Rapid-fire politics

Can Liberals deliver on peacekeeping and climate change?

Follow along with speedy punditry on Ban Ki-moon's comments in Ottawa—and Trudeau's big challenge on climate goals

Ottawa Bureau Chief John Geddes and Maclean’s contributor Evan Solomon try to answer this week’s burning political questions in what they insist is rapid-fire fashion. We still have doubts that these two understand the phrase “rapid-fire,” but take a look.

1.”Canada is back.” That’s become the unofficial slogan of the 100-day-old Trudeau government, and it got a surprising endorsement from Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General. Ban repeated the phrase at the start of his visit to Ottawa to discuss climate change, peacekeeping and Syrian refugees with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Was the thinly veiled criticism of the Stephen Harper years from the UN secretary-general inappropriate, given the maternal and child health program that Harper championed under the auspices of the UN?

2. Peacekeeping. If being “back” means a “renewed” relationship with the UN on peacekeeping, the Liberal government has to back that up with specific actions. Given Canada’s new and expensive commitment in Iraq, is there money in the budget to fund a substantial Canadian peacekeeping force? Some experts view the Pearsonian peacekeeping model as an act of nostalgia for a world gone by, but others see it as a new form of global realism that will reassert the relevance of the UN.

3. Climate change. The Liberals came to power having made ambitious promises on curbing carbon emissions, and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna returned from Paris climate talks late last year with a pledge to help slow global warming. But political leaders at the federal and provincial levels are now dialling back expectations on a national plan to fight climate change. How soon can they reach consensus on such a crucial file?