The Green Party of Canada today marks UN Peacekeeping Day by warning Canadians that their once-proud role in international peacekeeping has been systematically whittled away.
According to the latest information released by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the UN, as of April 30th, 2013, Canada is sending 19 armed peacekeeping troops to the UN, 12 unarmed Military Experts on Mission (MEMs), and 99 police officers, for a personnel total of 130.
Canada’s peacekeeping troop contribution to the UN is now less than Mongolia (927 troops), Hungary (81 troops), and Togo (525 troops).
“Most Canadians remember with pride the time in the early 1990s when Canada sent more than 3,200 soldiers to peacekeeping missions around the world,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands. “I think they would be shocked and disappointed to learn that our peacekeeping reputation has been so compromised.”
At the same time, federal funding for peacekeeping institutions, such as the Pearson Center for Peacekeeping and the Peace Support Training Center in Kingston, which train peacekeepers from various countries for missions, has been slashed.
“Why is Canada all but ignoring the world’s need for peacekeepers? Canadians have the will and the skill to serve,” said Ellen Michelson, Green Party Peace and Security advocate. “The Green Party of Canada calls on the Harper Conservatives to reverse their poor record on contributing personnel to UN peacekeeping operations.”