Keeping the peace: Canada runs the risk of disappointing its partners

Photo: Darryl Dyck, The canadian Press
The canadian minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan, the secretary general of the Francophonie, Michaëlle Jean, and retired general Roméo Dallaire participated Tuesday in a meeting with young people committed to peace in the framework of the ministerial conference of the UN on the peacekeeping that takes place in Vancouver.

The allies of Justin Trudeau and the united Nations will leave-they left empty-handed of the international conference that welcomes Vancouver on peace missions ? If the rumors are true, the canadian government decided to announce no specific mission but will, rather, equipment and training to peacekeepers deployed by its partners on the ground. This décevrait several, warn the experts, as Justin Trudeau has hinted that he would make him also hundreds of military personnel.


The Defence ministers and representatives of 70 countries gathered in Vancouver since Tuesday, had to participate in the conference, have promised a contribution to the missions of peacekeeping or be prepared to do so at the meeting. Gold Canada, there would simply, according to laCBC, to put at the disposal of the UN helicopters or transport aircraft to support current missions, or to provide training to peacekeepers.


“I think that some of our allies will be disappointed, because they had been brought up to believe that we were going to contribute to specific tasks,” noted Tuesday, David Perry, an analyst in the defence of the canadian Institute of world affairs.


In the summer of 2016, the Trudeau government promised to deploy up to 600 soldiers and 150 police officers within peace operations of the UN. “It is time to act with conviction and in a responsible manner as a true artisan of peace “, called then the former minister of foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion.


The electoral platform of the liberal Party was less ambitious, promising to put at the disposal of the united nations, “on a case by case basis, specialized means” the same as ” the training of civilian police “. A commitment that looks like the announcement should be made Wednesday, according to laCBC.


But since the election campaign, various scenarios had been prepared for the prime minister providing for deployments in Mali, central African republic, South Sudan or the democratic Republic of the Congo. The decision in respect of these possible missions is never coming, right through the year 2016. But the promise to deploy hundreds of soldiers and police officers had been heard by the international community, which expects a contribution of Canada, according to Jocelyn Coulon, a researcher at the CERIUM, which was the advisor to the minister Dion.


“This is what it was announced to the world,” said Mr Coulon. If the rumours prove true, ” this will be disappointing, “she said. “And what will be the difference with the conservative government ?” he asked in an interview.


David Perry notes, however, that nearly 2000 canadian soldiers are currently deployed in various regions of the planet. If Ottawa sent hundreds more on a mission of peace, the total number of soldiers deployed would be similar to the one deployed at the height of the mission in Afghanistan. “And it was a commitment quite challenging “, he recounted.


In the mid-2000s, the government had also had to manage the implementation of a review of its defence policy — new acquisitions, recruitment, etc., The Trudeau government unveiled its own new version of the defence policy in June. “If there was another mission, operational scope, the army would be overloaded “, in the opinion of Mr. Perry.


The risk of death of canadian soldiers and the costs of a large peacekeeping mission would also have reined in the ambitions of the government, according to him.


Yet, Ottawa has not hesitated to send troops in Latvia or in Ukraine to protect the sovereignty of Russia’s neighbours, says Jocelyn Coulon. “But to go to Africa, it seems that there is more political will, there are no more troops and there is more money. “


Mr. Coulon explained evil as the fear of taking part in a peace mission dangerous. Because the prime minister knew the risks, had argued his former adviser in foreign affairs. “Mr. Trudeau knew very well that these are not peacekeeping operations to the peace of our days, but of peace operations. And that in these peace operations there are risks. “

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