Canada’s deployment to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is still scheduled to end July 31, despite a request from the UN Department of Peace Operations that Canada remain a few months longer, until the replacement personnel from Romania are scheduled to be in place in October of this year.
In a conference call with the media at the end of March, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said, “We said that we would be in Mali for a year, and that’s a commitment that we will keep.”
In a WFMC press release following this, WFMC President Walter Dorn said, “This is very disappointing. Canada’s one-year deployment in Mali was shorter than most. A two or three-year deployment is what usually occurs. It’s difficult to see why Canada couldn’t have remained in support of the mission for a few more months. In the spring of 2018, the government billed this as a ‘smart pledge,’ which means the government would deploy strategically, coordinating with other governments smartly to remove any UN gaps. But Canada is not filling the gap, despite the Canadian Forces having the ability to do so. So for the government this is not an example of smart pledging, but an example of rather dumb pledging.”
WFMC Executive Director Fergus Watt added, “Minister Freeland’s public explanation for the decision is far from convincing, to say the least. In fact, the record of this government has more often than not been one of not living up to its public commitments to UN peacekeeping.”
WFMC’s Canadians for UN Peacekeeping project tracks Canada’s personnel commitments to UN peace operations and is updated monthly with data from the UN.