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FUREY: Will Canada make good use of a security council seat?

What do we plan to do with such a temporary posting? That's the conversation we need to be having.

It’s become a fairly perennial topic, the idea of Canada attempting to score one of the rotating two-year seats at the United Nations security council.

We’ve typically served a term every decade, although controversially lost a bid in 2010 under the Conservative government. Now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is taking another shot at it.

A new report reveals that such a bid doesn’t come without its costs. As we attempt to beat out Ireland and Norway for a 2021 spot that will be decided one year from now, we’ve racked up $1.5 million on the campaign.

Much of the discussion on this issue has focused on whether or not the effort is worth the cost. But that’s relative. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.

It all depends on what we plan to do with such a temporary posting, how much use we make out of it. That’s the conversation we need to be having.

To say that there is growing cynicism about the usefulness of the United Nations would be an understatement. A lot of people in the West – and this includes credible experts in foreign policy – have been deeply troubled in recent years to see some truly sketchy actors on the world stage take up influential positions on UN bodies.

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The slam dunk example is Saudi Arabia being on the human rights council.

This seems to be permitted and even encouraged by progressive voices based on the assumption that if we welcome these countries into the fold, our views on human rights will rub off on them by virtue of letting them in on the conversation.

That only works though if we’re willing to make it clear to Saudi Arabia and others that we think our definition of human rights is the superior one and press them to move more into our orbit.

But almost the opposite is happening.

Because so many progressives are also moral relativists, they shrink at the notion of taking a firm stand on the importance of Western values. As such, the likes of Saudi Arabia gain a foothold on the world stage and face very little pushback from the representatives of G20 nations who should technically be reading them the riot act over half of their government’s regressive policies.

Would Canada suddenly change its tune if we got a seat on the security council? Would we use it to be a force for good in the world, or just sit in it with glee for a bit, like a small child being allowed to briefly sit at the wheel or mom and dad’s car?

Take our current impasse with China as an example.

What we are currently facing is nothing less than a long-term plan by President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party to replace the United States as the leading global power in the world. Will we take a stand on these issues? It doesn’t look like we will.

If we can’t even get around to banning Huawei from building our 5G grid, how will we deal with China more broadly on the world stage?

As long as the UN is around, it’s best for Canada to have as much influence there as possible.

The question though, is whether or not we rise to the occasion and put that influence to use.

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