wenty years ago, Canada, in a moment of sheer audacity, stands up at the world’s lunch table and tells Big Brother USA, “No, eh, we shall not pass… into Iraq with you.” Yes, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien became an overnight Canadian superhero, his maple leaf cape fluttering in the moral high ground winds.

Now fast forward to today, and we've got ourselves a sequel — except this time, it’s as if our superhero decided to take a nap at the climax of the film. With the horrific October 7 event serving as a tragic backdrop, the world is waiting for Canada to whip out its peacekeeping super-suit once more. But what’s this? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is acting more like Justin Timberlake in a rom-com — all good looks and charm, but where’s the action, JT?

In the red corner, we’ve got Israel, tagging in with the United States, laying down a relentless bombardment on Gaza. And in the blue corner, millions of innocent civilians are cornered, facing a situation so dire it would make a soap opera writer say, “Come on, that's a bit much, isn't it?”

Then there was the grand stage of the United Nations, where nations come together to sing "Kumbaya" and solve the world's problems — or, you know, just bicker like a global family reunion. Along came Jordan with a resolution, not a dance move, but you’d think it was with how many countries jumped on board. It was a resolution calling for a ceasefire, the humanitarian equivalent of asking, “Can we all just get along?”

But Canada, oh sweet Canada, decided to sit this dance out. Instead, they put on their editing hats and scribbled an amendment that somehow managed to miss the name ‘Israel’ entirely. It’s like writing a review of 'Hamlet' and not mentioning Hamlet — a masterclass in missing the point brought to you by Canada’s UN ambassador, Bob Rae.

And then, as if the script was penned by a sitcom writer, Pakistan's ambassador threw shade so eloquent that it got a round of applause. Rae's amendment? Knocked out colder than a Canadian winter.

So here we are, with Canada abstaining from the vote, which in UN lingo is the diplomatic equivalent of "I'm just gonna stand here and watch." It's like being at a superhero showdown and choosing to update your Instagram instead of jumping into the fray.

And let's not forget Bob Rae, who once cried for the children in the Rohingya camps, proving he’s got a heart, possibly the size of a poutine-covered hockey puck, but it’s there! We just need him to channel that same compassion for the children of Gaza. Because let’s face it, a little consistency never hurt anyone, eh?

In the end, Canada might need to remember that famous line: With great power comes great responsibility. And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to stop apologizing and start acting, you know?

So here’s to hoping Canada finds its misplaced superhero cape. And here’s to hoping that when they do, they remember how to wear it with the maple leaf flying high, in the true north, strong and free — and maybe, just a little bit more engaged.

Nov 4, 2023
World Affairs

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