August 14, 2019 8:08 pm
Updated: August 14, 2019 10:03 pm

Canadian Forces expected to send Hercules transport plane to Uganda for peacekeeping

Sept. 13, 2018: It's called a peacekeeping mission, but Canada's role in mali is more complicated than that. Instead of two warring parties, more than a dozen militant groups are battling for control, and that means United Nations troops are sometimes caught in the midst of it all, and even specifically targeted. As Jeff Semple reports, Canada is being urged to do more in Mali.

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Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is expected to announce Thursday the long-awaited deployment of a promised Canadian Forces transport plane to Uganda for peacekeeping missions.

The CC-130 Hercules was one of three signature promises Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made to the United Nations when Canada hosted a major peacekeeping summit in November 2017, only one of which has been fulfilled.

WATCH: June 28, 2018 — Canada’s peacekeeping mission in Mali under scrutiny

The federal government last year deployed a unit of helicopters and several hundred military personnel to help with medical evacuations in Mali. That mission is to wrap up at the end of this month.

Trudeau also promised a 200-strong “quick reaction force” to the UN, but Canada has yet to register the force in a UN database of peacekeeping pledges, which means it has not been formally offered.

READ MORE: Canadian peacekeepers in Mali looking to speed up emergency evacuations

UN and Defence Department sources told The Canadian Press last month that an agreement was being finalized on deploying the transport plane to the UN’s logistics hub in Entebbe to help ferry supplies and troops around Africa.

That followed a report by The Canadian Press earlier this year that the UN was pushing back against restrictions Canada wanted to put on when and where the plane could be used.

Those included a stipulation the plane only fly in daylight and only between Entebbe and five locations that, according to one UN official, either didn’t have any peacekeeping units or were easily accessible by road.

WATCH: March 19, 2018 — Canada to send six helicopters to Mali for peacekeeping

Sajjan’s office had refused to comment on the UN’s concerns at the time and insisted both sides were intent on reaching an agreement.

The federal Liberals campaigned in the last election on a promise to renew Canada’s commitment and role in peacekeeping in a major way, but have since been accused of not living up to the spirit of that pledge.

The government insists it is committed to peacekeeping, as evidenced by its decision to extend the mission in Mali by one month _ which only came after a great deal of pressure from the UN and some of Canada’s allies.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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