President Trudeau was expected to arrive in Barbados today as special guest at the 31st Inter-sessional Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which will take place from February 18 to 19 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
One of the main reasons for his visit to the biannual meeting of CARICOM, was to bolster his efforts to secure votes in the Caribbean for Canada's bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Canada has traditionally had close ties to CARICOM thanks to their shared British and French colonial pasts and the provision of millions of dollars in Canadian foreign aid after many of those countries gained independence in the 1960s, '70s and early '80s.
In addition, Canada is home to a significant number of CARICOM’s diaspora; it is a major source of tourists to the region; and Canadian private sector investment in the region in a variety of industries, including banking, tourism and mining, is huge -- direct investment is in excess of US$75 billion, and trade in services is roughly US$3 billion annually.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne will represent Canada in Trudeau’s place, clearing the way for the prime minister to handle the protests.
The cancellation followed criticism from Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer last week for “running around” Africa and Europe as protesters opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in British Columbia blockaded rail lines in B.C., Ontario and other parts of the country.
The PM will convene the Incident Response Group tomorrow to address the infrastructure disruptions occurring across the country, to continue working toward a resolution to restore service to the rail system. #cdnpoli— Cameron Ahmad (@CameronAhmad) February 16, 2020
The prime minister’s visit to Barbados was to coincide with Caribbean Community (Caricom) which includes 15 countries as full members and five others as associate members.
Trudeau used similar summits in Ethiopia and Germany last week to make his pitch for a seat on the Security Council to a large cross-section of leaders from across Africa and Europe.
Canada, Norway and Ireland are vying for two seats available to Western European countries as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. Members of the UN will vote in June, with the winners sitting for two-year terms.
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