Canada must “step up” on peacekeeping training

PK training report imageA new report, entitled Unprepared for Peace? The Decline of Canadian Peacekeeping Training (and What to Do About It), has just been released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Written by Walter Dorn, Professor at the Royal Military College, and Joshua Libben, doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa, the study identifies the need to reinstate and update the many training programmes and exercises that have been cut over the last decade, in order to restore the Canadian Armed Forces’ readiness to participate in peace operations.

Military personnel are provided with less than a quarter of the training activities for UN peace operations that they were a decade ago. For the first time ever, Canada has a generation of soldiers with no experience in peacekeeping. Says Dorn,

The complexities of modern peace operations require in-depth training and education…. With UN peace operations at an all-time high, and Canada’s contribution at an all-time low, Canada is currently lagging far behind other nations in its readiness to support the United Nations and train for modern peacekeeping.

The study recommends the reinstatement and update of the many training programmes and exercises cut over the last decade. The closure of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in particular was a devastating setback to Canadian preparedness, according to the authors.

The report also calls for the introduction of new training activities to reflect the fact that modern peacekeepers face significantly more dangerous environments and challenging mandates than was true for traditional peacekeeping. Particularly important is the requirement to work effectively with a variety of non-military partners in modern peace operations.

If the Liberal government is serious about renewing its leadership role in international peacekeeping, then it must re-establish a facility dedicated to the training of civilians, military, and the police for UN peace operations.

Read the full report here.

For recent press commentary on the report, click here: Canada needs to retrain military for peacekeeping: Editorial (Toronto Star, 4 Feb 2016).

See also “Peacekeeping Works Better Than You May Think”, (Roland Paris, Centre for International Policy Studies, 2 August 2014).

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14 Responses to “Canada must “step up” on peacekeeping training”

  1. Derek OrrMarch 6, 2016 at 4:26 pm #

    “For the first time ever, Canada has a generation of soldiers with no experience in peacekeeping. Says Dorn”

    Factually incorrect statement. Many Canadian soldiers served before the concept of Peacekeeping was ever conceived.

  2. Howard A. DoughtyFebruary 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

    “Stepping up” implies a footing from which to step and a staircase on which to climb.

    Thanks to Harper, Canada has neither and, so far, Trudeau shows little capacity to create either.

    The first step (so to speak) is to develop a deliberate and comprehensive foreign/defence policy.

    The second step requires planning policies to achieve the goals needed to implement the policy.

    What are the purposes to which our armed forces should be put?
    What is it that we want our armed forces to do in order to accomplish those ends?
    What training and equipment will be needed to do any of the above?

    Me?

    I’d like to see peacekeeping, domestic search and rescue, disaster relief along with a little patrolling of our coastal waters.

    I would certainly not want to see any more bluff and bluster of the sort in which Harper indulged to no good purpose.

    • Another PersonFebruary 9, 2016 at 9:56 am #

      I’m cool with that, but I also want to see an adequate defence capacity, with frigates and destroyers, along with more than 65 fighter jets and new combat vehicles for Canada. Mobile missile launchers with ballistic missiles and long range anti-air missiles will be great, as well as cruise missiles for our ships and jets. UCAV’s won’t hurt as well.

  3. Mark CollinsFebruary 3, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

    But are Canadians, and the new government, ready for “killer peacekeeping”?
    https://cgai3ds.wordpress.com/?s=killer+peacekeeping

    Mark Collins

    • Another PersonFebruary 3, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

      Hopefully they are. The world isn’t what is once was, tougher action is needed and our military needs to be properly armed and strengthened, rather than hoping Canada doesn’t need a modern military.

  4. Carol PickuipFebruary 3, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    Canada must go back to its role of peacekeeper and move the world away from war and conflict-too many innocent people have been killed, including children and seniors!!

  5. Anne StreeterFebruary 2, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

    Harper took Canada in the wrong direction. Lets get back to being peacekeepers and proud Canadians once again.

  6. Canada JoeFebruary 2, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Like your cover photo, those peace support operation went the way of the dodo in the 1990′s.

    • Another PersonFebruary 2, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

      Well, at least they realized that traditional peacekeeping isn’t cutting it. Assuming blue beret missions are the most the CAF will have to do is foolhardy in my opinion. I’m all in with stepping up peacekeeping training, as long as it doesn’t seem like a magic bullet. Sometimes you need peacekeeping when a country needs to get itself back together, and sometimes you need military action when negotiations fail.

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