Canadian government loses $2.3 million bid for United Nations Security Council seat

Published by Brent Patterson on

On June 17, the Canadian government lost a secret ballot vote among the 192 member states of the United Nations General Assembly for a two-year seat on the UN Security Council that would have begun next year.

Norway secured 130 votes and Ireland won 128 votes for the two available seats, but Canada fell short with 108 votes.

The Canadian government campaign for the seat cost more than $2.3 million.

A grassroots campaign in Canada opposed the Canadian government’s bid for the seat on the basis of numerous issues. Their petition states:

-“Canada ranks among the twelve largest arms exporters and its weapons have fueled conflicts across the globe, including the devastating war in Yemen.

-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.

-Canada propping up repressive, corrupt and illegitimate governments, including Honduras.

-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.

-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 [in January 2019 and February 2020].”

On that last point, Peace Brigades International-Canada launched this petition that pleaded with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to abide by this UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination resolution prior to the vote.

That resolution calls on Canada to withdraw the RCMP from Wet’suwet’en territory and to stop construction on the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline until free, prior and informed consent had been obtained from the Wet’suwet’en peoples as required by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

PBI-Canada also highlighted that while Canada spent millions to win the Security Council seat, it spent millions more violating UNDRIP. The RCMP has stated that its actions on Wet’suwet’en territory between January and March 2019 cost $3.6 million.

In his statement on the outcome of the vote, Prime Minister Trudeau commented: “As we move forward, we remain committed to the goals and principles that we laid out during this campaign, and we will continue to play a vital role in advancing global cooperation and building a more peaceful, inclusive, and sustainable world.”

It is our hope that the Canadian government will work to comply with its UN human rights obligations and reassess its policies on arms exports and nuclear weapons. 

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