In 2010, Canada’s then Prime Minister Stephen Harper discontinued funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which protects Palestinian refugees. The conservative government stated that it was "difficult" to determine how that money was being used. Some worried that the UN agency was funding schools that fostered anti-Israeli extremism.
The decision was harshly criticized by human rights activists.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has now agreed to restart funding to the UNRWA. In a statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he was pleased with Trudeau’s decision.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister also said that his administration will pursue a seat on the UN Security Council.
"We are determined to revitalize Canada’s historic role as a key contributor to United Nations peacekeeping, in addition to helping advance current reform efforts," Trudeau told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York City.
"And Canada will increase its engagement with peace operations, not just by making available our military, police, and specialized expertise, but also by supporting the civilian institutions that prevent conflict, bring stability to fragile states, and help societies recover in the aftermath of crisis."
The UNRWA marked its 65th anniversary last year. At the time, Ban said that the agency only continued to exist "because of political failure."