Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

December 19, 2011 18:11 ET

Holiday Greetings From Minister MacKay

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 19, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today:

"As we celebrate the holiday season, it is natural to pause and reflect upon the year that is drawing to a close. Canadian Forces members and employees at the Department of National Defence have worked tirelessly, at home and abroad, to save lives, provide security, promote peace and offer help to people who would otherwise lose hope, face chaos, fight violent actors and live in a constant state of fear.

This year, the Canadian Forces completed one of the largest logistical undertakings in its history when it closed out and repatriated vast amounts of materiel from our combat mission in Kandahar province and transitioned to an ongoing training mission. For six years, the Canadian Forces held the toughest ground in Afghanistan and provided the security umbrella so that development could take place. Our men and women in uniform fought to ensure that a people who never experienced hope now have the freedom to dream of a better future for their children. But, the work of the Canadian Forces is not done. Building on strengths and accomplishments over the past years, Canada is assisting Afghans to assume responsibility for their own security within a UN-mandated, NATO-led training mission centred in Kabul that develops the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces.

In addition, as part of a UN-mandated, NATO-led mission, our men and women provided military assistance to protect civilians and civilian-populated areas in Libya. Lieutenant-General Bouchard led an international team that ensured the Gaddafi regime could no longer inflict or threaten violence on its own civilians. Elsewhere, the Canadian Forces supported the Jamaica Defence Force by assisting them with their search and rescue capability during the hurricane season, contributed to peace in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, and saved hundreds of lives during this year's wildfires and floods that damaged many Canadian communities. It has been a busy, challenging year. As we celebrate the success of these missions, we also take time to remember those who are still deployed throughout the 15 operations around the world.

Every one in the Defence family has taken on the challenges that confront Canada and Canadian partners, and performed admirably to make a difference in the lives of our neighbours and the world. Canada knows how very special the work of military members is to our nation's security and prosperity. I salute everyone in the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Department of National Defence for their service and sacrifices to Queen and country.

This holiday season, my thoughts will be with those still hard at work, and unable to be with their loved ones. I wish everyone in the Defence family a safe holiday season, and a healthy, happy new year."

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