OCTOBER 1, 2020


Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, seems to get attention for his personal looks more than political outlook. Recent articles illustrated how he hasn't had a haircut over the last few months. When he returned from holiday in Costa Rica earlier this year with a light beard, reporters speculated whether its blend of black and grey conveyed a political message.

When he won his first Canadian Parliamentary election, in the footsteps of his father, his main adversity claim was due to abandoned hair. I congratulated him then as good hair apparent. Perhaps more attention should be paid to Canada's eroding international standing. It lost its quest for a U.N. Security Council seat to Ireland and Norway. For the second time in the past few years, Canada has lost the seat, under a different prime minister before Trudeau. It's a reversal of Canada's habitual standing as a prominent U.N. country.

U.N. Peacekeeping, for example, was essentially sponsored by Canada's Prime Minister, Lester Pearson, who received a Nobel Peace prize. Its field operations were prominent worldwide including the U.N. observation mission between the country of Israel and Egypt, where General Burns played an effective role for years. A number of Canadian representatives played outstanding roles particularly in the Security Council seat. A notable representative, Louise Frechette, became Deputy Secretary-General.

The main doors at the entrance of the United Nations General Assembly building were a gift from Canada. That apparently caused some confusion when during an expo, as a positive gesture, the U.N. produced stamps of those doors which were turned down by the host government on the claim that they were not impressive enough. It wasn't until senior officials in the U.S. Secretariat who headed departments, like Therese Sevigny, head of Public Information, and John Richard Foran, head of Financial Management, got involved were the stamps approved. .

Canadian colleagues were a basic part of teamwork within the U.N. system. Canadian General Romeo Dallaire commanded U.N. forces in Rwanda in a creative, dedicated leadership role. He cautioned the U.N. Headquarters about a planned massacre that went unheeded; over 8,000 people died, and estimates of 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsis were murdered. Even after his resignation, he kept having nightmares and urged both Canada and the U.N. to learn from experience and avert future tragedies.

Oh, Canada! What happened?

It may be time for Justin Trudeau to get a haircut.