Toronto Sun – When Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad takes the podium to address the United Nations General Assembly Thursday afternoon, Canada’s seat will be empty, QMI Agency has learned, a sign of the Harper government’s deep disapproval of the Iranian regime.
“We are refusing to give Ahmedinejad an audience. He does not deserve one,” said a senior government official.
In previous years, Canada, the U.S., Australia and some other Western democracies have been present for the beginning of Ahmadinejad’s annual speech here, but then they make a show of walking out en masse as soon as he begins what inevitably becomes an anti-Semitic, anti-West rant.
Last year, Canadian and American diplomats lasted a few minutes and left when Ahmadinejad began trotting out the theory that the U.S. government and not radical Islamic terrorists were responsible for 9/11.
Two years ago, then foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon did the same thing.
And, though the current minister, John Baird, will be at the United Nations Thursday, Baird will find something else to do when Ahmadinejad takes podium, likely shortly after noon.
“Canada made a powerful statement by walking out on Iran’s hate-filled speech two years ago. We will make another powerful statement tomorrow. Our chair will sit empty,” the official said.
Canada believes Iran poses a major threat to regional security, notably by refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist and actively supporting international terrorism groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.