Sunday, September 24, 2006

Canada At The United Nations

Suddenly Canada has a presence at the United Nations. Of course we always did have. Our presence was a respectful one, a concensus-building one, a modest and quiet presence. Canada generally was willing to accept and to support motions brought forward by other nations. Canada has never been too willing to upset apple carts. As a middling nation: middling-economically, middling-internationally, middling-sized, middling-self-image-wise, Canada has never been too eager to bring untoward attention to itself.

Helpful, yes, Canada has always been willing to be helpful. But like the child mid-born in a large, sprawling and sometimes-brawling family, she has been content to sit back and observe as matters unfolded. And without fanfare take her seat as a constructive and well-meaning member in the larger assembly of nations.

Canada has been a good sort. If somewhat smug about itself. A country that could be relied upon to do "the right thing". Of course that also depends on whether there were enough others doing the "right thing", since the "right thing" is sometimes a moveable feast.

As, for example, in the matter of those so-often resolutions brought forward by a coalition of Arab nations soundly denouncing Israel. Canada, unwilling to disturb the good will of the Arab group appeared willing enough to vote with those resolutions, since Israel, much as she is universally loved, is but one nation.

Something happened this year on the way to the United Nations. There is a new, resolute, and moral presence in Canada. Moral sans relativism. Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared before the assembly and spoke of Canada's role in the world as a member country of the United Nations. He spoke also of the general disaffection with the way the United Nations has been governed, while at the same time appreciating the necessity of its role in world affairs.

He spoke of the corruption endemic in most institutions that grow lax and effete without competition for their place in the greater scheme of things. All institutions, by their very nature as human-inspired and human-operated must develop and grow and mature as the world itself does. Stagnation, ineffectiveness and corruption, all conditions centering on human indifference to greater needs result from lack of resolution and the imperative to improve.

Prime Minister Harper emphasized Canada's contribution to good governance and the improvement of the order of world affairs, at home and abroad. Canada's commitment to assisting Afghanistan rise above its current insurgent war with a terrorist element infecting its country. His unequivocal stance, on behalf of Canada, in doing its part in battle with the emergence of fanatical terrorists.

Mr. Harper's performance at the United Nations, as well as at home has gladdened many Canadians, offended many more. I'm with the former, not the latter.

Like the United Nations, he still has to prove himself. His tenure as Prime Minister of Canada is a tender, young one. The United Nations has had ample opportunity to prove its merit and worthiness. We're still waiting...

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