What an underwhelming week for Canada.
Our military and other officials got kicked out of one of the richest countries in the Middle East and we failed to retain a seat at the United Nation's Security Council table whipped into submission by Portugal, the country that was reportedly going bankrupt two months ago.
Now that Canada has been turfed from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), our military troops and aircraft, especially those flying in and out of Afghanistan, have no logical place to land. Defence Minister Peter McKay's plane was then denied landing privileges in UAE last week. That meant Pete and his entourage had to make a detour all the way to Rome before they could find a place to set the plane down. Six hours, we were told. All because Air Canada didn't want UAE's, two major airlines to come into Canada more than three times a week, and Peter and Stevie Wonder, that Harper boy, naturally backed up Air Canada.
So they ticked off the second richest country in the Middle East and they played tit for tat and informed Canada that we could no longer use Camp Mirage, located in their country, as our military staging zone. Ooops.
Anyone who has flown Emirates Air knows what a luxury trip it is, so we can understand Air Canada's nervousness. They've been saved from bankruptcy themselves several times by the federal governments of the day, so we can see how their lobbying arm is strong. Probably even stronger than Bombardier's.
So now Canada will be wasting several billions of dollars to find and develop a new military base somewhere in the Middle East, just a few months before we're scheduled to bring our military personnel and equipment home from Afghanistan. Real good timing, huh?
Naturally, UAE persuaded their Middle East neighbours to play hard ball with Canada when it came time to vote for that seat on the UN's Security Council. So they did. One positive vote from Israel, 12 to 14 negative votes from the rest. Another smooth strategic move by our Canadian leadership.
African nations also voted against Canada because it seems we've been cutting our aid dollars to them over the past few years. Hmmm, didn't know that.
Canada needed 128 votes to retain the seat, we got 78 and no indication we were getting any more, even with our redoubtable lobbying team at work. So our red faced diplomats and politicians withdrew our bid. This was the first time we've been denied a seat at that table since the UN was formed in 1948. The winner, by default was Portugal, the bankrupt nation.
Naturally the politicians from varying political parties blamed one another for the two fiascos, instead of analyzing the problem and solving it.
But that's what happens when you let politics overrule diplomacy.
Clear business decisions got clouded over and what we reaped was national embarrassment on the world stage twice in one week.
Naturally we can sit here at home and declare that these two glitches on the diplomatic front don't mean anything around here. No implications for our day-to-day operations and standards.
Well, perhaps not today, but by next month, we'll certainly be feeling the effects of the aftermath of this boondoggle. We already have the largest debt load in our country's history to contend with now, and we're about to add a few billion more onto our backs while our brain trusts in Ottawa go looking for a new military zone to work from in a territory that has quickly turned unfriendly towards us.
How the heck do these things happen? Who is in charge of this one-ring circus?