Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

April 12, 2007 11:47 ET

The Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada Welcomed to the Citadelle Defence Ministers from the NATO Countries Engaged in the International Security Assistance Force’s (ISAF)...

...Regional Command South in Afghanistan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 12, 2007) - Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean. Speech on the Occasion of a Meeting at the Citadelle with the Ministers of Defence for NATO Member Countries, La Citadelle, Thursday, April 12, 2007

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As commander in chief of the Canadian Forces, I would like to welcome you to the Citadelle of Quebec.

High atop Cap-Diamant, where the majestic St. Lawrence River narrows-which is the meaning of Quebec's Amerindian name-this is the only military fortification in North America that remains intact.

Today, the Citadelle is the home of the Royal 22e Regiment of the Canadian Forces. It also serves as one of the Governor General of Canada's official residences.

It is an important place where significant pages of modern history have been written.

For example, it was here that Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and William Lyon Mackenzie King met in 1943 and 1944 to develop a strategy for the Second World War.

The Citadelle is also rich in the collective history of all Canadians.

On July 3, 2008, Quebec City will celebrate the 400th anniversary of its settlement by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, the first governor of New France.

The place where you are standing today dates back to the very beginnings of this country.

As Governor General and Commander in Chief of Canada, wherever I go in this vast country and around the world, I always place special emphasis on the generosity that Canadians have shown throughout our history, from our veterans to the many volunteers who often work in the shadows in the name of a peaceful ideal of freedom and justice.

Less than one month ago, on International Women's Day, I went on my first official visit to Afghanistan to honour the courage of Afghan women and to emphasize the vital role they play and must continue to play in all reconstruction efforts within civil society.

And everywhere I went-from my meeting with President Karzai and members of his cabinet, to a training centre for Afghan women funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, to the camp in Kandahar, and with the reconstruction team for Kandahar Province-I saw how important it is to restore a human dimension to the daily efforts made by so many women and men-both civilian and military-in Afghanistan.

It is especially important in the PRT; I witnessed members of the Canadian Forces, a civilian police contingent led by the RCMP, representatives from Correctional Service Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as well as the Canadian International Development Agency work in close collaboration with their Afghan partners to facilitate the development of a secure environment and to implement favourable development conditions for the Afghan people.

There can be no development without security, and stability is the result of education, establishing infrastructure, improving living conditions, and getting economies in order. The military personnel and humanitarian workers I spoke with in Afghanistan were very clear about that.

I was deeply impressed by the unwavering conviction of these women and men, who are committed to establishing promising partnerships with the Afghan people and humanitarian workers who are slowly trying to recover from years of distress and despair.

It is imperative that we do not lose sight of our commitment to the people of Afghanistan.

Our commitment is simple: we are helping to renew the hope of stability, justice and prosperity in a country that has seen chaos, iniquity and ruination for far too long.

We are giving Afghans the means to regain control of their destiny, with dignity and self-confidence, and helping them build the kind of democracy that they want for their country.

It is my hope that the meeting you, the Ministers of Defence for NATO member countries, are holding today will go down in history as an important step in the pursuit of our objective.

May your discussions be productive.

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on the CP picture wire via CCNMatthews.

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