After the UN member nations overwhelmingly voted to grant Palestine non-member observer status, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was more than displeased. Having given a lengthy speech on why the representatives of the disputed territories of Gaza and the West Bank, Mr. Baird was sure that he would sway the vote in favour of keeping the status quo. While largely seen by the world press as a symbolic vote, leaders of the U.N.'s original peacekeepers are now reviewing whether to continue humanitarian, political, and security aid to the civilians residing within Gaza and West Bank communities.
After the vote, Mr. Baird and International Co-Operation Minister (and controversial former Metro Toronto Police Chief) Julian Fantino recalled heads of 4 missions from Ramallah, Tel Aviv, New York and Geneva to protest the U.N. members' decision.
Baird Spokesman Rick Roth said today that Canada would never recognize a Palestinian state without a peace treaty, stating that "The Palestinian Authorities actions and provocative rhetoric at the U.N. General Assembly would obviously elicit a response from Israel" and that while the government of Canada plans to continue aid until their current 5 year agreement runs out next year, they will "review the path forward once the projects have been successfully completed".
Canada should continue aid after the March expiry date, and for a number of reasons. To begin with, we've given these folks help building infrastructure and hospitals. We've observed voting practices and helped fund schools. Regardless of the rockets Hamas, Fatah, and their ilk have fired at Israel, living human beings live in Gaza and the West Bank. And most of these people are kids, mothers, and people running shops or selling foodstuffs. They have very little to do with the fanatics who control their populace. The Palestinian civilian lives under the power of a terrible government. Yes, they voted for Abbas, but they didn't have any other viable options.
But even if you don't care about the Palestinian people or their plight, John Baird's petit actions smack of sour grapes. We don't always get what we want- majority rules in a democracy. Just because you lose a vote doesn't mean you should stomp your feet like a child in a toy store. If there was an afterlife, you know Lester Pearson would be screaming bloody murder right now.
Keeping the peace is not always about an armed presence. Sometimes it's about giving the little guy what he or she needs in order to foster goodwill, educate the populace, and eradicate political extremism. Canadians have always championed these ideals, and must continue to do so. To turn back now, or in March, would be a stain on an entire nation and the 61% of people who did not vote for Prime Minister Harper.