In breaking news, Murray Brewster is reporting, on CBC News, that “The Canadian military will deploy helicopters and support troops, including medical teams, to the troubled West African nation of Mali later this year, CBC News has learned … [and] … A senior government official, speaking on background, said a formal announcement will be made Monday.“
“The helicopters,” Mr Brewster says, “presumably would replace a German contingent which has been flying transport and medical evacuation missions in Mali.“
[Prime Minister] “Trudeau, who is on vacation in Florida, spoke by phone on Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands … [Murray Brewster says] … Both countries have been actively pressuring Canada behind the scenes at the UN to make the commitment. Trudeau took the opportunity to brief both leaders on the decision, said the source.” The Netherlands had, previously, pulled its helicopters out of Mali and the Germans replaced them, now the Germans want someone to replace them in turn … so Canada will give it a go.
It’s a bit of a “just in time” announcement, too, because Murray Brewster also reports that “Just over four months after the Liberal government renewed its commitment to United Nations peacekeeping, the number of Canadian troops deployed on such missions has hit an all-time low … [and] … New figures released by National Defence show that there were 22 Canadian soldiers taking part in four missions authorized by the UN Security Council at the end of February.“
There is, of course, more to come and I will withhold further comment until I see some further details … except to say that this is a UN mission, which means it is likely mismanaged, and France still has its own, non-UN, mission in Africa, including Mali, which is unlikely to help anything except France’s perceived interests.