Harper skips UN in favour of award

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Prime Minister Stephen Harper is skipping the United Nations General Assembly again this year, but he was in New York City anyway on Thursday meeting with global leaders and preparing to pick up an international statesman award.

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Prime Minister Stephen Harper is skipping the United Nations General Assembly again this year, but he was in New York City anyway on Thursday meeting with global leaders and preparing to pick up an international statesman award.

As the world watched both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, address the UN, Harper met with the Haitian president at a mid-town Manhattan hotel just a few blocks away.

Harper and Michel Martelly shook hands and exchanged pleasantries before getting down to the business of discussing the Canada-Haiti relationship.

The men focused on efforts to bring economic stability to the impoverished, long-suffering Caribbean island, the recipient of $1 billion in Canadian aid since 2006.

Harper also met with Henry Kissinger, the storied U.S. statesman, at his Park Avenue office. Kissinger will present Harper later Thursday with his “world statesman” award from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an inter-faith peace organization.

The prime minister also sat down later in the day with Abbas, and was scheduled to meet on Friday morning with Netanyahu. The Middle East peace process was the focus of the Harper/Abbas discussions.

In the Israeli prime minister’s address to the UN on Thursday, he cautioned that Iran will soon have amassed enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb, urging fellow world leaders to draw a “red line” to shut the Iranians down.

“I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down — and it will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy,” Netanyahu said.

“Red lines don’t lead to war, red lines prevent war . . . nothing could imperil the world more than a nuclear-armed Iran.”

Harper is onside with Netanyahu’s approach, and has taken a hard line against Iran. Canada recently closed its embassy in Tehran and Iran returned fire this week, issuing a travel advisory to its citizens to steer clear of Canada because it was rife with “Iranophobia.”

The Canadian prime minister was to be bestowed with the world statesman honour at the annual Appeal of Conscience dinner at the swank Waldorf-Astoria hotel. His office says he’s being recognized as “a champion of democracy, freedom, and human rights.”

Past winners include Canada’s Jean Chretien, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and former British prime minister Gordon Brown.

The event was taking place as hundreds of world leaders — absent Canada’s prime minister — gathered at the UN to discuss urgent global issues, including the situation in Syria, the ominous tensions between Israel and Iran and the eruption of anti-American violence in the Middle East.

Harper has faced a barrage of criticism back home for his decision to opt out of speaking to the UN again this year.

But he’s insisted it’s not standard procedure for the Canadian prime minister to address the General Assembly every year. The UN has met seven times since he was elected; Harper’s spoken twice, in 2006 and in 2010.

In his place, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will once again address the UN on Monday

Just Posted

Patrons practice on a putting green as the Whitestone Bridge looms in the distance at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in the Bronx borough of New York on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. Former President Donald Trump has a rich history of fighting back when he’s down and making others pay, and that’s exactly how he intends to deal with New York City over its plans to fire his company from running the city golf course. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Dump Trump? Kicking him off NYC golf course may not be easy

Trump Organization has been reeling after the Capitol riots

A photo illustration made December 14, 2012 in Montreal shows a computer in chains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Irish health system says it’s targeted in ransomware attack

Health care systems have been a target before

A woman wearing a mask talks on her phone near an exhibition depicting a rover in Mars in Beijing on Friday, May 14, 2021. China says its Mars probe and accompanying rover are to land on the red planet sometime between early Saturday morning and Wednesday Beijing time. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
China Mars rover to land between Saturday and Wednesday

Only the United States has successfully landed a spacecraft on Mars

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians flee as Israeli artillery pounds northern Gaza

Israel called up 9,000 reservists as fighting intensifies

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Team Canada’s head coach Troy Ryan talks with players before the start of the of the Rivalry Series at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, February 3, 2020. Ryan of Spryfield, N.S., has been named head coach of Canada’s women’s hockey team for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Troy Ryan to coach Canadian women’s hockey team in 2022 Winter Olympics

Ryan was Canada’s assistant coach from 2016 to 2019

FILE- In this April 19, 2021, file photo, people wearing masks as a precaution against the coronavirus wait to test for COVID-19 at a hospital in Hyderabad, India. Misinformation about the coronavirus is surging in India as the death toll from COVID-19 rises. Fueled by anguish, distrust and political polarization, the claims are further compounding India’s crisis. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A, File)
Misinformation surges amid India’s COVID-19 calamity

Distrust of Western vaccines and health care also driving misinformation

FILE - In this Friday March 6, 2020, file photo, Britain’s Prince Harry visits the Silverstone Circuit, in Towcester, England. In an episode of the “Armchair Expert” podcast broadcast Thursday, May 13, 2021, Prince Harry compared his royal experience to being on “The Truman Show” and “living in a zoo.” (Peter Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP, File)
Prince Harry thought about quitting royal life in his 20s

Feared his family would have to deal with the same spotlight that was on his late mother

Opinion
Mental health: Gossiping, backbiting and forming factions is unhealthy

We all know of dysfunctional organizations, which can be as troublesome as… Continue reading

Family practice physician Christina Tuomi, D.O., (right) gets Homer's first dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine from Emergency Department nurse Steve Hughes (left) on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Tuomi has been the hospital's medical lead throughout the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
Alberta physicians: Vaccines are our path forward

As the AMA representatives for Alberta’s family physicians, we were immensely relieved… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

Most Read