Canada’s Role as a Peacekeeper
Past Achievements in Peacekeeping –
The United Nations set up the Security Council in 1945, with the 5 most powerful nations (the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and China) as permanent members. The role of the Security Council was to stop or prevent wars and restore peace in the world. In 1945, some member nations thought that the UN should have its own powerful army however; the other nations opposed the idea. So, when the UN requires an army, for peacekeeping or for fighting a war, it must borrow soldiers from the member nations [Desmond 1]. Participation in international ventures, such as the Korean War, allowed Canada to take an active role in world affairs. During the post war period, Canada created for itself the role of mediator and peacemaker. Canada became recognized for its efforts to use quiet diplomacy to resolve international disputes and willingly participated in UN peacekeeping missions with military force. This peacekeeping role was useful, responsible, and relatively inexpensive. It became a pillar of Canadian foreign policy in the post-war period and depended, fundamentally, on the skills, dedication, and strength of the Canadian military. Between 1947 and the present, Canada has participated in over 50 UN peacekeeping missions.
More than 125,000 soldiers have served as peacekeepers in UN operations around the world [Military History 2]. The most significant of Canada’s early peacekeeping missions occurred in 1956, when an Israel-Arab dispute over the Suez Canal threatened the stability of the Middle East. Canada’s chief UN delegate, Lester Pearson, was able to negotiate a diplomatic solution – fast. He set up a multinational peacekeeping force. The Canadian contribution to this international contingent was originally to be based on the 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. However, Egyptian President Nasser announced his refusal to accept a regiment of “soldiers of the Queen” because of his dispute with Britain. The Canadian contingent was then changed to one of communications and logistics (supply, transport, and air movements) and, in fact, these support functions became very much a Canadian specialty. Indeed, they were the basis of Canada’s reputation as a peacekeeping nation.
When people look back and remember the First World War, they often remember the assassination of Franz-Ferdinand, the sinking of the Lusitania, or the Zimmerman telegram. Not often do they recall the role that Canada played in the war. However, Canadians were a significant factor of the Allies’ success. Although Canada only possessed two Navy warships at the time and was known for being a peaceful ...
The Suez Crisis resulted in strained relations between the United States and its senior European allies, France and Great Britain. The Canadian government, led by the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Lester Pearson, succeeded in defusing this dangerous international crisis. Lester Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the Suez crisis. He was the first to propose a UN mission along the lines of what we have come to know as peacekeeping.
Canada’s longest peacekeeping mission began a few years after the Suez Crisis. In 1959, Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean, gained its independence from Great Britain. Greek and Turkish communities on the island, however, could not coexist peacefully. By 1963, fighting had broken out between the two groups. Canada was regarded as a state whose position was, essentially, a neutral one. Canada kept an infantry battalion of varying size in Cyprus until the mid-1990s and still maintains a small group of observers there. Virtually every Canadian infantry battalion did at least one Cyprus tour and most did several times.
Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping has not been without sacrifice. Since peacekeeping began, more than 100 Canadian peacekeepers died attempting to bring peace to the world.
Historically, Canada has been the 8th largest troop contributor to the UN. However, Canada’s financial contribution to the UN peacekeeping budget is minimal. The maximum contribution was C$ 128 million in 1996 but it was less than one quarter of the budget of the Montreal Police Department [United Nations Association of Canada 5]. Since then Canada has been contributing even less. Some might argue that Canada’s decreasing financial contribution to UN’s peacekeeping does not reflect a decreasing commitment this is because a large number of states are recognizing what Canada has always believed in: peacekeeping is beneficial to the international community. Therefore, these nations contribute to UN peacekeeping – thus reducing Canada’s burden.
1. Introduction This report has been written to try to assess the usefulness of peacekeeping, and does this mainly by looking at three different case studies. The fact that it uses case studies as a measure of usefulness means that a lot of the information is practical in that you can see what difference the peacekeepers made, as opposed to merely theoretical. I chose three different case studies, ...
Peacekeeping in our time –
Recently, Canada played a key role in the 1990 Iraq/Kuwait war and then as a peacekeeper in the Bosnia/Croatia conflict in 1991.
Can Canada build upon its past successes as a peacekeeper to restore the respect that it once commanded from the UN members? In principle, Canada still supports the UN peacekeeping, however the statistics are a little disappointing. Today, Canada ranks 52nd in personnel contribution for peacekeeping operations and of the more than 70,000 blue berets (UN peacekeepers) deployed all over the world, Canada’s contribution is only about 200 soldiers. The Government of Canada justifies this because of its large involvement in the non-UN peacekeeping operations. Canada has more than a thousand peacekeepers in Afghanistan on a NATO mission and an equal number deployed worldwide on other non-UN missions. Canada can still maintain its position as “moral leader” but that leadership has to come with a commitment of resources. Canada remains important to UN peacekeeping, particularly when a swift, short-term deployment is needed. Canada has some of the best military communication experts and knows how to combine military skills with humanitarian efforts. The federal government’s pledge to increase military spending may yet place Canada more firmly in the UN peacekeeping orbit [Foreign Affairs Canada 3].
Changing Face of Peacekeeping –
Although peacekeeping is not part of the UN Charter, it has become an integral component of UN operations. The UN defines peacekeeping as “the deployment of international military and civilian personnel to a conflict area in order to stop or contain hostilities or supervise the carrying out of a peace agreement, with the consent of the conflicting parties.” This is the only known definition of peacekeeping, since dictionaries do not give a formal definition. However, over the period, peacekeeping has continued to evolve; the UN is increasingly challenged to resolve new and complex international conflicts.
Before anyone is admitted into the military forces, or positions concerning keeping the lives of other safe, they must go through a series of physical tests and training to see if they can adequately perform their duties .Physical training is done before a trainee enters and continues periodically as long as the trainee remains throughout. Physical training includes running, push-ups, sit ups, ...
Peacekeepers traditional role has been to supervise cease-fires, monitor the movements of armies on both sides, help in negotiations and bring peace to the affected area. Peacekeepers do not enforce the terms of a cease-fire or negotiated settlement – it is up to the two warring parties. The peacekeepers do not have the authority like a Government. They cannot force the parties to live by the negotiated settlement. Their only authority is the moral authority. Therefore, the success of a peacekeeping mission depends on the cooperation of the parties in conflict.
Peacekeeping is a challenging task. Peacekeepers are much more than good combat soldiers. Peacekeepers must have skills to persuade and negotiate and to be firm in dealing with the hostile forces. As the conflicts and crises become more complex, so too must the skills of the peacekeepers. Peacekeeping has evolved to the point where demands placed on peacekeepers are so different that the founders of the peacekeeping (Lester B. Pearson and his contemporaries) would not recognize it. Peacekeepers are now asked to do much more than they were asked in previous missions, often in situations where there is no peace to keep. Varied responsibilities of peacekeepers’ now include
disarming military forces
providing security to the local population
organizing and observing free and fair elections
intervening before the conflicts occur
encouraging peace settlements
training and leading local police force
escorting and protecting humanitarian aid convoys
performing government functions
The evolution of peacekeeping has led to numerous debates and some are questioning the effectiveness of peacekeeping concerning to deal with international conflicts.
The Department of Homeland Security was created after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The Department was formed by merging many exiting resources and adding to the best practices already in place. The Strategic Objectives of the Department are stated by the Department as “We will lead the unified national effort to secure America. We will prevent and deter terrorist attacks and protect against ...
Canada has responded to the changing demands of UN peacekeeping. Canadian peacekeeping missions no longer depend only on the military support but, on diverse groups. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and provincial police help train the local police force and encourage respect for human rights. They have performed policing functions in Haiti and former Yugoslavia; helping to improve the stability in those countries. Elections Canada sends observers to ensure free and fair elections. Corrections Services Canada has also played role in peacekeeping missions. Canada now and continues to deploys peacekeeping missions with more diverse skills. Military personnel work closely with police experts to develop security in conflict-affected area. Other experts may include regional and municipal administrators, judges and prosecutors – to develop judiciary system and courts, media, health, tax and social policy – child protection experts, facilitators and mediators, and even people to manage basic infrastructure, such as sewage treatment plants, roads and railways [Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade 6].
Canada’s Recent Influences in the UN –
Canada has six times been elected to the powerful UN Security Council, serving terms in 1948-49, 1958-59, 1967-68, 1977-78, 1989-90 and in 1999-2000. In the last term on the Council, Canada’s priorities revolved around issues of human security, such as the protection of civilians in armed conflict, war-affected children, conflict prevention, peace building, mass refugee flows, illicit small arms trafficking, gross human rights abuses, and failures of governance and the rule of law [Foreign Affairs Canada 7].
Canada also played major role in enforcing the sanctions – restrictions imposed on the trade of he countries that violate human rights. These sanctions have been particularly useful in Africa. Canada also made changes to the working methods of the Security Council so that they are visible and acceptable to the UN members.
History of the Canadian Mounted Police TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE # TITLE -- Title page -- 1 Table of Contents -- 2 Introduction -- 2 Story of the Force -- 6 Story of One Man's Career -- 8 The North West Mounted Police Did Make a Difference -- 9 Bibliography INTRODUCTION This is the story of the North West Mounted Police, who played an exciting and important part in Canadian history. This report will ...
Most recently, Ambassador Philippe Kirsch of Canada chaired the negotiations leading to the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In 2003, Ambassador Kirsch was subsequently elected as a Judge of the ICC and is serving as its first President.
Canada strongly supports the ongoing UN reform process. The UN reform will help ensure that the UN organization remains strong and capable of dealing with threats to global security. Canada has pledged to work to strengthen the UN’s capacity for preventive action and enhance the UN’s rapid reaction capability. To this end, Canada has recently been an active proponent of a United Nations Rapid Reaction Force. Such a Rapid Reaction Force will allow UN to respond rapidly and effectively to the crisis situations.
UN has already adopted Canadian supported initiative – Responsibility to Protect – also known as “R2P”. The R2P allows UN to prevent catastrophic threats to the population and to react if the population is caught up in such danger. R2P also allows UN to intervene militarily to protect the population if the government of that state is unable to do so. According to former UN Ambassador, Allan Rock (the President of University of Ottawa), R2P will prevent ethnic cleansing, atrocities of masses and genocide. All of this goes to show the influence that Canada still maintains in the UN and is effective in reforming the UN.
Peacekeeping is an important aspect of Canada’s national heritage and a reflection of our fundamental beliefs. Canada’s foreign policies have been guided by the underlying principles of the United Nations. Peacekeeping is also a significant component of Canada’s foreign policy. During the last sixty-five years, since the formation of the UN, Canada has made a significant, constructive and sustained contribution in all areas of UN activity: peace and security, human rights, social and economic development and environmental affairs – but outstandingly so in peacekeeping.
Can Canada sustain its role as a mediator and middle power in the modern UN? Canada has shown an exemplary record in peacekeeping – it was the first proponent of peacekeeping and a Canadian has even won the Nobel peace prize for peacekeeping. More than fifty years of experience in peacekeeping and participation in an overwhelming majority of peacekeeping missions mandated by the UN Security Council has established an international reputation for Canada. Canada has continually adapted to changing requirements of peacekeeping mission. It no longer provides only military support to peacekeeping mission but supports and provides leadership for all aspects of peacekeeping mission. Canada is well poised to continue its long-standing commitment to the United Nations. Canada’s role as UN peacekeeper has earned Canada a moral leadership in the UN.
Today, Canadians are concerned with many issues involving health care. It is the responsibility of the provincial party to come up with a fair, yet reasonable solution to this issue. This solution must support Canadians for the best; it involves people and how they are treated when in need for health care. The Liberal party feels that they have the best solution that will provide Canadians with ...
Canada is the seventh largest contributor to UN regular budget and is one of the few member nations to always pay on time, in full and without condition. More than half of this contribution is for peacekeeping. Some might argue that Canada’s meagre contribution – only 3% of the total – does not make Canada a major influence in the UN. However, contrary to what some may say, Canada still maintains its moral leadership in the UN.
Can Canada make a difference in reforming the UN peacekeeping? The answer is albeit “yes”. Canada’s continuing commitment to peacekeeping and influence in the UN is evident from the recent endorsement by the UN of Canada’s proposal for “Responsibility to Protect” that allows UN military intervention to protect population. Canada has also recently proposed creation of a United Nations Rapid Reaction Force, which would respond rapidly to crisis situation. Most recently, Canada led the establishment of the International Criminal Court and a Canadian was subsequently elected as a Judge of this court.
The 1995 Foreign Policy Paper, entitled Canada and the World, states:
“The UN continues to be the key vehicle for pursuing Canada’s global security objectives. Canada can best move forward its global security priorities by working with other member states. The success of the UN is fundamental, therefore, to Canada’s future security.”
Public opinion surveys consistently show that Canadians have a high regard for the UN and Canada is committed to preserving. Evidently, Canada can and has to sustain its role as a moral leader, moderator and middle power because Canadians believe in the UN and Canada needs the UN. The UN remains as relevant to Canada today as it was in 1945, if not more so.