Message from the new Minister of National Defence
July 27, 2023 - Defence Stories
I am honoured to be appointed as your new Minister of National Defence. I have dedicated my career to keeping Canadians safe, and I welcome the opportunity to work with all of you in this new role.
This institution has a proud history – and I believe that it will have a proud future. During two world wars, in Korea, in Afghanistan, and on dozens of other international operations, our military has fought for peace, democracy, and human rights. During forest fires, floods, and a global pandemic, the Canadian Armed Forces have also stepped up to keep their neighbours safe. Whatever the challenge, you have always answered call of service – and I will do everything in my power to support you.
As Minister, I believe that we must always stand up for our most important values. As Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine threatens the international rules that keep us all safe, Canada will continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. Canadian Armed Forces members have already trained over 37,000 members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine under Operation UNIFIER – and we are working closely with our NATO Allies to reinforce our deterrence and defence posture on the Alliance’s eastern flank, where many of you are currently deployed. To promote a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, we are also increasing our presence in that region, through our recently released Indo-Pacific Strategy.
I am also keenly focused on building a military that is ready to take on tomorrow’s challenges. I look forward to working with many of you to implement Canada’s NORAD Modernization Plan, to deliver new equipment for the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force, and to release Canada’s Defence Policy Update in the coming months. In addition, we must and will take new, innovative measures to recruit and retain even more talented Canadians in this institution.
Finally, I pledge to continue the work undertaken by Minister Anand to transform military culture, and to ensure that all of our people in uniform feel protected, respected, and empowered to serve. We will continue to implement the recommendations made by former Supreme Court Justice, Louise Arbour, and to support the work of External Monitor, Jocelyne Therrien. This is my top priority, and failure is not an option.
Let me conclude by thanking my colleague and friend, the Honourable Anita Anand, for her outstanding contributions and dedication as Canada’s Minister of National Defence. I wish her well in her new role.
In the coming weeks, I look forward to working closely with Deputy Minister, Bill Matthews, Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyre, and with all of you, to modernize this institution, establish meaningful culture change, and keep Canadians safe in a changing world.
Thank you all for your service to Canada.
The Honourable Bill Blair, P.C., C.O.M., M.P.
Minister of National Defence
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