Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

December 21, 2012 11:00 ET

Statement by the Minister and Associate Minister of National Defence on the Holiday Season

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 21, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement:

"As another year comes to pass and the defence family embraces the holiday season, we thank our military community. Canadian Armed Forces members and Department of National Defence (DND) employees continue to impress us with their unparalleled commitment and dedication to Canada, to Canadians and to our allies.

This year, we bid farewell to General Walt Natynczyk and welcomed General Tom Lawson as our new Chief of Defence Staff. Canada is blessed to have such effective and caring military leadership and we thank the military community for making this transition as easy as possible. The leadership and guidance that General Lawson provides will undoubtedly help the Canadian Armed Forces move forward. On the civilian side of the house, we will soon be bidding farewell to our Associate Deputy Minister, Matt King, who will be joining our colleague Gail Shea at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as Deputy Minister. We thank Matt for his work at DND.

In the coming days we, like all of you, will reflect on the past year and look towards what 2013 will bring. We will also take time to celebrate and honour all who have served and sacrificed for this country. We will remember those who gave their life for Canada. We will think of all those who fought in wars past; including those who, 200 years ago, helped pave the way for Confederation. Without the sacrifices and valiant efforts of our proud forefathers in the War of 1812, the Canada we have come to know and love as an independent and free country would not exist. Since that time, of course, Canadians have distinguished themselves on the battlefield, on the high seas and in the air through efforts in two World Wars, Korea, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Libya, and many other conflicts and missions.

We feel honoured to stand alongside so many in uniform who have done so much for our nation and its citizens. This year, we are particularly proud of having reallocated resources within the departmental budget so that we can improve the care of those ill and injured amongst us. Canada's strong leadership was represented at this year's Halifax International Security Forum where over 300 world leaders, policy makers, journalists, military members and academics joined us on Canadian shores to deliberate international affairs. Last, but certainly not least, we couldn't be more proud of Canadian trainers in Afghanistan who are leaving a legacy that will last for generations. Canada's contributions continue to provide Afghanistan's people with hope. We know that those serving overseas, away from loved ones, ultimately do so to better Canadian lives.

We wish to extend our gratitude to everyone in the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Department of National Defence. Each and every member of the Defence family embraced this challenging year with the continued strength and passion that Canadians have come to expect from this outstanding team.

In 2013, we will continue to work together to defend Canada and protect Canadians.

For those of you that find yourselves away from your loved ones this holiday season, know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. For everyone in the Defence family, be safe and enjoy all that this festive season has to bring. Merry Christmas, HappyHolidays and all the best in the New Year."

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