Trudeau defends pace of peacekeeping deployments as next election looms

Trudeau in Mali

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending Canada's pace when it comes to deciding where to send hundreds of promised Canadian peacekeepers - even as the upcoming election could make it harder to fulfil its commitments.

The Liberals promised more than two years ago to provide up to 600 Canadian troops to peacekeeping missions as part of a long-standing pledge to re-engage with the United Nations.

The prime minister got to see some of those troops in action on Saturday during a whirlwind visit to Mali, where 250 Canadians and eight helicopters have been providing lifesaving medical evacuations and logistical support to UN forces since August.

The government has yet to fulfil the rest of its commitment, including providing a transport plane to ferry around troops and equipment as well as deploying a 200-strong rapid reaction force to bolster a specific mission.

Trudeau says Canadians expect their government to look at ways to be help in the world, and insists Liberals are looking at ways to fulfil their commitment to the UN.