OTTAWA - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird used the podium at the United Nations General Assembly to denounce the world body Thursday for its "utterly regrettable decision" to allow a historic vote on Palestinian statehood.
Baird also suggested Canada will take retaliatory measures against the Palestinians for forcing the statehood issue onto the world stage.
The minister didn't say what Canada was contemplating, but the obvious option would appear to be suspending aid spending to the Palestinians.
U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the political divide threatened Thursday to cut off aid if the Palestinians used their newfound status against Israel.
UPDATE: Canada is recalling senior diplomats from Israel, the West Bank and the UN missions in New York and Geneva after the vote on Palestinian statehood.
A senior Canadian official, who would speak only on condition of anonymity, said the government would take "thoughtful and deliberate" action in the coming days.
In a detailed speech, Baird recapped the UN's 65-year efforts to find a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians.
The enduring theme, he argued, was that neither side would take unilateral action as the Palestinians have.
And he appeared to blame the UN for indulging them.
"As a result of this body's utterly regrettable decision to abandon policy and principle, we will be considering all available next steps," Baird told the assembly, after flying to New York to personally register Canada's No vote.
Baird said Canada was voting against the initiative because "we are firmly convinced (it) will undermine the objective of reaching a comprehensive, lasting and just settlement for both sides."
The Palestinians won UN recognition handily: the resolution, which upgrades their status to that of a non-member observer state, was approved by a vote of 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions.
That left Canada in small minority that included Israel and the United States, all of which lobbied hard to block the move as unhelpful to the building of peace in the Middle East.
Baird was among a handful of foreign ministers who addressed the general assembly Thursday, winning a prime speaking slot among a roster of orators that included Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel UN ambassador, Ron Prosor.
Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also jetted to New York for the meeting.
"The path to peace has historically rested in direct negotiations between the two parties to resolve all outstanding issues and it remains the same today. Solutions can only come through the two sides working together," Baird said.
"This resolution will not advance the cause of peace or spur a return to negotiations. Will the Palestinian people be better off as a result? No. On the contrary, this unilateral step will harden positions and raise unrealistic expectations while doing nothing to improve the lives of the Palestinian people."
Baird said Canada was calling on both sides to return to the negotiating table without preconditions.
Most of the General Assembly's 193 countries were expected to support the motion.
Several major countries, including France, have recently said they would support elevating Palestinians from the status of UN observer to non-member observer state.
The Palestinians are calling for UN recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the lands Israel captured in 1967.
They want to be able to resume negotiations with Israel, and say recognition of the 1967 borders of Palestine is meant to salvage a peace deal, not sabotage it, as Israel has charged.
The non-member observer state status could also open the way for possible war crimes charges against the Jewish state at the International Criminal Court.
However, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators warned Thursday they would amend legislation to cut off U.S. aid if the Palestinians used their new status to pursue legal action against Israel in the International Criminal Court.
Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador the UN, offered a sobering warning to Palestinian supporters to not get too carried away with their victory.
"Progress towards a just and lasting two-state solution cannot be made by pressing a green voting button here in this hall," Rice said in a speech to the assembly after the vote.
"Nor does passing any resolution create a state, where none indeed exits, or change the reality on the ground," she added. "This resolution does not establish that Palestine is a state."
Like Baird, Rice said peace can only be achieved if the two sides talk to each other.
"Long after the votes have been cast, long after the speeches have been forgotten, it is the Palestinians and the Israelis who must still talk to each other, and listen to each other, and find a way to live side in the land they share."
— with files from The Associated Press
Related on HuffPost:
China: In Favor
China's foreign minister reaffirmed support for Palestinian aspirations at the U.N. during a meeting last Friday with a Palestinian envoy. <em>Caption: Bassam al-Salhi (L), the general secretary of the Palestinian People's Party, shakes hands with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (R) during their meeting at the Foreign Ministry building in Beijing on November 23, 2012. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
France: In Favor
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius made the announcement before parliament. "In any case, it's only through negotiations – that we ask for without conditions and immediately between the two sides – that we will be able to reach the realization of a Palestinian state," Fabius said Tuesday. <em>Caption: French president Francois Hollande (L) welcomes Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas for a meeting at the Elysee presidential Palace in Paris on July 6, 2012. (BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
Austria: In Favor
Martin Weiss, Austria's foreign ministry spokesman, said the country decided to vote for the resolution after it became clear there would be no common EU position. <em>Caption: Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (L) shakes hands with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann on November 28, 2011 in Vienna. (DIETER NAGL/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
India: In Favor
<em>Caption: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) shakes hands with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (L) after a joint press statement in New Delhi on September 11, 2012. (RAVEENDRAN/AFP/GettyImages)</em>
Russia: Probably In Favor
Russia supported Palestinian membership in the U.N. cultural agency, UNESCO. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the country "believes that the Palestinians have the right for such a move" but it added "we hope that the Palestinian leadership has well calculated possible consequences of such action." <em>In this handout image supplied by the Palestinian Press Office (PPO) Mahmoud Abbas (R), the President of Palestinian authority and Vladimir Putin, the President of Russian Federation, speak at the Presidential Palace, on June 26, 2012 in Bethlehem, West Bank. (PPO via Getty Images)</em>
Norway: In Favor
<em>Caption: RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JANUARY 12: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) meets Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere during a meeting on January 12, 2012 in Ramallah, West Bank. (Mohamad Torokman - Pool/Getty Images)</em>
Denmark: In Favor
<em>Caption: In this handout image supplied by the Palestinian President's Office (PPO), Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt on September 26, 2012 in New York City. (Thaer Ghanaim-PPO/Getty Images)</em>
Switzerland: In Favor
The Swiss government called a change in status "both constructive and pragmatic." <em>Caption: Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf (R) speaks with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas during an official visit to Switzerland on November 15, 2012 in Bern. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
Spain: In Favor
<em>Caption: Madrid, SPAIN: Leader of opposition Popular Party (Partido Popular) Mariano Rajoy (R) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas during his overnight trip to Madrid, 27 January 2007. (PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
United States: Opposed
<em>Caption: In this handout provided by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) on November 21, 2012 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv via Getty Images)</em>
Canada is a staunch ally of Israel. Rick Roth, a spokesman for Canada's foreign minister, said any two-state solution must be negotiated and mutually agreed upon by both states. Roth said any unilateral action is ultimately unhelpful. <em>Caption: In this handout photo from the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) meets with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper March 2, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images)</em>
Germany: Probably Opposed
It's "very certain that Germany will not vote for such a resolution," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert. Officials aren't saying whether that will translate into a no vote or an abstention. <em>Caption: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) welcomes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in front of the Chancellery in Berlin April 7, 2011. (FABRIZIO BENSCH/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
Netherlands: Probably Opposed
"Lasting peace in the region can only be reached if Israel and the Palestinians return to the negotiating table to reach a final agreement over a two-state solution," according to a letter the foreign minister sent to parliament this week <em>Caption: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) listens to Dutch Queen Beatrix during a meeting at Huis ten Bosch Royal Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands, on January 19, 2012. (ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
Britain: Possibly Abstain
The foreign secretary said Britain could support the measure only if there were a clear commitment by the Palestinians to return immediately and unconditionally to negotiations with Israel. "While there is no question of the United Kingdom voting against the resolution, in order to vote for it we would need certain assurances or amendments," said William Hague. <em>Caption: Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague arrives at a Range Rover dealership in Berlin October 23, 2012 to unveil a new Range Rover model. (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)</em>
According to Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Her government is divided on the issue, but Gillard told Parliament "bipartisan policy across the major parties in this parliament to support Israel, to support peace in the Middle East, to support two states in the Middle East." <em>Caption: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard attends the naming of Queen Elizabeth Terrace at Parkes Place on November 10, 2012 in Canberra, Australia. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)</em>