The Liberal Peacekeeping Mission to Mali

April 09, 2018

On March 19, 2018, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced a 12-month United Nations mission, which will include a detachment of helicopters and support soldiers to be sent to the west African nation of Mali. Unfortunately, the announcement was short on details which are important to Canadians. In keeping these details secret, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is failing to be honest with Canadians, which raises serious concerns about the reasons for the mission.

Following the announcement of the 12-month mission to Mali, the Prime Minister refused to say how many Canadian soldiers will be deployed, when they will be sent, who will be in command, the types of risks associated with the mission, and what the rules of engagement are. Moreover, the Liberal government has failed to explain how this peacekeeping mission is in Canada’s national interest. These are undoubtedly important details Canadians rightfully deserve to know.

Conservatives will always support our brave men and women in uniform. However, the Prime Minister is failing to be honest with Canadians about the risks associated with deploying our soldiers into an active warzone, widely considered to be the most dangerous UN mission in the world. Mali is a combat mission; there is no peace to be kept. In fact, since 2014, there have been 162 UN soldiers killed in the country. It is, therefore, imperative for the Prime Minister to provide Canadians with essential details about the mission.

In continuing to refuse to provide details about the Mali mission, the March 19th announcement seems to be designed for Prime Minister Trudeau to curry favour with the United Nations in order to secure a temporary seat on the UN Security Council and to turn the page on the Liberal government’s disastrous foreign policy agenda.

We, the Conservative Official Opposition, want a full debate and vote in the House of Commons before Prime Minister Trudeau deploys our brave men and women to fight in Mali. A decision of this magnitude should not be made by the Prime Minister alone without consulting Parliament. If there is nothing for him or the Liberal government to hide, then there shouldn’t be any problem in having a debate and vote in the House of Commons. Canadians deserve and expect their elected representatives to have open and transparent debates on important national issues on their behalf, such as this mission.

It’s time for the current Liberal government to be honest with Canadians about the details of the 12-month mission to Mali. The Conservative Official Opposition will continue to be the voice of Canadians in calling for a full debate and vote; only then the true reasons for the mission will be known.