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Canada loses bid for seat on United Nations Security Council

Last Updated Jun 17, 2020 at 2:58 pm MST

FILE - The Security Council meets on the situation in Syria, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 at United Nations headquarters. Today could be decision day for what could be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's biggest foreign policy gambit: Canada's bid for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mary Altaffer
Summary

The loss came in the first round of voting in a secret ballot of 193 member states of the UN General Assembly

Canada lost to Norway and Ireland for two available seats for a two-year term starting next year

Canada also lost a bid by the former Conservative government, led by Stephen Harper, in 2010

NEW YORK (NEWS 1130) — Canada has lost its bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The loss came in the first round of voting in a secret ballot of 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, failing to receive the two-thirds majority needed to secure a seat.

Canada lost to Norway and Ireland for two available seats for a two-year term starting next year.

Canada also lost a bid by the former Conservative government, led by Stephen Harper, in 2010.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared Canada’s candidacy for a seat again after coming to power in 2015.

UN ambassadors were given staggered access to the General Assembly meeting hall in New York City for voting to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The voting arrangement was a historic departure for the General Assembly because of public health concerns over the pandemic.

 

Trudeau had placed many resources behind a multi-year campaign to secure one of the seats, with many international initiatives tied to the bid.

He acknowledged, prior to the voting results, that the pandemic changed the dynamics of the tight race.

“Right now, what we’re seeing in the world is challenges to the multilateral system, with large countries are withdrawing a little bit their support for positive engagement on the world stage,” Trudeau said during his daily briefing in Ottawa.

“It is a time for a medium-sized countries, who can have a big voice, to step up, and that’s why Canada’s voice on the UN Security Council could be a strong lever for continuing the defense of the multi-lateral system we’re in and improvements to the multi-lateral system,” he added.

“I have nothing but respect for our two competitors, Ireland and Norway, that have demonstrated an engagement in the world — there’s no question about it. And it is unfortunate that we’re in a situation of having to compete against friends. But I know that Canada has a particular ability to convene voices from around the world.”

Regardless of the outcome, Trudeau added Canada is more engaged on the world stage.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer criticized the Liberals for their foreign decisions to secure votes, calling the entire effort a vanity project.

“What’s the point of having a seat at the table if you have to sell out Canadians principles.”