map of canada.jpgCanada suffered a devastating blow Tuesday both to its self-image and its international reputation, for the first time in 60 years losing a bid for a UN Security Council seat.

 

The 15-member council, the UN’s most important decision-making body, has 10 rotating seats.

 

Two of these, assigned to Western-bloc nations, were up for grabs Tuesday.

 

Both Germany and Portugal – an afterthought nation with a population of just 10 million – beat out Canada in a stunning vote decision that could shift Canadians’ view of their country as a principled global player and international boy scout.

 

The vote result also could damage the profile of the Harper Conservatives, who are bound to be blamed for failing to safeguard what was assumed to be Canada’s proud standing in the world.

 

Canada is a founding member of the UN and the seventh-largest contributor to its finances. In recent years this country has made an outsized contribution to the UN-backed war effort in Afghanistan.

 

“Our failure to win a UN Security Council seat is Canada’s Hindenburg moment,” intoned the Rideau Institute, referring to the 1937 disaster in which a German airship was destroyed by fire.

 

The Ottawa-based institute, specializing in foreign and defence policy, attempted to explain the vote debacle: “Canadians pride themselves on our global role, but Canada’s dismal performance on climate change, foreign aid, peacekeeping, asbestos, reproductive rights and the Middle East, has taken a heavy toll.”