Canada looking at military engineers, on-the-ground training for peacekeeping

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OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Canada is exploring the possible deployment of military engineers as the Liberal government considers ways to step up its support to United Nations peacekeeping.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Sajjan says the government is also looking at having Canadian military trainers join peacekeepers from other nations in the field to help them better do their jobs.

That would be on top of commitments Canada has already made to the UN, though the minister cautions talks are still in the very early stages.

Canada has provided a helicopter contingent and a military transport aircraft to peacekeeping missions in Africa over the past two years, but has yet to make good on the promised deployment of a 200-member quick-reaction force.

The Liberals have been criticized for not matching their rhetoric around peacekeeping with real action.

But Sajjan says the government remains committed to helping the UN in both the short- and long-term, which includes a focus on training, increasing the role of women in peacekeeping and working on the issue of child soldiers.

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