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Canada's military is already present around the world — just not always as peacekeepers.
Can we become more? To answer that question we require a good understanding of who we are and what our world has become.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has been dragging his feet about deploying Canadian peacekeepers to Mali. Canada should never again contribute troops to the endless UN-led peace missions that pop up around the world. In 70 years of peacekeeping, I'm at a loss to think of a single mission that succeeded.
This country's narrative concerning peacekeeping is about to change, as the Trudeau government will soon announce where the deployment of some 600 military personnel will be based for a three-year period. The plan will also include air transport, training, medical, and engineering components.
Canada hasn't had a seat since 2000.
Many of the possible missions the Canadian government is considering carry great risks.
Yesterday, Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan announced that Canada will commit to a yet undefined peacekeeping mission, probably in central Africa, and in doing so Canada will be a "responsible partner in the world." It will probably not be until the end of the year that we know the details -- why, where, the mission's duration, what will they do, what victory looks like and the terms of engagement. What we know for sure from minister Sajjan's announcement and follow-up questions is that this matter will not be brought before Parliament for a vote before the commitment to the UN is finally agreed upon and put into operation.
Last Thursday, Lieutenant General Paul Wynnyk became the commander of the Canadian Army and quickly stated the Canadian Army could possibly deploy troops in Africa. As a matter of fact, according to Wynnyk, a deployment to Africa was imminent. Although many regions in Africa would benefit from having Canadian soldiers on the ground, Mali has been mentioned on many occasions.
The Liberals are hoping Canada will win a Security Council seat in 2021.
In 1992, Canada was the world's leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Canada now ranks a dismal 68th in personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping. This dramatic decline began under the Liberals. Our international engagement programs took us from #1 to #32 by the time the Conservatives took office in 2006 -- they continued the Liberal abandonment of UN peacekeeping as a key role for Canada.