COMMENTARY: Trudeau’s UN vote loss is rebuke of his ‘preachy’ foreign policy

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The United Nations General Assembly has strongly rejected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s worldview and his narcissistic personal brand of diplomacy.

For Canada’s candidacy to not even make it to the second round of balloting against two minnows with sharks’ teeth — Norway and Ireland — is a sharp lesson to all those Canadians who travel abroad and confuse polite smiles for great affection and respect for our country.

Clearly, we are neither so great nor as loved as we or our prime minister think we are.

It has always been difficult to understand why the Trudeau government so eagerly sought a seat on the United Nations Security Council. The two-year position has zero clout.

Worst of all, by almost every measure — foreign aid cuts, withdrawal from UN peacekeeping, silence on China’s abuse of its Muslim Uighur minority and so much else related to that country’s dictatorship — we did not deserve it.

Norway and Ireland won and Canada, a member of the mighty G7, was a very poor third — about 20 votes behind — because the two European nations have been persistent supporters of foreign aid, peacekeeping and the UN.

They did not need a highly publicized last-minute campaign to boast of themselves as among the sainted because they are not a Johnny-Come-Lately. They’ve been a constant. They’ve been there all along.

Canada lost for many reasons. One of them was because of our government’s timidity. It chose to say as little as possible on many of the most emotive issues of the day, lest it offend a country and lose its vote.

Our criticisms of other countries have mostly been couched in gentle euphemisms or were part of group statements that never really stated what our position was and what we might do.

Until a few weeks ago, it was taboo for ministers to even utter the word “Taiwan.” On importing 5G technologies from China, we have seemed paralyzed long after our security agencies and most of our allies have declared they want nothing to do with it.

Such a craven approach was a hopeless strategy to justify why Canada should have a place in the Security Council chamber.

The reality laid bare by this stark rebuke is that Canada is hamstrung by a preachy foreign policy that has latterly become heavily based on imposing our domestic cultural orthodoxies on others. This has made us a preening nag, a bore and — as the vote by the 190-odd countries that make up the United Nations General Assembly demonstrates — largely irrelevant, except to ourselves.


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