Promises were made, but Justin Trudeau has yet to commit peacekeepers to UN mission

Promises were made, but Justin Trudeau has yet to commit peacekeepers to UN mission
From CBC - September 13, 2017

Although Canada is hosting a major peacekeeping conference this fall, the likelihood of it showing up with news of where and when Canadian troopswill bedeployed was thrown into question Wednesday at a federal cabinet retreat in St. John's.

Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan refused to commit to defining the size and scope of a long-promised UN mission ahead of the conferencein Vancouver Nov. 14-15.

Canada has been bombarded with requests for peacekeepers ever since the Liberal government declared the country was "back" on the international stage almost two years ago.

It has been over a year since Sajjan outlined a vaguebut ambitious proposal to commit up to 600 troops and 150 police officers to UN-mandated missions.

According to several diplomatic sources, the proposal was the price of being allowed to host this year's peacekeeping conference in November.

A decision on deployment was expected last December, but pushed off with little explanation, though the government's foreign policy agenda was hijacked with the unexpected election of Donald Trump as U.S. president.

The Liberalsleft the impression Wednesday that they were still shopping for the right opportunity.

"We need to make sure we are doing it right,we are doing it in a thoughtful way,and that it's the right mission," Trudeau said afterthe cabinet meeting.

Although the government has riffed similar talking points in the past, Sajjan reinforced the perception it was notsold on any particular mission by emphasizing that whatever deployment is chosen the Liberals want to have "the right impact."

What is the right mission?

Defence sources have told CBC News that choosing a country where there is the prospect of apeaceful resolution for warring sides is a major consideration.

Canada wants to contribute to peace and stabilityand not simply "babysit a civil war" as the UN has been apt to do in the past, said the sources with direct knowledge of the file.

And among the countries reportedly under consideration, the prospects are decidedly grim.

Last spring, CBC News obtained an internal defence department list that tracks international peacekeeping requests and the kinds of support the UN and the European Union would like to see.

Mali, in West Africa, was the subject of the most number of requests for Canadian troops, policeand equipment.

Writing off Canada


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