August 9 was National Peacekeepers Day in Canada and WFMC marked the occasion with a press release detailing Canada’s much delayed promises to increase its commitment to UN peacekeeping.
As shown in our recently released 2017 Canada and UN Peacekeeping fact sheet, Canada now ranks 71st among contributors of military and police personnel to UN peacekeeping. According to WFMC President Walter Dorn, “Our contributions are at a historic low. The Canadian military now provides only 30 military personnel to UN operations – less than half the ten-year average that the previous (Conservative) government contributed over its ten-year term – and that was a government that disliked peacekeeping!”
The 2017 WFM – Canada Fact Sheet also reports the increased support for UN operations among many of Canada’s NATO allies. Increased western support for peacekeeping was a key objective of U.S. President Obama when he convened the 2015 Leaders Summit on Peacekeeping at the United Nations. Subsequently, soon after the 2016 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial meeting held in London, Canada announced that it would contribute up to 600 military personnel, 150 police and $450 million to UN peace operations – a pledge that led to Canada being asked to host the 2017 meeting, scheduled for November 14-15 in Vancouver.
Canada’s Department of National Defence expects upwards of 500 delegates from 70 countries to attend that pledging conference. Yet a renewed commitment of Canadian personnel to UN peace operations is as far off as ever.
Says Dorn, “It remains to be seen whether this government will finally make good on its promises to re-engage in UN peace operations. Or will Canada, a country that has aspirations of being elected to a two-year term on the UN Security Council, stand before the world this November hosting a peacekeeping pledging conference while reneging on its own pledges?”