Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a photo for the ASEAN-Canada 40th Commemorative session in Manila, Philippines, Tuesday, November 14, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Trudeau to personally unveil Liberals’ peacekeeping plan

This marks Canada’s first tangible step back into peacekeeping

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will personally reveal today what Canada has offered to provide the United Nations in terms of troops and military equipment for peacekeeping missions.

The moment will mark Canada’s first tangible step back into peacekeeping since the Liberals promised last year to provide the UN with up to 600 troops and 150 police officers.

But like that commitment, which stopped short of committing to any specific mission, Trudeau’s announcement is also expected to be missing some key details.

Sources say the government has put several offers on the table for the UN’s consideration, including the deployment of helicopters to help in Mali, and a transport plane in Uganda to assist different missions in Africa.

It is also reportedly ready to provide a rapid-reaction force in the Golan Heights between Israel and Syria; assist the UN’s new police mission in Haiti; and send trainers to help other countries get better at peacekeeping.

But UN and Canadian officials are said to still be hammering out many of the details, such as when and how those offers would be employed.

Trudeau’s decision to personal reveal Canada’s offer during this week’s peacekeeping summit in Vancouver nonetheless sends a message that the government is intent on delivering on its promise to help the UN.

The prime minister’s announcement will be one of a number of highlights during Wednesday’s meeting, which is being attended by representatives from 80 countries involved in peacekeeping.

Retired lieutenant-general Romeo Dallaire will help roll out a new set of commitments for the international community to sign onto aimed at preventing the use of child soldiers and better protecting children in conflict.

The UN released a report last month that found more than 8,000 children were killed or injured in conflicts around the world in 2016 and thousands of children had been recruited or used by warring factions.

Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie is also scheduled to deliver a keynote address on preventing and better addressing sexual violence in armed conflict.

After long ignoring the issue of sexual violence in war, the international community has in recent years stepped up its efforts to end rape and other sexual crimes in conflict zones and to hold perpetrators to account.

But the UN has also struggled with revelations that peacekeepers themselves have either sexually abused or exploited the very people they were meant to protect in a number of countries.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan kicked off the two-day Vancouver summit on Tuesday by noting that not only did Canada help invent peacekeeping, but 120,000 Canadians have worn blue helmets or berets over the years.

Yet Sajjan also reminded delegates, including foreign dignitaries, military officials and civil society actors, that peacekeeping has changed since Canada was among the top troop-contributing countries in the 1990s.

And he said it is imperative that the international community adapt to ensure the UN can respond effectively in what are increasingly complex and dangerous environments and conflicts.

“Today, it’s rare to see UN peacekeepers monitoring a ceasefire between two countries. Today’s missions are often undertaken in areas of ongoing conflict. Places where there is not much peace to keep,” he said.

“It’s more about protecting civilians and working to build a peace in a hostile environment where belligerents are not identified. In the face of this extraordinary and evolving challenge, we must ask ourselves: What can we do better? What must we do differently?”

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

Rent-It Centre takes over curbside collection contract in Tofino and Ucluelet

Rent It Centre’s bid was $25,865 lower than the only other bidder, SonBird Refuse and Recycling.

Tofino’s first cannabis dispensary opens

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far.”

Tofino welcomes much needed veterinarian to town

West Coast has not had a full-time vet since Dr. Jane Hunt surrendered her licence in 2004.

Looking back on the West Coast’s top 10 news stories

Tofino and Ucluelet’s top headlines of 2019.

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Most Read