OTTAWA – The Harper government is quietly considering a proposal to contribute more peacekeepers to the UN stabilization mission in Haiti in a goodwill gesture aimed at Brazil.
The emerging economic power of South America is the biggest contributor to the international military force in the long-suffering Caribbean nation.
Officials in Ottawa and Brasilia have discussed the idea of embedding a Canadian platoon of soldiers in an existing Brazilian unit, as well as deploying additional Canadian troops to help with headquarters and logistics.
The initial contribution plan, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, calls for a force of 50 Canadian soldiers to augment the five already there.
A briefing note to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, dated Jan. 6, 2012, says the security situation has stabilized following the earthquake, but remains fragile.
The proposal has been floating around National Defence headquarters for almost two years, but has yet to receive the blessing of the federal cabinet despite — according to the documents — having the backing MacKay and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.