Sajjan reiterates Canada’s peacekeeping commitment at London conference522 views
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has reiterated the government’s commitment to peacekeeping at a conference in Britain, telling attendees that Canada will be a “responsible partner in the world.”
Sajjan, who addressed the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in London, says Canada will contribute 600 troops and 150 police officers, but he didn’t say when or where that could happen.
In late August, Sajjan joined Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion in announcing personnel and equipment commitments for future peacekeeping operations. In addition, the government pledged $450 million over three years for peace and security projects around the world.
Speaking to reporters outside the conference Thursday, Sajjan said Canadians will be the first to know when a decision is made on which mission the peacekeepers will join.
“If you look at the previous announcements we’ve made as a government, whether it’s been in Iraq or in NATO, it’s about understanding conflict first,” Sajjan said, later adding: “We want to make a meaningful contribution that when we provide something, it’s actually going to have an added impact.”
During the conference, Sajjan called “peace support operations” one of Canada’s “most important” endeavours.
“I also want to stress the fact that this will be a whole government effort, not just strictly a military one,” Sajjan said, adding he will be working closely with ministerial colleagues Dion, as well as International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
He said the conflicts he is seeing in regions of Africa are “extremely complex.”
“It is not the conflicts of before,” Sajjan said. “We have radical organizations also in the intermix, in the political strife that’s going on in particular regions.”
Sajjan said the government must be “far more innovative in our approach.
“We need to look at the lessons that our African Union partners have already learned,” he said. “We need to look at our own lessons that we have learned from the different conflicts.”
Sajjan, a seasoned veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, said he “may be new” to politics, but “I’m not a novice to conflict and we need to elevate that conversation.”
Courtesy CTV News