(CNSNews.com) – Canada’s unprecedented failure to win a temporary seat on the U.N. Security Council triggered a wave of analysis and soul searching in the country, where many see it as payback by Islamic states and their allies for Ottawa’s strong pro-Israel stance in the world body.
Other reasons put forward by commentators for
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being slammed on the left for not being sufficiently “progressive” in his foreign policy, and praised in some conservative quarters for refusing to let other countries, especially those falling short of democratic norms, dictate Canada’s policies.
“We don’t have a seat because we didn’t dance to the U.N.’s hypocritical tunes,” the Winnipeg Free Press said in an editorial Wednesday.
(Sixty percent of U.N. member states in 2010 are “electoral democracies,” according to Freedom House, but the Washington-based organization rates only 46 percent as “free.”)
“[T]he lesson from this loss is that you can be ‘principled’ or you can be popular,” opined National Post political columnist John Ivison. “The Prime Minister should have figured out much earlier that you can’t be both.”
“Stephen Harper should have steered clear of the U.N. in the first place,” argued another National Post columnist, Kelly McParland. “With all its hypocrisy and negotiable principles, it’s a place more suited to Liberals.”
Canadian government sources meanwhile blamed the Liberal opposition for not throwing its weight behind the national bid, pointing to Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s earlier remark that his party was “not convinced” the government had earned a place on the UNSC.
In his response to the outcome, Ignatieff commented that after four years of Conservative government “the sad reality is that too many countries have lost faith in the way
The left-wing New Democrats said “an overhaul of Conservative government’s foreign policy” was needed.
Whatever the reasons for Tuesday’s election defeat in
Five of the UNSC’s 10 non-permanent seats were filled in a vote by the 192 members of the General Assembly. Three went to
The other two were earmarked for the Western Europe and Others group (known as WEOG, with the “others” including
Canadian-born conservative commentator David Frum, a former speechwriter for President Bush, blamed E.U. bloc voting practices for
The “elegant solution” to the problem, Frum suggested, would be for the permanent seat now held by
Human Rights Council battlefield
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) wields 56 votes in the General Assembly, and often votes as a bloc – especially on issues of particular importance to many Islamic governments, such as the Arab-Israeli conflict and “religious defamation.”
Its growing influence has been especially evident at the U.N.’s Human Rights Council (HRC) in
With backing from non-Islamic allies including
One year after the HRC began to operate, an evaluation by the Geneva-based non-governmental organization U.N. Watch assessed 20 key actions. It handed
On several occasions it voted alone against a resolution. A January 2009 measure condemning
More than a year ahead of conference,
Early this year,
Last month the Canadian Arab Federation in a statement urged all Arab and Islamic states at the U.N. to vote against
“Given the anti-Israel bias that pervades the U.N., campaigning for a seat on the Security Council – if it requires the OIC’s approval – is the international equivalent of applying for membership at a club that bans Jews,” he wrote.