The Harper government’s statement that it is not running for a United Nations Security Council seat in 2014 means less than it appears, and more.
Less, because in practice, there has never been a prospect of Canada’s running in 2014. In the first place, running now would effectively abrogate an informal agreement among Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the CANZ group, our long-standing and arguably most productive diplomatic partnership in UN affairs. CANZ countries endeavour to alternate on the Security Council and to support each other’s candidacies. Running in 2014 would mean competing with New Zealand which has long since announced its intention to run after Australia completed its term. This would be double-crossing an ally, which would be wrong in itself and also a poor basis for others to support us.