Losing to Portugal

Well, it finally came home in a way the head-in-the-sand Harper government couldn’t spin away or ignore: world censure, in the guise of losing the UN Security Council membership to (oh, the shame) Portugal. Commentators have largely put the blame on our foreign policy in recent years, and Conservative efforts to blame Michael Ignatieff’s critical remarks have been roundly derided.

Here’s my two cents, sent off yesterday on the hope that my MP can have some influence on the monomania that is our PM. I’m trying a new tack — less ranting and berating, more mollycoddling and cajoling. I’ll let you know what they respond.

Dear Mr. Lunney and the Conservative caucus,

It’s unfortunate that Canada didn’t get voted onto the UN Security Council. But there may be a salutary upside to the experience, and an opportunity to learn. I see the vote as a pronouncement on Canada’s international presence in the last decade, and its performance as a citizen of the world. And from that point of view, we have been lacking.

I don’t see this as a direct reflection on the Conservative government, so please don’t take it personally. But we have not been forthcoming — indeed, in some cases we’ve been outright obstructionist — on several issues that other countries perceive as important. Climate change is the foremost example in my mind. Many countries of the world will be harshly impacted in coming decades, and Canada has been seen in recent years (rightly, in my mind) as strongly favouring its own interests over those of the larger world. So some meaningful movement on climate change would be a great start to rehabilitating Canada’s international reputation.

My fear is that you will take the rejection as an indication that you need better spin, or stronger lobbying, or more control of your already over-controlled message, rather than some substantive policy changes and a concerted effort to become a better world citizen. So i encourage you and your government to step up to the plate, especially in foreign policy and foreign aid. Not too long ago Canada was front and centre in peacekeeping and other international efforts, with an enviable reputation to match. Let’s start moving in that direction again, okay?

Sincerely,
greg blanchette, Tofino

Just in case you want to send something off, here are the email addresses. Keep ’em handy for all your participatory democracy needs:

  • “James Lunney” <nanaimo@jameslunneymp.ca>
  • “Stephen Harper” <pm@pm.gc.ca>
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