Canada loses its bid for a seat on UN Security Council. Some politicians are very disappointed with that fact.

I am of the opinion that instead of Canada, we have Norway or Ireland. I believe they will protect humanity as well, as Canada would.

Why was the UNSC seat important for Canada? What does this loss mean for Canada and for the World?

  • 1
    @divibisan cbc.ca/news/politics/… It was just a temporary seat they were after. The awarded after victory of WWII requirement is less strict for temporary seats.
    – gmatht
    Jun 18, 2020 at 2:04
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    @gmatht Oh, that makes sense. I always forget about the non-veto members. Thanks!
    – divibisan
    Jun 18, 2020 at 2:37
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    @divibisan : Canada actually demunstrates that being on the winning side of WWII is a necessary but not sufficient condition for having a permanent seat on the UNSC.
    – Evargalo
    Jun 18, 2020 at 8:39
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    When a government invests time and money into getting something, "why" is a valid question. IMO this should not be closed.
    – Alexei
    Jun 18, 2020 at 10:56
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    I'm sorry, but which of the 193 UN members should be on the UN security council and why is a question which is entirely up to personal opinions. And "the consequences for Canada and the rest of the world" are entirely speculative. We generally do not ask questions on this website which ask for our personal opinions or predictions for the future.
    – Philipp
    Jun 18, 2020 at 13:58

2 Answers 2


The ten non-permanent seats of the UNSC are distributed on something like a regional basis, but there are elections between the regional candidates. That means getting elected validates the influence and popularity of the country, and not getting elected despite an intensive diplomatic campaign shows a lack of diplomatic leverage.

Not trying is one thing. Trying and failing is another. Canada had six terms. Colombia has seven. That looks bad, even if they're in different groups and not really comparable.

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    With the UN having been founded in 1945 (75 years ago), and nearly 200 member states, and ten non-permanent members, there have been a total of about 380 slots, total, to be divided between those 188 non-permanent members. Each country "should" have had about two terms, so having had six represents a rather outsize influence.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jun 18, 2020 at 6:13
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    @Obie2.0 the number of slots is less than that, as there were only 6 available until 1965. But in any case, your point stands. Jun 18, 2020 at 8:40

In an opinion piece for the Globe and Mail back in 2018, Roland Paris (an international affairs scholar and former foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) argued that a seat on the UN Security Council would afford Canada positive influence on the world stage. For example:

last time Canada served on the council, in 1999-2000, it led a successful campaign to establish civilian protection as a centrepiece of the UN’s activities and to control the trade in “conflict diamonds,” which were fuelling African wars. Behind the scenes, Canada helped develop new, more effective working methods in the council.

I'd say this piece is worth a read but doesn't address the question of whether and why Norway or Ireland wouldn't achieve similar ends.

Maybe more to the point, a Bloomberg / Time Magazine article explains that this recent bid was politically important for Justin Truedea, as a central part of his foriegn policy strategy.

Trudeau waged a four-year campaign for a council seat in what he hoped would represent a vindication of his foreign policy — a staunch defense of pluralism and multilateralism at a time of global upheaval. [...] The government had seen a return to the security council as a fulfillment of the Canadian leader’s promise — the day after he took power in 2015 — to bring the country “back” on the world stage. “Many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world over the past 10 years,” Trudeau said at the time. “Well, I have a simple message for you: on behalf of 35 million Canadians, we’re back.”

So loss of the bid is certainly a political setback for Trudeau, if not Canada as a whole, or arguably the world if you agree with his particular vision of multilateralism.

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