Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Conservative Defence Critic Questions Plan to Send Canadian Peacekeepers to Mali

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Conservative Defence Critic Questions Plan to Send Canadian Peacekeepers to Mali

Article excerpt

Conservative critic questions Mali mission

--

The Conservative defence critic is questioning the Trudeau government's decision to send peacekeeping troops to the troubled West African nation of Mali.

A senior government source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed late Friday night that Canada will dispatch an aviation task force to Mali as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, in a move defence critic James Bezan said raises more questions than answers.

"Why did it take them so long to make this announcement and is this in Canada's national interest or is this in the Liberals' interest?" Bezan said. "Are they making this announcement because of all the criticism they've received for breaking the promise of deploying 600 troops and 150 police officers on UN missions, when we're at the lowest levels in history?"

The government source said the task force will be in Mali for up to 12 months and an official announcement on the deployment will be made Monday.

In terms of troop numbers, Canada is currently at a historic low for participation in peacekeeping missions. Canada had a total of 43 peacekeepers deployed around the world at the end of December, the most recent UN numbers indicate, down from 62 in November.

The decline, largely the result of a reduction in the number of Canadian police officers deployed to Haiti, means Canada has fewer peacekeepers in the field than at any point since the 1950s.

Bezan said the Conservatives want to see Canada involved in more peacekeeping, including in Ukraine. But he said it must be in the national interest and in some cases, it may be preferable to fight under Canadian instead of UN command.

"We know that this is incredibly dangerous," Bezan said. "We support our troops and know they are completely capable of doing it. But we are hesitant about putting our troops in harms way under UN command."

He said peacekeeping decisions should not be made based on nostalgia about blue helmets.

"There is concern about how we are going to keep the peace when we have insurgencies, terrorism, failed states and multiple different missions going at the same time and no answers of how this is in Canada's national interest," he said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.