Minister Sajjan Wraps Up 11th Annual Halifax International Security Forum

From: National Defence

Canadians are concerned about the changing global security environment and its complexities. Canada is committed to making the world a safer, more peaceful, and prosperous place by working together with the international community to address these challenges and ensure the safety of all Canadians and their families. Similarly, Canada recognizes the importance of continental defence and values its relationship with its closest ally, the United States.

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan co-hosted the 11th annual edition of the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) with the President of HISF Inc. Mr. Peter Van Praagh, from November 22-24 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The forum was an opportunity for defence ministers, senior officials from international organizations, representatives from academia and industry, and defence and security experts, from over 80 countries to discuss current and emerging issues of global security and prosperity.

During the forum, Minister Sajjan affirmed the continued relevance of Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, in the current global context. The policy makes significant long-term investments in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), ensuring they continue to serve as an agile, full-spectrum, combat-ready force. He also emphasized the importance of global partnerships and our commitment to multilateral cooperation with our allies and partners.

While at the forum, Minister Sajjan met with the United States Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, Robert C. O’Brien. He also met with the Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, as well as members of the United States Congress, including Senator Tim Kaine from Virginia, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, Senator Angus King of Maine, and Representative Jim Banks of Indiana. The Minister used these meetings to reinforce the special defence relationship between Canada and the United States and our work together to protect North America.

The Minister highlighted Canada’s Women Peace and Security Ambassador Jacqueline O’Neill and Gender-Based and Analysis Plus and DND’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment irrespective of gender.

Minister Sajjan held bilateral meetings with Ukrainian Minister of Defence Andrii Zagorodniuk, Latvian Minister of Defence Artis Pabriks, Estonian Minister of Defence Jüri Luik, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for operational support Atul Khare, and Germany’s State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Defence Benedikt Zimmer. Minister Sajjan underlined the importance of our defence bilateral relationships with Ukraine and Latvia, and reiterated Canada’s unwavering commitment to NATO and trans-Atlantic security.

HISF also featured the Halifax Peace with Women Fellowship, which brings together an accomplished and diverse group of women from NATO and NATO-partner countries. The Minister spent Sunday morning learning from the fellows about how Canada can better support women in defence and security.

The 2019 Class of the Halifax Peace with Women Fellowship is:

  • Colonel Lysane Martel, Director, RCAF Professional Development, 2nd Canadian Air Division, Royal Canadian Air Force
  • Colonel Dr. Lale Bartoschek, Chief of Branch Recruitment, Federal Ministry of Defence, German Armed Forces
  • Captain Rachel Durbin, Director, Future Force Lifecycle Engineering, Navy Capability Division, Royal Australian Navy
  • Brigadier General Lisa Ferris, Director, Defence Legal Services, New Zealand Defence Forces
  • Commodore Solveig Krey, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Operations Section, Defence Staff Norway, Norwegian Armed Forces
  • Colonel Solène Le Floch, Human Resource Manager for Air Force Crews, 705th Airbase, French Air Force
  • Colonel Debra Lovette, Director, Human Capital, Joint Force Space Component Command, United States Air Force
  • Air Commodore Elanor Boekholt-O’Sullivan, Commander, Cyber Defence Force, Netherlands Armed Forces
  • Colonel Tracy Onufer, Chief of Staff, Special Operations Command South, United States Air Force
  • Lieutenant Colonel Joana Polekauskienė, Senior Instructor, General Jonas Žemaitis Military Academy of Lithuania, Lithuanian Armed Forces
  • Captain Fiona Shepherd, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Logistics Operations and Plans, British Royal Navy


“It was a pleasure to co-host the 11th edition of the Halifax International Security Forum and to engage defence leaders from around the world. With today’s rapidly changing security environment, it is critical that we continue to engage and work with our Allies and partners to promote international peace and security. Canadians know that we can’t be an island of stability in an ocean of turmoil. Eventually, negative ripples will reach our shores. It is why Canada will always work with our friends and neighbours. I met many defence leaders over the past few days and I look forward to continuing to work with them so that Canadians and all citizens have a safer and more secure world.”

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan

Quick facts

  • The Halifax International Security Forum connected more than 300 defence leaders from across the world, including senior government and military officials, policymakers, opinion leaders, academics, and members of the business community from like-minded nations.

  • Discussions at this year’s HISF included the importance of multilateral institutions like the United Nations and NATO, emerging disruptive technologies, the great power competition, and direct challenges to the rules-based international order among many other topics.

  • The CAF is committed to demonstrating leadership in reflecting Canadian ideals of diversity, respect and inclusion, including striving for gender equality, and building a workforce that leverages the diversity and multicultural fabric of Canadian society.

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