Skip to main content
Search Liberal.ca

Foreign Affairs

Congratulations to Daphne Sleigh of Middle Sackville, Nova Scotia, winner of the Win the Political Experience of a Lifetime Contest!

Countdown to Harper’s UN Security Council fiasco

Posted on October 15, 2010

(Quotes are included in their original language)

For the first time in the history of the UN, Canada lost its bid this week to win a seat on the UN Security Council. The Harper government has been trying to deflect blame for one of the biggest foreign policy fiascos in Canadian history, but no one is buying it. Media pundits, UN observers, Canadian diplomats – all have pointed to the Harper government’s absence of leadership on the international stage as the reason for the loss. Here is a timeline showing how, as far back as 2008, the Conservatives were bungling the race for the seat:

14 mai 2008 : « La crainte de subir une humiliante rebuffade pourrait inciter Ottawa à revenir sur son intention de briguer un des dix sièges non permanents au Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU pour la période 2011-2012…  Le premier ministre a refusé d’accréditer ces rumeurs et s’est limité à indiquer que le conseil des ministres n’avait encore pris aucune décision. « C’est prématuré d’en discuter », a lancé Stephen Harper. »  (Radio-Canada.ca)

May 15, 2008: “It has now emerged that the government is considering pulling out of that race rather than risk a defeat. As other countries – notably Germany and Portugal, with which Canada is in direct competition – ramp up their efforts to win a seat, Canadian diplomats at the UN are left running a half-hearted campaign as they await word from Ottawa on whether to proceed.”  (The Globe and Mail)

May 19, 2008:  CANADA A WALLFLOWER AT UN DANCE; INABILITY TO ATTRACT VOTES BEHIND LACK OF BID FOR SECURITY COUNCIL SEAT, SAY DIPLOMATIC OBSERVERS  (Toronto Star)

May 21, 2008:  “Stephen Harper’s government is hesitating before giving the green light for the intense campaign required, in part because Canada might not even win one of the two seats up for grabs.”  (The Globe and Mail)

11 août 2008: « Le Canada a ainsi décidé de limiter son aide à un nombre plus restreint de pays, car il croit que son influence sur les dossiers locaux, en deçà d’un certain niveau, ne se faisait plus sentir. Mais en se retirant sur ses terres, le pays doit assumer les effets indirects de son choix : avec moins de «clients» , et il n’y a rien de péjoratif à ce mot dans le cas présent, il perd des plumes (et des votes) dans la course pour un siège au Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies. » (Le Soleil)

September 22, 2008: CAMPAIGNING HARPER TO BE NO-SHOW AT UN; SPEECH AT ANNUAL SUMMIT OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO BE DELIVERED BY ENVOY (Victoria Times Colonist)

December 17, 2008: “Cannon confirmed that Canada is actively campaigning for a spot on the UN’s top governing body for a two year-term starting in 2011. Critics had accused the Conservative government of being reluctant to lobby to return to the body.”  (Canwest News Service)

March 16, 2009: CIDA CUTS TO AFRICA COULD HAMPER UN AMBITIONS (The Globe and Mail)

18 avril 2009: « L’hésitation canadienne a été si longue que plusieurs pays ont pensé qu’Ottawa avait jeté l’éponge avant même de faire campagne.  Généralement, on lance la diplomatie à la chasse aux votes quatre ou cinq ans avant cette élection très complexe. » (Le Devoir)

June 8, 2009:  “The Conservative government has rebuffed the UN Human Rights Council and reasserted its “case-by-case” approach to seeking clemency for Canadians facing execution in foreign countries.” (Canwest News Service)

June 20, 2009:  TORIES’ BID TO WOO MINORITY VOTERS ALIENATES THE WORLD; HARPER’S FEATHER-RUFFLING FOREIGN POLICY IS RISKY, CRITICS SAY (Edmonton Journal)

June 23, 2009: CANADIAN LEADERS TO SKIP DEVELOPING NATIONS’ ECONOMIC SUMMIT (Canwest News Service)

September 24, 2009: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper opted for the double double and got a side serving of trouble by choosing to tour a Tim Hortons plant in Oakville while world leaders took to the podium at the United Nations.”  (Toronto Star)

October 28, 2009:  “Portugal has rushed to beat Canada in signaling its sponsorship of a landmark United Nations salute to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela — as the two countries vie for African support in their bids to win a UN Security Council seat… Canadian officials at the UN told the South Africans they needed a few more days for Ottawa to sign off on the measure.” (Vancouver Sun)

March 30, 2010:  “Announcement that the aid budget will drop comes about six months before Canada’s campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council comes to a vote in New York. The cuts won’t be decisive in that election, but they won’t help, either.”  (The Globe and Mail)

April 5, 2010: “Not long ago, there wasn’t much doubt where Canada stood or that it could count on periodically sitting on the Security Council. Times change.  As it has done so successfully before, Canada is campaigning for the fall election on its reputation. But, for the first time, it’s facing charges that it’s no longer the best neighbour on the international block.”  (Toronto Star)

Help spread the word by sharing this with your friends.

Short link:

Email this to your friends.
Sender: Sender:
Recipients: Recipients:

Load from: Gmail · Yahoo! · Hotmail · AOL

Personal Message: Personal Message:

We will never share your email address.

We'd love to hear your opinion. Your comments won't be posted on the website.
Sender: Sender:

We will never share your email address.

You might also be interested in:
In their own words: Conservatives and the UN Security Council Seat