Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

November 18, 2011 10:30 ET

Minister MacKay Meets with U.S. Secretary of Defense

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 18, 2011) - Canada's Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Associate Minister of Defence, the Honourable Julian Fantino, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta met today on the margins of the Halifax International Security Forum to discuss several key issues, including enhanced defence cooperation and Canada's increasing engagement in the Western hemisphere.

This meeting between Minister MacKay and Secretary Panetta provided an opportunity to follow-up on discussions from their first meeting in September 2011, stressing the importance of maintaining their close working relationship in the defence of North America.

"Maintaining the closeness of the Canada-U.S. defence partnership provides both countries with greater security than could be achieved individually," said Minister MacKay. "Defence relations between our two countries are longstanding, well-entrenched, and highly successful. Meetings like the one today allow us to address the important issues we face and serve to strengthen the unique connection between our two countries."

The agenda for the meeting included topics such as:

  • NATO transformation efforts;

  • Preparations for NATO's 2012 Chicago Summit;

  • Canada-U.S. bilateral defence cooperation;

  • F-35 fighter aircraft; and

  • Engagement in the hemisphere to support broader security capacity-building initiatives.

Canada and the U.S. share a number of similar defence concerns at home and abroad. The ministerial today at the Halifax International Security Forum underscored the current diversity and complexity of defence and security challenges. The Halifax International Security Forum is a prestigious international event that brings together key thinkers, policymakers, and practitioners from like-minded nations around the world to discuss ideas and share insights on important global security challenges.

The United States is Canada's most important ally and defence partner. Defence and security relations between our two countries are based on common values, shared histories and a culture of military cooperation and interoperability that is unique in the world.

Minister MacKay and Secretary Panetta met for their first bilateral meeting on September 30, 2011, in Washington, and more recently, on October 5-6, 2011, at the NATO Defence Ministerial Meeting in Brussels.

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