15 September 2015

#45 At the Kiddie Table?

At the United Nations there are a couple of places for nations to vote. The General Assembly is the most egalitarian — everybody votes, no vetoes — but of course the decisions of the General Assembly are often ignored. We should know, as our outgoing government’s particular foreign policy has put us in the minority “no” position far more often than I would care to count. We seem to be becoming a bit of an outlier there, not even abstaining (as many western nations do) from resolutions condemning the latest trampling of the rights of Palestinians by Israel in its ongoing illegal (contrary to a number of UN resolutions) occupation of the territory that should be the Palestinian state by now.

The Security Council is the big table, which is ironic, as it is a smaller table, but its decisions are supposed to be followed. In fact, they are enforced by UN peacekeepers, which is something that Canada used to do, remember? The Security Council has 15 members, including 5 permanent members with vetoes (the “victors” of World War II — The US, Russia, the UK, France and China) and 10 others elected to 2-year terms by the members of the General Assembly. Usually, when Canada has had a chance to propose its candidacy it wins. Not so any more.

For the first time, in 2010, Canada presented its candidacy and came third (of 3) in the first vote for the “Western European and Other” group, then second (of 2) in the second vote. You need two-thirds of those voting to get in. Germany succeeded on the first vote and neither Canada nor Portugal succeeded on the second. Trailing anyway, Canada withdrew. We have notably not presented our candidacy at either of the subsequent opportunities.

Ad Busters produced a short video, based on a true incident, that illustrates what is happening to Canada’s reputation.

Further reading here

Losing to former
brutal coloniser shows
change in them or us

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