Friday, September 24, 2010

Harper and Ahmadinejad

When a few UN General Assembly delegates, including Canada's, leave the room when Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is speaking, the press calls it a "walk out".

What do you call it when 90% of the room is absent when Stephen Harper gives his wee lecture?

Perhaps the two of them went for drinks afterward and cried to each other about how unappreciated they are.


Jim Parrett said...

Sadly, our media is attributing Harper's empty seat fiasco with 'bad luck' because he was the last speaker, not because he is wildly unpopular in the world and carries with him no respect. I'm almost pulling for Portugal because I hate to see Harper get any win on the world stage.

Boris said...

Jymn, I am pulling for Portugal. Canada, under Harper, is antithetical to what the UN stands for in principle, if not in practice.

Dana said...

I read somewhere yesterday that Canada has never lost an election to SC status when it's time came round.

I would love for the first time to be because enough countries don't trust our weasel.

Jim Royal said...

Are we agreed that it will be a good thing for Canada to have a seat on the UN SC? Then it remains a good thing whether Harper is PM or not.

Wishing harm to Canada just because it will incidentally hurt Stephen Harper is vile.

Niles said...

I find the idea of it's ok if it's Harper as 'last speaker, just bad luck in the roster' to be boggling.

If Obama was last speaker, would people be there? Putin? How do they pick last speaker? lottery? Do state leaders trade so they don't end up in the 'closing time' spot?

Does this happen every roster of speakers? I'd really like to hear some comparitive information on that, rather than a shrug and a wave.

Not to mention, if this had been a non-Conservative PM, who would be all over this like stink on shite?

vw: skywoo. As in "I'd be up for no tax-free status for organizations based on religious skywoo."

Dana said...

It's meaningless in the big picture, Jim. An occasional, temporary sop to countries with little to no clout but at least for a while it lets them feel part of the in crowd.

Violette said...

Well, I started out agreeing with Jim Royal on this. If you think it's a good thing for Canada to have a seat on the Security Council, then hoping for us to lose simply because of who the current prime minister is... well it's really kind of cutting off your nose to spite your face, isn't it? After all, Harper won't be prime minister forever, and when that time comes, a seat on the SC could be a great thing.

Then I realized that the term is only for two years, so it's only a good thing if we can get rid of the Harpercon's immediately. Otherwise I think I agree that our country, under the direction of its current leadership, would do more harm than good on the SC.

Jim Royal said...

Nonetheless, when people on conservative blogs claim that Liberal supporters are immoral Canada-hating snobs, this is the sort of thing they point to. We can do better than this.

Boris said...

It's not so much whether we have the seat, it's what we'd do with it that concerns me.

Canada, under Harper, would likely take positions that fall in line with Harper/neocon/fact-challenged nonsense which might do more harm than good. I'd rather we sit this decade out if we're just going to be play the wanker on the SC.

Polyorchnid Octopunch said...

I hate to say it, but I'm with Boris on this one. Issues like AGW, various disputes and conflicts around the world, not to mention some of the recent problems around good government here at home make me think that we're better off if Harper is snubbed, not to mention that the world will be too.

Dave said...

It is not a good thing for Canada to have a SC seat at this time if it means Harper and his sycophants get to inject their toxicity into its operation.

The opportunity comes up about once per decade. If the experience of the SC is Canada behaving in such a way that it does not function as an honest broker (a reputation from past presence at the table) then when the next decade rolls over the horizon how will Canada be viewed?

It's not automatic, nor should it be. If any Canadian government is not embracing the UN then why should the UN embrace Canada?

Harm to Canada is not the issue. Harm to the world is. The conservative blogs can claim all they want and I can readily describe them as "Canada-hating snobs" since, up until now, they have been quite vocal about the UN in any bad light they can shed on it. Why would they want Canada to have a seat at the SC of a body they constantly criticize, often with gross falsehoods?

The conservative bloggers might want to consider everything they've been demanding. And they might want to recognize that this country's international reputation has been significantly damaged because they got some of what they wanted. They view the "world stage" as a simple place when in fact it is highly complex.

Dana said...

Do you think Harper might suddenly abandon the persona we've come to know and become someone who tries to bring people together rather than drive them apart?

Perhaps because he's on the world stage he'll put aside his blood thirsty partisanship and become a conciliator?

Do you think his minions and unwashed hordes here at home will suddenly find they respect the UN after all?

If you answered yes to any of those questions you're too naive to prowling the world wide web unattended.

Alison said...

HoC Thursday Sept 23rd

Marc Lemay, BQ :
"Canada can hardly take a seat on the United Nations Security Council when it is one of only two countries that have not ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

How can the Prime Minister hope to have a seat on the UN Security Council when he refuses to sign this essential declaration for improving living conditions for aboriginal people here and elsewhere?"

John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs :
"Mr. Speaker, there have been great new investments since this government came into power in 2006.

I might add that the throne speech this year made a strong commitment that we would endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We will be doing that very soon."


Scotian said...

I'm with Dave on this one. The problem with Harper here is that he has time and again throughout his entire political history been one of the great detractors of the UN and what it does, and if he was in a position to influence the SC he would almost certainly do so by instead of being the traditional lubricant role Canada always took since inception would instead throw sand/grit in the gears to prevent it from doing what little good work it already does. The additional damage it would do to our international reputation that took decades to develop and is already seriously undermined and impaired thanks to the track record of the Harper government in foreign policy since coming to power would likely be fatal to the perception of Canada as fair, honest brokers that try to actually mediate between the powerful and the weak, something this nation has had a proud history of since the UN was first created.

No, so long as Harper is in power (and of course continues governing the way he has to date, if by some unimaginable miracle we were to reverse himself and the policies he has espoused and suddenly acted like a real Canadian conservative then I would say let the SC seat come to us, but I really don't see it happening) Canada should not have this seat, and more to the point we do not currently deserve that seat given the actions of the Harper government internationally and in regards to the UN itself.

I have never been ashamed to be Canadian or of my country prior to the Harper regime coming to power, something I bitterly resent feeling and something I never felt under prior Conservative PMs (so it is not mere partisanship behind this, not that CPC defenders are going to believe it I expect). In particular thanks to the actions of this government in treating the Geneva Conventions as an option and not iron clad rules in Afghanistan, but with many other aspects also both foreign and domestic policy rooted. For the long term credibility and what little real power we influence in the world we need to keep Harper away from the SC and therefore should not have this seat at this time.

I hate writing this, not because of any lingering warmth for Harper but to write anything like this about being ashamed of my country and my citizenship in it because of a government was something I never believed possible in my life until this current government came to power. I may have disagreed with Mulroney on many things but he never left me feeling ashamed of my country nor my membership in it, not even close, and he played footsie with the Separatists to gain power (which was a direct and primary factor in the birth of the BQ in our Parliament) in 1984! No, Harper is unique in this, anti-Canadian and determined to discredit and destroy what the vast majority of Canadians always believed made us a great nation despite our relative weakness as a power in the world.

I always said he was at least as great a threat to Canadian stability and our future as a nation as the Separatists, and his record shows not only was I right to be that worried but I may have underestimated his capacity for harm. It really bites being Cassandra.

Edstock said...

One reason I'd like to see Portugal on the SC is the success of its drug legalization, which has gone a long way to taking the illicit money out of their drug problem, which I understand is starting to decline. More countries should follow Portugal's lead, and an SC seat might help this along. With Stevie, we'd just get more US DEA War on Drugs failure.

Alison said...

Paul Heinbecker, "Canada's most recent ambassador to the UN Security Council", has a book very critical of Harper's foreign policy and his bid for a SC seat coming out in 10 days.

"He blasts Harper for pulling out of Afghanistan after pledging not to "cut and run," tilting Canadian foreign policy towards Israel in the Middle East, mismanaging relations with countries such as China, India and Mexico and for generally attempting "to exploit international affairs for partisan political purposes.

Canada's participation in UN peacekeeping missions during Harper's tenure has remained at a "low ebb" with country ranked 53rd as of January, says Heinbecker.

Harper has also discouraged Canadian diplomats from taking part in UN human rights negotiations and from using terms such as "gender equality" and "international humanitarian law."

Even though these terms come from treaties Canada has ratified, Heinbecker says Harper banned them "because the words offended the sensibilities of the party's social conservative base."

Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Press