As we mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers next week on May 29th with a press release, World Federalists continue to campaign for Canada to do more for UN Peacekeeping.
While WFMC welcomes the announcement made in March by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan of “a commitment to deploy an Aviation Task Force to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for a period of 12 months,” a number of questions remain. The latest reporting says that the previously announced Chinook transport helicopters and armed Griffon escorts, along with “about 250 military personnel are scheduled to leave in July and begin work on Aug. 1,” according to Colonel Chris McKenna, the commander of the helicopter detachment.
A number of issues still remain, including:
1) Duration. Some media reports indicate that the Canadian deployment is only for one year.
2) Mandate. Media reports have said that Canadian helicopters and support personnel will be tasked to operate as part of MINUSMA and also as part of the French-led Operation Barkhane counter-terrorism operation and the newly created regional G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) regional force.
3) Training. The Canadian Forces have contributed very low levels of personnel to UN peace operations for a very long time and it is uncertain what steps are being taken to train Canadian military personnel for participation in future United Nations peacekeeping missions.