Tag Archives: diplomacy

Stephen Lewis: The PMO Might Not Be The Best People To Run a Security Council Campaign

From CTV News

Lewis, who also served as the UN’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, said the government bungled its campaign.

"I got the impression in this election for the Security Council that the Prime Minister’s Office actually didn’t know what it was doing, that it was too arrogant, it didn’t have a careful plan of what might be done," Lewis told CTV’s Question Period on Sunday morning.

"As a result, our diplomats were largely hung out to dry."

Lewis said when he worked at the UN during Canada’s Security Council campaign in 1989-1990, he worked with seasoned diplomats in the Prime Minister’s Office to address specific issues that were of key concern at the time: apartheid in South Africa, African aid, and the U.S. government’s scheme for nuclear ballistic missile defence, dubbed "Star Wars."

Lewis said this time around, failing to adequately address key issues likely "sealed our fate" at the UN. The Conservative government’s resistance to taking strong action against climate change, cutting back foreign aid and openly lobbying for a seat all likely turned off various nations in the run-up to the vote, he said.

"So what the government failed to understand was that on balance, the policies they had propagated were not well received within the international community," Lewis said.

I was watching CPAC the other night and Andrew Coyne brought up the really good point that while Canada lost, Portugal won.  They ran a long term and effective campaign that courted blocks of votes… basically all of the things that Canada would not do.  While Canada was ineffective, Portugal ran an excellent campaign and did deserve to win.

My own personal theory is that while Canada’s external affairs had something to do with it, the economic meltdown did as well.  Countries are more comfortable with a nation that has been affected like them rather than a country that went through relatively unscathed.