Conservative leader Andrew Scheer arrives for a morning announcement in Toronto Tuesday, October 1, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Seat at UN security council not top priority, Scheer says after pledging foreign-aid cuts

‘It’s more important to me that I help Canadians get ahead than curry favour at the United Nations’

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he believes it is more important to help out Canadians at home than to seek a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Canada is campaigning for one of two seats for a two-year term that would begin in 2021, but it faces a tough fight from Norway and Ireland.

The Conservatives are pledging to decrease foreign-aid spending by 25 per cent. The plan includes cutting out funding for countries they consider to be hostile regimes, or as having too much money to need the help.

Asked whether that would hurt Canada’s bid for the UN seat it is seeking, Scheer said he was confident allies would recognize the country’s contributions, including through its military efforts, around the world.

At the same time, he suggested securing the council spot would not be a priority for a Conservative government.

“It’s more important to me that I help Canadians get ahead than curry favour at the United Nations,” Scheer said Tuesday in Toronto.

The UN vote is next June.

Scheer noted his foreign policy announcement came the day when the party leaders would have been participating in an event the Munk Debates organized around the topic. Organizers said they cancelled the event because Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau decided not to take part.

Trudeau, who was meeting with mayors from the Greater Toronto Area about his gun-control policy on Tuesday, linked the proposed Conservative cuts to foreign assistance to their climate-change policy.

“Andrew Scheer’s climate plan relies almost entirely on action overseas and now he’s proposing to stop supporting countries who are taking action overseas on fighting emissions,” Trudeau said in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Trudeau also defended Liberal investments in foreign aid, although would not commit to increasing spending to reach 0.7 per cent of GDP, which is a target the United Nations set in 1970.

“We are continuing to invest in foreign aid, because we know that helping people around the world, particularly vulnerable women and girls, is a meaningful way of promoting prosperity and indeed security and stability that impacts Canadians as well,” Trudeau said.

New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh, meanwhile, said his party would commit to increasing foreign aid spending to reach the UN target.

Dark skies: UN meeting reveals a world in a really bad mood

Singh also said that if Scheer is trying to find ways to pay for his promises, then cutting foreign aid is going about it the wrong way.

“It is shameful that he is talking about cutting foreign aid when there are massive inequalities in our country,” Singh said Tuesday in Vancouver.

“The fact that he is talking about cutting foreign aid is a distraction,” he said. “He is missing the point. He is missing the whole plot here. We’ve got massive inequality in our country and we have to ask those at the very top, the ultra rich, to pay their fair share.”

Green Leader Elizabeth May is in Toronto to talk about her party’s policy on post-secondary education at Ryerson University before heading to Montreal for an evening rally. People’s Party leader Maxime Bernier is planning several small-scale appearances with candidates in southwestern Ontario.

Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Blaine Calkins takes the seat for Red-Deer Lacombe

With 50 per cent of the riding counted, Calkins has over 21,000 votes

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

Red Deer-Lacombe candidate “thrilled” voters loved People’s Party of Canada platform

Laura-Lynn Thompson attended a results party at Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club on Oct. 21

Lacombe ranked 5th on 20 Best Places to Live list

Moneyinc.com included Lacombe, Camrose and Red Deer on the list

WATCH: 6th Bill’s Trail Run welcomes over 450 runners

Run advocates for the use and upkeep of Lacombe’s trails

Husky Energy lays off staff to align with lower spending plans and strategy

Company had 5,157 permanent employees at end of 2018, according to regulatory filing

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Opposition to Trans Mountain won’t change, B.C. minister says

Pipeline projects proceed under minority Trudeau government

Alleged RCMP secret leaker must stay with B.C. parents while on bail

Cameron Ortis, 47, is charged with violating the Security of Information Act

‘Inconsistent’ message on climate change hurt Liberals at the polls: prof

Trudeau government will have to make concessions to hold onto power

VIDEO: Final trailer for ‘Rise of Skywalker’ debuts

Last instalment in Skywalker saga to hit theatres Dec. 20

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Most Read