A Return to Peace
by The Nommz on February 8, 2015 - 7:13pm
“How Canada has abandoned its role as a peace keeper” is an article written by Michelle Shepard of the Toronto Star in September 2013. The article illustrates the persisting issue of how Canadian soldiers and personal are getting more and more uninvolved with the U.N and its peace keeping operations around the Globe. This is strange due to the history of Canadians being at the forefront of peace keeping. Ever Since Lester B. Pearson, Canadians have been known to be cunning negotiators and diplomats. A people who are always willing to lend a hand to those in need. We created the concept of the Famed “Blue Helmets”, and contributed throughout the years to see its continued success. However today there are a mere 118 Canadian military and non military personnel serving in U.N peace keeping operations. Compare that to the high point of our global operations back in the April of 1993 which there were 3,300. It is obvious to anyone looking at the numbers being represented that Canada’s focus is, or rather has shifted away from peace keeping. Our contributions to U.N were once the biggest in the world, now we are 65th out of 179 member nations. One might ask why the Canadian Government is taking less and less of an interest in Peace keeping? This is due to the failures of the U.N missions in Rwanda, Bosnia, and an Operation in Somalia which deeply scared Canada’s image. Not to mention the recent attacks on Canadian military personnel on our own soil that have made our politicians turn their gaze towards acts of war rather than recommit to the U.N. Western nations like Canada backing down in their previous commitments creates a void of manpower in which poorer countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan are more than willing to fill. They fill this void in order to get access to financial supplementation by the U.N which greatly benefits their own economies. The problem is that in an effort to boost their own economies these nations avoid the real reasons why they are operating within these regions in the first place. This is apparent in towns like Bola in the Central African Republic, where troops from the African Union acting under the supervision of the U.N are seen as agents promoting their own countries interests ahead of affecting change. Michelle Shepard is definitely making a call back to arms on the front of peace keeping. Urging the Canadian government to retake the mantle which we once held. However I see a much larger issue which demands attention, Canada alone will not guarantee future successful operations in towns like Bola, and the Central African Republic. Other member states like France and Belgium must be willing to adapt to the proper standards predefined by the U.N and act as guides for the newer poorer nations like the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is the duty of western nations which have been members of the U.N for the past 70 years to make sure that the proper forms of conduct are being fallowed, and that the primary focus of these missions are to secure long lasting peace within the regions. As a individual who is currently joining the military I would love nothing more to see my country regain its reputation as a humble negotiator. I want nothing but to see our troops involved once more in rebuilding a country’s lost infrastructure, and deliver clean water to isolated regions of the world. I understand fully that my future career has implications which are not geared towards peace. But to see the image of the country I love being dismantled is frightening to me. Our soldiers take pride in that image, they see that true strength stems from the courage to stand in the line of one who will do harm to another without resorting to complete aggression. And that to be Canadian is to be loved for our ability to accept the burden of peace, and pursue it until all avenues have been exhausted. To abandon this role is to abandon being a Canadian, this role defines who we are as a people. This role is what separates us from others, and to me it has always lead me to being prideful of citizenship in this great nation.