Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

July 08, 2011 17:25 ET

Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney Welcomes Home Troops Returning From Combat Mission in Afghanistan

QUÉBEC CITY, QUÉBEC--(Marketwire - July 8, 2011) -

The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, was at the Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport today to greet Canadian soldiers returning home from the combat mission in Afghanistan.

"Today is mixed with both joy and sorrow for our armed forces and all Canadians," said Minister Blaney, as he welcomed home members of the Royal 22e Régiment based at CFB Valcartier. "We are grateful to have so many of our country's greatest heroes safely back on Canadian soil, but we are also sadly reminded of the 157 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our shared values of peace and freedom and democracy."

Minister Blaney said the Government of Canada also fully recognizes and accepts its ongoing responsibility to care for and support those men and women who have returned home with physical and psychological wounds.

"That is why our government implemented the New Veterans Charter, and it is why we committed an additional $2 billion in benefits," said Minister Blaney. "We are committed to being there for our Veterans and Canadian Forces members in the same way that they have always been there for Canada."

While greeting our troops, Minister Blaney expressed an entire country's gratitude for their significant contribution to the success of the UN-mandated and NATO-led mission. He said they had helped make Afghanistan a more secure, stable and prosperous nation that is no longer a safe haven for terrorists.

"Afghanistan was a vastly different country when Canadian troops first arrived nearly ten years ago," said Minister Blaney. "Today, almost six million Afghan children—including two million young girls—are able to go to school each day. Ten years ago, only about 700,000 Afghan children went to school, almost none of whom were girls."

Canada will now assume a non-combat role in Afghanistan, where up to 950 Canadian Forces trainers and support personnel will be deployed to take part in Operation ATTENTION, the Canadian component of the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.

"We are proud of what Canadians have accomplished and will continue to accomplish in such a troubled part of the world," said Minister Blaney. "We celebrate the safe return of these men and women today and we share in their grief for fallen friends and comrades we will never forget."

Contact Information

  • Media inquiries:
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    613-992-7468

    Codie Taylor
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    613-996-4649