The Big Debate: Does Canada deserve a UN Security Council seat?
Toronto Star, May 19, 2020
By J. Berkshire Miller, Contributor
Does Canada deserve a UN Security Council seat? J. Berkshire Miller of the Macdonald Laurier Institute, says Yes, while author, activist and former co-executive director of The Leap Bianca Mugyenyi, says No.
- Cast your vote at the Toronto Star Big Debate
NO Canada does not deserve a seat at the UNSC.Vote here
2. Join with David Suzuki, RogerWaters, Noam Chomsky, Pam Palmater, Monia Mazigh & 100 artists, activists, academics in saying #NoUNSC4Canada.
Read the full list of signatories and add your name at: foreignpolicy.ca/petitionSay NO to UNSC seat for Canada here
CANADA DOES NOT DESERVE A SEAT ON THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL
Despite its peaceful reputation, Canada is not acting as a benevolent player on the international stage.
Rather, Canada ranks among the twelve largest arms exporters and its weapons have fueled conflicts across the globe, including the devastating war in Yemen.
In a disappointing move, Canada refused to join 122 countries represented at the 2017 UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination.
Ottawa has also been an aggressive proponent of the nuclear-armed NATO alliance, and currently leads coalition missions in Latvia and Iraq.
Echoing Trump’s foreign policy, Canada has backed reactionary forces in the Americas. The Trudeau government has led efforts to unseat Venezuela’s UN-recognized government, while propping up repressive, corrupt and illegitimate governments in Haiti and Honduras. Canada also lent its support to the economic elites and Christian extremists who recently overthrew the democratically elected indigenous president of Bolivia.
In the Middle East, Canada has sided with Israel on almost every issue of importance. Since coming to power the Trudeau government has voted against more than fifty UN resolutions upholding Palestinian rights backed by the overwhelming majority of member states. The Canadian government has refused to abide by 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2334, calling on member states to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied in 1967.” On the contrary, Ottawa extends economic and trade assistance to Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. Should it win a seat on the UNSC, Ottawa has stated that it will act as an “asset for Israel” on the Council.
Canadian mining companies are responsible for countless ecological and human rights abuses around the globe. Still, Ottawa defends the most controversial mining firms and refuses to restrict public support for companies responsible for abuses. The chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights criticized the Trudeau government for refusing to rein in mining abuses while the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes has decried the “double standard” applied to Canadian mining practices domestically versus internationally.
Falling short of its responsibilities as a global citizen, Canada continues to oppose the Basel Ban Amendment on the export of waste from rich to poor countries, which became binding in late 2019 after ratification by 97 countries. Ottawa also failed to ratify the United Nations’ Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Ottawa has refused to ratify more than 50 International Labour Organization conventions. In November 2019, Canada once again refused to back a widely supported UN resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
Violating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Trudeau government sent militarized police into unceded Wet’suwet’en Nation territory to push through a pipeline. The UN Human Rights Committee recently documented various ways Canada is failing to live up to its obligations towards indigenous people under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Ignoring front-line victims, Ottawa refuses to keep Canada’s dirty oil in the ground. Canada is on pace to emit significantly more greenhouse gases than it agreed to in the 2015 Paris Agreement and previous climate accords. Already among the world’s highest per capita emitters, the Canadian government is subsidizing further growth of heavy emitting tar sands, at the expense of impoverished nations who’ve contributed little to the climate crisis but bear the brunt of its impacts.
The international community should not reward bad behaviour. Please vote against Canada’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.
Canada missing in action on Israel’s proposed annexation of the West Bank
Michael Lynk, Associate Professor of Law at Western University, and United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur for human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The Conversation, May 19, 2020
In regard to annexation, Lynk says
No public statements against Israel’s annexation proposal have been issued. No planned accountability measures have been floated. No criticism, however mild, has been offered.
In regard to the current UNSC Seat Bid Lynk says
In its current Security Council bid, Canada faces two serious challengers in Norway and Ireland that have solid international reputations, the built-in support of their European neighbours and a principled position on the protracted Israeli occupation of Palestine.
If Canada’s campaign for a council seat is once again unsuccessful, its taciturn approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will surely have been a contributing factor.
Analysis re Canada, Ireland and Norway voting at the United Nations in the 21st century.