OTTAWA | November 18, 2011

Operation Undetermined: Canada’s military future

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Canada in combat

  •  Since 1899, Canada's military has contributed armed personnel in seven major wars, including both World Wars, the Korean War, Afghanistan and the recent mission in Libya.
  •  Approximately 113,000 soldiers have sacrificed their lives over the course of Canadian military history since the Second Boer War in 1899.

Keeping the peace

  •  Canada has been involved in more than 33 UN peacekeeping missions, including Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia, the Congo, Darfur, Libya and the Middle East.
  •  Over 120,000 Canadians have served in peacekeeping operations (PKOs) worldwide since the end of WWII.
  •  Currently, there are 126 Canadians deployed on UN PKOs, ranking Canada 55th out of 108 police and military contributing countries.
  •  114 Canadians have lost their lives serving on PKOs since the end of WWII, the second highest number of peacekeeping casualties in the world.

Afghanistan, 10 years later

  • 158 Canadian Forces and aid workers have lost their lives through fighting and service in Afghanistan since 2003.
  •  This past July, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the combat part of the mission was over. As of December 2011, all combat troops will have withdrawn from Afghanistan.
  •  950 Canadian Forces personnel have been transferred from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to train the Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army.
  •  At the start of the mission, there was wide support from Canadians for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, at nearly 75 per cent.
  •  Since then, public opinion has dropped steadily, from 46 per cent in favour in 2006, to 36 per cent in 2008 and 28 per cent by the end of 2009.*
  •  A July 2011 poll conducted by QMI Agency and Sun Media found only 33 per cent of Canadians thought the tour in Afghanistan was worthwhile.

* Polls conducted by The Washington Post, Strategic Counsel, and Angus Reid respectively.

Fighting in the future?

  •  Michael Byers and the Martin Liberal government proposed a Peacekeeping Brigade, a faction of the Canadian Forces dedicated solely to peacekeeping.
  •  A 2009 Ipsos Reid poll of 1,300 Canadians say 50 per cent support the idea of peacekeeping-only soldiers.
  •  Kate White, executive director of the United Nations Association in Canada, says discussions of the creation of a UN military (versus contracting NATO forces) have occurred in the past. She says that perhaps following Afghanistan and the Arab revolts, it may be time to revisit the idea.
OTTAWA | November 18, 2011

Operation Undetermined: Canada’s military future