Just about everybody to the left of the Conservatives, on hearing Canada withdrew from the contest for a seat on the UN Security Council, seemed hurt and readily blamed Prime Minister Stephen Harper for failing to win support of member states when it counted.
And in symmetry with the left, most everybody right of the Conservatives — taking a cue from government spokesman Dimitri Soudas, Harper’s communications director, who opined: “Canada’s bid did not have unity because we had Mr. Ignatieff questioning and opposing Canada’s bid” — blamed the opposition leader and disputed the worthiness of the organization, increasingly embarrassing to anybody taking seriously the words and meaning of the UN Charter.
Sadly, neither the government nor opposition parties have served Canadians well on the matter of the UN since none has shown fortitude in articulating a vision for Canada for the post- 9/11 world.
This will be the century of new regional blocs, migrations and population shifts, resource-based conflicts, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and the advanced economies with accumulating debt loads unable or unwilling to write cheques for failed and failing states.
The UN is as competent, or incompetent, as its largest voting bloc.
When the inaugural meeting of the UN took place in San Francisco in June 1945, representatives of 51 countries came together in signing the Charter as founding members. Today, there are 192 member states, and the largest voting bloc in the UN comprises states belonging to the 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
During the first 50 years of the UN, the largest voting bloc comprised of states associated with or belonging to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The end of the Cold War also spelled a practical end to NAM.
It is these voting blocs that run the various UN organs, and vote for rotating non-permanent members of the Security Council.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the role of the OIC at the UN has become increasingly transparent, and alarming. Unlike NAM, the OIC is centrally organized along a clearly spelled out political ideology of Islamism which emphasizes the centrality of Shariah in an Islamic state.
To grasp the nature of the OIC — and not to be fooled by the language of its Charter — is to closely scrutinize the existing political and social reality of member states without any exception.
These OIC states are characterized by absence of democracy or by its charade, lack of freedom of individuals, of officially endorsed bigotry as sanctioned by Islamism — look at the record of treatment meted out to ethnic and religious minorities, for instance, the Ahmadis in Pakistan — gender discrimination, homophobia, and innumerable violations of UN Charter in terms of human rights.
The nature of the OIC facilitates collusion with a large number of UN member states beginning with China, and the list would include dictatorships and tyrannies of the likes of Cuba, North Korea, Myanmar and Zimbabwe.
Therefore the question for Canadians is should Canada embrace unreservedly or selectively, and to what purpose, this UN so tarnished and corrupted by those member-states constituting together a huge majority, and, in the process, hollow out her ideals and interests.
Canadians are aching for this discussion, and the ruling class, blinkered by its own partisanship, has proven itself unworthy of trust and respect.