Our friends to the North have heard enough from Iranian “president” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, thanks to his Holocaust-denying rants and virulent anti-Semitism. Canada plans to protest his presence today at the United Nations, with their entire delegation walking out of the chamber when Ahmadinejad takes the podium. The big question will be whether other nations join Canada’s protest of this hate-spewing oppressor, including the US:
Canada will boycott Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the United Nations today, saying his outbursts about the Holocaust and Israel are “shameful.”
Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon will be at the world body to attend the opening of the UN General Assembly’s annual debate, but officials signal he and other members of the Canadian delegation will vacate when the Islamic republic’s president approaches the podium.
Walking out of the chamber is seen as a strong diplomatic show of disgust at the UN — and since the 192-member chamber is generally packed on the first day of the annual summit, Canada’s empty seats will not go unnoticed.
“President Ahmadinejad’s repeated denial of the Holocaust and his anti-Israel comments run counter to the values of the UN General Assembly, and they’re shameful,” said one Canadian official.
“He uses his public appearances to provoke the international community, and that is why Canada’s seats will be empty.”
Canada will be setting a standard today for the West. Who will sit and listen to Ahmadinejad’s speech and afford him that kind of credibility after his hateful and lunatic rants? One can certainly expect the usual suspects to sit in rapt attention: Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Russia, China, and so on. They have done nothing but enable the mullahs of Iran to conduct nuclear weapons programs, terrorism by proxy, and oppression.
But what about the Western democracies? Will the UK, France, and Germany sit and listen to Ahmadinejad? Iran is one of their trading partners, and thus far none of them have shown much inclination to take opportunities to rebuke Iran in public, except when being accused of fomenting unrest.
How about the US? We don’t have diplomatic relations with Iran, but Barack Obama certainly wants them. He did everything he could to avoid commenting on the rigged election in Iran that put Ahmadinejad on the dais at Turtle Bay. Obama wants talks so badly that the White House has shown no inclination to react to Ahmadinejad’s bigotry. When Canada walks out, it seems extremely unlikely that they will have their southern neighbors joining them — which will be a sorry day indeed for the United States.
Update: Stephen Harper does not mince words:
Impressive. Very impressive. We used to have national leaders here with this kind of clarity.