Fri. Mar 22nd, 2019

Maj.-Gen. Amadou Kane, MINUSMA's deputy force commander, pictured on July 31, 2018, handing the United Nations' flag to Col. Chris McKenna in a change of command from Germany to Canada at a parade at Camp Castor in Gao, Mali. Photograph courtesy of Department of National Defence/Corporal Ken Beliwicz

Canada enters dangerous year-long peacekeeping mission in Mali

Conservatives still want House debate and vote

The Canadian peacekeeping mission could be tasked to any part of Mali, but likely will stay in their medical evacuation post in northeastern Mali, according to Canada’s commanding officer in Mali.

Canada started its year-long, dangerous peacekeeping mission in Mali on Aug. 1 aimed at bringing peace and stability to the northwestern African nation which has been gripped by war since 2012, but the Conservative defence critic says it’s unclear if the mission is in Canada’s national interest and that he will push for a debate and a House vote when the Commons returns in September.

“The government has not articulated how this mission, in particular, is in Canada’s national interest,” Conservative MP James Bezan (Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman, Man.) told The Hill Times.

Mr. Bezan, who speaks for his party’s 97 MPs on defence issues, said if this mission is only about the Liberals fulfilling a campaign promise then it’s not a good reason for Canada to be involved in the mission.

The Liberals, who made a Canadian return to the blue berets a theme of their 2015 campaign, offered a “take-note” House debate last March.

Mr. Bezan said that because the mission has not been brought to the House for a vote, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South, B.C.) can use his executive power and extend the mission “at will.”

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