15 months on, Canada still has not pledged actual troops for an actual UN peace operation

un-peacekeeping-engOur previous blog post featured a new publication from ten experts discussing What Canada Has Done And Should Be Doing For UN Peace Operations (WFM-Canada, John Trent, editor, November 2017).

This week we focus on the results of the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial hosted by Canada in Vancouver on 14-15 November.

Sadly Canada failed to deliver on its long overdue commitment to provide up to 600 military and 150 police personnel for UN peace operations, a pledge it made in August of 2016.

“Canada has missed an historic opportunity to make a real difference. UN peacekeeping, which puts political reconciliation and good governance at the heart of the effort, is the best hope for countries seeking to emerge from violent conflict into sustainable peace.” – Peggy Mason, Rideau Institute

At the Vancouver Ministerial Meeting on Peace Operations, Prime Minister Trudeau, accompanied by Defence Minister Sajjan, Foreign Minister Freeland, and International Cooperation Minister Bibeau, did offer some new pledges of support.  These include:

  • making specialized equipment and personnel available on a case-by-case basis, including up to 200 troops and accompanying equipment, an aviation task force of armed helicopters, and tactical airlift;
  • joining the “Elsie Initiative” to increase the proportion of women deployed in UN peace operations; and
  • support for a set of non-binding principles on reducing recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Walter Dorn, President, World Federalist Movement – Canada, and Professor of Defence Studies, Royal Military College assessed this radically reduced contribution in the following terms:

“The smaller contributions that Canada has offered may be useful to the UN but they are not at the scale or importance of what was promised. In addition, it will be a challenge for Canada to provide international leadership on peacekeeping training given the low levels of experience and knowledge among Canadian Armed Forces regarding UN peace operations.”

To be clear, over one year after the original commitment was made, Canada still has not identified a UN mission to which it will contribute or a timeframe for doing so, despite the urgent need for professional soldiers in many current UN peacekeeping missions.

One area that has garnered a lot of attention has been the commitment to increasing the number of women peacekeepers:

“The stated support for the Women, Peace and Security agenda is encouraging. But it’s hard to see how Canada can actually fulfill many of their recently-announced Women, Peace and Security priorities if Canadian peacekeepers are sitting on the sidelines.” – Monique Cuillerier, WFM – Canada representative to the NGO Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada

For a further critique of the government’s Vancouver pledges on UN peacekeeping, click here for the CBC radio interview  with RI President Peggy Mason.

Photo credit: Government of Canada





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5 Responses to “15 months on, Canada still has not pledged actual troops for an actual UN peace operation”

  1. ArbyNovember 27, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

    So this is Ceasefire. Readers: Give Yves Engler’s “Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping – The Truth May Hurt,” with a forward by Noam Chomsky. Canada doesn’t do peacekeeping. If it wants to, let it ditch American foreign policy (and support for Nazis), NATO and its love affair with undemocratic free trade deals and neoliberal capitalism. What is Ceasefire’s position on the Rohingya (which isn’t an ethnic group)? I look around here but I’m guessing I won’t like what I find.

  2. DemetriosNovember 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    With a little research, I’ve just discovered that the total number of UN-sponsored peacekeepers worldwide is 110,000. And the number of these crucially important troops that are Canadian is a paltry 68?!?! Shame, shame. Our PM needs a wake up call.

  3. Carol PickupNovember 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    Shame on the Trudeau Liberal government!! We must move to peacekeeping NOW!!

  4. Daphne M. TaylorNovember 17, 2017 at 8:27 pm #

    Canada’s peacekeeping role is such a very important one. It is really time that our Government makes its decisiion to deploy our peacekeepers where they are most needed. Please act NOW.


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