Canada’s troops in Haiti may soon have to leave in order to prepare for a deployment to Afghanistan.
About 1,000 troops based at CFB Valcartier, Que., may have to leave the earthquake-ravaged nation just as the security situation is expected to escalate.
Military watchers are floating a couple of possible scenarios to keep Canadian help in Haiti.
The Van Doos currently in Haiti now are expected in Afghanistan in December.
Their combat training begins in April, which means leaving Haiti no later than the end of March.
University of Calgary military expert Rob Huebert says that means a decision is needed soon.
“I just don’t know how you maintain it,” he said. “By the same token, I don’t know how you pull out.”
The Harper government could keep the Van Doos there and send someone else to Afghanistan – or send the Van Doos, and send reservists to Haiti.
But turning to the reserves would have big budget implications and retired general Lew MacKenzie says the military is already stretched thin by Afganistan, the Olympics, Haiti, and recent belt-tightening.
A spokesperson for Defence Minister Peter MacKay says no decision has been made on extending the humanitarian deployment.