Volume 93, Issue 9

Tuesday, September 14, 1999


LTC faces impending lawsuit

UWOSA snags contract and raise

CASA lobby on deck

Students await new Ministry's words

Shuffle means new programming

Police Blotter

News Briefs

Western academics back Chretien's call

DriveSafe sobers street


Caught on Campus

Western academics back Chretien's call

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

Prime Minister Jean Chretien continued the Canadian tradition of keeping world order earlier this week when he announced the deployment of 600 Canadian peacekeepers to East Timor.

The Canadian aid is part of the United Nation's estimated 7,000 multi-national force, heading to the small south Pacific province. The Australian led effort is an attempt to combat pro-Jakarta militias which have ravaged the small nation since it voted for independence from Indonesia two weeks ago.

Political science professor Erika Simpson said Chretien's decision is a positive step in reassuring the Canadian commitment to humanitarian aid. Simpson described the 600 soldiers as being on par with Canada's other recent contributions to Kosovo and Bosnia. "Our involvement in peacekeeping is something we should be proud of," she said.

Although Simpson supports the decision, she realizes the negative aspect involved with making this move. Simpson said greatest concern is the risk of placing troops in nations caught in long-term struggles.

Paul Barker, associate professor of political science at Brescia College, reiterated Simpson's concern adding that Canada's involvement in the issues of small nations sets a precedent.

"A precedent was set in Kosovo which has made it hard for Canada and the UN to say no when nations ask for help," Barker said.

Barker explained how in this instance, it appears the UN is clearly trying to prove a point. "East Timor is not a major security threat for Canada or any nation in the West. By sending in troops, the UN appears to be sending a message to all would be dictators that the West will not back down," Barker said.

Fourth-year honours political science student Matt Bryce is in complete support of the effort. "It's great we continue to serve in a peacekeeping role," he said. "Canada has been involved in nearly every UN peacekeeping initiative and it's important we continue this tradition."

Although Barker said it is unfair to discredit the Canadian initiative he was quick to point out how Canada may be playing with fire.

"Chretien's decision is supported now but it will be interesting to see the response if any peacekeeping soldiers die."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999