The veritable feat at hand? Beating out Portugal for a seat among the UN Security Council's 10 elected members. Ivison frames it up for us:
...in the wake of the Vancouver Olympics and the G8/G20 international summits, Mr. Harper stands on the brink of a foreign policy coup that would deliver on his promise to restore Canada’s influence on the world stage – namely a seat on the United Nations Security Council.Canada has been absent for the past decade. OK...and this means that it would be a coup should we be elected now? Well, if you look at our history of membership on the Council since 1966, if we were to be elected now it wouldn't really be a "coup." It would just be us taking our pretty regular turn, every decade. Here are our years of membership:
Membership of the UNSC is held by five permanent members (France, the U.K., the U.S., China and Russia) and 10 elected, non-permanent members, who join the council for a two year term. Every year, half of these places are contested in five regional groups. Canada has sat on the UNSC on 6 separate occasions since 1948 but has been absent for the past decade.
On October 12, a secret ballot of the U.N.’s 192 members will choose between Canada, Portugal and Germany for the two “Western Europe and Other” seats on the security council.
So if we are elected in 2010, that seems like right on schedule to me. Or, if you're John Ivison, aka standing "on the brink of a foreign policy coup." Gee, hopefully we beat out Portugal, who have been on the Security Council a whopping total of 4 years since 1966, to take our regular turn.