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.

Just Posted

B.C. petition calls for seat belts in new school buses

Agassiz bus driver collects 124,000 signatures in support

VIDEO: Harrison Hot Springs Elementary celebrates 70 years

The elementary school held an open house in honour of its 70th anniversary

PHOTOS: Eagles return to the Fraser Valley

The 2019 Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival provided a chance to see eagles following spawning salmon

LETTER: ACE shows it takes a village to raise a child

Langley resident Lynn Morrison writes about her grandson’s experience at Agassiz’s alternative school

PET CARE: Tips on caring for your senior pets

Columnist Nicolette Joosting shares her tips for helping senior pets get the most out of life

VIDEO: Bald Eagle Festival welcomes tourists, salmon, eagles to Harrison Mills

The annual festival took place on Saturday, Nov. 16 and Sunday, Nov. 17

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Most Read