Prime Minister Trudeau announces over $300 million in new foreign aid at ASEAN summit in Cambodia

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada will provide more than $300 million in new foreign aid to Southeast Asian countries, nearly half of which will be used for feminist-focused development.

“We need to work together more than ever,” Trudeau said at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Cambodia on November 13.

“This is a generational change and today we are announcing tangible investments that are part of our commitment to this relationship.”

Over the next five years, Canada will commit $100 million in “feminist international support policy development funds to support development initiatives in the Indo-Pacific,” according to a Nov. 13 news release.

Trudeau also attended A Women, Peace and Security roundtable at the summit pledged approximately $33 million to solicit proposals to support organizations promoting “gender equality and inclusion” in the Indo-Pacific region.

at the Canadian Feminist International Support policyfirst released in 2017, then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said the initiative would provide access to “safe and legal abortions” as well as “sexual and reproductive rights”. He said he was focused.

“These rights are at the core of our foreign policy,” she wrote.

The liberal government also pledged more than $84 million to help take action against “illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing” in the region, and committed as much as $40 million to help public officials conduct investigations. I promised.

A further $24.5 million will be used to open new offices for the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and just over $24 million will be spent to help private Canadian companies expand their investments and networking in Southeast Asia.

Indo-Pacific strategy

Composition of ASEAN The region has 10 member states and many international partners, including the United States, China and the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister Trudeau also announced during his visit that Canada is currently negotiating an ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement.

“We have much to offer each other as partners and look forward to continuing this work together,” he said.

Just days before leaving for Trudeau’s trip, Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie announced Canada’s future Indo-Pacific strategy. It outlines Canada’s future action plan and its relationship with China.

Jolie said the strategy recognizes China’s human rights abuses but also focuses on promoting Canada’s trade ties with China.

“We have $100 billion in trade with China,” she said Nov. 9 in Toronto.

A majority of lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted to declare China’s persecution of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims a genocide, but Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from voting.

Asked by a reporter on November 13 why he refused to acknowledge China’s acts of genocide. Trudeau said There is an “objective historical expert process” that decides when to use the word “genocide.”

“We continue to call out egregious human rights violations around the world, including against the Uighurs in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region by the Chinese government,” he said. “However, genocide designations must be made by the appropriate international authorities.”

Canadian Press contributed to this report.

peter wilson


Peter Wilson is a reporter based in Ontario, Canada.