By Scott Taylor
Last Wednesday, the Trudeau government used the backdrop of the United Nations peacekeeping summit in Vancouver to make what amounted to a non-announcement on Canada’s future role as a peacekeeper.
This is something that Trudeau and the Liberals had campaigned hard for during the 2015 election. It was music to the Canadian public’s ears to hear that Canada was going to move away from contributing to U.S.-led military interventions and get back to the good old days of monitoring ceasefire lines in bright blue UN helmets.
Then the Liberals were swept into power and those promises to make Canada a great peacekeeper again suddenly weren’t so easy to implement. In August 2016, Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance told the media that the Canadian Army would soon be embarking on a peacekeeping mission to Africa.
This bombshell was supported by statements from Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan. The details announced were pretty specific as we were told this future mission would involve 600 soldiers, 150 police and cost as much as $400-million.
What was never decided was where exactly in Africa this expeditionary force would actually be deployed. In an almost comic opera farcical skit, poor old Sajjan and a number of top military officers flew around the world — not just Africa — seeking a viable role in any one of the ongoing UN peacekeeping missions.
Fifteen months later, we found out that the answer to that question is ‘none of the above.’ Instead, Canadians were told that we will be contributing a grab bag of expertise and equipment to various other nations that will actually conduct the dangerous operations in actual war zones.
Yes indeed Canada has a fleet of C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlift transport planes and 15 brand new heavy-lift Chinook helicopters now available to fly other countries’ troops into conflict zones and keep them supplied.
However, when it comes to us offering up training to other nations’ peacekeepers prior to them deploying into theatre, that begins to stretch credulity just a little bit.
Canada has not engaged in any large-scale UN missions since the conflict in the former Yugoslavia ended with the signing of the Dayton Accord in the summer of 1995. That would be before most new Canadian recruits were even born, and any veterans of those Balkan missions would now be well into the twilight of their military careers.
How exactly are we supposed to instruct others in something we have not practiced for over two decades?
Even more bizarre was the announcement of a special $15-million fund that will be used as an incentive to get other UN nations to contribute a higher percentage of females to peacekeeping missions.
This is all part of Canada’s new ‘feminist’ foreign policy, and it is also something which the UN has been paying lip service to for quite some time. In fact, to shed some light on the dearth of women deployed by the UN to ceasefire lines, celebrity actress Angelina Jolie personally addressed the summit in Vancouver.
Of the 13,000 UN police officers currently deployed, only seven per cent of that force are women, and when it comes to the 87,000 combat soldiers wearing blue helmets, a mere two per cent are female.
The UN has long sought to double those percentages, but over the past 21 years virtually no progress has been made to achieve that goal.
So it will now be Canada to the rescue with a big tempting pot of money meant to encourage other countries to send a higher percentage of their own women into harm’s way.
The ratio of women in the Canadian Armed Forces currently stands at 15 per cent and Canada prides itself on having one of the highest female-to-male ratios of any military in the world.
I have frequently stated that, in my opinion, Canadian soldiers are not among the best in the world, they are the best in the world. Why then are we not actually leading by example and demonstrating to the world what a difference professional female peacekeepers could bring to a UN mission if deployed in sufficient numbers?
Instead we are using our nation’s wealth to encourage more impoverished countries to deploy far less capable female soldiers into harm’s way in order to advance the Trudeau Liberals’ domestic feminist agenda.