November 15 2017
Below, some reaction from representatives of the World Federalist Movement – Canada to Canada’s extremely weak commitments at the UN Ministerial Meeting on Peace Operations.
Canada’s embarrassment at UN peacekeeping conference in Vancouver
Canada failed to deliver today on its long overdue commitment to provide up to 600 military and 150 police personnel for UN peace operations, a pledge it made over a year ago at the 2016 Ministerial conference on peacekeeping.
At the Vancouver Ministerial Meeting on Peace Operations, Prime Minister Trudeau, accompanied by Defence Minister Sajjan, Foreign Minister Freeland and International Cooperation Minister Bibeau did offer some new pledges of support. These include making specialized equipment and personnel available on a case-by-case basis (up to 200 troops and accompanying equipment; an aviation task force of armed helicopters; and tactical airlift); joining the “Elsie Initiative” to increase the proportion of women deployed in UN peace operations; and support for a set of non-binding principles on reducing recruitment and use of child soldiers.
Just prior to the Vancouver Ministerial, World Federalist Movement – Canada published a volume of 10 op-ed length essays by leading Canadian experts entitled, “The United Nations and Canada: What Canada has done and should be doing for United Nations peacekeeping.”
Some reactions to Canada’s statement from WFM – Canada spokespersons:
Walter Dorn, President, World Federalist Movement – Canada, and Professor of Defence Studies, Royal Military College
“The government’s commitment to provide up to 600 military and 150 police personnel to UN operations is clear from the last pledging conference, held in September 2016 in London. The Vancouver conference provided an excellent opportunity for Canada to live up to that promise. But Canada has not done so. The delaying and dithering continues.”
“The smaller contributions that Canada has offered may be useful to the UN but they are not at the scale or importance of what was promised. In addition, it will be a challenge for Canada to provide international leadership on peacekeeping training given the low levels of experience and knowledge among Canadian Armed Forces regarding UN peace operations. Canada is at its lowest point in 40 years in uniformed contributions to peacekeeping. The last time Canada rotated a military unit in a UN peace operation was 2001. Canada’s military contributions to UN peacekeeping have been below 75 personnel since 2006. Furthermore, Canada’s premier institution for integrated training, the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, was closed in 2013. Canada will have to do much more to become, once again, a prolific peacekeeper.
Monique Cuillerier, WFM – Canada representative to the NGO Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada
“The stated support for the Women, Peace and Security agenda is encouraging. But it’s hard to see how Canada can actually fulfill many of their recently-announced Women, Peace and Security priorities if Canadian peacekeepers are sitting on the sidelines.”
John Trent, Chairperson, WFM – Canada Board and editor, “The United Nations and Canada: What Canada has done and should be doing for UN Peacekeeping.”
“UN officials in Vancouver will be careful not to offend their host, but Canada’s failure to live up to its previous commitments will undoubtedly be noticed in New York. This is a major embarrassment. Our bid for election to a two-year term on the UN Security Council looks a whole lot less likely with Canada’s failure to deliver on its previous peace operations commitments.”