It’s a good thing Canadians prefer hockey as their national religion, rather than politics, because otherwise this would have been a very bad week for a nation that skated onto thin ice and busted through.
Coach Stephen Harper decided his team would try out for the Security Council at the United Nations. As in 1972, the Canadians showed up unprepared — they skated with their heads down and took a nasty elbow to the head, landing on their butts while the victors, Portugal and Germany, took their place on the bench.
After six successive, successful bids for a spot on the UN’s Security Council, Canada was shut out. As if that isn’t humiliating enough, the loss came at the hands of Portugal, a runt of a country that arguably hasn’t accomplished anything substantial since it trained a young Christopher Columbus how to sail.
Some Canadians, revelling in the Maple Leafs’ early and unlikely winning streak, might not know nor care that Canada tried, and failed, to obtain a seat on the UN’s Security Council.
But for citizens who want their country to be involved in world affairs and tough it out in the corners, failing to make the cut for the Security Council is a huge embarrassment.
Predictably, fingers of blame were immediately pointed at the coach. Canada’s lousy game plan, not to mention dismal foreign policy, caused the loss, some said.
A new stinginess when it comes to foreign aid was cited. But not a single critic — domestic or foreign — supplied statistics proving Portugal was more generous than Canada in providing aid to developing countries. Indeed, it is impossible to conceive of that being the case. Canadians are so generous that they — inexplicably, mind you — still give money to China.
Conjecture also swirled that it was Canada’s stubborn and regressive stance on environmental issues, namely global warming, that prompted UN members to send Canadians off the ice.
Canada’s approach has been supposedly unsporting — demanding that developing countries, such as China, India and Brazil, also make commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions along with developed countries. And isn’t it odd that, of all those self-righteous nations that condemn Canadians’ shameless polluting habits, not one has volunteered to stop burning oil.
Typically, politicians and bureaucrats in Ottawa and at the UN were reluctant to address the real reason support for Germany and Portugal knocked Canada out of contention.
Laughably, the Tories tried to blame comments made weeks earlier by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, as if (1) Canadian political news has any international impact, and (2) anyone out there even knows who Michael Ignatieff is.
News reports this week noted the 57-member Organization of Islamic Conference at the UN didn’t support Canada’s candidacy for the Security Council.
Liberals can naively believe that the Islamic countries’ opposition to Canada’s inclusion was due to global warming and African aid.
More likely, it was due to Canada being one of the few countries on the planet to state openly that Israel has a right to defend itself against attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah.
So, Canada is humiliated on the world stage.
Meanwhile, Lebanon was elected last year and will sit at the Security Council table until 2011.
And what were they doing this week in that bastion of international peace and brotherly goodwill? Well, thousands of cheering, flag-waving Lebanese supporters lined the roads of Beirut Wednesday to welcome Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the fellow who famously declared Israel should be wiped off the map.
Canadians shouldn’t feel too humiliated.
The UN has become a snake pit of anti-Semites. The funny thing, or perhaps not, is that you don’t even have to be Jewish to suffer the consequences of their anti-Semitism.
Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.