The Canadian government is overreacting to a United Nations vote recognizing Palestine as a non-member observer state.
The UN general assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday to declare Palestine a state, despite objections from Canada, the United States, Israel and a few others.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird lectured the UN about its "utterly regrettable decision," threatened retaliation against the Palestinian Authority and called home diplomats after the decision. He toned down his language, but not necessarily his threatened actions, the next day.
Baird said Canada needs to take "thoughtful and deliberate" action.
Let's hope he does that and realizes this decision, if it changes anything, could prod long-stalled Mideast peace talks to resume.
That's the Palestinian argument for seeking the UN resolution.
Canada says it supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. And that's what this vote has done - recognize two states.
It seems hypocritical to support a two-state solution, then vote against creation of the second state.
Canada says a Palestinian state should only be recognized when a peace deal is achieved, but the reality of the peace process these days is the Palestinians have no leverage and Israel, under its hard-line government, shows no willingness, nor need, to compromise to get talks moving.
This resolution may give the Palestinians a little more clout at the bargaining table. That can't be a bad thing.
Baird now says he only wants to talk to his diplomats from the UN, Israel and Palestine - he's not necessarily bringing anyone home permanently. That sounds reasonable.
Threats of retaliation, however, won't help the peace process.
The resolution is largely symbolic, but if Canada wants to be a helpful player in achieving Mideast peace, it must do a better job of understanding the Palestinian point of view.
- City Editor Pat Bulmer