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Multilateral organizations may be flawed but they are the best way to spread democracy

Posted by Dominic LeBlanc on October 12, 2012 | No Comments

Today, the Prime Minister is attending the Francophonie Summit, which is being hosted by member country Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These meetings are an opportunity for Canada to champion the vital role of this organization, but equally, to raise the values shared by members of the Francophonie with the DRC, which once again finds itself in the midst of allegations of vote-rigging, corruption and human rights violations.

Similar to the United Nations and the Commonwealth, the Francophonie is a multilateral organization made up of a mixture of democracies like Canada, and fragile and troubled states like the DRC. And while Stephen Harper is attending the Francophonie, he continues to threaten to boycott next year’s meeting of the Commonwealth in Sri Lanka and make a big show of refusing to “court dictators” at the United Nations. Unfortunately, this kind of attitude is counterproductive, undermining Canada’s ability to champion and defend democracy around the world.

It is important to accept that these organizations are inherently imperfect. They are so because the countries that make up their memberships are themselves imperfect. But the overarching value of multilateralism is the opportunity it provides to engage with other states on issues like human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. And it is the drive to improve our respective countries and to uphold our collective values that encourage member states to take part in multilateral institutions.

We move towards more democracy in other countries by engaging with them on these issues, not by turning our backs on them or threatening boycotts. If Stephen Harper actually cares about democratic development as he claims to, he must drop the antagonistic tone.

Canada must not waver in holding these countries to account when they falter, but we must work with our partners to improve ourselves as member countries and improve these institutions. It is only by playing a constructive role in these multilateral organizations that we will ensure democracy takes permanent root around the world.

Dominic LeBlanc

Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic

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  1. Profile photo of John Halonen John Halonen said on

    Harper continues to go forward on his “Boycot Role”! Will Canadian citizens be next? He has already removed his presence from Climate Talks, the UN, and now many Citizens that are located in Quebec. With his continued efforts it appears that the Rest of the World will remove Canada as a Nation that belongs with others.

  2. Profile photo of Peter Kristensen Peter Kristensen said on

    I agree that Canada should be in Congo at the Francopnone summit ,the Canadian taxpayer paid for this trip , so why did Mr Harper jump out the side door and not answer questions ,why is the media and us the taxpayer letting Mr Harper get away with this hide and sneak behavier

  3. Profile photo of Keshav Chandra Keshav Chandra said on

    We all know the chatter box the United Nations is. All hot air and no action. Syria is one example. Fat bureaucracy and lot of yak yak. Harper needs to push or we will all be where we were 100 or more years ago.

    Who so ever talked their way into being better? Those who have the will. Yes, UN should not be a psychiatrist’s couch.

    I am glad that Harper took a strong stand on Iran, which has constantly indulged in genocidal rants with impunity while the world helplessly watched the whole sordid rants of Ahmdanijad. He sounds like mentally ill to me as the dictator of Iran. The only thing that eventually worked was the embargo. We don’t know how far that will take us.

    Oh! Yes, we must teach democracy to ignorant tin pot dictators who see nothing but their way to solve problems.

    The United Nations way.

  4. Profile photo of Keshav Chandra Keshav Chandra said on

    The real solution to problems might be to bring people from these tin pot dictator regimes to Canada for education regarding public service administration. They also would need to learn political science. They also need to be taught the meaning of democracy and its advantages over other forms of government.

    We got some very good universities. Why not get these folks to come here and learn a few of the principles?

    To me that is the best form of foreign aid you can ever give to these ignorant rulers.

    Also send in some public administration management types to these countries to help them organize to manage government better and for promoting democracy.

  5. Profile photo of Peter Kristensen Peter Kristensen said on

    Oh sorry Harper take a strong stand ? what does he stand for , would he say < or duck and hide answer two questions ,, what he really means

  6. Profile photo of Richard Richard said on

    If we are sending dictators to university to teach them about democracy, lets start with the SH government, first. Fix the problem in our own back yard, first.

    • Profile photo of Keshav Chandra Keshav Chandra said on

      Harper was duly elected by the people of Canada. I am not trying to defend conservatives. I sure would like them to be defeated but do we have an agenda which public buys into? People said a resounding resolute no! As much as we might think we know what the public wants and deserves. Let us not repeat our past but learn from history and experience.

      I agree with you that it makes no sense to send dictators such as idi Amin who I am not sure where he is today to school. But officials of the dictatorial government who have to deliver results. If nothing else get some students from these banana republics to enroll in our universities to learn about government, and a democratic form of political system as to how to run such a system successfully.

      Even recruit future dictators before they become one!

      It is far better to teach than feed them food as their market place is messed up or there is a drought etc.

      Criticizing Harper will not bring us a good agenda in itself. However, it is necessary to point out where the government in power fails as the business of the opposition is to help the Nation prosper. Sometimes I feel that is missing.


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