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Lieutenant (N) (Ret’d) Sylvain Bouliane

With a father who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, Montreal-born Sylvain Bouliane was eager to serve our nation. After joining the Sea Cadets at the age of 13, he began a 25 year career as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces four years later.

Below, he describes his first overseas deployment to Egypt as a UN Peacekeeper – in his own words.

Dieppe, New Brunswick


Portrait of Lieutenant (N) (Ret’d) Sylvain Bouliane in uniform, wearing a peacekeeper blue beret, with the Canadian flag draped behind him.




  • 1974 – 1979: CFB Cold Lake
  • 1979 – 1981: BFC Montreal, Camp Farnham
  • 1981 – 1985: CFB Lahr
  • 1985 – 1987: BFC Montreal, St-Hubert
  • 1987 – 1989: BFC Montreal, Longue-Pointe
  • 1989 – 1996: CFB Edmonton


  • 1976: CFS Alert
  • 1978: CCUNEME Egypt
  • 1995 – 1996: UNPROFOR Croatia/Bosnia

Why were you sent to Egypt? What did you know about the mission?

I was sent to Egypt as a peacekeeper to be part of the Canadian Contingent United Emergency Forces in the Middle East for Operation Danaca. I was there from May to November 1978. My main role was to maintain the camp facilities, as well as some remote forward posts in the Sinai Peninsula.

I knew a little about CAF missions in the world, including the Middle East, from basic training. This mission was the second attempt to ensure peace was maintained between the Egyptians and Israelis for the Suez Canal operations and control. This controversy started after Egypt closed the Suez Canal at the beginning of the Six-Day War on 5 June 1967. The canal remained closed for precisely eight years, reopening on 5 June 1975. Our Canadian UN mission ended in October 1979.

What was the biggest challenge/struggle that you faced while on duty?

Lieutenant-Colonel Sylvain Bouliane standing in a guarded compound while deployed overseas, wearing his peacekeeper uniform.

I encountered many challenges while on tour, including the foreign smells, understanding the local ways of living, tolerating the excessive daily temperatures, and communicating with foreign military personnel speaking many different languages. But, I overcame them by being inventive. Because I have a mild nature, I made friends with lots of people of different cultures. Interacting with the locals everyday also made it easier to learn the local language, and their ways of living.

What was your best memory while serving?

I took advantage of the Rest and Relaxation (R&R) tours that were offered by our Contingent that gave me the chance to see the Holyland (Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Israel, the Pyramids of Gaza, Cairo, Tel Aviv and more). I also went through a sandstorm in the desert and landed in a mine field.

Can you summarize your time in Egypt in a few sentences?

Lieutenant-Colonel Sylvain Bouliane standing upright while wearing his peacekeeper uniform.

Egypt was a very busy country where, in a few places, you could see that time had stayed still for a few centuries. I am still fascinated by the visitors worldwide who visit the old temples and pyramids there. The mix of cultures was also fascinating.

Lastly, what would you like Canadians to know about you and your experiences as a Canadian Peacekeeper?

Canadian Peacekeepers were well recognized by all countries that knew about Canada. I was glad to be part of that mission and still advocate for Veterans at schools and to elderly groups.

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