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NEWS: Council of Canadians at forefront to stop Harper’s Security Council bid

Brent Patterson gives letter with Council concerns to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Brent Patterson gives letter with Council concerns to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Embassy magazine reports that, “For many, a seat on the UN Security Council is a matter of national pride, a verification of Canada’s strong reputation and long-standing role in the world as a force for good. …Yet over the past few months, a seemingly increasing number of civil society groups, former diplomats and even opposition critics have called for Canada’s defeat. They argue member states should take into consideration the current government’s foreign policy, which they feel has had a negative influence on the world stage.”

“Their influence on the results of the Oct. 12 vote between Germany, Portugal and Canada for the two non-permanent seats will be hard to measure. However, everyone is expecting a tight race, and drawing attention to Canadian policy on key issues like climate change and indigenous rights will undoubtedly serve as a reminder to some states that today’s Canada has changed.”

“At the forefront of the effort to undermine Canada’s Security Council campaign has been the Council of Canadians, a prominent activist organization that has long opposed the Harper government on a plethora of policies, especially those which concern the environment, international trade and military intervention. ‘We first expressed our opposition to Harper’s bid for the Security Council seat in March (2009), and it was at the time of the time of the World Water Forum,’ said Council of Canadians spokesman Brent Patterson. ‘It was continuing to be quite clear that Harper opposed the human right to water and sanitation, and that’s why we began to raise it.’ The Council of Canadians has formulated a specific three-tier platform from which they censure the present government, namely on water rights, climate change and the rights of indigenous people.”

“Canada was one of four countries to oppose the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a position that raised many eyebrows at the world body. Since then, fellow opponents Australia and New Zealand have made moves to recognize the declaration, leaving Canada and the US as the lone hold-outs. ‘Mr. Harper is acting in a way that doesn’t recognize the needs of climate security and other things. We don’t see him as deserving of a seat on the UN Security Council,’ said Mr. Patterson. …This level of opposition may lead to some wondering whether these groups are unpatriotic, or disloyal—a notion that Mr. Pattersom brushes aside. ‘I think the average Canadian is concerned about the changing climate and other important issues wants to see government that is serious about them, and I don’t think Canadians are concerned about the empty prestige of the UNSC seat. I think they would like to see us behaving responsibly,’ he said.”

“A few other prominent Canadians appear to share that view. In a speech earlier this year, Robert Fowler, Canada’s longest-serving UN ambassador, year expressed dissatisfaction at Canada’s foreign policy positions, saying: ‘Canada may no longer deserve a [Security] Council place…. The world doesn’t need more of the Canada they have been getting.’

The full article is at http://www.embassymag.ca/page/view/councilbid-10-06-2010.