The Globe and Mail reports this morning that Stephen Harper has been named Statesman of the Year:
The Appeal of Conscience Foundation, an international organization founded by New York rabbi Arthur Schneier, has picked Mr. Harper as its World Statesman of the Year for 2012. He joins a list of past recipients – also deemed promoters of human rights and freedom – that includes Jean Chrétien, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and, most recently, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
While Harper will find himself in illustrious company -- he will receive the award from Henry Kissinger, and Bill Clinton may also be there -- what is more interesting is the fact that Harper plans to snub the UN:
The timing of the award ceremony, during the week when world leaders descend on New York to address the annual opening of the UN General Assembly, underlines Mr. Harper’s distaste for the multilateral diplomatic forum. Prime ministers were offered UN speaking slots on Sept. 27 – the very day Mr. Harper will accept the award in New York – but Mr. Harper chose to skip the UN. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will speak for Canada, but, as a mere minister, is relegated to the following week.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama is doing some snubbing of his own. The National Post reports that Obama has chosen not to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu when they both visit the UN.
We seem to be heading for another showdown in the Middle East. The last time this happened -- when Canada refused to join the American led invasion of Iraq -- Harper went to New York to vent his displeasure.
Obviously, being named Statesman of the Year is no endorsement of good judgement.