Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

August 09, 2011 12:25 ET

Statement by Minister MacKay on National Peacekeepers' Day

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 9, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement to mark National Peacekeepers' Day:

"Canada has chosen this day to commemorate the contribution and sacrifice made by our nation's peacekeepers, who for over 60 years have served and continue to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world. Today, we honour our men and women for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, and remember those who have paid the ultimate price in order to help ensure the peace and prosperity of others.

The date was chosen to commemorate 9 August 1974, when nine Canadian peacekeepers serving on UNEF II were killed when their aircraft was shot down over Syria, the highest number of Canadian peacekeepers killed in a single incident.

Canada is one of a handful of countries to which the international community has regularly turned to obtain expert advice on peace support issues, as well as soldiers well-trained in the special skills needed for these missions. Canadian Forces (CF) peacekeepers have a long and proud tradition of coming to the assistance of those who need it most: civilians forced from their homes due to civil conflict, emergencies, or natural disasters; whole communities and groups mired in chaos and in distress through no fault of their own.

Today, the CF continues its proud legacy of protecting and assisting civilians in UN-led missions across the globe: in Haiti as part of Operation MINUSTAH; in the Middle East, where the CF has been involved for more than 50 years, and where we are now actively engaged in a number of operations, including Operations JADE and PROTEUS, headquartered in Jerusalem, Operation CALUMET in El Gorah, Egypt, and Operation GLADIUS, in the Golan Heights.

Our peacekeeping support to Africa includes Operation SAFARI, Sudan, and now the world's newest country, South Sudan, where the CF provides 20 UN Military Observers. And, under the banner of Operation CROCODILE, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Canada's military provides expertise in the areas of law and information operations and training.

Wherever we are needed, CF peacekeepers have been there to provide security, humanitarian assistance, and governance support. They have consistently risen to the challenge of keeping our world safe and prosperous, and for that we acknowledge their selfless service with respect and gratitude."

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