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NEWS: UN loss should be a wake up call for the Harper government

The Ottawa Xpress reports today on the Council of Canadians opposition to the Harper government’s bid for a UN Security Council seat. “‘The Harper government needs to take a serious look at its foreign policy and consider why the international community is rejecting it,’ says Brent Patterson, director of campaigns for the Council of Canadians.”

“He argues that the UN loss – ‘an embarrassment of historic proportion’ – is a direct result of Tories undermining action on climate change, along with their ongoing refusal to recognize the human right to water, as well as indigenous rights. In September, the Council sent a letter to the 192 permanent missions at the United Nations outlining these issues. ‘Canadians would like to have a government that reflects their concerns,’ Patterson says. ‘I think most Canadians would be embarrassed if they knew that Canada was one of just two or three countries that have refused to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.'”

“After the (loss), Harper scrambled to spin the loss as insignificant. ‘They must have spent a lot of money lobbying for this seat, and they clearly wanted it,’ Patterson points out. ‘It should be a wake-up call,’ he says. ‘But our concern is that the Harper government, which has never really been committed to the United Nations, rather than changing its policies… will retreat back into the undemocratic bodies of the G8 and G20.'”

“The Council of Canadians and their supporters will no doubt keep the pressure on Harper. This weekend, the council is celebrating its 25th anniversary with an Annual General Meeting and a public forum called Building People Power: 25 Years Acting for Social Justice. ‘This is about looking to the future,’ Patterson says. As part of the festivities, you can join the Council for the first major street demonstration against the Canada/European Union trade agreement outside of old City Hall at noon on Friday, Oct. 22, as negotiators engage in the fifth round of closed door talks. Visit www.canadians.org for details.”

The Ottawa Xpress article is at  http://www.ottawaxpress.ca/news/communitygarden.aspx?iIDArticle=20661.