Canada Won't Trade Foreign Policy for UN Security Council Seat: Baird

By Levitz, Stephanie | The Canadian Press, May 1, 2013 | Go to article overview

Canada Won't Trade Foreign Policy for UN Security Council Seat: Baird


Levitz, Stephanie, The Canadian Press


No new Canadian bid for UN Security Council

--

OTTAWA - The ongoing debate about Canada's standing on the world stage was rekindled Wednesday after John Baird admitted Canada won't run again for a spot on the United Nations Security Council.

Canada doesn't need a spot on the council to have a place in the world, the foreign affairs minister said Wednesday during a pointed question period exchange in the House of Commons.

"Canada's principled foreign policy is not for sale for a Security Council seat," Baird said.

"We are aggressively working on humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable, including Syria; we are taking real leadership when it comes to standing up against the evil that is Iran; and no one is standing up stronger against the regime in Colombo, Sri Lanka, than this prime minister and this government."

But that attitude calls into question the real value of Canada's efforts, suggested Paul Dewar, the NDP's foreign affairs critic.

"This government is quitting (and) this minister will be noted as the minister who just gave up when it comes to trying to win back our seat at the Security Council," Dewar said.

"To turn around and suggest that, you know, others aren't taking the issue of the day seriously like Iran -- well, guess what? The sanctions that have been put in place through the UN have been decisions that were made at the security council. So if you want to take the leadership on issues, you at least try to win a seat."

The last time Canada took a run for one of the temporary, non-veto-wielding seats on the UN's top body was in 2010.

Canada was up against Portugal and Germany for the 2011-2013 term, but withdrew after a second round of votes after being trounced by Portugal.

It marked the first time in the six-decade history of the UN that Canada had failed to win a seat for which it made a bid.

Many considered the loss a direct consequence of Canada's foreign-policy approach to the Middle East and support for Israel. …

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