Toronto Star, November 11, 2002
End seen to Bosnia
By Allan Thompson
OTTAWA - Canada hopes to pull its troops out of Bosnia within the next three to five years, ending a prolonged mission to the Balkans that began in 1992, Defence Minister John McCallum said in an interview yesterday from Bosnia.
Speaking by satellite phone from Camp Maple Leaf in Zgon, McCallum said that in extensive question-and-answer sessions held with soldiers in four different locations he got a clear picture of the "stresses and strains," faced by Canada's military.
McCallum said he heard complaints that reinforced his view that Canada's cash-strapped military risks burning out its soldiers.
"I had spoken before of the danger of stretching our people too much. And there were a number who had been on multiple rotations in Bosnia," he said.
"One of the topics of discussion was how soon we would be able to (leave).
"Nobody knows for sure, but there's a sense that with the significant improvements that we're witnessing, maybe we'd be able to go in three years. That would be fairly optimistic, maybe five years," he said.
McCallum arrived here on Saturday, visiting Canadian camps in Bihac and Dravar.
He will attend a Remembrance Day ceremony today at Camp Maple Leaf.