In August 2016, Canada pledged up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces personnel for possible deployment to UN peace operations. In November 2017, at the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Meeting in Vancouver, further details were provided, including a quick reaction force of about 200 personnel and an Aviation Task Force. These forces would be part of the original 600 personnel commitment.
On Monday, March 19th, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (finally) announced a second “smart pledge” on peacekeeping: “a commitment to deploy an Aviation Task Force to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for a period of 12 months.”
While the details of the mission remain few, there are already many questions.
- Why has the government chosen to commit to one year, rather than more?
- How will Canada’s participation be divided between supporting MINUSMA (the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, the peacekeeping mission) and supporting Operation Barkhane (the French regional counter-terrorism force)? Note: Canada already assisting counterterror force in Mali, defence minister says (Toronto Star/Canadian Press, Lee Berthiaume, April 9 2018)
- Where is the promised training program to be delivered by Canadian troops?
What we know now
The Aviation Task Force to be deployed in Mali will include Chinook and Griffon helicopters and an as yet unknown number of personnel. The government statement also says that “Canada remains committed to advancing gender equality in its deployment.”
Press release from the government of Canada (Department of National Defence)
House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence
Canada’s Contributions to International Peacekeeping (including testimony and a written brief from WFMC President Walter Dorn)
From the United Nations