Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

April 16, 2007 12:42 ET

Statement by the Minister of National Defence on Canada's Commitment to Afghanistan

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 16, 2007) - The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today on Canada's Commitment to Afghanistan:

"Canada is committed militarily to the NATO mission in Afghanistan until February 2009. Anyone who claims otherwise is, quite simply, wrong. This commitment is in line with Canadian values - a commitment that began under the previous Liberal Government.

In May 2006, the Government of Canada extended its Canadian Forces deployments currently committed to Afghanistan, including the army task force and enabling forces, and the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), to February 2009.

I want to use this opportunity to also address some misconceptions about Canada's recent decision to purchase surplus tanks.

The intensity of recent conflicts in Central Asia and the Middle East has shown Western militaries that tanks offer protection that cannot be provided by more lightly armoured wheeled vehicles.

The level of threat to soldiers from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in potential future conflicts means that the Canadian Forces have a significant requirement for heavily protected tanks to safeguard our troops.

The procurement of surplus tanks is yet more proof that Canada's new government is delivering on its Canada First Defence Strategy to rebuild the Canadian Forces.

Canada's new Government is getting things done for the Canadian Forces, by giving them the equipment they need to accomplish the tasks we ask them to do."

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