Champagne hopeful about UN Security Council bid despite stiff competition

Champagne hopeful about UN Security Council bid despite stiff competition

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says he’s “cautiously optimistic” about Canada’s chances of winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council this year as the government ramps up its campaign in Africa.

Speaking to reporters after a trip to Mali and Morocco, Champagne brushed off criticism by many analysts who say that Canada’s low spending on foreign aid and its meagre contributions to UN peacekeeping will hurt Canada’s bid.

Canada faces stiff competition from Norway and Ireland for the two temporary seats on the most powerful UN body, which will be the subject of a June vote for a two-year term starting next year.

Countries vying for a seat need two-thirds support in the secret-ballot process — more than 128 votes — and Africa is one of the most influential blocs, with 54 countries voting.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed Canada to a Security Council run in 2015 as part of his “Canada is back” pledge, following the 2010 loss by the previous Conservative government to tiny, economically-challenged Portugal.

In September, Canada sent a delegation led by former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Joe Clark to the annual UN General Assembly meeting of world leaders to campaign for the Security Council.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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