Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a discussion with LGBTQ rights advocates in the Commonwealth, who are part of the Commonwealth Equality Network, while in London, Thursday, April 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS

Trudeau looks for less plastic, more LGBTQ rights at Commonwealth

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends the Commonwealth meeting in London

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will add his voice today to those calling for less plastic and more LGBTQ rights as he ends a three-country foreign tour at a gathering of Commonwealth leaders in Britain’s capital.

Yet he is expected to face resistance on the latter, particularly from some African countries that have been forcefully pushing back against the UK, Canada and other champions of gender and sexual equality.

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The Commonwealth summit represents a rare opportunity for Canada’s prime minister to meet and hear from 52 counterparts from six continents, most of whom share some type of link to the old British Empire.

Some have questioned the values and relevance of the Commonwealth given that many of its members, particularly from Africa and parts of Asia, have questionable records on democracy and human rights.

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Trudeau acknowledged the challenge facing the advancement of LGBTQ rights as he met with activists before the summit, but promised to continue pushing the envelope despite opposition from some Commonwealth members.

The prime minister is also expected to support British Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for Commonwealth members to curb the use of plastics as she is set to unveil an unprecedented British ban on plastic straws, cups and other one-use items in an effort to clean up the world’s oceans.

While Canada has made reducing the use of plastic to protect the oceans a G7 priority and moved to ban plastic microbeads in bath and body products, it’s unclear how far Trudeau plans to go in following May’s lead.

The Canadian Press

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