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Security Council Membership

 

Hon. David Tkachuk: Honourable senators, next week two out of three possible nations — Canada, Germany or Portugal — will be awarded a term on the United Nations Security Council. Unfortunately, there are two individuals in parliamentary leadership positions who argue that we have not earned a place on the Security Council.

An Hon. Senator: Shame.

Senator Tkachuk: One is a separatist and the other is a leader whose words, as Norman Spector put it in The Globe and Mail on September 24, "unmistakably ooze with his hope for Canada to fail." The Portuguese have certainly found such remarks to be of interest and have circulated them within the United Nations.

Honourable senators, this is not and should not be about the political stripe of the government of the day. It is about our country, and there should be no argument that we have earned our place at the table of the Security Council, just as we have earned it under governments led by Prime Ministers King, Diefenbaker, Pearson, Trudeau, Mulroney and Chrétien. Preston Manning certainly did not attempt to undermine the Chrétien government's application for a Security Council seat in 1999, the last time we took our turn.

Honourable senators, Canada has consistently been a reliable and responsible participant in the United Nations and its initiatives. We are a major foreign aid donor. We are the seventh largest contributor to the budget of the United Nations, contributing more than China and Russia, two permanent Security Council members. We have led the way in combatting AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases. Just this past June, we announced the Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

Ask the people of Haiti whether Canada's response, one of the most generous in the world, to January's earthquake merits a seat on the Security Council.

Canadians have put their lives on the line in more than 30 UN peacekeeping missions, from the Suez in 1956 to the current mission in Darfur.

Tell the men and women who have fought against terror and for freedom, justice and democracy in Afghanistan that we have not earned our place. Tell the families of those who have fallen in Afghanistan that we have not earned our place. We have earned our place.

Honourable senators, this is the time to stand up for Canada.