Group of Canadian parliamentarians advocates more democratic global governance
"Friends of the UN" in the Canadian Parliament support a UN Parliamentary Assembly
Following the federal elections of October 2015, members of the Canadian House of Commons and the Canadian Senate came together on April 11 in Ottawa to re-establish a joint all-party group that deals with UN matters. The purpose of the Canadian Parliamentary Friends of the United Nations is to “support the UN’s current mandate and Canada’s involvement in the UN,” as the group’s co-chair Don Davies, a parliamentarian from Vancouver, explained.
“Important global issues need global cooperation and solutions. In the view of many Parliamentarians, we need to better understand, support, strengthen and improve the United Nations, our only truly global institution,” Mr. Davies said.
The group decided to organize a delegation of eight to twelve parliamentarians who will visit the UN in late May. They will focus on two issues in particular. First is a look into the process for the selection of the UN Secretary-General. The next Secretary-General will be elected later this year. In a departure from past practice, the General Assembly is holding public meetings where UN members can question official candidates. The Canadian group’s members are interested in the efforts to make the selection process more transparent and democratic.
As part of its general interest in democratic global governance, the friends group also intends to explore support for the proposal to establish a UN Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA). “It is time to consider the creation of a democratic parliamentary assembly at the UN so that the voices of the people of every nation are reflected on the world stage,” Mr. Davies stated.
In 1993 and 2007, the Canadian House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee endorsed the proposal for a UNPA. Approximately 130 current and former Canadian parliamentarians and Senators are on record as supporters of the international campaign. As a member of parliament, the newly elected Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, signed the appeal for a UNPA in July 2010.
In a letter sent this January addressed to Canadian foreign minister Stéphane Dion, the UNPA campaign stated its hope “that the new Canadian government will consider to take an active role in promoting a UNPA.” To date, a reply from the government is still pending.
Top image: Parliament Hill in Ottawa as viewed from Gatineau, 2009, CC BY-SA 3.0