In reaction to Canada’s first humiliation ever at the United Nations earlier today the prime minister’s office is blaming Michael Ignatieff. Instead of looking at the mirror; instead of searching for the real reasons; Prime Minister Stephen Harper is pointing to others.
Canada has been dealt a significant humiliating blow at the UN that resulted in the announcement by Ambassador John McNee that Canada withdrew its bid for a seat at the Security Council. The details of the news can be read at:
Stephen Harper would want us to believe that representatives of other nations were voting for Germany and Portugal and not for Canada because Michael Ignatieff does not agree with him. Where this prime minister get his advice is a puzzle that I will never be able to solve. Let me get this straight: This Prime Minister is saying to Canadians that the French, Italian, Indian, Brazilian, Japanese, etc. representatives go around voting for countries based on which country has its leader of the opposition agreeing with its head of government? Where does this man live? Or, to put it more precisely, where does he think we live?
One advice to Mr. Harper, that he would probably ignore, is this: Countries vote at the international body of the United Nations based on their perceptions of which country has good international policies; which country has good international relationships; which country has recent record of respect for international law and human rights; and not – I repeat not – which country has its leader of the opposition agrees with its government.
This humiliation at the United Nations should inform Canadians that Canada’s international standing has been reduced to less than a third world country as a result of the wrong, misguided policies and the arrogant positions taken by the Harper government on many international fronts, not the least of which is the Harper government’s blind support for anything and everything the government of the state of Israel does. Describing as “measured response” the 2006 destruction of an entire infrastructure of a country (Lebanon) by the Israeli military in reaction to a Lebanese resistance forces abducting two Israeli soldiers – that would subsequently be exchanged for Lebanese prisoners of war – has its international consequences. Supporting Israel’s brutal December 2008/January 2009 attack against the helpless and defenceless 1.5 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and the slaughter of over 1,400 of them, including hundreds of women and children – that was subsequently determined by the United Nations Judge Richard Goldstone to include war crimes and crimes against humanity – has its consequences.
The consequence in both cases, and many others, was the loss of international respect to this great country that has a government that leaves a lot to be desired in matters of international policy and universality of human rights.
We lost our stature, but all is not lost yet. We can recover. Indeed, we can regain international respect for Canada and recapture the great legacy of Canada’s highly regarded position among the community of nations. First, we must remove this current government from office. Second, we must go back to Canada’s great history of upholding international law and respect for human rights, regardless of the short-term domestic political advantages that can be gained by pleasing certain lobbies; which seems to be Harper’s only guide in determining international policies.
In this sad day for Canada, let us claim the legacy of the great Canadian scholar, diplomat, and human rights advocate John Peters Humphrey who was a principle drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the best document humanity has ever known in international relations, to give us some solace until we change the face that represents this great country with the international community.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!