The Canadian government headed by Stephen Harper has said that it will reconsider its relations with and financial support for UNESCO following the election of Palestine as a full member. Harper’s right-wing administration said that it is looking at punitive measures against the UN body as it regards this week’s announcement about Palestine to be a hindrance to the Middle East peace process.
Ottawa contributes about 10 million Canadian dollars a year to UNESCO, plus two million to fund the Canadian Committee at the agency. The decision follows Washington’s announcement that it is cutting its own $60 million contribution to UNESCO, which amounts to one fifth of the agency’s budget. Canada is a strong supporter of the state of Israel and usually follows America’s lead on issues such as this. Both countries voted against Palestinian membership of UNESCO.