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TakeAction for August 2021: National Peacekeepers Day and Canada's UN Peacekeeping Commitments

Last Monday, August 9th, was National Peacekeepers Day. Each year, WFMC marks the day with the release of an update of our Canada and UN Peacekeeping fact sheet. The fact sheet includes details about Canada’s contributions in the context of UN peace operations as a whole, as well as the steps Canada can take moving forward.

Also on August 9th, WFMC President Walter Dorn, along with the Rideau Institute’s Peggy Mason, had an opinion piece published in the Globe and Mail, “Harjit Sajjan has defaulted on Canada’s peacekeeping promises.”

The work of the United Nations to restore peace and security currently involves more than 90,000 military, police, and civilian personnel, serving in 12 peacekeeping missions around the world. Canadian contributions currently stand at only 56 individuals (27 military and 29 police). This ranks Canada 68th in the world.

At the same time, there are many challenges facing UN peacekeeping. Finding committed and capable nations to contribute peacekeepers is difficult. Adequate funding is also a challenge. UN peacekeeping has always been insufficiently funded, struggling to attain the personnel levels mandated by the Security Council, as well as to properly equip and support ongoing missions.

Contributions from countries like Canada with advanced military and logistics capabilities are much needed to increase the UN’s operational effectiveness. However, in recent years Canada has provided only a small and diminishing presence in UN missions. And in recent years Canada has made political commitments that have been only partly fulfilled.

The WFMC Canadians for Peacekeeping campaign launched in 2010 with the objective to mobilize Canadians and call on the Government of Canada to increase its commitment to UN peace operations.

The campaign’s website tracks the status of these promises and pledges using easily measurable statistics and benchmark data and is regularly updated

What you can do

The Trudeau government has sought to be a leader in the deployment, training and support of UN peacekeepers. But this has not been achieved.

Ask federal candidates in your riding about their party’s support for UN peacekeeping, either when they come to your door, or at all-candidates meetings, or by contacting their campaign office.

If you don’t know who the candidates are in your riding, you can search on Google for the name of your riding + “federal 2021 candidates”

Questions to ask

1) Currently, Canada has 56 uniformed United Nations peacekeepers, which places it 68th in the world. The largest contributor, Bangladesh, provides about 6500. What size range does your party think appropriate for Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping personnel?

  • 0-50
  • 51-250
  • 251-500
  • 501-1000
  • more than 1000

2) Which commitments to UN Peacekeeping would your party support?

  • Increased personnel
  • Increased support for training
  • Increased equipment
  • Other

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