So, with a major UN peacekeeping summit coming up in Vancouver and the Trudeau regime still uncertain about how, if at all, to contribute, we cannot be blamed for wondering about the government’s priorities. But Michael Grant, Canadian Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, gives us a hint with this very recent statement:
This is what is now called virtue signalling … it used to be called political pabulum, campaign nonsense, rubbish, arrant nonsense and things like that, but, in the 21st century the phrase has come to mean “the way in which many people say or write things to indicate that they are virtuous,” and no one is better at it than the Trudeau Liberals who have pushed “mainstreaming gender,” along with environmental protection and indigenous (First Nations) rights, to the very top of Canada’s diplomatic priority lists …
… much to the bemusement of our allies, friends, trading partners and even enemies in the world. Do seasoned diplomats like Michael Grant actually believe the drivel they say in public? < shrug> Who knows? (But, over the years, I have met a few decidedly odd people in the ever so pretentiously named Global Affairs Department, rubbing shoulders with the mainstream realists.) The simple fact is that when governments issue their priorities the senior officials, the mandarins, go along … or, at least, they pretend to go along.
As you might imagine, “mainstreaming gender” and finding “innovative solutions to integrating gender perspectives in peacekeeping” is provoking a few chuckles over at Army.ca where real soldiers, combat and peacekeeping veterans, suggest that it might also involve e.g. “incorporating unicorn farms and pixie dust sprinklers into peace support [missions]” and to wonder if, in Justin Trudeau’s mind, “keeping people from shooting/blowing up/raping/pillaging each other is an after though?“
There is, I fear, a huge gulf between the ideas that the Trudeau regime is “virtue signalling” to the world and the harsh reality of the situations on the ground in e.g. Mali, Congo and South Sudan. Sure, there can be some lovely photo-ops ~ Canadian female soldiers feeding adorable black children ~ IF, but only if, Canada provides what the missions needs: combat (infantry and tanks), combat support (combat engineers, signals and aviation) and combat service support (supply and transport, maintenance and medical).
I remain convinced that the United Nations is, almost, the worst possible organization to do modern peacekeeping ~ which is far removed from the baby-blue beret truce supervisory operations of the 1940s and ’50s. But I fail to see how Team Trudeau can get past this big Vancouver conference with its reputation intact if it doesn’t commit to something. There might be a few hints in the CBC News report: tactical air transport to Mali and/or to South Sudan or, maybe, an independent, Canadian led, air support operation, based in a relatively safe central airport with decent global connections, that can support several separate UN missions in Africa, for example. I have little doubt that the UN would welcome more and, especially, better managed air transport support ~ it may not be the UN’s top priority but it is almost always high on every mission commander’s wish list. Yes, there are risks but not as high as ground combat where engaging (killing) child soldiers is, always, a very real possibility.