The Liberal government announced public consultations to inform the drafting of its new defence policy.on April 6th.
There has not been a comprehensive defence review in Canada since the 1994 Defence White Paper, over 20 years ago. Whether the current arrangements measure up to the Liberal campaign promise to conduct an “open and transparent process to review existing defence capabilities” remains to be seen.
At the time of the last Defence Policy Review Canada was still a world leader in its contributions to United Nations Peace Operations. However, although Canada made substantial personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping for four decades until the mid-1990’s, our contributions since then have declined. As a fact sheet published by the World Federalist Movement – Canada makes clear, our declining personnel contributions come at a time when the UN needs peacekeepers more than ever. There are now close to 130,000 military, police and civilian personnel deployed to 16 missions around the world.
Some peace operations face shortages of needed equipment and are staffed at levels below the numbers mandated by the UN Security Council.
After years of decline, support for peacekeeping within Canada’s Department of National Defence is not high. Officials need to hear from Canadians.