Question 1: How should Canada support United Nations peacekeeping?

The United Nations currently has about 100,000 military, police, and civilian personnel serving in 14 peacekeeping missions. That’s more troops in UN field operations than any actor in the world, including the U.S. Department of Defense and more than the UK, France, China, and Russia put together. 

During the UN’s first five decades Canada was a leading contributor to peace operations, but Canada now ranks 58th in the world. Canadian contributions of personnel have declined under successive governments and now stand at (as of May 2019) 165 military personnel and 25 police.

Public support for Canadian participation in UN peacekeeping missions has remained strong over the years and contributions from countries like Canada with advanced military and logistics capabilities are needed to increase operational effectiveness. However, in recent years Canada has maintained a small and diminishing presence in a handful of UN peace operations.

As a middle power with no significant external threat to its borders, a nation dependent on international trade and therefore with an interest in a stable international order, Canada should be primarily interested in a strengthened multilateral system. Until 1995, Canada had participated in every UN peacekeeping mission. Despite the current Liberal government’s stated goal of re-engaging in UN peacekeeping (including a 2016 public commitment to deploy 600 military and 150 police personnel), Canada’s contribution to UN peace operations remains low and future commitments remain uncertain.

Of Canada’s current complement of 190 United Nations peacekeepers, 147 of them are part of the Mali deployment, according to UN statistics. When Canada’s role in Mali comes to an end, there will be only 43 Canadian peacekeepers deployed overseas. Prior to the mission in Mali, the number of Canadian peacekeepers had dwindled to the lowest level (40) since Canada proposed the first peacekeeping force in 1956.

Participation in UN peacekeeping is about more than just numbers, though. There is also a need for equipment and training. As part of the current federal government’s commitments to peacekeeping, they have launched the Elsie Initiative, a multilateral pilot project to develop approaches aimed at overcoming barriers to increasing women’s meaningful participation in peace operations.

Currently, Canada has 190 uniformed peacekeepers (combined military and police) which places it 58th among contributing countries.. The largest contributor (Ethiopia) provides about 7500 peacekeepers. What size range does your party suggest for Canada’s commitment of peacekeeping personnel?

  • 0-50
  • 51-250
  • 251-500
  • 501-1000
  • more than 1000

Of the following, which commitments to United Nations Peacekeeping would your party support?

  • Increased personnel (military and police)
  • Increased support for training, including the Elsie Initiative
  • Increased equipment 
  • Other (explain)

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