- Canada always joins Anglo-American efforts to foster stability and confront aggression (the Iraq 2003 was, um, something else).
- Never say that this government has not leaved any stones unturned in its efforts to pander to a Canadian diasporic segment.
* I am not a big fan of the fiction that this conflict is between Ukraine and a band of separatists--Russian soldiers are dying in Ukraine, and Russian equipment is killing Ukrainians as well as the passengers of a Malaysian airliner.The impact at home might be a bit clearer. Stephen Harper and his dual hat-ed Minister of National Defence and Minister of Multiculturalism Jason Kenney have been making sure to be in front of most of NATO in speaking fervently for helping Ukraine. The passion here has a domestic component, aimed at one of the larger diasporas in Canada. While Harper may have some animus towards Putin (something that we share), the Ministry of Multiculturalism has been mostly focused the past few years on playing towards different ethnic communities in advance of the next election. Sending a small number of troops to Ukraine about six months ahead of the election is a happy coincidence?
Up to now, most of Canada's efforts in this area have been in support of NATO's reassurance missions--flying planes over Romania and the Baltics, small units of troops taking part in training exercises in the region. This is a significant step forward, as most of NATO is not doing this, and it does mean that Canada will have troops in a country that is at war. To be clear, the training effort is on the other side of the country, so there is little risk to the troops or of escalation. Still, it is not something to be done lightly.
There may be other dynamics involved in this, but the combination of Anglo-American-Canadian cooperation AND ethnic politics at home makes this move almost inevitable.