TRACKING THE PROMISES:
Canada's Contributions to UN Peacekeeping 

Dr. Walter Dorn, 1625July 2020
Using the monthly UNdata for 30 June 2020

 

Canada has pledged to the United Nations and the world community to provide substantial contributions to UN peacekeeping. Specifically, major pledges were made at the Peacekeeping Ministerial in London, UK, on 8 September 2016 (pdf) and at the Peacekeeping Ministerial in Vancouver on 15 November 2017 (pledges). In the 2019 election campaign, the Trudeau government promised again to "re-engage" in UN peacekeeping, similar to the promise made in its first term. After the election, the Defence and Foreign Ministers were tasked to "expand Canada’s support for United Nations peace operations" (Defence Minister Mandate letter, 2019). 

This webpage tracks the status of implementation of these government promises on UN peacekeeping using easily measurable statistics, the latest figures, historical commentary, and benchmark data for key commitments and past contributions. It draws conclusions for each promise and conclusions overall.

 

CONTENTS

Latest stats
Uniformed Personnel
Women in Peacekeeping
Uniformed Personnel at UN Headquarters
Leadership
Services 
Financial
Training for UN Operations
Intellectual/Political/Policy Contributions
Government's Self-Evaluation
CONCLUSION (Overall) 
References
Annex

 

LATEST STATS (tabulation)

Canada's Personnel Contributions to UN Peace Operations as of 30 June 2020:

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
MINUSMA  Mali Police 6 4 10
    Mil staff 4 0 4
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 7 0 7
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 2 0 2
    Mil staff 4 3 7
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 3 0 3
    Mil 20 4 24
    Police 6 4 10
    Totals 26 8 34

 Source: United Nations

 

UNIFORMED PERSONNEL

Pledge: Up to 750 uniformed personnel (600 military and 150 police) (2016 London Ministerial: pdf). This should be in addition to what Canada deployed at the time (112), as is required for the pledging conference (i.e., pledging new contributions).  So the total would be approximately 860 (maximum).

Status (31 May 2020): 34 Canadian uniformed personnel deployed (UN figures, pdf). This includes 14 Canadian personnel in Mali (MINUSMA mission).

Table 1. Number of Canadian uniformed personnel (recent history and last UN report)

Date     Military     Police     Total Source Comment
2015 Oct 31        27        89      116 UN, 2015 (pdf) Conservative gov  
(last official figures)
2016 Aug 31        28        84      112 UN, 2016 (pdf) Contribution when pledge of additional 750 uniformed personnel was made
2017 Oct 31        23
       39
       62
UN, 2017 (pdf) At time of Vancouver Ministerial (last official figures beforehand)
2018 May 31        19        21        40 UN, 2018 (pdf) To that point, lowest number of uniformed personnel (lowest military contribution since 1956; lowest police contribution since 1992)
2019 Feb 28 167  23 167 UN, 2019 Highest contribution from Trudeau gov in Mali (250 military incl. NSE)
2020 June 24 10 34 UN, 2020

Lowest number of uniformed personnel since 1956 (and lowest police contribution since 1992)

 

Figure 1. Contribution by month, from 2005 to 2020 (Mar), showing governments in power at the time

 

 Cdn Uniformed Pers UN Pkg 2005 to 2020 06 30

Historical benchmarks: Canada was a leader in providing personnel to UN peacekeeping from its early days, e.g., providing the first chief of the first observer mission, BGen Harry Angle of UNMOGIP (Kashmir), created in April 1948. In 1956, Canada proposed the first peacekeeping force: UNEF in Egypt and made major contributions, including battalion-sized contributions throughout the life of the mission (1956–67). It also helped create the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), to which Canada contributed large units (battalions) for about 30 years (1964–1993). Canada was the only country to contribute to ALL peacekeeping operations during the Cold War, with about 1,000 deployed on average over 40 years. It remained a top contributor into the early 1990s. In 1993, Canada had 3,300 uniformed personnel deployed in UN missions (including in Bosnia, Cambodia, Mozambique, and Somalia). Canada contributed approx. 200 logisticians to the UN Disengagement Observer Force in Golan Heights (UNDOF, in Syria) from its creation in 1974 until 2006, when the Harper government withdrew them (see decline in Figure 1).  So during the half-century 1956-2006, Canada always maintained at least 200 uniformed personnel in peacekeeping, and the average for the period was well about 1,000 (see Figure A2 in Annex below). In March 2006, shortly after the Harper government came to power, the UN contribution dropped to 120 personnel. 

When President Barak Obama co-hosted the Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping at UN headquarters on 28 September 2015, Canada made no pledge. That same night, in an election debate, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau criticised the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, saying: “The fact that Canada has nothing to contribute to that conversation today is disappointing because this is something that a Canadian Prime Minister started, and right now there is a need to revitalize and refocus and support peacekeeping operations ….”

Before his election in October 2015, Trudeau criticized the Conservative government of Stephen Harper for a decline in number of uniformed personnel (rank 66th on the list of contributors in September 2015). Surprisingly, under the Trudeau government the contribution fall further for over two years until Canada reach its lowest rank ever: 81st (31 May 2018).  The rank increased substantially in July 2018 with the addition of 134 mil personnel in Mali (as counted by the UN) but it was short lived. 

During the one year deployment in Mali (2017-18), the Canadian defence department (DND) frequently stated that the number deployed in Mali is "approximately 250 personnel." The discrepancy between UN and Canadian statistics arises because Canada generously deploys more personnel on this mission than the UN pays for. (The UN has standards for the number of deployed for a given function that are much lower than what Canada deemed was required.) So the additional Canadian personnel (approx. 100) were considered part of a "National Support Element" (NSE), which is not reimbursed, though most of these personnel still wore UN insignia and were incorporated into the mission as part of the regular UN chain of command.

The Mali contribution was the largest Canadian deployment since 2005 and only the third time it contributed a military unit since 2005 (both other units were short one-time deployments in Haiti with no rotations). With the Mali deployment, the number of uniformed personnel deployed finally became greater than what it was when the Harper government ended in October 2015. But instead of being at 860, Canada never contributed over 300. Following the Defence and Foreign Ministers' announcement on 19 March 2018 that Canada will contribute to the UN mission in Mali, Canada provided an aviation task force of 8 helicopters (three Chinooks and five Griffons). This was a substantial military contribution with high quality assets. The initial Vancouver pledge was made as a "smart pledge," which means "helping [the UN] to eliminate critical gaps" by securing successive rotational contributions from different countries but Canada still left a gap until the next country (Romania) took over the responsibility in mid-October 2019. So the pledge was not so "smart." Furthermore, the police contribution reached the lowest point since 1992 (just 15 police officers in November 2018, see Figure 1).  At less than 20 officers, this is lower than any point in the Harper government, though the authorized ceiling under the Trudeau government is much higher (150 overall, with 20 for UN mission in Mali, and 35 for mission in Haiti; see RCMP current operations).  

Conclusion:

– With the withdrawal from the Mali mission and the COVID-19 crisis, Canadian contributions have sunk to a record low. Not since 1956 has Canada made a smaller contribution of personnel. 
– Five years after the 2015 Liberal campaign pledge, promises ring hollow. Only one substantive increase over the Harper numbers is found for only for one mission (Mali) for a short period of time (one year). 
– The average number of deployed personnel under the Trudeau government (102, average per month) is 50% LESS than that of the Harper government (157). 

 

WOMEN IN PEACEKEEPING^ 

Promise: to promote more women in peacekeeping. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: "We are equally committed to increasing the number of women that we deploy as part of UN peace operations." Vancouver ministerial, "Canada to deploy more women to peacekeeping missions, says Trudeau" (Youtube, 1:13). A specific pledge was "titled Women in Peace Operations Pilot – 'The Elsie initiative.'"

Table 2. Number of Canadian uniformed women in peacekeeping (benchmark data and the recent figures)

Date      Military
     Women
     Police
     Women
        Total

Source

Comment
2015 Oct 31           1          20            21 UN, 2015 (pdf) Conservative gov  (last official figures)
2016 Aug 31           2          13            15 UN, 2016 (pdf) At time of London ministerial (last official figures before meeting)
2017 Oct 31           2           6             8  UN, 2017 (pdf) At time of Vancouver Ministerial (last official figures before meeting)

2020 June 30

          4
           4            8 UN, 2020 

4 women of 24 military personnel (16%);
of 10 police personnel  (40%)
8 women of 35 Uniformed personnel (23%)

 

Recent stats

At end of March, the Trudeau government is providing only 8 women uniformed personnel: 0 military women in Mali, 1 in Cyprus, 3 military women in South Sudan, no military women in D.R. Congo; and no police women anywhere except 4 police women in Mali. This is fewer than the 21 women that the Harper government provided at the end of its term.

During the time of the Mali deployment (2018-19), if the National Support Element, the number of Canadian women increase substantially. The percentage of Canadian uniformed women on peacekeeping became high (25%) compared to other countries, with the UN average being (approx): 5% for military personnel, and 10% for police. Although the UN has no target for troops, it has set a target of 16% for SOs and MILOBs in 2019 (starting 2018 at 15% and increasing 1% each year thereafter to 2028; UN Security Council resolution 2242 (2015) called for a doubling number of women by 2020).

Canada almost lost a position in the UNMISS mission in March 2019 when it was unable to meet the UN quota for women in peacekeeping. After Canada pledged to increase its number of deployed women, the UN allowed Canada to retain the position. 

Canada's 2017/18 Progress Report states: "Dedicated efforts were made to recruit women for the Canadian deployment to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), resulting in women making up 14% of the Canadian contingent, including the task force deputy commander, and to ensure gender responsive action through the deployment of a gender advisor." 

The Government has released a 2017/18 Progress Report on its Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. It states: "Of the 45 Canadian police newly deployed to international peace operations during the fiscal year [2017/18], women made up 18%, as compared to 14% the previous year.18" [footnote 18: "Of the total 70 police in deployment during the fiscal year, women represented on average 19% in fiscal year 2017–2018 and 18% in 2016–2017. The target is 20%, which equals the UN goal."] It seems there has been some backsliding in 2018/19. 

Canadian Gender Advisors (GENADs) are deployed with Op PRESENCE and UNMISS (South Sudan).

Observations:

In 2020, Canada has dropped to near record lows in its contributions of women to peacekeeping.  

In 2019, Canada was finally setting a good example, with 19% of its UN military personnel being women, well above the UN average.  For Staff Officer/MilObs deployed, Canada has 7 out of 23 (30%), well exceeding the UN goal of 16% for 2019. Canada's  Vancouver pledge (especially the financial incentives) holds promise to increase the number of women military personnel provided by other countries. There is slow progress on the other pledges on women, peace and security (WPS): 

– Elsie initiative: two countries have been designated to serve in a pilot project: Ghana and Zambia (Freeland, Sept 2018, neither being Francophone) but actual training and mentoring activities have not commenced in the year-and-a-half after the initiative was announced. The Global Elsie Fund was launched at the UN on 28 March 2019, co-organized with UN Women. The effects of any distributed funds are not known. 

– A pledge of C$ 21 m was made in Vancouver for WPS in UN peace operations. This includes contributions to the UN's trust fund for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). Whether the funds were actually dispersed is not known. 

– More broadly, "A new WPS Chiefs of Defence Network was launched by Canada, the United Kingdom and Bangladesh to share best practices and compare progress in addressing barriers and challenges to integrating WPS in national militaries." Canada succeed the United Kingdom as network chair in July 2019. (WPS CHODS website) But a planned tour of nations for WPS consultations did not take place as planned.  

Conclusion: 

The number and percentage of Canadian women in peacekeeping has fallen drastically with the end of the Mali mission. It was only with that mission that Canada finally made an impact by example in the percentage of women deployed (25%), after years of slow or no progress. Some long-promised programmes are finally being implemented, especially the Elsie initiative, which did not start dispersing funds until more than two years after it was announced. 

 

UNIFORMED PERSONNEL AT UN HEADQUARTERS^

Pledge: While no specific pledge has been made in this regard, service at UN headquarters provides an important way to make a significant contribution, to gain experience in UN planning, procedures, and priorities, and to view the inner workings of the world organization. Positions to support UN peacekeeping should be in Department of Peace Operations (DPO) or the Department of Support (DOS). For the military, the placement would be within the Office of Military Affairs (OMA) within DPO.  

Current status (military)
UN employment: 0 (out of more than 120 personnel serving from over 70 countries)
Gratis personnel: 1 (legal advice to the UN office dealing with Sexual Exploitation and Abuse)

History: Canada provided the Military Adviser to the Secretary-General (MilAd, who is head of OMA) from 1992 to 1995 (Maurice Baril, Major-General at the time, later full general and Canadian Chief of Defence Staff). The last leadership post held by Canada in OMA was Chief, Military Planning Service (Col. Dave Barr, serving 2011-2015).    

Current status (Canadian police in UN Police Division) 
UN employment: 0

Civilian positions: these are not contributions made by UN member states but are individual hired by the UN. However, in a major advance, Gilles Michaud, formerly with the RCMP, was appointed (30 May 2019) as Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security.  Although the position is won on merit, it is usual for governments to support their citizens who are seeking such high-level positions. Still, is not a secondment from the Canadian police so it is not considered a Canadian governmental contribution. 

Conclusion: Canada is lagging far behind other nations in an area it once led.  

 

LEADERSHIP^

Pledge: while no international pledge was made by Canada, the Prime Minister did request his defence minister to provide "mission commanders" for the UN. Canada has not yet done so.

Historical Background: The UN's first chief military observer (BGen Harry Angle in UNMOGIP) and its first Force Commander (MGen E.L.M. Burns in UNEF) were Canadians. Canada provided seven force commanders in the 1990s but none since. Canada was offered the opportunity to submit candidates for force commanders in the D.R. Congo and Mali in the new century but did not commit. The highest ranking position in the twenty-first century has been the Force Chief of Staff (military) in MINUSTAH (Haiti), 2005-2017. 

Status: Canada lost its most significant military position in UN missions with the end of MINUSTAH (colonel position as Chief of Staff) in 2017 when the mission was converted to MINUJUSTH. However, Canada did retain the role of police commissioner and mission leader in the successor mission (MINUSUTH). Canada lost the major opportunity to provide the Force Commander for the Mali (MINUSMA) mission in January 2017 when it continued to dither and delay on the Mali mission, with Cabinet unable to commit. A force package for Mali was only delivered a year-and-a-half later. The Force Commander position went to a Major-General Jean-Paul Deconinck of Belgium and two years later to Lieutenant-General Gyllensporre from Sweden. 

Aside: On the civilian side, two Canadians host positions of mission leadership (Special Representative of the Secretary-General or SRSG): Colin Stewart leading the UN mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (since Dec 2017) and Elizabeth Spehar leading (since April 2016) the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). But these leaders are not provided by or seconded from the Canadian government. They are part of the international civil service, individually recruited by the United Nations. 

Conclusion:  In terms of providing military leadership of UN missions, this is a major failure for Canada, especially given the illustrious history of past contributions and the contributions of other middle-power nations (including Ireland and Norway, fellow contenders for a Security Council seat 2021-22). The opportunity to lead the Mali mission was missed catastrophically. 

SERVICES^

Pledges: Made as part of the "Contribution of police and up to 600 military personnel" (2017 Vancouver commitment, "advancing" the London pledge):
   Tactical Airlift Support [C130 aircraft]
   Aviation Task Force
   Quick Reaction Force (QRF) [approx. 200 personnel]
   New Police missions being examined [vague]

Status:
– The aviation task force was deployed for one year in Mali (with the aeromedical staying an extra month). This contribution has passed.
– The transport aircraft unit (C-130) is being provided for UN service, based in Entebbe but it was suspended in February 2020 out of concerns about COVID-19 and Ebola. It began in August 2019, after the agreement was finally signed that month. But the plane is only offered for five days a month, diverting form the NATO mission in Iraq.
–The plans for the deployment of a QRF (e.g., in Golan Heights (UNDOF) or Mali (MINUSMA)) is being examined as a possibility. 

Conclusion: only a fraction of the pledge has been fulfilled and with the Mali deployment being so short, Canada is letting the UN down. 

FINANCIAL^

Canada has for decades paid its UN dues "on time, in full, and without conditions," unlike countries such as the US, which regularly defaults in all three aspects (see Williams, 2018). Canada very seldom misses the January deadlines for payment of its mandatory UN dues, including the peacekeeping contributions (2.7% of the UN peacekeeping budget, making Canada the 9th largest contributor on the assessment scale). So Canada, under both Liberal and Conservative governments, is to be praised for this financial consistency in UN support over many decades. In addition, Canada contributed advanced helicopters to the UN mission in Mali for free ($1/year), while also providing over 100 personnel (of the 250) at no cost to the United Nations.  In this one mission (MINUSMA in Mali), Canada was quite generous, though it is not filling the time gap between its departure and the arrival of the next contingent from Romania in 2019. 

In giving extra-budgetary, voluntary funds to UN peacekeeping, Canada is a leader in the total amount (roughly $12 million per year). It supports some worthwhile projects, including the establishment of a training Joint Operations Centre ("mock JOC", $0.5 million) in Entebbe, Uganda, to allow individuals to train on the UN's procedures, including the  situational awareness programme ("UniteAware"), which was piloted in the MINUSCA mission but is due to be deployed in other missions. 

Conclusion: Canada is continuing its positive record of financial contributions, though the vast majority of these are mandatory. 

TRAINING FOR UN OPERATIONS^

Mandate Letter (2015): includes "leading an international effort to improve and expand the training of military and civilian personnel deployed on peace operations" (full letter)

Pledge (Vancouver): 
"Innovative Training"
"Training activities to meet systemic UN needs"
"Canadian Training and Advisory Team" (to be established)

Status:

The Canadian government is currently less well equipped to lead in training for UN peacekeeping since so few Canadian military personnel have deployed in such operations over the past two decades. In addition, the training and education within the Canadian Armed Forces on UN peacekeeping has also declined, with the number of activities less than a quarter of what they were in 2005 (see study: Dorn and Libben, Preparing for Peace? 2018, html or pdf or the longer 2015 version: htmlpdf). The closure of the Pearson Centre in 2013 left Canada without a place to train military, police and civilians together. The Peace Support Training Centre (PSTC) in Kingston devotes only a small fraction of its efforts to training for UN peace operations (1 course out of 9) and its training is done on an individual not unit level, and this training is at the tactical level. 

The Government announced on 29 May 2018 (International Day of UN Peacekeepers) financial contributions for peacekeeping training to two institutions: École de Maintien de la Paix Alioune Blondin Beye de Bamako (EMP Bamako), and Peace Operations Training Institute (POTI, US-based). Each institution was offered $1 million. This does not demonstrate international leadership but it does assist these two particular institutions financially. 

As part of the Elsie Initiative for women in peace operations, Canada is planning in the near future help train women in Zambia (police) and Ghana (military). This programme was announced in November 2017 but is has not yet started the actual training programmes. 

The United Nations was counting on Canada to provide trainers for its courses at the Regional Services Centre Entebbe (RSCE) in October 2018 but Canada did not send the promised trainers. Also, Canadian assistance to the Women's Outreach Course of the UN Signals Academy (UNSA), located at RSCE, has not yet materialized, even though the Elsie Initiative would seem to be an ideal source of funds, given the Initiative's goal of increasing women's participation in peacekeeping. Canada has announced a provision of $500,000 to the UN for a Joint Operations Centre (JOC) simulation ("mock JOC") that is planned to enhance training in Entebe. 

Conclusion: very little of the promised leadership in training has been shown. 

INTELLECTUAL/POLITICAL/POLICY CONTRIBUTIONS^

In the past, Canada provided great contributions to the evolution of UN policies and practice, with the creation of the first peacekeeping mission (UNMOGIP, 1948) and especially the first peacekeeping forces (UNEF, 1956 and UNFICYP 1964). Later it led in the development of the concepts of Responsibility to Protect (R2P, 2001), the Protection of Civilians (POC, 1999) and human security more generally. It also helped pioneer the use of panels of experts for sanctions monitoring (e.g., Angola 1999), which often happen in conjunction with peace operations.   

During the tenure of the Harper government, no intellectual initiatives were undertaken, even as the UN made tremendous progress in developing POC, peacekeeping-intelligence, as well as better training and equipping of peacekeepers. The Trudeau government made a major contribution in one area: child soldiers. Thanks mostly to the work of the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, the Vancouver Principles on "Peacekeeping and Preventing the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers" were adopted at the 2017 Vancouver ministerial and have been endorsed by over 80 countries. The contribution to Women, Peace and Security has been more by example (percentage women deployed in 2019) and financial contributions than by intellectual contribution. In the area of peacekeeping technology innovation, Canada did provide the UN with one gratis personnel for one year (Walter Dorn, 2017-18), who served as the UN's Innovation and Protection Technology Expert. 

Conclusion: With the exception of the Vancouver Principles on child soldiers and peacekeeping, led by the non-governmental Dallaire initiative, little or no intellectual leadership in peacekeeping has been shown by the government.

GOVERNMENT'S SELF-EVALUATION^

The government provides its own self-evaluation of the results of its promises (from the PM's mandate letters) at canada.ca/results, which redirects to https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/campaigns/mandate-tracker-results-canadians.html.  In October 2019, it listed the peacekeeping commitments as "Underway – on track" (defined as "progress toward completing this commitment is unfolding as expected"). In December 2018, this was downgraded to "Actions taken, progress made."

 

CONCLUSION (OVERALL)^

The Canadian government is not living up to its promises to re-engage in UN peacekeeping.  It is doing the opposite. At the end of June 2020, it was at the lowest level of personnel contribution since 1956, in part due to the COVID-19, but also because of a poor position to start with.

The air force contribution in Mali in 2018/19 was substantial and valued by the world organization but it lasted only one year. A new means of aerial transport assistance has been established, which is also to be commended, but it is only one C-130 tactical aircraft for 5 days of UN service a month (suspended for several months in 2020 while peacekeepers face COVD-19 challenges). 

While the Air Force has made an increased contribution, the Canadian army has not. It has not rotated troops in UN peacekeeping since the last century. While it provided seven force commanders for UN missions in the 1990s, none have been provided since. Canada is far behind its contributions of the past, in terms of numbers, leadership and hardship. It has not yet re-engaged in UN peace operations, as promised.

The Trudeau government is providing FEWER peacekeepers than the Harper government did (50% less, averaging over their terms in power). Maybe with a deployment of the long-promised QRF in the near future, Canada might once again make a strong contributions to the United Nations but will it be a sustained contribution? The record of the Trudeau government makes that quite doubtful.   

NATO missions in Iraq and Latvia have clearly been prioritized over UN missions. 

The government's October 2018 self-evaluation that fulfilment of its peacekeeping promises is "on track" was inaccurate, if not outright false. The government's downgraded self-evaluation of "actions taken, progress made" (starting January 2019 and continuing to October 2019) was more accurate but also indicates how far the reality is from the promises. Only one mission has been added by the Trudeau government since 2015: the Mali mission but this support function was provided for only one year (with a one-month extension for the aeromedical component). 

Ironically, the same month that Canada hosted a peacekeeping pledging conference (Vancouver, November 2017), the number of Canadian uniformed personnel in UN peacekeeping was lower than at any other point since the creation of the first peacekeeping force in 1956. It decreased even further in the months afterwards (to 40 in May 2018 and then to 34 by end of June 2020). Even with the increase in Mali (July 2018 to August 2019), the average monthly contribution of the Trudeau government since it assumed power in 2015 is still less than that of the previous government: on average, 102 uniformed personnel for the Trudeau government 2015-20 and 157 for the Harper government, 2006-15.

The Mali deployment did not signal a "re-engagement" in UN peace operations since the deployment of the aviation task force was relatively short-term (one year plus one month for the aeromedical component) and was not renewed. As noted, Canada announced on 19 March 2018 that it would provide the UN mission in Mali with an aviation task force of 6 helicopters and an aeromedical team. The deployment came to 8 helicopters after negotiations with UN headquarters. This substantial contribution became fully operational in August 2018 but the commitment was of short duration (less than the countries that preceded Canada). Furthermore, it was not a complete replacement for the German capability that was withdrawn in June 2018 after one-and-a-half years of service. And even with the Mali contribution, Canada's maximum contribution during Trudeau's term was just one-third (roughly) of Canada's pledged military contribution (up to 600 personnel).

Furthermore, other pledges are not being implemented. The promised Quick Reaction Force is not deploying quickly since it was pledged at the Vancouver ministerial in 2017. There is no deployment date (or place) in sight. Similarly, a new mission for Canadian police contributions has not yet been announced, though the number of police in Mali has increased. During Trudeau's term, Canada reached the lowest police contribution since 1992 (10 personnel in June 2020). For the promised deployment of C-130 (Hercules) aircraft to Entebbe, a creative proposal to serve multiple UN missions, the UN-Canada MOU took almost two years to negotiate.  Though August 2018 was the expected deployment month for the service, the agreement was not reached until a year later. And that service was suspended just as the UN faced the challenges of Ebola and COVID-19.

With the Air Force making the majority of the UN contribution, the Army has been left in limbo in peacekeeping, having deployed no units to UN operations during Trudeau's term.  

Canada is now doing better on on deploying women in peacekeeping, 25% of deployed Canadian uniformed personnel being women, according to UN stats. But the total number of women deployed has fallen preciptiously in September 2019 (UN numbers not yet released for 31 September), after the end of the Mali mission. Outside of the Mali mission, only 5 military women are deployed in peacekeeping operations. 

Defence Minister Sajjan has not shown leadership on the peacekeeping file. In fact, he has made Canada's fulment of its 2017 Vancouver commitments conditional on the United Nations. Rather fulfilling the promises and offering much needed asssistance to the world organization, in the House of Commons Defence Committee he stated: "Once we have the confidence through the UN that we'll have four to five nations as a part of it, then we as a government can consider getting into a rotation. ... we need to make sure that the mission is right, the troops that we have provided are going to have the right impact, and they will make the decisions accordingly ..." (Sajjan, 2020). This is another case of "paralysis by analysis," where significant opportunities and UN experience are lost as Canada continues to dither and delay in keeping its promises. 

The Trudeau government is not "back" and it is certainly not on track to meet its promises. Canada has not re-engaged, though a substantial commitment was made with the one mission in Mali. The rhetoric remains lofty on paper and in speeches but the Canadian government has yet to match its words with deeds. Canada is not leading by example and has defaulted on its own advice to the world: "The time for change is now and we must be bold" (Minister Sajjan's speech to UN Security Council, 28 March 2018, copy). 

 

This webpage is updated on a monthly basis (around mid-month, after UN statistics for the previous month-end are released). A copy of this page can be found at peacekeepingcanada.com. An op-ed on this subject, summarizing the above, was published in the Toronto Star on 22 August 2019. 

 

REFERENCES^

Canada, Department of National Defence (DND), "Pledges," 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial, Vancouver, https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/campaigns/peacekeeping-defence-ministerial/pledges.html.

Canada, Department of National Defence (DND), Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH), 
Operations Database: DOMREPONUCONUCAUNDOFUNEFUNEFIIUNFICYPUNGOMAPUNIFILUNIPOMUNMOGIPUNTAGUNYOM

Canada, Department of National Defence (DND),"Minister Sajjan Reaffirms Peace Operations Pledge at UN Defence Ministerial," https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/news/2016/09/minister-sajjan-reaffirms-peace-operations-pledge-defence-ministerial.html (quote: "Canada stands ready to deploy up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel for future UN peace operations."), 8 September 2016.

Canada, House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence, "Canada’s Role in International Peace Operations and Conflict Resolution," 2019 (pdf, 2 MB) (Fr: pdf)

Canada, Prime Minister, "Canada bolsters peacekeeping and civilian protection measures," News Release, 15 November 2017,
https://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2017/11/15/canada-bolsters-peacekeeping-and-civilian-protection-measures.

Canada, Privy Council, "Mandate Letter Tracker: Delivering results for Canadians," https://www.canada.ca/en/privy-council/campaigns/mandate-tracker-results-canadians.html, accessed 8 February 2018.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, "Canada offering 200 ground troops for future UN peacekeeping operations," http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/peacekeeping-plan-trudeau-vancouver-1.4403192, 15 November 2017. Trudeau Quote from Ministerial (15 November 2017): "We are making all these pledges today, because we believe in the United Nations and we believe in peacekeeping," he said. "What we will do is step up and make the contributions we are uniquely able to provide." 

Canadiansoldiers.com, “Peacekeeping,” http://www.canadiansoldiers.com/history/peacekeeping.

Dorn, A. Walter and Joshua Libben, "Preparing for peace: Myths and realities of Canadian peacekeeping training," International Journal, Vol. 73, Iss. 2, pp. 257-281 (26 July 2018) (html, pdf). (Longer 2016 Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and the Rideau Institute report: html, pdf)

Durch, William J., The Evolution of UN Peacekeeping: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis, St Martin’s Press, New York, 1993.

Sajjan, Harjit (Defence Minister), Address to the UN Security Council, 28 March 2018, video at http://webtv.un.org/watch/part-2-collective-action-to-improve-united-nations-peacekeeping-operations-security-council-8218th-meeting/5760429007001/?term=, 42:00-51:44.

Sajjan, Harjit (Defence Minister), "Testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence," 11 March 2020, at https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/43-1/NDDN/meeting-3/evidence#Int-10805065.

Trudeau, Justin (Prime Minister), Minister of National Defence Mandate Letter (12 November 2015), html

Trudeau, Justin (Prime Minister), Minister of National Defence Mandate Letter (13 December 2019), https://pm.gc.ca/en/mandate-letters/2019/12/13/minister-national-defence-mandate-letter

Trudeau, Justin (Prime Minister), Minister of Foreign Affairs (update of 1 February 2017), html

Trudeau, Justin (Prime Minister), Minister of Foreign Affairs (13 December 2019), https://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-foreign-affairs-mandate-letter

United Kingdom, "UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial: London 2016," https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/un-peacekeeping-defence-ministerial-london-2016. Final Report (pdf).

United Kingdom, "UN Peacekeeping Ministerial – pledge slides (PPT)" (pdf), https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/556825/Pledge_slide_show_-_final_for_media_2.pdf.

United Nations (UN), "Troop and Police Contributors," https://peacekeeping.un.org/en/troop-and-police-contributors.

United Nations (UN), Department of Peacekeeping Operations / Department of Field Support, "Current and Emerging Uniformed Capability Requirements for United Nations Peacekeeping," issued periodically, including December 2016 (pdf), May 2017 (pdf) and August 2017 (pdf).

United Nations (UN), Department of Public Information (DPI), The Blue Helmets: A Review of United Nations Peace-Keeping, 2nd ed.. (New York, N.Y.), United Nations, 1992.

World Federalist Movement – Canada, “Canadians for Peacekeeping”, https://peacekeepingcanada.com/ (includes a copy of this page at https://peacekeepingcanada.com/tracking-the-promises-canadas-contributions-to-un-peacekeeping/)

 

ANNEX: BACKGROUND^

Figure A.1: Canada's pledges, as recorded in peacekeeping ministerials in London, Vancouver and New York

London (2016) and Vancouver new pledges (2017):

Pledges Peacekeeping Vancouver Ministerial Canada unpkdm pledges en Accessed 2Dec2017

 

New York (2019):

Canada Pledge PkgMinisterial NYC 29Mar2019

 

Figure A.2: Canadian contributions of uniformed personnel from 1950 to 2019
(maximum of each year)

 Cdn Uniformed Pers UN Pkg 1950 to 2020 04 31

 Sources: Canada DND, Canadiansoldier.com, W. Durch, UN DPI

Mission Acronyms: Largest Cdn Contributions (at the time)
MINUJUSTH:  United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (2017-19)
MINUSTAH:   United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (2004-17)
UNDOF:        United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (1974-)
UNEF:           United Nations Emergency Force (1956-67)
UNEF II:       United Nations Emergency Force (1973-79)
UNFICYP:     United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (1964-)
UNMEE:        United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (2000-08)
UNMISS:       United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (2011-)
UNPROFOR:   United Nations Protection Force (1992-95)
UNOSOM:      United Nations Operation in Somalia (1992-95)
UNTAC:         United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (1992-93)
UNTSO:         United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (1948-)

 

Figure A.3: Canada's rank among nations contributing uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping, 1991 to 2019
(Lowest rank since Pearson's proposal for a peacekeeping force (1956) was 81st, reached in May 2018, two months before the Mali deployment)

CdnPkgRank UN Data 1991 to 2020 04 32

Figure A.4. Contribution by six-month average, from 2000 to 2018 (December), showing governments in power at the time (graphics by Munich Security Report 2019 using data from Dorn)

MSR19 Dorn CanadaPeacekeepingChart

 

Table A.1  Canadian personnel contributions (M, F) to UN peace operations

Abbreviations
M, F: Male, Female
MSO: Military Staff Officer
Troops: military personnel deployed in units
UNMEM: UN Military Expert on Mission (mostly UN Military Observers)
UNPOL: UN Police

August 31, 2019 

   
Mission    Troops   Mil Experts

  Staff 
officer

Mil
Total
Police Mission
Total
MINUSMA 69 (58, 11) 8 (5, 3) 77 (63, 14) 9 (6,3) 86 (69, 17)
MINUJUSTH 18 (6, 12) 18 (6, 12)
UNMISS 4 (4, 0) 7 (4, 3) 11 (8,3) 11 (8, 3)
MONUSCO 8 (7, 1) 8 (7, 1) 8 (7, 1)
UNTSO 4 (4,0) 4 (4,0) 4 (4, 0)
UNFICYP 1 (0, 1) 1 (0, 1) 1 (0, 1)
Totals 69 (58, 11) 9 (8, 1) 23 (16, 7) 101 (82, 19) 27 (12, 15) 128 (94, 34)

 

September 30, 2019 (pdf)

   
Mission    Troops   Mil Experts

  Staff 
officer

Mil 
Total
Police Mission
Total
MINUSMA  0  5 (3, 2)  5 (3, 2) 12 (8, 4) 17 (11, 6)
MINUJUSTH  8 (3, 5)   8 (3, 5)
UNMISS  4 (4, 0)  7 (4, 3) 11 (8,3) 11 (8, 3)
MONUSCO  8 (7, 1)  8 (7, 1)   8 (7, 1)
UNTSO     4 (4,0)     4 (4,0)      4 (4, 0)
UNFICYP  1 (0, 1)  1 (0, 1)   1 (0, 1)
Totals  0   8 (8, 0)  21 (14,7) 29 (22, 7) 20 (11, 9) 49 (33, 16)

 

October 31, 2019

Mission     Totals
   UNMEM  Troops UNPOL MSO Mission
BINUH 0 0 4 (0,4) 0 4 (0,4)
MINUSMA 0 0 12 (8,4) 5 (3,2) 17 (11,6)
MONUSCO 0 0 0 7 (6,1) 7 (6,1)
UNFICYP 0 0 0 1 (0,1) 1 (0,1)
UNMISS 4 (4,0) 0 0 8 (4,4) 12 (8,4)
UNTSO 4 (4,0) 0 0 0 4 (4,0)
Totals 8 (8,0) 0 16 (8,8) 21 (13,8) 45 (29,16)

 

December 31, 2019

Mission     Totals
  UNMEM  Troops UNPOL MSO Mission
BINUH 0 0 3 (0,3) 0 3 (0,3)
MINUSMA 0 0 16(9,7) 5 (3,2) 21 (12,9)
MONUSCO 0 0 0 8 (8,0) 8 (8,0)
UNFICYP 0 0 0 1 (0,1) 1 (0,1)
UNMISS 4 (4,0) 0 0 7 (4,3) 11 (8,3)
UNTSO 4 (4,0) 0 0 0 4 (4,0)
Totals 8 (8,0) 0 19 (9,10) 21 (16,6) 48 (32,16)



January 31, 2020

Mission Location Contribution type Male Female Total
BINUH   Haiti Police 3 0 3
UNTSO   Middle East Experts 4 0 4
UNMISS   S. Sudan Staff 4 3 7
    Experts 3 0 3
UNFICYP  Cyprus Staff 0 1 1
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Staff 8 0 8
MINUSMA  Mali Police 8 6 14
    Staff 3 2 5
      33 12 45

 

February 29, 2020

Mission Location Type M F Tot
BINUH  Haiti Police 3 0 3
MINUSMA  Mali Police 8 6 14
    Mil staff 4 1 5
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 8 0 8
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil staff 4 0 4
    Mil experts 4 3 7
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 4 0 4
    Mil 20 9 29
    Police 17 0 17
      35 11 46


31 March 2020

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
MINUSMA  Mali Police 8 6 14
    Mil staff 4 1 5
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 8 0 8
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil staff 4 0 4
    Mil experts 3 4 7
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 4 0 4
    Mil 23 6 29
    Police 8 6 14
    Totals 31 12 43

 Source: United Nations

 

30 April 2020

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
MINUSMA  Mali Police 6 4 10
    Mil staff 4 0 4
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 8 0 8
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 3 0 3
    Mil staff 3 3 6
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 3 0 3
    Mil 21 4 25
    Police 6 4 10
    Totals 27 8 35

 

 

31 May 2020

Mission Location Type Male Female Total
MINUSMA  Mali Police 6 4 10
    Mil staff 4 0 4
MONUSCO  D.R. Congo Mil staff 7 0 7
UNFICYP  Cyprus Mil staff 0 1 1
UNMISS  S. Sudan Mil experts 2 0 2
    Mil staff 4 3 7
UNTSO Middle East Mil experts 3 0 3
    Mil 20 4 24
    Police 6 4 10
    Totals 26 8 34