’s security council for the 2021-22 term.

Canada lost its spot on the council in 2010 under Stephen Harper, Trudeau’s predecessor. Many point to Harper’s foreign policy record as a reason for rejection from the UN.

Trudeau and Obama will also co-host a refugee summit Tuesday evening. The summit, which will also be attended by Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico, Sweden and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is to determine how the participating nations will handle the millions of worldwide refugees.

Now is the time for each of us to consider what more we can contribute – Justin Trudeau

In his final speech to the General Assembly, Obama outlined the progress made by the United States on the global stage under his eight-year leadership.

The U.S. government’s action following 2008 global economic crisis, ending climate change, resolving the Iran nuclear conflict and leading in the world fight against terrorism, he said.

“This is important work that has made a real difference to the lives of our people,” Obama said. “It could not have happened without us working together.”

Obama also took the opportunity to take aim at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose campaign has consisted of nationalism and anti-immigration policies.

“The world is too small for us to simply be able to build a wall and prevent (extremism) from affecting our own societies.”

The president didn’t hold back in criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin, most notably over Russia’s actions in Ukraine and how to combine efforts in curbing violence in Syria.

“In a world that left the age of empire behind,” said Obama, “we see Russia attempting to recover lost glory through force.”

On Monday, Trudeau announced Canada will contribute more for refugees. An additional $64.5 million in humanitarian aid will go to displaced people around the planet.

He also said a 10 per cent increase in the federal government’s foreign-aid budget would help refugee children get back to school.

Trudeau received applause from UN delegates when he mentioned Canada has accepted nearly 31,000 refugees since he was elected last October.

“While that is a great story,” Trudeau said, “I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Canada’s engagement must not stop at resettlement.

“Now is the time for each of us to consider what more we can contribute. So, in Canada, we’re looking at our options.”

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