Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

November 20, 2009 12:33 ET

Minister of National Defence and United States Secretary of Defense Strengthen Security Cooperation

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2009) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Canada's Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, and Dr. Robert M. Gates, the United States Secretary of Defense, met today to discuss how to enhance cooperation on shared safety and security challenges in North America and abroad.

"The Government of Canada is proud to be actively engaged with our American partner in building on the already strong Canada-U.S. defence relationship," said Minister MacKay. "We have no closer friend and ally than the United States, and our relationship will only be strengthened by meetings like this."

Minister MacKay and Secretary Gates stressed their commitment to maintaining a close working relationship in the defence of North America, reflecting earlier discussions between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama. In particular, they recognized the importance of the wide-ranging cooperation between the Canadian Forces and the American military in ensuring the safety and security of North America, including in areas such as surveillance, search and rescue, and assistance to civil authorities in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

Minister MacKay and Secretary Gates discussed a number of issues related to the two countries' shared defence institutions - the Permanent Joint Board on Defence (PJBD) and the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) - as well as cooperation in the Arctic. Secretary Gates accepted Minister MacKay's invitation for the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy to participate in Operation Nanook 2010, the Canadian Forces' annual, major Arctic operations exercise.

Acknowledging shared interests in the Americas, they agreed to increase cooperation in the hemisphere through an enhanced Canadian contribution to the U.S.-led Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-South.

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