Posts Tagged ‘Pearson Peacekeeping Centre’

  • Blog
  • November 21st, 2017

15 months on, Canada still has not pledged actual troops for an actual UN peace operation


Our previous blog post featured a new publication from ten experts discussing What Canada Has Done And Should Be Doing For UN Peace Operations (WFM-Canada, John Trent, editor, November 2017).

This week we focus on the results of the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial hosted by Canada in Vancouver on 14-15 November.

Sadly Canada failed to deliver on its long overdue commitment to provide up to 600 military and 150 police personnel for UN peace operations, a pledge it made in August of 2016.

“Canada has missed an historic opportunity to make a real difference. UN peacekeeping, which puts political reconciliation and good governance at the heart of the effort, is the best hope for countries seeking to emerge from violent conflict into sustainable peace.” – Peggy Mason, Rideau Institute

At the Vancouver Ministerial Meeting on Peace Operations, Prime Minister Trudeau, accompanied by Defence Minister Sajjan, Foreign Minister Freeland, and International Cooperation Minister Bibeau, did offer some new pledges of support.  These include:

  • making specialized equipment and personnel available on a case-by-case basis, including up to 200 troops and accompanying equipment, an aviation task force of armed helicopters, and tactical airlift;
  • joining the “Elsie Initiative” to increase the proportion of women deployed in UN peace operations; and
  • support for a set of non-binding principles on reducing recruitment and use of child soldiers.

Walter Dorn, President, World Federalist Movement – Canada, and Professor of Defence Studies, Royal Military College assessed this radically reduced contribution in the following terms:

“The smaller contributions that Canada has offered may be useful to the UN but they are not at the scale or importance of what was promised. In addition, it will be a challenge for Canada to provide international leadership on peacekeeping training given the low levels of experience and knowledge among Canadian Armed Forces regarding UN peace operations.”

To be clear, over one year after the original commitment was made, Canada still has not identified a UN mission to which it will contribute or a timeframe for doing so, despite the urgent need for professional soldiers in many current UN peacekeeping missions.

One area that has garnered a lot of attention has been the commitment to increasing the number of women peacekeepers:

“The stated support for the Women, Peace and Security agenda is encouraging. But it’s hard to see how Canada can actually fulfill many of their recently-announced Women, Peace and Security priorities if Canadian peacekeepers are sitting on the sidelines.” – Monique Cuillerier, WFM – Canada representative to the NGO Women, Peace and Security Network – Canada

For a further critique of the government’s Vancouver pledges on UN peacekeeping, click here for the CBC radio interview  with RI President Peggy Mason.

Photo credit: Government of Canada

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  • Blog
  • February 2nd, 2016

Canada must “step up” on peacekeeping training

PK training report image

A new report, entitled Unprepared for Peace? The Decline of Canadian Peacekeeping Training (and What to Do About It), has just been released by the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Written by Walter Dorn, Professor at the Royal Military College, and Joshua Libben, doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa, the study identifies the need to reinstate and update the many training programmes and exercises that have been cut over the last decade, in order to restore the Canadian Armed Forces’ readiness to participate in peace operations.

Military personnel are provided with less than a quarter of the training activities for UN peace operations that they were a decade ago. For the first time ever, Canada has a generation of soldiers with no experience in peacekeeping. Says Dorn,

The complexities of modern peace operations require in-depth training and education…. With UN peace operations at an all-time high, and Canada’s contribution at an all-time low, Canada is currently lagging far behind other nations in its readiness to support the United Nations and train for modern peacekeeping.

The study recommends the reinstatement and update of the many training programmes and exercises cut over the last decade. The closure of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in particular was a devastating setback to Canadian preparedness, according to the authors.

The report also calls for the introduction of new training activities to reflect the fact that modern peacekeepers face significantly more dangerous environments and challenging mandates than was true for traditional peacekeeping. Particularly important is the requirement to work effectively with a variety of non-military partners in modern peace operations.

If the Liberal government is serious about renewing its leadership role in international peacekeeping, then it must re-establish a facility dedicated to the training of civilians, military, and the police for UN peace operations.

Read the full report here.

Read a copy of the Executive Summary in French here.

For recent press commentary on the report, click here: Canada’s military ill-prepared to resume role as peacekeeper, report by think-tanks say.

See also “Peacekeeping Works Better Than You May Think”, (Roland Paris, Centre for International Policy Studies, 2 August 2014).

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