[WSMDiscuss] Canada does not deserve UN Security Council Seat, argue activists in open letter to UN member states

Brian K Murphy brian at radicalroad.com
Tue May 19 23:58:07 CEST 2020

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/19/no-argue-noam-chomsky-roger-waters-monia-mazigh-and-100-others-canada-does-not <https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/19/no-argue-noam-chomsky-roger-waters-monia-mazigh-and-100-others-canada-does-not>
> No—Argue Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, Monia Mazigh, and 100+ Others—Canada Does Not Deserve UN Security Council Seat
Jon Queally   Common Dreams News

> "Despite its peaceful reputation, Canada is not acting as a benevolent player on the international stage," warns open letter from activists, artists, and academics.
> As Canada vies for a temporary seat <https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/thebigdebate/2020/05/19/the-big-debate-does-canada-deserve-a-un-security-council-seat.html> on the United Nations Security Council an open letter published Tuesday argues the Ottawa government—despite a more rosy reputation compared to its powerful U.S. neighbor—should be seen for what it more accurately is: a powerful international force in its own right that continues to play a negative role on the world stage when it comes to militarism and endless war, human rights abuses, environmental degradation both at home and abroad, and its outsized role in exacerbating the climate crisis.
> "The international community should not reward bad behaviour," the signatories argue in the letter and an adjoining online petition <https://www.foreignpolicy.ca/petition>.
> The signers of the letter—who include Harsha Walia, Noam Chomsky, Rogers Waters, Bianca Mugyenyi, Kanahus Manuel, Richard Falk, and over one hundred others—highlight Canada's woeful silence and disregard when it comes to the abuse of the Palestinian people and the Israeli government's most recent effort to annex the Occupied Territories of the West Bank.
> As highlighted Tuesday by Michael Lynk, associate professor of law at Western University and special rapporteur for the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation in the Palestinian territory, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been noticeably absent even as countries like Ireland and Norway—which are also vying for the UNSC seat—have publicly spoken out against Israel's efforts.
> Where is Canada on such an issue of grave international importance?
> "I argue that Canada is missing in action," wrote  <https://theconversation.com/canada-missing-in-action-on-israels-proposed-annexation-of-the-west-bank-138274>Lynk. "No public statements against Israel's annexation proposal have been issued. No planned accountability measures have been floated. No criticism, however mild, has been offered."
> The open letter, also backed by 20 organizations, makes a similar critique.
> "In the Middle East, Canada has sided with Israel on almost every issue of importance," the letter states. "Since coming to power the Trudeau government has voted against more than fifty U.N. resolutions upholding Palestinian rights backed by the overwhelming majority of member states. The Canadian government has refused to abide by 2016 U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, calling on member states to 'distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied in 1967.'"
> While Canada is competing against Norway and Ireland for the two-year temporary seat—and with a vote scheduled for June—Trudeau has argued the nation's leadership will be vital in the years to come as the world continues to grapple with the Covid-19 fallout.
> But instead of upholding standards of international law and human rights, the letter contends that Ottawa and Trudeau have showed the opposite of leadership and accuses Canada of frequently echoing "Trump's foreign policy" in the Western Hemisphere by backing "reactionary forces" in Latin America and defending Canadian mining companies despite allegations and evidence of fueling rights abuses and ecological damage in countries across the globe.
> For its disregard for the rights of First Nations and other Indigenous groups worldwide, the signers argue that Canada has failed to live up its promises both at home and abroad.
> With massive oil, gas, and mineral reserves—including the Alberta tar sands—those objecting to Canada's seat say that refusing to "keep Canada's dirty oil in the ground" while at the same time operating as one of the world's largest per-capita emitters, should be disqualifying.
> "Despite its peaceful reputation, Canada is not acting as a benevolent player on the international stage," the letter states.
> It concludes, "Please vote against Canada's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council."
> Read the open letter in full, along with signatories and supporting organizations, below:
> Despite its peaceful reputation, Canada is not acting as a benevolent player on the international stage.
> Rather, Canada ranks among the twelve largest arms exporters and its weapons have fueled conflicts across the globe, including the devastating war in Yemen.
> In a disappointing move, Canada refused to join 122 countries represented at the 2017 UN Conference to Negotiate a Legally Binding Instrument to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons, Leading Towards their Total Elimination.
> Ottawa has also been an aggressive proponent of the nuclear-armed NATO alliance, and currently leads coalition missions in Latvia and Iraq.
> Echoing Trump’s foreign policy, Canada has backed reactionary forces in the Americas. The Trudeau government has led efforts to unseat Venezuela’s UN-recognized government, while propping up repressive, corrupt and illegitimate governments in Haiti and Honduras. Canada also lent its support to the economic elites and Christian extremists who recently overthrew the democratically elected indigenous president of Bolivia.
> In the Middle East, Canada has sided with Israel on almost every issue of importance. Since coming to power the Trudeau government has voted against more than fifty UN resolutions upholding Palestinian rights backed by the overwhelming majority of member states. The Canadian government has refused to abide by 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2334, calling on member states to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied in 1967.” On the contrary, Ottawa extends economic and trade assistance to Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. Should it win a seat on the UNSC, Ottawa has stated that it will act as an “asset for Israel” on the Council.
> Canadian mining companies are responsible for countless ecological and human rights abuses around the globe. Still, Ottawa defends the most controversial mining firms and refuses to restrict public support for companies responsible for abuses. The chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights criticized the Trudeau government for refusing to rein in mining abuses while the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and hazardous substances and wastes has decried the “double standard” applied to Canadian mining practices domestically versus internationally.
> Falling short of its responsibilities as a global citizen, Canada continues to oppose the Basel Ban Amendment on the export of waste from rich to poor countries, which became binding in late 2019 after ratification by 97 countries. Ottawa also failed to ratify the United Nations’ Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Ottawa has refused to ratify more than 50 International Labour Organization conventions. In November 2019, Canada once again refused to back a widely supported UN resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
> Violating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Trudeau government sent militarized police into unceded Wet’suwet’en Nation territory to push through a pipeline. The UN Human Rights Committee recently documented various ways Canada is failing to live up to its obligations towards indigenous people under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
> Ignoring front-line victims, Ottawa refuses to keep Canada’s dirty oil in the ground. Canada is on pace to emit significantly more greenhouse gases than it agreed to in the 2015 Paris Agreement and previous climate accords. Already among the world’s highest per capita emitters, the Canadian government is subsidizing further growth of heavy emitting tar sands, at the expense of impoverished nations who’ve contributed little to the climate crisis but bear the brunt of its impacts.
> The international community should not reward bad behaviour. Please vote against Canada’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.
> David Suzuki, Award winning geneticist/broadcaster 
> Roger Waters, co-founder Pink Floyd 
> Noam Chomsky, linguist, author & social critic 
> Ellen Gabriel, artist and activist 
> Roméo Saganash, former MP Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou 
> Sid Ryan, former president of Ontario Federation of Labour and CUPE Ontario 
> Rawi Hage, novelist 
> Amir Khadir, former Quebec National Assembly member 
> Pam Palmater, Chair in Indigenous Governance, Ryerson 
> Judy Rebick, activist and author 
> Jord Samolesky, Propagandhi 
> Steve Ashton, long-serving member of the Manitoba legislature and cabinet minister 
> George Elliott Clarke, poet and professor 
> Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize co-winner (1976) 
> Trevor Herriot, author and activist 
> John Clark, activist 
> Charles Demers, comedian & author 
> Alain Deneault, essayist and philosophy professor 
> Martin Duckworth, laureate of the 2015 Albert-Tessier Prix du Quebec for cinema 
> Cy Gonick, former Manitoba NDP MLA and founding editor of Canadian Dimension 
> John Greyson, film-maker & professor 
> Syed Hussan, Migrant Workers Alliance 
> El Jones, activist, educator, journalist and poet 
> Gordon Laxer, author/founding Director Parkland Institute 
> Monia Mazigh, PhD, author and activist 
> Jim Manly, Member of Parliament 1980-88 
> Kanahus Manuel, activist 
> Tim McCaskell, educator & activist 
> Sheelah Mclean, co-founder Idle No More organizer 
> Serge Mongeau, author & editor 
> Mike Palecek, former National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers 
> Dimitri Roussopoulos, author, and long-time peace movement activist 
> Clayton Thomas-Müller - Director, Author, Senior Campaign Specialist - 350.org 
> Rinaldo Walcott, professor 
> Ingrid Waldron, author & professor 
> Harsha Walia, author & activist 
> Antonia Zerbisias, journalist & activist 
> Greg Albo, Professor of Politics, York University 
> August Arnold, journalist and author 
> Antonio Artuso, Front uni contre le fascisme et la guerre 
> Corey Balsam, National Coordinator, Independent Jewish Voices Canada 
> Nik Barry-Shaw, author 
> Corey Balsam, National Coordinator, Independent Jewish Voices Canada 
> Susan Bazilli, PhD - Director, International Women's Rights Project 
> Ron Benner, artist 
> Karl Beveridge, artist 
> Raul Burbano, activist 
> Nancy Brown, teacher/librarian, peace/human rights activist 
> David Camfield, activist and academic 
> Stefan Christoff, artist & activist 
> Carole Condé, artist 
> Gerry Condon, Veterans for Peace (US), former president 
> Deborah Cowen, Professor, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto 
> Raju J Das, York University 
> Judith Deutsch, academic 
> Gord Doctorow, educator 
> Martine Eloy, antiwar and human rights activist 
> Darren Ell, Photographer 
> Gary Engler, author 
> Yves Engler, author & activist 
> Joe Emersberger, author 
> Richard Falk, Professor of International Law emeritus, Princeton University 
> Kiran Fatima, co-chair Toronto Association for Peace & Solidarity 
> Richard Fidler, Author and Activist 
> Miguel Figueroa, President, Canadian Peace Congress 
> Don Foreman, Canadian Union of Postal Workers 
> Alan Freeman, author & economist 
> Gavin Fridell, Canada Research Chair and Associate Professor in International Development Studies Saint Mary's University 
> Dr. Todd Gordon, Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University 
> Peter Gose, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology Carleton University 
> Harry Glasbeek, Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Osgoode Hall Law School 
> Tracy Glynn, activist and writer 
> Cory Greenlees, activist 
> Malcolm Guy, documentary film director/producer 
> Michael Harris, author 
> Jamelie Hassan, artist 
> David Heap, teacher-researcher; peace & human rights advocate 
> Evert Hoogers, CUPW (retired) 
> Pierre Jasmin, artiste pour la paix 
> Dru Jay, author & activist 
> David Kattenburg, University instructor & journalist 
> Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence (USA) 
> Gary Kinsman, activist and author 
> Harry Kopyto, legal activist 
> Jonathan Kuttab, International human rights lawyer 
> Dimitri Lascaris, lawyer/journalist/activist 
> Ed Lehman, Regina Peace Council 
> Raymond Legault, activist, Collectif Échec à la guerre 
> Tamara Lorincz, PhD candidate and member of the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace 
> Martin Lukacs, journalist 
> Eva Manly, retired filmmaker 
> Robin Mathews, author 
> Amy Miller, filmmaker 
> David Mivasair, retired rabbi 
> Bianca Mugyenyi, activist, former Co-ED The Leap 
> Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council (ret.) 
> Dr. Susan O'Donnell, researcher, writer and activist 
> Nino Pagliccia, activist and freelance writer 
> Dr. Idrisa Pandit, academic 
> Brent Patterson, activist 
> Justin Podur, author and professor 
> Judi Rever, journalist and author 
> Karen Rodman, human rights activist 
> Richard Roman, retired professor, writer 
> Reuben Roth, Professor 
> Herman Rosenfeld, Socialist Project 
> Grahame Russell, Co-Director - Rights Action 
> Joan Russow, activist 
> Cory Greenlees 
> Sakura Saunders, activist 
> Harold Shuster, Independent Jewish Voices-Winnipeg 
> Ken Stone, President - Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War 
> Donald Swartz, Carleton University 
> Koozma J. Tarasoff, peace activist 
> Marianne Vardalos, PhD Department of Sociology 
> Jay Watts, co-chair Toronto Association for Peace & Solidarity 
> Paul Weinberg, author 
> Barry Weisleder, federal secretary, Socialist Action 
> Elizabeth Whitmore, activist 
> Ellen Woodsworth, writer, organizer and former Vancouver City councillor 
> Dwyer Sullivan, board member - Conscience Canada 
> Dr. Thom Workman, professor, University of New Brunswick 
> Ann Wright, retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat. 
> Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) - Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain 
> Mining Watch 
> Independent Jewish Voices/ Voix juives indépendantes 
> Mouvement Québécois pour la Paix 
> Solidarité Québec-Haïti 
> Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War 
> Council of Canadians - London Chapter 
> Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver 
> International League of Peoples’ Struggle 
> Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement pour une Paix Juste 
> Socialist Project 
> Canadian BDS Coalition 
> Socialist Action 
> Canadian Boat to Gaza, 
> Leap Montreal 
> CAIA Victoria 
> Freedom Flotilla Coalition 
> Gaza Freedom Flotilla Australia 
> Regina Peace Council 
> Al-Haadi Musalla
> The petition will be delivered to UN member states prior to the vote for the security council seat in June. 
> *If your group or organization would like to endorse the open letter, please write to us at info at foreignpolicy.ca <mailto:info at foreignpolicy.ca>
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