Justin Trudeau in The Commonwealth: The Russian Elephant in the Room

Justin Trudeau’s first stop: the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The grouping of 54 countries, a holdover from the British Empire, rarely attracts attention, but this time the situation is different.

The Commonwealth struggles with deep divisions over the war in Ukraine. Some Commonwealth countries have outspoken pro-Russian positionsexplains Frédéric Mérand, professor of political science at the University of Montreal.

Almost 20% of Commonwealth countries abstained in a vote at the United Nations earlier this year to denounce the Russian invasion.

List of countries that abstained:

South Africa, Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania

Countries that did not vote:


African developing countries, but also larger players like South Africa, India and Pakistan, refuse to get involved for fear of damaging their diplomatic or economic ties with Russia.

The backstage of the Commonwealth Summit will therefore be the scene of negotiations and negotiations to try to persuade some of them to switch sides.

Prime Minister Trudeau will work very hard to mobilize these countriessays a senior official in the Trudeau administration. We will have open discussions personally at the table.

How does Canada plan to do well?

Solve the food crisis

Russia blocks exports of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain a real war crimebelieves Josep Borell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Russia’s war is holding South Africa hostage due to rising food prices, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier this week in a speech to the African Union.

However, several Commonwealth countries sensitive to Russian propaganda believe this food crisis is the fault of the West, which imposed sanctions on Vladimir Putin’s regime.

Dubbed the “breadbasket” of Europe, Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat, barley and other grains, as well as sugar beet and sunflower oil.

Photo: Getty Images/Joe Raedle

For Western countries, the food crisis means little inflation. But for some countries in the Middle East or sub-Saharan Africa, it may mean famine.emphasizes Frédéric Mérand.

Justin Trudeau therefore wants to use part of his time at the Commonwealth Summit to woo countries who are small, fragile, vulnerable and who feel it their food security and access to petrol, natural gas and food is limitedsays a senior government official.

In order to bring these developing countries into their folds, the countries of the Western Commonwealth intend to provide them with financial and humanitarian assistance strengthen resilience to climate change and food security and contribute to sustainable developmentsays a Canadian representative.

A charming operation that will continue at the G7 in Germany, the second leg of the journey, from June 26th to 28th.

G7, Russia and developing countries

Food security will be one of the key issues at the G7. In addition, this group of the seven most industrialized countries invited India, South Africa, Argentina and Senegal to discuss it. Of these four countries, only Argentina condemned Russian actions in Ukraine.

The G7 invited India, South Africa, Argentina and Senegal to discuss food security.


Senegal is a country that is currently in high demand, both from Westerners and from Russia.observes Professor Frédéric Mérand.

In addition, just ahead of the G7 summit, China is organizing an emerging market meeting with Russia, India, South Africa and Brazil, to counteract the tendency of Western countries to form small cliques and fight against it American hegemonysays Beijing.

The G7 countries therefore feel compelled to demonstrate their openness to the demands of the developing countries, which are strongly courted by Russia and China.

Canada intends to take the opportunity of the G7 to offer its agricultural expertise to help alleviate some of the food crisis in these countries.

Canada can share its talent in grain transportation and storage. We have the best experts in the world for this type of logistics, over long distances and in spite of the heat or the coldsays a senior Canadian diplomatic representative.

But Western charm doesn’t come naturally, says Benoit Hardy-Chartrand, an associate researcher in the Raoul Dandurand Chair and a professor at Temple University in Tokyo.

These countries are not necessarily willing to sever ties with Russia, making it difficult for Canada and other Western actors to bring them into their folds.the professor continues.

Fault lines across Russia, against which even allies of theNato are not immune.

The cracks ofNato

The final leg of Justin Trudeau’s journey will be the culmination ofNato in Madrid, from June 28th to 30th. The decisive question about the next military and humanitarian steps in the war in Ukraine is currently dividing the members of the Atlantic Alliance.

Turkey’s president has rejected Finland and Sweden’s accession because he believes the two countries welcome “terrorists” from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of the importance of not humiliating Vladimir Putin, opening the door to negotiations for Russia to keep part of the Ukrainian territory he occupies.

A position that goes against the wishes of Ukraine, which wants to protect the integrity of its territory with the support of Canada.

OTAN par rapport à comment gérer la Russie à moyen et à long terme”,”text”:”On commence à avoir certaines différences au sein de l’OTAN par rapport à comment gérer la Russie à moyen et à long terme”}}”>We’re starting to see some differences within theNato how to manage Russia in the medium and long termsays Stefanie von Hlatky, Professor of Political Science at Queen’s University.

The great challenge of this meeting is to ensure that the Allies maintain their unity both on the additional aid to be sent to Ukraine and on the political positioning of the alliance, the professor adds.

To this end, Turkey rejected Sweden’s and Finland’s application for membershipNato will be another test for the cohesion of the members of the Atlantic Alliance.

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