John Ivison: Canada’s new peacekeeping mission to Mali is more about image than national security

Retired Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire was blunt in his assessment.

“I wouldn’t touch Mali with a 10-foot pole,” he told me in fall 2016 after returning from a fact-finding trip to Africa with Defence Minister, Harjit Sajjan.

Yet, fully armed with the facts, Sajjan announced Monday that Mali is indeed where Canadian Forces will be heading, nearly two years after Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance said a deployment to Africa would happen “very soon.” Maybe they were hoping peace would break out in the interim.

More… Five Things to know about Canada’s forthcoming peacekeeping mission in Mali

1. Lots of Canadian aid dollars. Mali has relied heavily on Canadian foreign aid, with only the United States and France contributing more. In 2014-15, Canadian development spending reached $152 million. Since 2012, Canada has also contributed $44 million in humanitarian aid following the country’s 2012 crisis (more on that below) and about $10 million to support the UN peacekeeping mission, making Canada its ninth-largest supporter.

Why is that asshole sending money and now troops to Mali?