Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

April 17, 2012 11:00 ET

Minister MacKay Delivers Keynote Address at the Belgium Royal Higher Institute for Defence

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 17, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, spoke in Brussels, Belgium today at the Royal Higher Institute for Defence - a think tank associated with the Belgian Defence Ministry. He took the opportunity to highlight Canada's longstanding track record of commitment to NATO through the provision of robust expeditionary operations. The Minister also reflected on some of the trends and challenges facing NATO as an Alliance, and how the Alliance can ensure it continues to safeguard security in an uncertain world.

"Economic resilience is a key element of our overall national security capability," said Minister MacKay. "We are in a new era of fiscal restraint, and we must ensure that we can deliver value for money. Canadians expect that we will spend each and every dollar wisely at home, and so we expect that NATO will do the same. As a result, we have to keep our focus on the capabilities we are delivering and the impact we are having in everything we do."

As NATO repositions and adapts to respond to new security challenges, the focus remains on ensuring the Alliance maintains its agility and effectiveness as a unique political-military alliance, especially in an age of austerity.

Minister MacKay's speech was part of a larger bilateral program with Belgium's Minister of Defence, Pieter De Crem. Ministers MacKay and De Crem discussed a range of issues of mutual interest including preparations for the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago, the challenges of meeting defence commitments in a fiscally-constrained context, and the international security environment.

Minister MacKay will participate in the Joint meeting of NATO Foreign and Defence Ministers in Brussels. Alliance Ministers will advance work on the Chicago Summit, NATO's engagement in Afghanistan towards 2014 and beyond, other ongoing Alliance operations and NATO's reform agenda.

"Tomorrow's discussion, and the Chicago Summit in May, continue the process of transforming NATO to ensure it is the preeminent 21st century defence and security institution," concluded Minister MacKay. "If we get this right, we will find ourselves with an Alliance for the future, one that can project and defend our security interests globally with the support of a world-wide network of trusted partners."

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