It is important to the Canadian government and to Canadian citizens that Canada plays a visible role on the world stage. Canadian military’s peacekeeping efforts were a way that Canada was able to achieve this status in the past. In 1956, Canada’s ambassador to the U.N., Lester B. Pearson organized the first peacekeeping mission with the United Nations (UN) which helped show the world the meaning of peacekeeping. This first mission was to solve the issue during the Suez Crisis, and was very successful (Anderson). Even though Canada has played a critical role in the development of peacekeeping, they have lost status and respect by changing this unique Canadian contribution to the world. This was largely due to major Canadian peacekeeping failures in Bosnia and Rwanda which led them to decrease their peacekeeping efforts throughout the world and have since changed the missions into something that no longer resembles peace.
Canada was known as a world peacekeeping leader, (Peacekeeping and Peace Building Operations) participating in every UN peacekeeping mission from the mid 1950s until the mid-1990s (Veterans: Peacekeeping). In the 1990s, however, Canadians participated in dramatic peacekeeping failures in Rwanda and Bosnia.
In 1994 in Rwanda UN peacekeepers stood by while the ethnic group Hutu slaughtered 800 000 Tutsis. Canadian General Romeo Dallaire led the UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda and was informed of risk of this massacre days before it happened. He then requested troops to immediately assist the UN peacekeeping troops. Most governments did not offer any help. This meant their peacekeeping force was too small to deal with this issue and stop the massacre (Simon).
In 1995 in Bosnia, the UN declared “safe areas” for the Muslims. Despite being declared safe, nothing was put in place to secure them, letting the Serbians slaughter thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica (Boot). In both these examples Canadians faced huge challenges in curbing this horrific violence (Canadian Forces in the Balkans).
The Canadians who served in Bosnia and Rwanda faced a traumatizing time because they failed in their missions to keep peace and protect the citizens of those countries. Although they called for extra help, governments were not willing to do anything due to the risks of the operation and the additional costs. They were left standing by, not being able to do anything while thousands died. To the world watching, these events looked like preventable failures. Canada lost the respect of others as a result.
After facing the consequences of these missions, Canadians never wanted to experience something like it again and became much more careful about their choices in peacekeeping efforts. From then on, Canadians were worried about future failures if they went in with the same method and decided to cut back on the amount of worldwide peacekeeping.
Canada’s peacekeeping contributions decreased dramatically after peacekeeping missions were no longer...