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Return to UN peacekeeping; Little peace to keep for Canada’s Liberal government

North America

Return to UN peacekeeping; Little peace to keep for Canada’s Liberal government

Canada’s Liberal government wants to get back into United Nations peacekeeping. Unfortunately, there’s not much peace to keep.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is in Africa this week scouting out the terrain. The UN has 12 peacekeeping operations on the go in the continent. Some, like those aimed at keeping the peace between Israel and its neighbours, have been in place for decades. Others, like the missions in Congo, Mali and South Sudan, are more recent. None are easy.

The bloody war centred on the Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, has killed more than 5 million people – including 102 UN peacekeepers. In total, the UN‘s African operations have claimed the lives of 1,212 peacekeepers.

Why is Ottawa so anxious to reinvolve itself? The answer is largely political. In the run-up to last year’s election, the Liberals calculated that the voters were weary of full-bore wars like the Afghanistan conflict and wanted to return to a time when Canada, through the UN, played the role of helpful fixer.

To meet that desire, Justin Trudeau‘s Liberal platform promised a greater emphasis on peacekeeping.

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