Canada’s pro-Israel voting record at the UN contradicts its own values and interests and harms its international reputation, according to documents released via Access to Information legislation. The released documents cover the period leading up to Canada’s 2019 decision to resume its support for Palestinian self-determination at the UN. In this report, CJPME looks at how Canadian officials really view Canada's UN voting record, and urges Canada to support all resolutions which aim to uphold Palestinian human rights.
Issued September 7, 2022
Report at a glance
CJPME has obtained documents from Global Affairs Canada, released via Access to Information legislation, for the period leading up to Canada’s 2019 decision to resume its support for Palestinian self-determination at the United Nations. The documents show what Canada’s career foreign affairs officials really think about Canada’s staunchly pro-Israel voting record at the UN.
- Canadian officials say that Canada’s votes in opposition to resolutions supporting Palestinian rights at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) are not based in “merit,” and that such votes are inconsistent with Canada’s own “values, interests, and standard positions.”
- Canadian officials say that Canada’s uniformly pro-Israel voting record is a liability to its international reputation.
- Canadian officials working on UN issues, including Canada’s representatives to the UN in New York, wanted Canada to adopt an entirely merit-based approach to resolutions on Palestine and Israel, rather than changing only a single vote on Palestinian self-determination.
- Canadian officials had been pushing the Trudeau government to change its approach since 2016, but their advice apparently went ignored.
- In drafting public communications around the vote, GAC officials initially incorporated indirect criticism of Israel, but this was eventually dropped.
- Canada’s 2019 decision to change its single vote was not confirmed until the last minute.
Since its change of the single vote in 2019, Canada has not otherwise changed its voting pattern on these annual resolutions. This means that the Trudeau government has continued to vote against resolutions which its career foreign affairs officials have identified as consistent with Canada’s foreign policy.