The heads of over 50 countries, mostly former territories of the British Empire, are meeting in London, England this week including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. There are member countries on every continent except Antarctica.Listen
“The Commonwealth is a unique platform,” says Elliot Tepper, a professor of political science at Carleton University in Ottawa. “It is the largest gathering outside of the United Nations itself. And these are countries that share a common legal system and a common language, 2.4 billion people represented, over 60 per cent of them apparently are under 30 (years of age).
“So, it’s a very special place to communicate messages across the normal channels of international diplomacy.”
Canada to lobby for UN security council seat
Besides demonstrating a commitment to multilateralism and the Commonwealth, Trudeau will likely have three goals, says Tepper. Canada is hosting the G7 meeting of industrialized nations in June and he says Trudeau will want to emphasize the issues it will focus on including growth that benefits everyone, gender equality and climate change. Trudeau will also lobby for help getting Canada a seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2020.
Trade after Brexit a hot topic
Trudeau will participate in a retreat where the heads of state have a chance to meet and speak with each other with no advisors present. He will also meet with Queen Elizabeth who is Canada’s head of state, with Prime Minister Teresa May and the mayor of London. It is likely Trudeau will talk about a possible free trade agreement between Canada and the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.
Women in business announcement expected
Tepper is expecting the announcement of a $10 million US fund that would promote women in business across the Commonwealth. Leaders will likely discuss a new convention on ocean governance and various issues around cybercrime, terrorism and security.
Says Tepper: “The core mission of the Commonwealth really, is promoting democracy and fundamental freedoms and good governance. And they put this under the heading of fairness.”