John Baird vs. The UN

Late last week, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird seemed to announce that Canada was withdrawing from the UN World Tourism Organization because Robert Mugabe had been appointed to the position of international tourism ambassador by the organization. The UN responded that no such appointment had been made. And today Embassy reports that Canada signalled it would be leaving the organization a year ago and left it two weeks ago.

On May 12, 2011, Canada formally communicated to the UNWTO, in a letter not made public, that it wanted to withdraw its full membership in the agency, according to Sandra Carvao, the UNWTO’s communications chief. It didn’t say why. “According to UNWTO Statutes, withdrawal is effective one year after the formal notice (12 May 2012),” wrote Ms. Carvao in an email to Embassy May 31.

Under that timeline, the agency would have dropped Canada from its membership 18 days before Mr. Baird highlighted Mr. Mugabe’s recognition and said Canada had signalled it wanted to leave the UNWTO, “a decision that will take place later this month.”

Meanwhile, in response to recent criticism of this country, Conservative MP Larry Miller is seeking a review of Canada’s membership in the United Nations.

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