Governor General of Canada

Governor General of Canada

April 14, 2009 11:29 ET

Message From Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, on the Death of Trooper Karine Blais

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 14, 2009) -

My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I were deeply saddened to hear of the death of Trooper Karine Blais from the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment Battle Group, based in Valcartier, Quebec. The vehicle she was in exploded upon striking an improvised explosive device in the Shah Wali Kowt District. We were equally distressed to learn of the assassination of Sitara Achakzai, a courageous and proud activist for the rights of her countrywomen, who was gunned down at point-blank range. The Talibans were quick to claim responsibility for this unprecedented violence, fiercely dedicated to hindering all efforts to further development and stability in Afghanistan.

We would like once again to express our deep respect for the work of the women and men of the Canadian Forces who give their all, despite the ever present dangers associated with this perilous mission. Our soldiers risk their lives answering the call of duty by working shoulder to shoulder with a people who for decades have been left idle and subjected to terror, intimidation, insecurity and barbarous confrontations on a daily basis.

Trooper Blais and Sitara Achakzai shared a dream of creating a more just and equitable world and bringing desperately needed peace to Afghanistan. The soldier and the parliamentarian both knew how important it is for women and men of goodwill to join forces to achieve this end.

Today, Canada and Afghanistan mourn the loss of two exemplary citizens.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Trooper Blais and her comrades, who continue to battle oppression and chaos in Afghanistan. We also wish a swift and complete recovery to the four soldiers who were injured in the explosion, and our thoughts are with those mourning the death of Sitara Achakzai. May they know that they are not alone.

Michaelle Jean

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