Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will fly to Barbados on Monday, where his effort to secure votes in the Caribbean for Canada’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council is expected to receive a warm — if guarded — response.
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Trudeau’s two-day visit coincides with Barbados playing host to a gathering of leaders from across what is known as the Caribbean Community, or Caricom, which includes 15 countries as full members and five others as associate members.
Canada has had close ties to Caricom members in the past 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.
Yet most of that aid has dried up over the past decade, and while free trade talks were launched by the two sides in 2007, they have largely gone nowhere.
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Stephen Baranyi, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa who has done extensive work on the Caribbean, says Canada remains relatively well regarded in the region, but Trudeau will be expected to offer them something in return for their votes.
That could include restarting trade talks or money to help them deal with the impacts of climate change, given the region’s particular vulnerabilities to its effects.
© 2020 The Canadian Press