Kinsman: Is there any consequence to Harper’s decision not to address the UN General Assembly?

By: /
September 27, 2012
Jeremy Kinsman
Former ambassador to the European Union and high commissioner to Britain

Not outside of Canada. It’s hard to imagine there is vivid disappointment or that others even noticed. But a Canadian opportunity was missed. There is a vibrant international conversation occurring in the General Debate about aspirations to democracy and its challenges and obligations and Canada should be part of it, especially because Harper does have core beliefs on that, though in his Ottawa, even our own democratic behaviour is deficient.

Harper’s anti-UN, partly because of what seems to be his transplanted neo-conservative world view, reinforced by the membership’s rejection of Canada for a UN Security Council seat.

In the UN debate Harper has missed (ostentatiously making a point of accepting a concurrent Israel-focused award in NYC), Obama made a defining contribution that fits a great world leader. As a generally resented outlier, even Ahmadinejad had something to say to which I mostly object but internationally, people need to and do pay attention. Canadian diplomats, now stick figures in a playground version of diplomacy, are ordered not to listen and to walk out of his speech. Go figure.