Successive Canadian governments have argued that the integrity of the United Nations must be enhanced through a process of meaningful reform to eliminate the politicization and partisanship that has infested the world body’s proceedings over the past decades.
In December 2004, Canada urged General Assembly members to reduce the number of Middle East resolutions, many of which “damage UN credibility” because they are “redundant and outdated… divisive… and lack balance.” Henceforth, Canada’s approach to such resolutions would be guided by the principle that they “should be constructive… and not simply add fuel to the fire.” A year later, Prime Minister Paul Martin vowed “to eliminate … the annual rite of politicized anti-Israel resolutions” at the UN. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has consistently reaffirmed Canada’s determination to pursue UN reform to make the system more equitable, accountable and effective.
There were a total of twenty-two Middle East resolutions adopted at the 61st UN General Assembly (2006-2007). Canada opposed 7 of the resolutions, supported 9, and abstained on 5 (one resolution was adopted by consensus). Most noteworthy was Canada’s principled refusal to support two new resolutions which blamed Israel alone for the environmental damage and the deterioration of human rights, respectively, which ensued from the 2006 Lebanon war. In addition, Canada continued to rally support in the General Assembly for an omnibus Middle East resolution that would incorporate the constructive aspects of existing resolutions while eliminating the redundancy, partisanship, and politicization that has discredited the General Assembly and denied the UN legitimate standing in Arab-Israeli diplomacy.