Message from the Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Honourable Mélanie Joly

The security, well-being and prosperity of every Canadian is directly influenced by global security and stability. Our world has become more turbulent and unpredictable. War has broken in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, organized criminal groups are terrorizing streets in Haiti and Central America, and great power competition in the Indo-Pacific has deepened, with historical inter-state tensions flaring or re-emerging. Simply put, we find ourselves amidst an international security crisis, one that is compounded by increasingly complex, modern challenges such as climate change and artificial intelligence.

We can no longer rely on Canada's geography — surrounded by three oceans — to protect us. As our competitors adopt an increasingly assertive role on the world stage, including through increased investments in their militaries and in new military technologies, the range of threats to Canada and to Canadians has expanded.

Canada must meet these new and emerging threats with resolve. Vigorous assertion of our sovereignty, particularly in the Canadian Arctic, is a fundamental priority. Pragmatic diplomacy will be critical to shaping outcomes that reflect our values and interests. Our North, Strong and Free helps position Canada to do just that.

More than ever, defence and diplomacy go hand in hand in pursuing our national interest. We have seen the important ways in which the Canadian Armed Forces underpin our diplomatic efforts around the world. They help uphold the international order and support our allies and partners, including in the Arctic, Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic region, the Indo-Pacific, Haiti, Latin America and Africa. We are proud of our people, their dedication and commitment to reinforcing Canadian interests. And so, we will be there with increased resources to ensure they are well supported, with the equipment and tools they need to do their job effectively.

Canada’s reliability as a friend and ally is vital to our own security and to our sovereignty. Canada is an active contributor to NORAD, NATO, the United Nations system, and wider multilateral institutions. We are working with our allies and partners to ensure that these organizations are resilient, inclusive and fit-for-purpose to meet ever-evolving peace and security challenges. Further investments in our military are essential to safeguarding our interests, advancing respect for human rights and gender equality, contributing to international peace and security, demonstrating our commitment as a reliable ally, and contributing towards our goal of reaching the 2% defence spending target agreed upon by NATO Allies.

Canada’s defence policy was updated with this in mind. It reinforces the fundamental principles and multilateral partners upon which our security, prosperity, and global interests depend. It strengthens our contributions to Euro-Atlantic security, bolsters our Indo-Pacific Strategy and reinforces our commitments to women, peace, and security and inclusive and sustainable development and prosperity for all. It also helps ensure that Canada’s levers of soft and hard power complement each other, with diplomacy as a key tool in our approach to securing our interests and promoting our values and with military capacity available when needed to back it up.

Canadians have a proud tradition of helping to address some of the most pressing global issues of our time. Our North, Strong and Free will complement our overall international engagement—from diplomacy, to development, to trade and investment—as we continue to uphold Canada's values and interests in a changing world.

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, PC, MP
Minister of Foreign Affairs

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