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Anti-Balaka fighters pose at their base in the Boeing district of the Central African Republic's capital Bangui January 16, 2014.
Anti-Balaka fighters pose at their base in the Boeing district of the Central African Republic's capital Bangui January 16, 2014.
(REUTERS)

Canada’s peacekeeping tradition withers away, even as Central African Republic begs for help

As Canada finally ends its protracted military engagement in Afghanistan this year, it will face a key decision: does it want to deploy its troops overseas again? And if so, should it eventually return to a substantial role in peacekeeping?

The Harper government, with its disdain for the United Nations, has avoided any significant involvement in UN peacekeeping missions, aside from a token contribution of a couple of dozen troops in a few isolated places. But the latest disastrous conflicts in Africa, and the desperate need for foreign peacekeepers to save lives and separate the combatants, are examples of the kinds of pressures that could some day persuade Ottawa to consider another UN request for troops.