Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise visit to Canadian peacekeeping personnel in Mali on December 22nd. Trudeau dismissed questions about extending Canada’s deployment, scheduled to end next summer, but said that “part of the way Canada can best help involves coming, taking on an operation, demonstrating how it can be done in the absolute best possible way and helping others gain in those capacities.” There have been reports of UN frustration with Canada’s limited peacekeeping commitments.
Further coverage of Trudeau’s trip can be found at:
- Trudeau insists Canadian presence in Mali making a difference (CBC, December 23 2018)
- Trudeau pays surprise pre-Christmas visit to troops in Mali (CTV, December 23 2018)
- Trudeau defends his approach to Mali peacekeeping, and says world supports Canada on China detainees (Globe and Mail, December 23 2018)
Additionally, in an end of year interview with CBC, General Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff, said that Canada will begin providing weekly air support missions for UN peacekeeping operations in Africa, although no specific time frame was given. These missions are intended to eventually become part of a “full-fledged deployment.”
However, a Canadian Press article published in the National Post on December 25th, pointed out that participation of Canadian police officers has dwindled and reached a thirteen year low. The article quotes WFMC President Walter Dorn saying, “We’ve come down to our lowest point this century of police officers in peacekeeping and this is an area where Canada has some really valuable contributions to make. We can provide women and police who are Francophone in countries where they are needed.”