Peace­keep­ing de­ci­sion de­layed

StarMetro Toronto - - CANADA/WORLD -

Two years af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau said “Canada is back” on the world stage, the fed­eral Lib­eral gov­ern­ment is pre­par­ing to host a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional peace­keep­ing con­fer­ence but will not an­nounce where it will de­ploy Cana­dian as­sets.

De­fence Min­is­ter Har­jit Sa­j­jan said that the gov­ern­ment has not yet de­cided on a mis­sion, and won’t be­fore the UN Peace­keep­ing De­fence Min­is­te­rial fo­rum in Vancouver on Nov. 14 and 15.

The sum­mit was en­vi­sioned to seek pledges of troops for UN peace op­er­a­tions, but Sa­j­jan said the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment took lessons from a sim­i­lar sum­mit last year in Lon­don, and does not want the Vancouver con­fer­ence to be just about “an­nounce­ments.”

Some 500 del­e­gates from 70 coun­tries are ex­pected to at­tend the event, ac­cord­ing to the de­fence de­part­ment.

Sa­j­jan sug­gested he would not be drawn into mak­ing pledges. “One of the things we need to get away from and what I’ve seen in the past is na­tions come in and say this is what we’ll of­fer, that doesn’t ac­tu­ally pro­vide the im­pact. An­other se­nior gov­ern­ment source said that re­tired sen­a­tor and lieu­tenant­gen­eral Romeo Dal­laire has pro­posed to Trudeau that the gov­ern­ment use Cana­dian mil­i­tary as­sets and ex­per­tise to form a spe­cial­ized stand­alone mil­i­tary unit whose goal is the de­mil­i­ta­riza­tion of child sol­diers — that can be mobile, de­ployed any­where to UN peace­keep­ing mis­sions, as needed.

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