Canada’s end run for seat on UN Security Council

Canadian government’s appeasement of U.S. imperialism

By TONY SEED

François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, travelled to New York on June 13 ahead of the vote on Canada’s bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council which has roused much concern and opposition at home. He is being deployed, according to Global Affairs, for four days “to engage with various ambassadors and permanent representatives to promote Canada’s commitment to peace and security, climate change, gender equality, economic security and multilateralism.” Champagne’s schmoozing to get votes lubricated with “aid” dollars is the end run for the self-serving, much-hyped bid of the Trudeau Liberals to restore Canada’s tarnished record on the world stage. [1]

In this way, and with customary arrogance, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his February tour of Africa to solicit votes for a UN Security Council seat arrogated to himself the mantle of “white man’s burden.” He no doubt shed a crocodile tear when he visited the infamous House of Slaves in Senegal on February 12-13 just as he took a knee in Ottawa during protests of police brutality and racism in the U.S. Canada sees Francophonie Senegal, whose vote it has now apparently secured, as a door opener for private interests in the African market and for the industrialized plunder of gold. In parallel, Foreign Minister Champagne “attended the issuance of operating licenses for Teranga Gold (a participant in the Halifax International Security Forum) and Barrick Gold.” The Canadian government has negotiated foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) with Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, Nigeria and Tanzania designed to favour neo-colonial control of mineral resources. These are all countries which have been plundered over and over by colonial powers. [2]

Canada’s is a reputation of appeasement of the U.S. imperialist economic bloc and war machine all down the line under the pretext of multilateralism: disregard for the UN Charter and tenets of international law; serial violations of human rights such as those of the Palestinian people as well as asylum seekers; ongoing intervention in sovereign countries directly or through coalitions and sanctions which it cynically refers to as “restoring democracy;” escalating exports of lethal arms to conflict zones; the “go-to nation” of NATO, as it was under the Harper government, which openly contravenes the UN Charter and international law; usurpation of military and police powers during the pandemic; and its abysmal record of criminal negligence of the conditions of life of the Indigenous peoples in Canada and crimes committed against them.

“Its recent dismissal of Wet’suwet’en law,” writes Pauline Easton, “which it is duty-bound to respect and uphold, is indicative of its attitude toward international rule of law as well. In fact, its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council has come up against ever stronger headwinds as its much-repeated claim that Canada is a rule of law country – presumably making it well suited for a seat on the Security Council – is exposed for all the world to see.”

Canada is vying with Ireland and Norway for the two seats of Western Europe and other countries category, of which Canada is considered a part. Mexico is the only candidate for the one Latin American and Caribbean seat and Kenya and Djibouti will contest the seat available for the African group. India is the only candidate for a non-permanent seat from the Asia-Pacific category. Its candidacy was confirmed by the countries which comprise the Asia-Pacific region, including China and Pakistan, in June last year.

Elections for five non-permanent members of the UN Security Council will be held on June 17. Their term will only start in January 2021.

The UN General Assembly elects each year five non-permanent members (out of 10 in total) for a two-year term. The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis – five for African and Asian States; one for the Eastern European States; two for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two for Western European and other States.

The UN General Assembly adopted a decision to hold the Security Council elections under new voting arrangements taking into account restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than a secret ballot held in the General Assembly hall, voters are required to visit a designated venue during a specific time slot to cast their ballots. Only ballots cast in the ballot boxes at the designated venue will be accepted and no ballots will be accepted after the last time slot has expired.

If the total number of ballot papers cast in all the ballot boxes do not amount to at least a majority of the members of the Assembly, the President will circulate a letter to all Member States indicating a new date and time for the elections.

Canada does not deserve a seat on the UN Security Council. Today the UNSC acts as a block to sorting out conflicts on a peaceful basis because of the stranglehold over it by the big powers, the striving of the U.S. imperialists for domination and the non-existence of a mechanism to sort out the contention between the contending powers. Having five permanent members with veto power is an arrangement from another age at which time the UN had 50 members. Today it has 193 and its decisions should come under the rule of the majority in the General Assembly.

As for Norway, it too is a founding member of NATO and toes its positions by acting as a peace-broker. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, the UN demands modernization and renewal in the spirit of the times.

Notes

1.The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “end run” as: “1 : a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line specifically : sweep sense 3e. 2 : an evasive trick or maneuver made an end run around the regulations.”

2. It’s intentions cannot be clearer. On June 12, Champagne and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan jointly announced that Canada had joined the International Coalition for the Sahel of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The Canadian foreign minister will participate in the governance of these small African countries as a member of this coalition’s Small Group of Foreign Ministers. What is the deal? The ministers “underlined Canada’s engagement in contributing to international efforts to stabilize the region, by participating in [military] operations, exercises, and capacity-building initiatives.” A Sahel joint force was announced in February 2017 integrating the militaries of Mali with those of surrounding countries (Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad) to operate alongside the French, UN and EU forces. Canada’s military involvement in Mali and the Sahel region of Africa has been ongoing since 2010.

The Sahel region, in which Canada has extensive mining interests, stretches from the Atlantic Ocean eastward through northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, the great bend of the Niger River in Mali, Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta), southern Niger, northeastern Nigeria, south-central Chad, and into Sudan.

That same day Champagne tweeted “Congratulations to Ukraine for becoming a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner! I look forward to deepening Canada-Ukraine co-operation!” What is the deal? Champagne donated $2 million to its national police force during his visit to Latvia, Poland and Ukraine on March 4-6.

3.See also “A Historical Turning Point Which the Trudeau Government Cannot Will Away”, TML Weekly editorial, and “Canada’s Imperialist Multilateralism,” Margaret Villamizar, TML Weekly, February 22, 2020.

 

Published by TML Weekly, June 13, 2020, No. 21 and slightly revised.

 

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