Letter: Canadians support this nation’s return to peacekeeping

The majority of conflicts are now within states, not between states

Editor,

United Nations Peacekeeping has been transforming itself for decades, particularly since the Brahimi Report on UN Peace Operations in 2000, and following the crises in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia of the mid-1990s.

Canadians accept that traditional UN peacekeeping – standing between consenting parties to maintain an agreed truce, such as in Cyprus – is no longer the norm.

The majority of conflicts are now within states, not between states. And to head off escalation of violence, peacekeeping became more robust, took on higher risks, incorporated peace building measures, is multi-functioning (soldiers, police, civilians) and focused on the peace process transition and restoring governance and the rule of law.

It also needs to deploy more rapidly because dawdling costs lives.

Mali is one of those cases of heightened risk and greater complexity, and Canada can provide resources. There was no pretense in the Liberals’ 2015 peacekeeping promise that there won’t be casualties – although the government has been been too slow to commit.

A 2016 Nanos poll indicated that almost 80 per cent support Canada’s return to peacekeeping.

On top of that, the majority support Canada deploying forces in “active fighting areas” (69 per cent), whereas a minority oppose (27 per cent).

There’s no snow job being foisted here. Rather, now’s the time (better late than never) to support the Mali mission and Canadian troop participation, eyes wide open.

Robin Collins

National Secretary,

World Federalist Movement - Canada

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