The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Brent Patterson, Council of Canadians, Director of Campaigns and Communications, (613) 233-4487 ext. 291;
Dylan Penner, Council of Canadians, Media Officer, (613) 233-4487;

Ban Ki-moon Told Canada Does Not Deserve a Seat on UN Security Council


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was hand delivered an open letter by the Council of Canadians registering official opposition to Canada's bid for a Security Council seat this morning. Canada's largest advocacy organization cites Canada's failure to recognize water as a human right, its refusal to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and its failure to commit to deep domestic emission cuts as key examples of Canada's lack of compliance with international norms.

In the open letter, the Council of Canadians states that Canada is not deserving of the responsibility that comes with a UN Security Council seat until and unless there is a reversal in these 3 important policy areas.

"A UN covenant on the human right to water would clarify that it is a state's responsibility to provide sufficient, safe, accessible and affordable water to all of its citizens," says Anil Naidoo, Blue Planet Project Organizer, "yet Canada has been the strongest opponent to such a covenant." Unsafe water and sanitation are the source of 85 per cent of all disease, and one in every six people on Earth has no access to clean drinking water.

The Council of Canadians is calling on the Canadian government for the full and unbiased ratification and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at all levels of policy.

"Being one of only four countries that originally voted against the Declaration is yet another example of Canada swimming against the current of international norms on human rights," says Brent Patterson, Campaigns and Communications Director with the Council of Canadians, and signatory of the letter. "The Declaration is a significant document that provides a crucial framework for the domestic implementation of Indigenous Rights around the world is yet another example of Canada acting against the current of international norms on human rights."

With respect to climate change, the open letter also highlights Canada's open recognition that it will not meet its legally-binding commitments as a signatory to the Kyoto Accord. "Canada continues to be out of sync with the commitments needed to address to the climate crisis," says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians.

The Harper government calls for - with no supporting plans or legislation - a cut in emissions of 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. When this is translated to the standard baseline year of 1990, the Harper target actually equates to a 2.5 percent increase over 1990 levels by 2020. In line with climate science and in recognition of the need for deeper emission reductions in Northern countries, the Council of Canadians supports a target of at least a 40 per cent cut below 1990 levels by 2020.

Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada's leading social action organization, mobilizing a network of 60 chapters across the country.

Office: (613) 233-4487, ext. 249