Year End Message from the Minister of National Defence to the Defence Team

December 31, 2020 – Defence Stories

Message from the Minister of National Defence

As the Defence Team, whether you are a member of our Canadian Armed Forces or a public service employee, the year ahead will bring new challenges and new opportunities. We have important work ahead of us as we continue to support our whole of government effort to protect all those who live in Canada from COVID-19.

Even though this year brought new challenges, we continued to do our part here at home to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians. From helping the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador dig out of a record-setting storm last January, to the ongoing support provided to long-term care facilities across the country through Op LASER, you have delivered on our commitment to serve Canada. We have also strengthened ties with other nations who have faced similar challenges, showcased our commitment to gender equality, and made investments to help support our people and our infrastructure. We continue to live up to the commitments we’ve made through Strong, Secure, Engaged by making a greater contribution to Canada, North America, and the world in times when we’re needed the most.

I want to thank you for all that you have achieved in supporting each other through the many pressures that COVID-19 has brought this year. We still face a challenge ahead in following public health guidance, the toll that it brings to our mental health, and in the contributions we will make in supporting vaccine distribution as part of Op VECTOR. I am comforted in knowing that we have been asked to help for a reason. We have among us the very best planners, organizers, and implementers, and our contributions to help end this pandemic and return to a more normal time will be crucial.

Sadly, our Defence Team family experienced significant loss this past year with the lives of too many of our brothers and sisters taken while in service to their country. To the friends, families and colleagues of Master Sailor Duane Earle; Corporal James Choi; Captain Jennifer Casey; Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough; Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald; Captain Kevin Hagen; Captain Maxime Miron-Morin; Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke; and Master Corporal Matthew Cousins, we are forever indebted for their sacrifices and they will forever be in our thoughts.

This was a challenging year for all of us. In spite of everything we have faced together, you continued to help protect Canadians, go where you are needed most, and demonstrate the best of character and commitment to our society.

On behalf of all Canadians, I extended to you my deepest thanks for the work you have done and the work we will continue to do throughout 2021.


The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan

Minister of National Defence

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