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Canada elected to UN Security Council in 1959

Canada has enjoyed a reputation for diplomacy ever since Lester B. Pearson came up with a novel solution – peacekeepers – for the Suez Crisis in 1956. We've also been recognized for our involvement in human rights issues, nuclear disarmament, and the International Criminal Court. But have our efforts made for a more peaceful world, or is the image of the "good diplomat" a convenient holdover from the days when Canada actually made a difference?

For the second time since the United Nations was founded in 1945, Canada has a seat on one of its most important bodies -- the Security Council. Canada has had great success with its latest resolution, winning unanimous support for a proposal to study the effects of nuclear fallout and radiation on humans. Howard Green, minister of external affairs, talks to the CBC's Charles Lynch about Canada's agenda and its place on the world stage.
• Canada is one of 51 original member states at the United Nations and was present at the 1945 conference in San Francisco where the UN Charter was written. Among its contributions was a clause allowing non-members of the Security Council to attend meetings when the use of their armed forces was under discussion.
• Both Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Canada's ambassador to the United States Lester Pearson were part of the Canadian delegation to the conference.

• The UN Security Council consists of five permanent members (Russia, China, the United States, France and the United Kingdom) and 10 members who are elected for two-year terms.
• Canada has served on the Security Council six times: in 1948-49, 1958-59, 1967-68, 1977-78, 1989-90, and 1999-2000.

• The UN Security Council is responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security. Members of the UN are obliged to abide by its decisions but other UN bodies, including the General Assembly, can only make recommendations.
• For substantive matters, nine votes are required to pass a Security Council resolution. Five of the nine must be from the permanent members; the ability of any one permanent member to deny the resolution is called "veto power."

• British Columbia MP Howard Green, a Progressive Conservative minister under John Diefenbaker, was a strong advocate of nuclear disarmament. Under him, Canada became a member of the 10-nation Committee on Disarmament reporting to the UN. The committee was composed of five Communist and five Western powers, and its mandate was to resolve the issue of disarmament — both nuclear and conventional — then facing the UN.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Nov. 22, 1959
Guest(s): Howard Green, Charles Lynch
Host: Norman DePoe
Duration: 10:00

Last updated: September 20, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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