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?
Where is the promised training program to be delivered by Canadian troops?
What we know now
The Aviation Task Force was deployed in Mali and included Chinook and Griffon helicopters and approximately 250 personnel. The government has stated that “Canada remains committed to advancing gender equality in its deployment.”