Thursday, September 23, 2010

Then and now

John Ivison on September 1st: 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.
Ivison today:
Mr. Harper better hope there is sufficient recognition of our international efforts in Afghanistan and Haiti to win us a seat around the horse-shoe shaped Security Council table. He could justifiably claim that Canada will have influence when big and binding decisions are made on, for example, Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Yet, victory is unlikely to have any domestic political consequences. As foreign policy veterans like former UN ambassador Paul Heinbecker have pointed out, Canada has run for the council once a decade since 1948, and no Canadian government has ever lost such an election.

Domestic fall out will occur if Canada loses — an embarrassment that would hand Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff a very large stick with which to beat Conservative foreign policy. “The real news would occur if Harper managed to ruin our 1.000 bating average, not if he manages to maintain it,” said Mr. Heinbecker.

As Ms. Frechette put it: “If we lose, it will be a real diplomatic humiliation.”
Quite a notable turnaround. What ever might be going on.