Postmedia News reports that, “The Harper government spent nearly $1 million ferrying diplomats around the world in an unsuccessful bid to shore up support for a Canadian seat on the United Nations Security Council, newly released documents show. …Documents introduced in the House of Commons this week list 150 trips taken in support of the bid between January 2008 and last October, when United Nations member countries snubbed Canada and instead cast more ballots for Portugal.”
How was the money spent?
1- “Foreign Affairs officials travelled from the Polynesian island of Tuvalu to the Solomon Islands and dozens of other destinations in an attempt to win backing for membership in the world’s most exclusive club.”
2- “Much of the diplomatic effort to shore up the bid appears to have been expended in the Middle East. Foreign Affairs officials made 10 trips to Libya and seven to Egypt, with additional stops in Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.”
3- “They also made multiple trips to Ethiopia and Rwanda in Africa.”
4- “Thousands of dollars were spent entertaining foreign diplomats and U.S. officials, including a visit to a New York Yankees game with Cuban, Thai, Bosnian, Sri Lankan and Cambodian representatives. Canada also picked up tickets to take officials from Oman, Brunei, the Philippines and Italy to see the Cirque du Soleil.”
5- “Other officials were taken to unidentified events at Madison Square Garden in New York City.”
After the vote rejecting Harper’s bid for a UN Security Council seat in October 2010, Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow said, “The Harper government has been the only government in the world to be consistently against these major UN initiatives (recognition of the right to water, adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, climate change action) and worse, has been actively working to undermine these treaties and efforts. With the Security Council vote the other 191 member states have sent a clear message that these positions are not in alignment with UN norms and that Canada cannot deny its UN obligations and still expect to be welcomed onto the Security Council.”
Our campaign against Harper’s bid is outlined at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=4924.