Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Parabéns Portugal; Shame, Shame Stephen Harper

Le Devoir calls the vote in the United Nations yesterday which saw Canada come in third in the contest for a two year seat on the Security Council, a "slap in the face." That's exactly what it was, and well deserved too.

Over the last seven years, the Harper government has systematically undercut many decades of excellent foreign policy by not caring about the rest of the world, except when it thought it could push things in a conservative, reactionary direction. As many commentators have said, why should a country whose prime minister missed the opening session in 2009 in order to open a Tim Horton's plant sit at the UN's highest instance?

That Portugal got the nod instead is also interesting. Thirty-five years ago--a time when Canada was making its name as a force for peace in the world--Portugal was coming out of five decades of dictatorship, recovering from a peaceful, but emotional regime change, and divesting itself of its colonial empire. Since then it has more than pulled its weight internationally, and its example of how to make a democracy from a near-fascist legacy has served the rest of the world well. The Portuguese deserve to be on the Security Council, but, alas!, Canada under Harper doesn't.

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