Cuba joins Iran to shame Canada at UN
Date: Friday, November 24 2006
UNITED NATIONS - Some of the most popular holiday destinations for Canadians have spurned helping Ottawa fight off Iran's bid to taint Canada's human rights record.
In a showdown at the United Nations, Cuba joined Iran and four other countries supporting Tehran's call for the world body to censure Canada over its treatment of aboriginal Canadians and immigrants.
Various other countries popular with Canadian tourists stopped short of speaking up for Canada by abstaining. Among them were China, Thailand, Singapore, Barbados, Costa Rica, and South Africa.
The backbone of support for Canada came from Western democracies, and the European Union, Australia and New Zealand went on record saying Iran's anti-Canadian draft had been political retaliation for Canada's leadership Tuesday in seeing Iran's human rights record condemned.
Human rights resolutions at the world body are meant to ''name-and-shame'' countries that abuse their citizens, but whether they pass, they often reveal allegiances on the international stage.
Against the backdrop of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, Canada has provided considerable political and economic support to Cuba over the years, despite the island state's own internationally documented lapses in respecting human rights.
Canadian tourists have also made Cuba one of their top five destinations, and Statistics Canada figures show some 517,900 visited last year, spending more than $457 million.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on November 27, 2006]