Bob Rae named UN ambassador, plays down Security Council loss

Bob Rae named UN ambassador, plays down Security Council loss

Bob Rae named UN ambassador, plays down Security Council loss

OTTAWA — Bob Rae played down the importance of Canada’s failure to secure a Security Council seat while touting the country’s continued involvement in the world as the former Ontario premier was tapped to become Canada’s next ambassador to the United Nations.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Rae’s appointment on Monday, only weeks after Canada’s bid for a two-year seat on the UN Security Council ended in defeat. Canada lost on the first ballot to Norway and Ireland.

The loss has since been seen as an embarrassment for the Liberal government, sparking concerns about Canada’s standing in the world as well as calls for a comprehensive review of the country’s foreign policy.

Rae was having none of it as the former NDP premier and one-time interim leader of the federal Liberals talked of his many electoral successes and failures over the years to illustrate the vagaries that define elections of all kinds.

“I’ve won elections and sometimes you overread what that means,” Rae said during a news conference on Parliament Hill. “And when you lose elections sometimes you tend to internalize it and say: ‘This is a very clear message.’

“The message is: We didn’t win the vote, we didn’t have enough votes. That’s the only message I take.”

And while the Rae acknowledged plans to take stock of what other countries say about Canada and the challenges it faces when he arrives in New York, the 71-year-old expressed confidence in Canada’s attitude to the world.

“The basic fundamentals of how we approach life, how we approach politics, how we approach international relations, those foundations are strong,” he said. “And I don’t want to see us throw any babies out with the bathwater.”

Rae was appearing alongside Marc-Andre Blanchard, who has served as Canada’s ambassador to the UN since April 2016 and led the failed Security Council campaign. Both mounted a vigorous defence of the UN and the need to work with other countries, even those Canada disagrees with.

Blanchard — who said he told Trudeau before the Security Council loss about his plan to retire this summer — mentioned COVID-19 and climate change as global challenges that underscore the need for a forum in which countries from all around the world can sit and talk.

“Many Canadians say to me: ‘Why don’t we spend all of our time focusing on Canada and make sure we are doing that as opposed to helping others?’” Rae added.

“But we have to understand that in order to protect Canadian security, in order to protect our prosperity, we have to engage globally. And in particular we have to engage at a time when things are so difficult.”

Monday’s appointment is the latest for Rae under the Trudeau government. He most recently served as Canada’s special envoy for humanitarian and immigration issues and, before that, special envoy to Myanmar, during which time he advised the prime minister on the Rohingya crisis.

Yet the appointment to be ambassador to the UN is different in the sense that it is the culmination of those earlier roles and also because Rae is following in the footsteps of his father Saul Rae, who was Canada’s ambassador to the UN from 1972 to 1976.

Rae noted that link on Monday, saying: “For me to be able to work in the same place as my father and to be able to have his picture in my office and be engaging constantly in a sense that we’re part of a very fine tradition is a wonderful moment for me.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2020.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced more than 1,500 active cases in Alberta Monday afternoon and five additional deaths. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New COVID rules coming

Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

The revised plans for the Dream Centre feature a two-storey renovated building. The centre launched a campaign Monday in hopes of raising more than a million to help with building renovation. (Contributed image).
Red Deer Dream Centre launches campaign, hopes to raise $1.4M

A proposed addiction treatment centre is hoping to raise $1.4 million to… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Red Deer area seniors facility pauses visits after staff tests positive for COVID

A Red Deer County seniors facility has put the breaks on visitors… Continue reading

.
Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Alberta confirmed 1,584 COVID-19 cases Sunday afternoon. The total active cases went… Continue reading

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Writer Tanya Talaga poses for a portrait during promotional day for Audible Podcasts in Toronto, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Tanya Talaga’s ‘Seven Truths’ podcast ‘goes to the heart of Anishinaabe storytelling’

Tanya Talaga’s ‘Seven Truths’ podcast ‘goes to the heart of Anishinaabe storytelling’

A sign at a Laval, Que., Walmart store is shown on Tuesday, May 3, 2016. The country's largest organization of small businesses is calling on the Ontario government to think twice about its lockdown policies that close most small businesses while leaving big box retailers open. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Small businesses seek changes to Ontario lockdown rules as big box stores remain open

Small businesses seek changes to Ontario lockdown rules as big box stores remain open

A Loblaws store is seen Monday, March 9, 2015 in Montreal.Loblaw Companies Ltd. is expanding the launch of its mobile health and wellness app, a digital tool the company says will provide free access to health-care resources and support. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Loblaw expands launch of PC Health app, offering access to nurses, dietitians

Loblaw expands launch of PC Health app, offering access to nurses, dietitians

A pedestrian wearing a mask checks his mobile device while waiting to cross a street in Calgary on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. Some Alberta businesses are taking matters into their own hands by implementing extra COVID-19 restrictions.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Some Alberta businesses taking extra COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge

Some Alberta businesses taking extra COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge

FILE - In this June 29, 2018, file photo, pipeline used to carry crude oil is shown at the Superior, Wis., terminal of Enbridge Energy. A significant permit has been granted to Enbridge's plan to replace its aging Line 3 oil pipeline across northern Minnesota. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
Army Corps of Engineers grants final federal Line 3 permit

Army Corps of Engineers grants final federal Line 3 permit

Canadian dollars are pictured in Vancouver, Sept. 22, 2011. TTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
North American stock markets rise as vaccine news boosts energy sector

North American stock markets rise as vaccine news boosts energy sector

Russ and Luanne Carl are sharing about their experiences of fighting COVID-19 this past summer.
photo submitted
Stettler couple opens up about COVID-19 battle

Luanne and Russ Carl urge others to bolster personal safety measures amidst ongoing pandemic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pauses after responding to a question about the holidays during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau joins G20 in promising COVID-19 aid to poor nations, rejecting protectionism

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined leaders from the world’s 20… Continue reading

Most Read