May 29 is the International Day of UN Peacekeepers: Is Canada “back” or not?
As we mark the International Day of UN Peacekeepers on May 29th, World Federalists continue to campaign for Canada to do more for UN Peacekeeping. Recently, WFMC President Walter Dorn gave testimony to a House of Commons committee studying 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, including whether this truly marks a return by Canada to UN peacekeeping for the long term, or whether it is a brief single commitment.
Media stories have raised other issues as well, 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, but 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.
What you can do
Write to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, express your support for Canada’s participation in MINUSMA, and ask him for further details on the duration and mandate of Canada’s deployment, as well as the concerns regarding the training of Canadian Forces personnel in peacekeeping.
Follow our Canadians for Peacekeeping project, which tracks the status of the Canadian government’s promises and pledges using easily measurable statistics and benchmark data on its website and on Facebook.