What are we doing at the UN anyway?

Apparently Canada sponsored a resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran – and it passed. While this seems sensible in that most observers would tell you that, yes, there are rights violations in Iran, what is mind boggling though is how you set this in the context of how the Conservatives have treated other UN resolutions or other expressions of concern for human rights.

Canada would not place a simple phone call to support a death penalty resolution recently. This could not be done because our people at the UN were busy on other, unspecified, resolutions. Last year, Canada could not even get behind a resolution to investigate Israel’s use of collective punishment in the Gaza Strip.

In the meantime, if you raise questions about Canada’s own actions in Afghanistan, it’s because you hate our troops. We are no better at home than we are abroad.

When Canada took a stand on an issue at the UN, there used to be some moral weight behind it – or at least the sense that we were an independent-minded agent. Now we appear to be useful idiots for the US and Israel. At home, when there were serious problems with our mistreatment of Somali prisoners we went to the trouble of a public inquiry. Now the government accuses critics of lacking patriotism.

What this does is drain all the credibility out of our efforts at the UN. When we now condemn Iran’s government it appears to be less an exercise in legitimately criticizing the immoral actions of its government and more an effort to establish our bona fides with the US and Israel.


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