John Baird vs. the Rest of the World

May 5, 2013 in Canada, Politics by Justin Beach

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The problem with being a rabid ideologue and refusing to cooperate with anyone, ever is that eventually it comes back to bite you.

Since Harper came to power Canada has lost its status as a good faith negotiator and its reputation as a peacekeeper. Harper has pulled out of international treaties, broken off diplomatic relations with other countries for little or no reason, stood with Isreal regardless of the circumstances or cost to the peace process and against Canada’s traditional allies and used an appearance in front of the UN General Assembly to criticize the United Nations.

Now, according to the CBC, John Baird is “fighting ‘tooth and nail’ to keep [the] UN aviation office in Montreal”:

“The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations, has been based in Montreal since it was established 1947.

Canada is currently in negotiations to keep ICAO in Montreal through 2036. On Thursday afternoon, Baird sought and received unanimous consent for a motion in the House of Commons that said Montreal “should remain the rightful host” and endorsed all efforts by governments to keep it there.Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s office says that he’s working diplomatic channels to try to stop a bid by Qatar to move Montreal’s headquarters for the International Civil Aviation Organization to Doha. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

But on April 11, Qatar submitted an offer to move the headquarters to Doha when ICAO’s lease in Montreal expires in 2016. The offer was discussed when the ICAO met on April 22.

“Minister Baird will fight tooth and nail to keep ICAO in its rightful home of Montreal,” Baird’s office wrote to CBC News earlier Thursday.”

The thing is, that if I were on a UN committee charged with making this decision I would absolutely and without hesitation vote to move the facility. The current Canadian government obviously does not support and will do all it can to undermine the United Nations. Why would the United Nations look favorably on Canada?

If Canada treated Ford or General Motors the way we’ve treated the UN, how many new plants do you suppose Ford and GM would build here? How many jobs would get shifted south of the border when the time for layoffs came?

Canada was a big part of the creation of the United Nations and helped in the formation of many of it’s institutions. I personally am a huge supporter of the UN and, if the US ever gets tired of hosting it, would love to see the UN come to Canada.

However, the Conservatives need to learn that they cannot ride forever on the accomplishments of other parties and governments. They need to be shown that they cannot refuse to participate in virtually all international cooperative exercises and then expect the world to smile on them when Canada needs something.

The UN can and probably should move the ICAO to a friendlier location, even if it does mean inevitable tantrums from John Baird.

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