Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan today concluded virtual discussions with his counterparts during the NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting. Over the course of two days, Minister Sajjan took part in discussions about NATO’s operations, NATO-European Union (EU) defence cooperation, burden sharing, strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defence posture, and adapting the Alliance to remain ready to face tomorrow’s challenges.
Canada’s commitment to keeping the Alliance strong is reflected in direct and substantial contributions to NATO missions on the land, in the air, and on the sea. During the Defence Ministers’ Meeting, Minister Sajjan emphasized Canada’s ongoing investments in modern equipment and innovation and its commitment to implementation of our defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged. These contributions and investments strengthen our capacity to respond, along with Allies and partners, to evolving security challenges.
NATO continues to adapt in an unpredictable world where security challenges, including the impact of disruptive technologies, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, are more complex than ever. That is why the NATO 2030 initiative works to ensure that NATO remains strong militarily and becomes stronger politically. Canada will continue to support efforts to build a more resilient Alliance that will be able to effectively respond to emerging threats.
Minister Sajjan also expressed Canada’s support for enhancing cooperation and interoperability between NATO and the EU to strengthen transatlantic security.
“Canada’s commitment to NATO remains unwavering. We need to continue to work with our Allies to build an Alliance that is resilient, innovative, and ready to deal with emerging transatlantic and global security challenges, such as climate change, disruptive technologies, hybrid threats, and disinformation. We need to continue developing capabilities that meet our needs now and in the future. Our work with our Allies will help keep our citizens safe while upholding the rules-based international order.”
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s international security policy. It is the primary international forum in which to engage other nations on transatlantic defence and security.
Canada is committed to NATO’s principle of collective defence and providing direct support to NATO missions and operations.
At present, Canada is:
- Leading the multinational NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group in Latvia since 2017;
- Commanding Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1). Canada will lead the mission until January 2022. HMCS Halifax is currently the flagship for the SNMG1 command team and headquarters staff;
- Providing logistical and headquarters support to NATO’s Kosovo Force; and
- Deploying Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members to Iraq as part of NATO Mission Iraq (NMI), currently led by Lieutenant-General Per Pugholm Olsen of the Danish Armed Forces. Canada is a strong supporter of NMI and commanded NMI from 2018-2020.
The CAF has taken measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on operations and to protect its force in order to maintain effective support to NATO operations.