Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will miss Friday’s national Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa to attend a summit in Cambodia involving countries from across Southeast Asia.
Senior officials revealed the prime minister’s planned absence during a not-for-attribution background briefing, saying Trudeau will leave late Thursday for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting in Phnom Penh.
The ASEAN summit, which is scheduled to start on Saturday, is the first of four international meetings that Trudeau will attend over 10 days. He will also attend the G20 in Indonesia, the APEC meeting in Thailand and a Francophonie summit in Tunisia.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that the summits will “advance our priorities” and Trudeau is attending alongside other world leaders, including from the United Kingdom, United States and France.
The prime minister met with serving military personnel and veterans in New Brunswick earlier this week, spokeswoman Cecely Roy said. That included visiting the military base in Gagetown on Indigenous Veterans Day and paying his respects to those who fell in service at the Oromocto Pioneer Gardens Cemetery.
Lawrence MacAulay, the minister for veterans affairs, will represent the government at Friday’s Ottawa ceremony, Roy added.
Trudeau was also absent for the national Remembrance Day ceremony in 2018 because he was attending an international gathering of world leaders in France marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Canadian Legion, which organizes and runs the national ceremony every year, said the prime minister and other key government representatives are always invited to attend.
“We are disappointed that he will not be present this year,” Nujma Bond said. “We do understand that, on occasion, national matters may arise that prevent him from attending.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2022.