Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on a mission to save the world.
The Liberal government has always been a supporter of increasing Canadian military presence in the world. Trudeau has repeatedly promised that Canada will make military contributions to global causes. In a statement released on National Peacekeepers’ Day, he said:
“Moving forward, we will increase Canada’s support to United Nations peace operations: providing more personnel and training to UN peace support missions; increasing our conflict prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding efforts; advancing the roles of women and youth in the promotion of peace and security; and supporting UN reform efforts to make peace support initiatives more effective.”
At present, Canadian forces have been deployed to multiple strategic locations in the world including, but not limited to, Ukraine and the Middle East. Almost 200 Canadian troops are engaged in training the local forces to better defend their country. In Iraq and Kuwait, Canadian forces are busy dealing with ISIS.
Trudeau’s government has also pledged to station troops in Latvia. And more military personnel would soon be responsible of maintaining peace in Africa, a task that will place them in the line of fire.
On paper, this sounds like a wonderful idea. It seems like Canada is playing its role in a truly noble endeavor, preventing global conflicts and promoting liberal values around the world. But is it affordable?
Trudeau’s Liberal government might think it is. But some of the country’s leading experts think otherwise. Dave Perry, a defense analyst with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute states that the real challenge is not the availability of the troops. It’s providing logistic support to the troops stationed outside Canada.
“It’s fairly taxing on the forces’ support capacity,” says Perry. “When you get into doing a lot of missions, a lot of times it’s the logistics and support people that get worn out the fastest.”
Perhaps the next time Trudeau makes a global commitment, he should consider the cost first.