Responding to years of UN bashing by the Government of Canada, a group of 17 United Nations and foreign policy experts held media conferences across Canada on September 23, 2013 to explain what Canada should be saying and doing to help regain its place as a leader at the UN.
At the same time, the UN & Canada Project launched a booklet of essays to help Canadians understand the significant impact international institutions have on the world and to encourage our government to reposition Canada in world affairs.
The 17 participating experts are former cabinet ministers, senior civil society representatives, professors of international relations, former Canadian ambassadors and other former senior government and UN officials.
According to Professor John Trent, coordinator of the project, “Canadians require a better understanding of Canada’s potential role in improving the present and future capacities of the United Nations. While we all recognize the UN is an imperfect organization, the Harper government’s position flies in the face of the reality that the UN is a much more reformed and effective institution than many think. The problem is that after several years of attacks, negligence and misinformation we must assume that many Canadians will have developed an increasingly negative image of the UN.”
“The object is not so much to defend the UN as it is to portray it as a useful institution that Canada should use and improve without turning our backs on it. We can only get reforms if we are perceived as a knowledgeable team player. We also want to make Canadians aware that the UN is our one and only legitimate, universal institution where the whole world comes together. But we can also explain its defects and show how it must be transformed to deal with global challenges”, said former Cabinet Minister, Warren Allmand, who is President of the World Federalist Movement – Canada, organizer of the project.