Canadian leader Justin Trudeau was officially re-elected as prime minister Monday night, with the Liberal party winning a projected total of 157 seats in Parliament.
The big difference with this election outcome, compared to 2015, is that Canada now has a minority Liberal government — which means that the Liberals hold the most seats in the House of Commons, but less than half of the total.
The final seat numbers, as of now, are expected to be 157 for Liberals, 121 for Conservatives, 32 for Bloc Quebecois, 24 for the New Democratic Party (NDP), three for the Greens, and one for Independent.
Global Citizens called on Trudeau and his government many times during his last term, with actions demanding support on issues ranging from immunization to girls’ education to women’s and children’s health.
In recent years, the country has found itself centerstage as a leader on these issues. And today, Canada has the opportunity to shine as a champion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically when it comes to these three global goals.
The Goal: Secure Good Health and Well-Being for All (SDG 3)
The Ask: Invest in Vital Vaccines Initiatives Worldwide
For the 2021-2025 period, Gavi will support the poorest countries to vaccinate an additional 300 million children, averting up to 8 million future deaths. To make this happen, we will need to secure at least US$ 7.4 billion in funding. #GenerationHealth2020#TICAD7pic.twitter.com/KyAg9ARnng— Gavi (@gavi) August 29, 2019
Replenishment conferences are fast approaching for two vital global health organizations — the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Commitments from Canada will be essential in reaching the financial targets of these two organizations, and ensuring children in vulnerable populations can access life-saving vaccines
Gavi has vaccinated 760 million children and saved more than 13 million lives since its inception in 2000; and polio cases fell from 350,000 a year to just 33 in 2018, following the creation of the GPEI in 1988.
Canada has been an important contributor to both initiatives since 2002 and 1988, respectively and new commitments will be key in achieving SDG 3 and securing good health and well-being for all by 2030.
The Goal: Combat Climate Change (SDG 13)
The Ask: Make Bold Commitments to Tackle Climate Change
Climate change is real. And our plan to fight it is just as real. Read it here: https://t.co/gOsJLyeGYR— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) October 17, 2019
During their campaign, the Liberals promised to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, aligning with targets set in the Paris Agreement, as well as SDG 13 on combatting climate change.
Because they’ve now won, the Liberal carbon tax will remain, as will the plan to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021 to help tackle plastic pollution.
With just over 10 years left to reach the SDGs, a bold commitment to tackling climate change is necessary.
In recent weeks, the Liberal party said it would surpass Canada’s 2030 emissions goals by introducing new carbon reducing measures, and setting legally-binding, 5-year milestones, “based on the advice of the experts and consultations with Canadians,” to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Trudeau has been criticized for his decision to move forward with the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, but his platform has vowed to invest every dollar generated from the project in Canada’s clean energy transition. This, according to the party, could result in a revenue of $500 million per year once the project is finished.
The Goal: End Extreme Poverty (SDG 1)
The Ask: Increase Foreign Aid Spending in the Lead Up to 2030
The United Nations has set a target for developed countries like Canada to spend 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) on foreign aid every year.
In the lead up to the election, the Liberal platform highlighted its intent to increase Canada’s foreign aid spending in the lead up to 2030, as Trudeau’s government has said it is dedicated to achieving the SDGs.
But Trudeau has not officially committed to reaching the 0.7% target as part of his current campaign promises.
While Canada’s feminist international assistance policy was applauded for it focus on gender equality in 2017, an increasing trend in the federal budget will be needed if Canada’s intention is to help end extreme poverty by 2030. Its current budget sits at about 0.28% of the country’s GNI.
With just over 10 years to go before the Global Goals deadline, countries like Canada must stand up as world leaders and commit to initiatives, organizations, and mindsets that will put an end to extreme poverty by 2030 and help protect the world from the devastating effects of climate change.