CJPME: Canada’s UN votes not reflective of Canadians’ wishes

Canada-at-UN-400.pngMontreal, Nov. 29, 2015 – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) asserts that several of Canada’s recent votes at the United Nations (UN) are entirely unrepresentative of the position of the majority of Canadians. In annual votes concerning Israel, Palestine and related issues, the Liberal government continued a disturbing trend established by the previous Harper government of supporting untenable Israeli positions in the face of overwhelming international opposition. On six resolutions, Canada joined Israel, the US and four tiny Pacific island nations in extremely lopsided losses (details below.) 

“For a government elected to bring greater balance in foreign affairs, Canada’s recent votes at the UN are extremely disappointing,” asserted Thomas Woodley, president of CJPME. CJPME notes that, were Canada uneasy with the wording of certain resolutions, Canada could have chosen to abstain on certain votes as did a number of Western European countries. Instead, the government joined a small minority that was overwhelmingly defeated again and again by a factor of up to 22-to-1. Canada’s votes were as follows:

  • Resolution A/70/L.10 – on the “inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.” Resolution passes 102-8 (Canada votes against, along with Israel, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States, Australia)
  • Resolution A/70/L.11 – on continued support for the Division for Palestinian Rights at the UN. Resolution passes 99-8 (Canada votes against, along with Israel, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States, Australia)
  • Resolution A/70/L.12 – on the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine at the UN. Resolution passes 155-7 (Canada votes against, along with Israel, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • Resolution A/70/L.13 – on the question of the “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.” Resolution passes 155-7 (Canada votes against, along with Israel, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • Resolution A/70/L.14 – on the UN’s position on the status of Jerusalem. Resolution passes 153-7 (Canada votes against, along with Israel, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, United States)
  • Resolution A/70/L.21 – on Israeli settlements in the OccupiedPalestinianTerritory, including East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan. Resolution passes 155-6 (Canada votes against, along with Israel, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, United States)

CJPME contends that Canada’s recent votes at the UN are not representative of the wishes of the vast majority of Canadians. The substantive resolutions dealt with issues that are not legally in dispute: e.g. the condemnation of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank; the insistence that the international status of Jerusalem be respected; etc. “Canadians want Canada to support international law, and to be a neutral broker in international disputes,” argued Woodley. “The Trudeau government’s recent votes defy both of these wishes.”

The six resolutions arising at the UN this past week are part of a larger group of resolutions that are brought up for vote each year at the UN. While the votes are largely symbolic, and pass by a wide margin every year, the Trudeau government’s votes are a bellwether for where the Liberal government may be headed in foreign policy. For Canadians expecting a break from Harper’s “support Israel right-or-wrong” stance, the Liberals’ votes are surprising and upsetting.

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