2019 federal election: responses from the Liberal Party

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Question 1: How should Canada support United Nations peacekeeping?

One central challenge for peacekeeping in the 21st century is the absence of women, whether as police officers, soldiers or leaders. Involving women increases local populations’ confidence in peace operations and creates important role models. Crucially, it also reduces the likelihood of sexual abuse and exploitation.

That is why our Liberal government launched the Elsie Initiative, which will increase the number of women in peacekeeping, and have committed $21 million toward this initiative. Involving women in peace operations and in all aspects of conflict prevention and resolution is a real solution to hard security issues. The Liberal Party believes that women’s participation in UN peace operations is vital to achieving sustainable peace.

As a government we have also made a contribution of $45.37 million in new support for UN peace operations will help assure the meaningful participation of uniformed women in peace operations; enhance the capacity of the UN to take gender into account in the design and conduct of peace operations; and support the implementation of the Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) agenda, including through new training strategies. 

Canada also made new investments to UN conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding efforts in countries working to set conditions for durable and inclusive peace, including Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Mali, South Sudan, Yemen and many others. These new investments build on the more than $100 million Canada has provided to support UN peace operations and peacebuilding efforts since 2016, and reinforce the commitments Canada made at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference in Vancouver in 2017.

Question 2: Global Climate Change: What should be Canada’s International Commitments?

Our government helped to spur global ambition and strengthen resolve by pushing for the 1.5°C objective in the Paris Agreement in 2015, which has guided our climate policy ever since. The 1.5°C limit matters for Canada, which is warming at twice the global average – and at three times the global average in the north. The 1.5°C limit is even more essential for poorer countries, which often lack adequate resources to adapt to climate change. That’s why Canada has committed over $2.6 billion to support climate action in developing countries, which is double what the previous government committed.

In the past four years, that approach has delivered the biggest projected cut to Canada’s emissions ever. That’s a big step, but it’s just a first step. We know there’s much more to do. The Paris Agreement requires us to increase our ambition over time, and that’s exactly what we’ll do – through legislation, regulations, smart policies, and international commitment and leadership.

That’s why a re-elected Liberal government would adopt a net-zero GHG target for Canada for 2050. We would immediately appoint an expert advisory panel to recommend pathways to reach the 2050 target, and we would develop a plan to achieve it drawing on their recommendations, as well as on consultations with Canadians in all sectors and regions of the country. This will build off of the Generation Energy Report, which is a roadmap for Canada’s Clean energy transition over the next 25 years. We have also committed to put our net-zero 2050 target into law, and to legislate a series of five-year carbon budgets starting in 2025 to attain the 2050 target. The carbon budget trajectory will draw on the recommendations of the expert panel and consultations with Canadians. 

And to help us get there, a re-elected Liberal government will build on Canada’s climate plan by introducing a series of new measures to further cut pollution, notably by strengthening existing rules to cut emissions from Canada’s biggest polluters, including oil and gas. We will ensure Canada leads and succeeds in zero-emissions clean tech by cutting corporate taxes in half for businesses developing or manufacturing zero emissions technologies.

Nature is a critical ally in the fight against climate change. That is why we will also set new, ambitious targets in protecting more of Canada’s lands and oceans. By 2025, we will protect 25% of our lands and 25% of our oceans. And by 2030, we will protect 30% of our lands, and 30% of our oceans. In that same vein, we will also move forward with an ambitious plan to plant two billion trees over 10 years and to invest in other nature-based solutions, which will cut an estimated 30 Mt of emissions. 

We know there is more to do, and we will continue to look for opportunities to do more with Canadians. During our last mandate, we also provided $20 million over four years for an independent expert institute on climate change, which will inform future governments about best practices in emission reductions to achieve Canada’s target. The newly created Canadian Centre for Energy Information will provide publicly available modelling, forecasting and foresighting of energy data aligned to the Paris Agreement. 

As we move forward with developing net-zero legislation, we will carefully consider how we ensure that we are growing our economy today in a manner that is consistent with achieving a net-zero future. Further, by legislating net-zero and five-year milestones, we will provide important transparency for businesses so that they can plan long-life assets to be consistent with national climate goals and our international climate action commitments.

Question 3: Nuclear disarmament: Which measures intended to promote the realization of a world without nuclear weapons should Canada support?

Canada remains strongly committed to playing a leading role in ensuring that our children will inherit a world free of nuclear weapons. We absolutely recognize the grave consequences of even an accidental nuclear detonation, which could have impacts that transcend borders and harm the environment, the global economy and even the health of future generations.

Recently, tangible progress on nuclear disarmament has slowed. We recognize that, today, there are many who feel a deep sense of frustration regarding the pace of recent progress on nuclear disarmament. The Liberal Party shares this frustration. Advancing nuclear disarmament in a meaningful has been a priority for us in government and will remain so if we are re-elected.

Unfortunately, we believe that the conditions required to facilitate further major reductions in nuclear arsenals and eventually eliminating them are not present. No nuclear weapons states are participating in these negotiations, because they do not take account of the current international security context of Russian military adventurism and expansionism, or North Korea’s testing of nuclear devices and ballistic missiles designed to threaten the whole Asia-Pacific region, including North America.

Historically, non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, or actual weapon reductions, have only ever taken place with the relevant actors at the table. Without the participation of states possessing nuclear weapons, it is certain that not a single nuclear weapon will be eliminated. Further efforts are required to build confidence and trust and reduce the levels of tensions between States.

Our position is also that of the vast majority of our allies: Germany, France, the UK, and Norway to name just a few. Despite a problematic international security environment, there is room to pursue effective nuclear disarmament efforts. Canada and our allies maintain that nuclear disarmament can only realistically be achieved through an approach that takes into account the views and security interests of all states.

Nuclear disarmament should be the goal of every country, and of every government. It is certainly the Liberal Party’s goal – and if re-elected we will pursue pragmatic initiatives that will lead to a world without nuclear weapons.

Question 4: What can Canada do to strengthen the United Nations?

Canada is a firm supporter of the rules-based international order and the multilateral institutions that underpin it. We recognize that for these institutions to continue to be useful, they need to be reformed. Canada has actively worked on these efforts at the UN in New York.

Canada is also campaigning for a UN Security Council seat and our government has been focused on who we are and what we stand for as a country. Our approach in this campaign had been to talk to our partners about what we stand for, talk to them about why our values, which we show every day in the way we conduct our foreign policy, are values they want to have expressed at the Security Council. That message, about democracy, human rights, and a more prosperous future for all, is a message which is resonating and we will continue to promote it at every opportunity.

Beyond the United Nations and its bodies, we will also provide international institutions like the International Criminal Court, the World Trade Organization, and others, with additional resources to better enforce international law and the rules-based international order.

We will also build on our government’s accomplishments in multilateralism and continue to move forward with a principled approach that puts democracy, human rights, international law, and environmental protection at the heart of foreign policy. To this end, we will establish the Canadian Centre for Peace, Order, and Good Government, which will lend expertise and help to people seeking to build peace, advance justice, promote human rights and democracy, and deliver good governance.

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