Justin Trudeau Goes on PR Push in Bid to Win UN Security Council Seat

Trudeau highlighted Canada's action on the Syrian refugee crisis, while also taking a veiled shot at Donald Trump during his UN visit.

Sep 20 2016, 7:55pm

Justin Trudeau speaking at UN HQ on Tuesday afternoon. Photo via AP

As Donald Trump Jr. faces condemnation for comparing Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles, Canada's refugee-loving prime minister says the fear mongering is misplaced.

"Do you want to know where Syria's middle class is?" Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

"They're living in refugee camps in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan."

The pitch was a part of Canada's full court press at the international forum to become the Western ambassador for Syria's scores of displaced refugees. Trudeau brought along his immigration minister, John McCallum, and the two have focused much of their work in New York on advancing the cause of displaced refugees, especially from Syria.

Canada isn't the only one. American President Barack Obama made a similar pitch in his last address to the UN, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the member states for not doing enough to take in the sea of displaced migrants who are currently calling Turkey home.

But Trudeau is currently making a bid to win a temporary seat on the UN Security Council, a gambit that he's staked his international reputation on.

Trudeau spent much of Monday and Tuesday trying to win votes, meeting with the President of Bulgaria and Prime Minister of Romania—two countries who had been furious with Canada over its visa requirements for residents of both countries.

But Canada's big public relations press is decidedly on the refugee front.

In his speech to the plenary, Trudeau took Donald Trump Jr.'s now-infamous meme—which might have its basis in Nazi propaganda—and flipped the logic right around.

"Refugee camps are teeming with Syria's middle class. Doctors and lawyers. Teachers and entrepreneurs. They're well educated. They work hard. They care about their families. They want a better life—a safer and more secure future for their kids—as we all do," Trudeau told the UN.

And while he keeps professing to wanting to stay out of the US election, Trudeau appeared to make some snide jabs at the US Republican nominee, iterating: "Fear has never fed a family nor created a single job."

Trudeau also used the international conference to re-announce increased humanitarian aid.

Trudeau hailed a 10 percent bump in Canada's International Assistance Envelope—one part of Canada's international development funding—that had previously been announced in the federal budget.

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