The number of Canadian peacekeepers deployed worldwide is at its lowest level. THE CANADIAN PRESS / Lars Hagberg Canada, a bad player on the international scene

Sylvie Claire / June 26, 2020

Justin Trudeau’s government is embarrassed by a devastating defeat in an effort to gain a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

As soon as he said in 2015 that Canada was "back," the Prime Minister made it a flagship commitment to the success of his mandate. Ultimately, Canada's candidacy under Justin Trudeau garnered even fewer votes than that, also a loser, presented by Stephen Harper in 2010.

Of note: this time around, an unprecedented phenomenon occurred. The government's campaign was confronted with another, vigorous one, against its candidacy from civil society groups. About 100 organizations, along with several prominent leftist activists, have co-signed an open letter filed against the Canadian candidacy.

In the past, these voices would have been those supporting the Canadian candidacy. This change of course signifies a far-reaching turnaround. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, offers few convincing answers to criticisms from the most internationalist sectors of Canadian civil society.

Few peacekeepers on duty

Canada is used to winning. His diplomatic self-portrait depicts him as a peacekeeper, a generous donor, an independent and responsible voice on the world stage. The problem: seen from the outside and from a growing share of key players within Canada, this perception of the country is completely false.

The facts are as follows. Canada now has only 43 peacekeepers serving the United Nations (UN). Ireland, one of the two winning candidates, has 52.

In addition, Canada spends barely 0.26% of its gross national income on international development, far behind the 0.7% target set by the United Nations - a significant decrease considering of the long history of Quebec and Canadian international solidarity. The other winning candidate, Norway, is an international model, which spends more than 1% of its GDP on international development.

The gap between words and deeds

Today, Canada is rarely asked to mediate. He is rather frequently considered a supporter of American foreign policy.

There is a huge gap between Canadian rhetoric and Canadian stocks. Take the case of Saudi Arabia, to which Canada supplies weapons on a large scale. In fact, Canada is aiding and abetting Saudi Arabia’s misogynistic foreign policy, while touting its own "feminist foreign policy." Slogans like "the world needs Canada" are never really powerful arguments.


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