Trudeau leaves for high-stakes talks in Europe on climate change and pandemic – .

Trudeau leaves for high-stakes talks in Europe on climate change and pandemic – .

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau departs today for Europe, where he will participate in high-stakes discussions with other world leaders on pressing issues like climate change and the race to immunize people in income countries low and intermediate.
While much of the week-long trip will be dominated by the G20 meeting in Rome and the 26th “Conference of the Parties” (COP26) climate summit in Glasgow, Trudeau has set aside time for a official visit to the Netherlands, a country with close historical and diplomatic ties with Canada.

A government official, speaking on the background to reporters in a pre-trip briefing, said Trudeau was invited by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to “really deepen the ties between our two countries, which are already very deep ”. Rutte made a trip to Canada in 2018 and Trudeau “returns the invitation,” the official said.

The two countries are closely aligned on foreign policy issues, the official said, highlighting ongoing cooperation on the climate issue as the two countries push other developed countries to do more to help curb rising global temperatures.

In an interview with CBC News, Independent Ontario Senator Peter Boehm, a former G7 Sherpa, said Rutte and Trudeau can use diplomatic speaking time to discuss how best to approach the Rome summit.

The G20 countries alone represent 80% of the world economy and the bulk of annual greenhouse gas emissions. This makes the Rome summit – which comes just before COP26, where the position of the G20 countries will be critical – particularly important.

A meeting of G20 environment ministers came to a standstill earlier this year when it failed to reach agreement on priorities such as phasing out coal and limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C. Several countries, including China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia, hesitated at some of the proposed language.

Canada and the Netherlands could help find a pragmatic solution through creative “wording”, said Boehm.

“It’s a friendly and easy relationship and I would say, since the Prime Minister is on this side of the Atlantic anyway, the renewal of this friendship is very appropriate in terms of how these things are going” Boehm said, noting that Trudeau and Rutte – who leads the centrist People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy – are ideologically aligned.

“They will discuss bilateral issues, global concerns and they will compare the ratings on the COP in Glasgow. “

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte during the NATO summit in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, Wednesday, December 4, 2019. (Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press)

During a stopover in The Hague, the diplomatic capital of the Netherlands, Trudeau is expected to deliver a speech to parliamentarians at the Binnenhof. He then has to travel with Princess Margriet – a member of the Dutch royal family born in Ottawa in exile during World War II – to lay a wreath at the Canadian military cemetery at Bergen op Zoom in the south of the country.

7,500 Canadian soldiers died during the liberation of the Netherlands

The Canada-Dutch relationship is unmistakably defined by the shared experience of the two countries during this bloody conflict. More than 7,500 Canadians died liberating the Netherlands from Nazi rule in late 1944 and early 1945, before Germany’s surrender.

“We are forever grateful to these brave Canadian soldiers who brought the light of freedom to our country at its darkest hour,” Rutte said in his 2018 address to the Canadian Parliament. “This we will never forget. “

A Dutch boy holds a sign that reads’ Christmas 1944 somewhere in Holland. Allied friends God bless you ”at a Christmas dinner for Canadian soldiers in the Netherlands in 1944. (George Metcalf Archival Collection / Canadian War Museum)

Geoffrey Hayes is professor of history at the University of Waterloo and specialist in the liberation of the Netherlands by the First Canadian Army. A frequent visitor to the country, Hayes said he was always struck by the respect that Dutch civilians show to former Canadian soldiers who helped liberate the country after a brutal eight-month military campaign.

“I remember in the 1990s, on the 50th anniversary of the liberation, Canadians were invited and it was just overwhelming to see the Dutch villagers swarming with these old Canadian veterans. They were like rock stars. It was really something. the reception was pretty amazing, ”Hayes told CBC News.

“They value Canadian engagement in a way that most Canadians just don’t understand. A lot of guys have been killed in an eight to ten month war and that’s something the Dutch recognize about the Canadian position.

While helping the Dutch secure their freedom, the Canadian victories also helped bolster crucial supply lines for the Allied armies as they continued their push towards Germany.

“We often suggest that the war was over by the start of 1945, but it was certainly not in the towns and villages in the Netherlands that were liberated by the Canadians,” Hayes said. “It is one of the neglected elements of war. We weren’t charging towards Berlin or rushing to occupy Germany. “

Civilians surrounding a Sherman tank of the 4th Canadian Armored Division during the liberation of Hilversum, the Netherlands, May 7, 1945. (George Metcalf Archival Collection / Canadian War Museum)

After the war, Canadian engineers helped replace collapsed dikes, desalinate contaminated soil and “put people back on their feet after the fighting,” said Hayes. Canadian civil affairs officers also helped local officials restore democratic institutions such as city councils that were marginalized under German rule.

The three Canadian war cemeteries in the Netherlands – including the one in Bergen op Zoom which Trudeau will visit on Friday – are impeccably maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Dutch villagers who live nearby.

“It’s a tradition with many families out there to look after specific graves,” said Hayes.

Royal Dutch born in Ottawa

Princess Juliana – who then reigned as Queen of the Netherlands from 1948 to 1980 – went into exile with her family in Canada during the Nazi occupation of their country, staying at the Stornoway Residence in Ottawa. (Stornoway, a gorgeous but modest mansion in the Rockcliffe Park neighborhood, is now the official residence of the Leader of the Official Opposition.)

Juliana gave birth to Margriet at the Ottawa Civic Hospital in 1943 and Canada temporarily ceded its claim to this territory to ensure that the young princess was born as a Dutch national. The diplomatic gesture ensured that Margriet would not be kept away from the succession to the throne.

Princess Juliana of the Netherlands holds a baby Princess Margriet at Stornoway in Rockcliffe, their home during WWII. (Library and Archives Canada / Yousuf Karsh / PA-192854)

“The Dutch royal family is really unpretentious. They were part of the scene in Ottawa, they were seen walking around freely with their children – that was obviously appreciated, ”said Hayes, noting that the Netherlands still sends Ottawa around 10,000 tulip bulbs each. year to honor the kindness shown by Canadians in times of crisis.

“These kinds of ties are in the distant past, but they are important. There are now very strong ties between Canada and the Dutch because of all of this. “


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