🍁 CDN: Canada’s Diplomatic Role With The United Nations

The United Nations officially came into being on October 24, 1945. By that date a majority of the 50 countries that had signed the UN Charter in San Francisco on June 26, 1945, had ratified it in their national parliaments. The UN replaced the League of Nations, which had been created by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Currently, there are 193 member states. 

Lester B. Pearson. (Photo: Toronto Star MIKAN). (Alistair Reign News Blog wwwAlistairReignBlog.com).
Lester B. Pearson. (Photo: Toronto Star).

The United Nations Peacekeeping began in 1948. Its first mission was in the Middle East to observe and maintain the ceasefire during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Since then, United Nations peacekeepers have taken part in a total of 63 missions around the globe, 17 of which continue today. The peacekeeping force as a whole received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.

Canada is one of the founding members of the United Nations.

Lester Bowles “Mike” Pearson was a Canadian scholar, statesman, soldier and diplomat, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. He was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from April 22, 1963 to April 20, 1968.

Seven Canadian diplomatic missions are accredited to the UN.

  1. The Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York
    Responsible for overall relations with the United Nations and delegations of member countries, including the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, UNDP, UNICEF, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
  2. The Permanent Mission of Canada to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva
    Responsible for relations with all UN offices in Geneva and delegations of member countries, including entities such as the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization, the High Commissioner for Refugees, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, or forums such as the Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament.
  3. The Permanent Delegation of Canada to UNESCO in Paris
    Responsible for Canada’s relations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
  4. The Permanent Mission of Canada to International Organisations in Vienna
    Responsible for relations with the UN offices in Vienna, including the International Atomic Energy Agency.
  5. The Permanent Mission of Canada to the Office of the United Nations in Nairobi
    Responsible for relations to the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT) and to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  6. The Permanent Mission of Canada to the FAO in Rome
    Responsible for relations with the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
  7. The Permanent Mission of Canada to the ICAO in Montreal
    Responsible for relations with the International Civil Aviation Organization

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Canada: Fahmy To Leaders – Help Citizens Jailed Abroad

In the midst of a heated federal election campaign, a Canadian journalist who fought terror charges in Egypt for nearly two years will be returning to Canada with a clear message for all parties vying to form the next government – Ottawa needs to do more to help citizens detained abroad.

Mohamed Fahmy maintains he doesn’t want to get too political, but he does want to trigger a national conversation on the issue when he arrives in Toronto in the coming days.

“I will start a constructive debate about the Canadian government’s handling of the case and how foreign policy in dealing with such emergencies could be improved to protect Canadians who could be in a similar situation like mine, or worse,” he told The Canadian Press in an interview.

‘It’s like being born again,’ Fahmy says following release from Cairo prison.

“Our trial should be a case study that could benefit so many.”

o-MULCAIR-TRUDEAU-HARPER
MULCAIR-TRUDEAU-HARPER. Fahmy said Mulcair and Trudeau appealed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government when he needed it the most, particularly during a brief period when, while out on bail in Cairo during his second trial, he was left without a Canadian passport.

Fahmy’s points are likely to be heard by at least a few figures of note. The 41-year-old plans to accept invitations he’s received to meet separately with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau following his return to Canada.

“I’m not endorsing or pledging allegiance to anyone,” he said. “But these two parties and these two leaders — I really want to meet them in person and thank them, because they stood beside me very much so when I needed the support.”

The NDP said Sunday that it already had plans, if elected, to bring in legislation aimed at protecting Canadians abroad.

“An NDP government will enact legislation to ensure consistent and non-discriminatory provision of consular services to all Canadians abroad,” a party spokesman said.

Fahmy and two colleagues were arrested in Cairo in December 2013 while working for satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera English and faced widely denounced charges.

An arduous legal battle involving two trials and a year in prison for Fahmy finally came to an end when he was abruptly pardoned by Egypt’s president just over a week ago.

While thankful for the efforts of the Canadian ambassador and consular staff in Cairo, Fahmy expressed his disappointment with what he suggested were very “mild” efforts by Ottawa to secure his release.

“(Harper’s) response was unacceptable, considering the security threat I was facing,” Fahmy said of the situation at the time.

If the Conservative government even begins to take credit for my pardon, then they are extremely mistaken, Fahmy said, crediting his release to the efforts of his wife, his lawyers, and the support he received from Canadians and others around the world.

The Conservative government, however, has said it consistently called at the highest level for Fahmy’s release.

Mohammad Fahmy, his wife on the left, his lawyer Amal Clooney on the right.
Mohammad Fahmy, his wife on the left, his lawyer Amal Clooney on the right.

For the past week, Fahmy has remained in Egypt, readjusting to freedom, speaking about his experiences and waiting to get his name removed from a no-fly list — a bureaucratic hurdle that he fully expects to clear.

He will soon be leaving the country and stopping first in London. There he will meet with his high-profile lawyer, Amal Clooney, and take part in a few speaking engagements before heading to Toronto, where there will also be public appearances.

At all the events he plans to participate in, Fahmy said he plans to thank his many supporters, openly talk about the lessons learned from his ordeal and continue to urge Egypt to issue pardons to his Al Jazeera colleagues who remain convicted in absentia.

“I think our trial was very unique in the sense that it involved so many current affairs issues such as identity, the war on terrorism, how it’s being used to clamp down on civil liberties and press freedoms and geopolitics of the Middle East,” he said.

“I will be thanking so many Canadians who supported this stranger they haven’t met for almost two years and contributed to freeing me.”

CP24: Fahmy says Canada must do more for citizens detained abroad

CDN: Closing of the Canadian Mind – Harper Government Legacy

THE prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has called an election for Oct. 19, but he doesn’t want anyone to talk about it.

He has chosen not to participate in the traditional series of debates on national television, confronting his opponents in quieter, less public venues, like the scholarly Munk Debates and CPAC, Canada’s equivalent of CSPAN. His own campaign events were subject to gag orders until a public outcry forced him to rescind the forced silence of his supporters.

Where's Steve?
Harper’s campaign looks a lot like a Where’s Waldo adventure: “Wheeeere’s Steve?

Mr. Harper’s campaign for re-election has so far been utterly consistent with the personality trait that has defined his tenure as prime minister: his peculiar hatred for sharing information.

Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education.

But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing conservatism, applied broadly and effectively. He has consistently limited the capacity of the public to understand what its government is doing, cloaking himself and his Conservative Party in an entitled secrecy, and the country in ignorance.

His relationship to the press is one of outright hostility. At his notoriously brief news conferences, his handlers vet every journalist, picking and choosing who can ask questions. In the usual give-and-take between press and politicians, the hurly-burly of any healthy democracy, he has simply removed the give.

Mr. Harper’s war against science has been even more damaging to the capacity of Canadians to know what their government is doing. The prime minister’s base of support is Alberta, a western province financially dependent on the oil industry, and he has been dedicated to protecting petrochemical companies from having their feelings hurt by any inconvenient research.

3 blind mice touching backsIn 2012, he tried to defund government research centers in the High Arctic, and placed Canadian environmental scientists under gag orders. That year, National Research Council members were barred from discussing their work on snowfall with the media. Scientists for the governmental agency Environment Canada, under threat of losing their jobs, have been banned from discussing their research without political approval. Mentions of federal climate change research in the Canadian press have dropped 80 percent. The union that represents federal scientists and other professionals has, for the first time in its history, abandoned neutrality to campaign against Mr. Harper.

His active promotion of ignorance extends into the functions of government itself. Most shockingly, he ended the mandatory long-form census, a decision protested by nearly 500 organizations in Canada, including the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Catholic Council of Bishops. In the age of information, he has stripped Canada of its capacity to gather information about itself. The Harper years have seen a subtle darkening of Canadian life.

To read the rest of this article by STEPHEN MARCHE click on the link below.

The New York Times: The Closing of the Canadian Mind.

🍁 CDN: UN Human Rights Committee Criticizes Policy

UN Human Rights Committee criticizes Canada’s record on asylum-seekers, missing and murdered Aboriginal women, mining companies and anti-terrorism legislation. Opposition parties vow they’ll do a better job of prioritizing human rights obligations if they come to power after the federal election expected October 19, 2015.

Their assertions come after the UN’s Human Rights Committee issued a critical report Thursday after reviewing Canada’s implementation of international human rights commitments.

Major concerns raised by the report include Canada’s failure to conduct a national inquiry on missing and murdered Aboriginal women, a lack of safeguards governing Canada’s security and intelligence agencies, the conduct of Canadian mining companies abroad and the government’s treatment of asylum seekers. Among more than a dozen recommendations, the committee suggests conducting a national inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women and considering revising a new anti-terrorism law.

Human rights protest on the capital hill. Major concerns raised by the report include Canada’s failure to conduct a national inquiry on missing and murdered Aboriginal women, a lack of safeguards governing Canada’s security and intelligence agencies, the conduct of Canadian mining companies abroad and the government’s treatment of asylum-seekers.
Ottawa: Human rights protest on the capital hill. (Photo: Jake Wright).

Canada’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was put under the microscope of 18 human rights experts nominated by countries.

The review is part of the committee’s regular oversight of countries that have ratified the covenant. It’s the first substantial chance for the committee to scrutinize the Canadian government under Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party, which won its first federal mandate in 2006.

For the most part, Canada is getting graded poorly.

Renu Mandhane, director of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s law school, said she was pleased with the committee’s recommendations and how strongly they were worded.

“I think when you read the whole report it really gives you a flavour of how far we have fallen in terms of human rights protections in this country.”

Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, called the recommendations “incredibly wide-ranging and important and timely.”

His was one of more than two dozen civil society organizations that presented evidence to the UN committee as part of its review.

In its report, the committee acknowledged a “level of apprehension” across Canadian civil society and said Canada should ensure that its implementation of the Income Tax Act “does not result in unnecessary restrictions on the activities of non-governmental organizations defending human rights.

Rules require that no more than 10 per cent of registered charities’ activities be non-partisan political work.

May 29/98C protest in front of Liberal office on St. Mary St. in Toronto about refugees being sent back to Iran.Photo by Edward Regan/Globe and Mail
May 29, 1998 protest in front of Liberal office on St. Mary St. Toronto over refugees being sent back to Iran. (Photo: Edward Regan/ Globe and Mail).

Canadian governments haven’t had great track records in implementing UN recommendations,” Mr. Neve said, but the election campaign is an opportunity to turn things around.”

“We need to hear from Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper and all of the leaders that they recognize how significant this UN review is,” he said.

As of Thursday afternoon, the federal government had not responded to Embassy’s questions about the committee report.

Canadian Heritage spokesman Charles Cardinal told Embassy ahead of the report’s release, however, that the government would be reviewing the recommendations.

It would be up to federal departments and provincial and municipal governments to take actions they deemed appropriate to respond to the UN committee’s recommendations,” he said.

Canada is proud of its world leading human rights record,” Cardinal added.

Wayne Marston, human rights critic for the NDP, said the human rights lens is important to his party and finding ways to implement the recommendations in the report would be “very high on our leader’s agenda.

The last couple of governments in Canada have not done a wonderful job,” he said, in prioritizing international commitments within the UN framework. He mentioned the Liberal and Conservative governments both refused to sign on to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, something the NDP has committed to do.

Regarding Bill C-51, the new Anti-Terrorism Law, Mr. Marston said the NDP would repeal it entirely if the party formed government.

Embassy News: Scathing-un-report-a-rallying-cry-for-civil-society-opposition-parties.