Liberal Opinion: Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau may raise Russian invasion of Ukraine at G20 summit

If the statement issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on eve of his departure for Asia to participate in the  ASEAN and G20 summits, Canada may raise the issue of Russian invasion of Ukraine at the New Delhi summit of heads of states of the G20 nations.

“Canada will always be, a champion of the rules-based international order, and the global trade and economic progress that depends on those rules,” the statement issued by the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO) said on Wednesday. It further said that the  “Russia’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine is an attack on the rules that all countries rely on to do business, trade, grow, and improve life for their citizens.”

“That’s why, at the G20, Prime Minister Trudeau will continue to advocate for collective action to hold Putin accountable for his illegal war and to secure a just and durable peace that starts with Russia’s immediate withdrawal from Ukraine. Working collaboratively to tackle global crises while holding Russia accountable is essential to maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of the G20,” the PMO statement said.

It may be pertinent to mention that Justin Trudeau had expressed his displeasure at the decision of host India for not extending invitation to Ukraine as a special guest to the summit. India’s External Affairs Minister Jaishankar had clarified that since the mandate of the G20 was to discuss economic, financial, environmental and related issues facing the member states, it could not invite a nation presently engaged in a war as a special guest to the summit.

The G20 is the primary forum for international economic co-operation among its members. G20 members are the world’s major economies and represent all inhabited continents, 80 per cent of world GDP, 75 per cent of global trade, and 60 per cent of the world’s population.

Canada and India enjoy a close relationship  based on their shared commitment to democracy, pluralism, as well as a free and open Indo-Pacific. Indo-Canada friendship is bolstered by strong ties between  people of two nations, and a long history of co-operation in areas ranging from trade, science and technology, education, and security. Further, Canada is home to a vibrant Indian diaspora, with more than nearly 1.3 million Canadians of Indian heritage.

The PMO statement further said that “today, people around the world are feeling the effects of conflict, threats to democracy and human rights, climate change and natural disasters, food and energy insecurity, and increased inflation. These crises and challenges are driving up the cost of living, destroying homes and displacing people, and creating uncertainty about the future. It is essential to work with our international partners, including in the Indo-Pacific and within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the G20, to tackle these challenges and identify opportunities to create jobs and economic benefits, and improve quality of life for people around the world.”

Justin Trudeau will travel to Jakarta, Indonesia to participate in the ASEAN Summit on September 5 and 6 followed by a bilateral visit to Singapore on September 7 and 8 before he heads for New Delhi to participate in the G20 Summit on September 9 and 10.

While in the Indo-Pacific region next week, the written statement said that the Prime Minister would reaffirm Canada’s commitment to strengthening economic co-operation and removing trade barriers to create good middle-class jobs and make life more affordable for people on both sides of the Pacific. He would also work with his counterparts to strengthen ties between our peoples and drive climate action.

“The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region and Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. At the ASEAN Summit, Prime Minister Trudeau will reinforce Canada’s support for ASEAN and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific to promote regional peace and stability, rules-based trade, food security, and economic growth that benefits everyone. He will also take part in an ASEAN-Canada Summit, during which the official launch of the ASEAN-Canada Strategic Partnership will take place. The Prime Minister will also hold bilateral meetings with leaders on the margins of the Summit, the statement said.

In Indonesia, the Prime Minister would meet with the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, to keep working together to fight climate change, improve food security, and advance economic ties including by underscoring Canada’s commitment to conclude a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with Indonesia, Canada’s largest export market in Southeast Asia.

In Singapore, an important partner under Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, Prime Minister Trudeau would strengthen bilateral relations, particularly by promoting Canadian exports and positioning Canada as a destination of choice for investment opportunities. The Prime Minister would also meet with the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, and a number of key private sector leaders.

At the G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, under the theme “One Earth – One Family – One Future”, the Prime Minister would work with international partners to tackle today’s global crises to build a better tomorrow for people around the world. He would promote the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in his role as co-Chair of the SDG Advocates group, and advocate for increased collaboration in the areas of climate change, international financial institution reform, food and energy security, gender equality, and improved global health.

“We live in an increasingly interconnected world, and it is clear that the crises that exist today can only be addressed by pulling together. I look forward to meeting with global leaders to address the challenges and crises we are facing, seize opportunities for Canadians, and ensure a strong economy for now and for generations to come,” the statement quoting Justin Trudeau said.

(Prabhjot Singh is a veteran journalist with over three decades of experience of 14 years with Reuters News and 30 years with The Tribune Group, covering a wide spectrum of subjects and stories. He has covered Punjab and Sikh affairs for more than three decades besides covering seven Olympics and several major sporting events and hosting TV shows.)