December 20, 2019 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
Canada is dedicated to strengthening its multilateral efforts to make the world more just, safe, prosperous, and sustainable. Those who wear the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) uniform support this commitment by working tirelessly to defend Canada and promote Canadian values and interests at home and abroad.
Minister Sajjan along with Members of Parliament James Bezan and Michel Boudrias, today completed a successful trip to Italy and Kuwait. While abroad, they witnessed Commodore Josée Kurtz of the Royal Canadian Navy transfer command of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2) to Rear-Admiral Paolo Fantoni of the Italian Navy on December 16, 2019. Minister Sajjan held town hall events with CAF members in Italy and Kuwait to thank them for their service and professionalism, especially over the holiday period, when they are far from home and their loved ones.
During their visit to Italy, the Minister and the two Members of Parliament visited the Cassino War Cemetery, the Price of Peace Monument, and the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, where they laid wreaths and paid their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. While in Kuwait, the Minister met with Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait, and Ahmad Mansour Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense for Kuwait, to discuss mutual defence priorities. He also met with Ulrich Shannon, Canada’s Ambassador to Iraq and Louis-Pierre Emond, Canada’s Ambassador to Kuwait, to discuss the continued threat posed by Daesh and discuss Coalition and NATO operations in Iraq. Minister Sajjan also received briefings from Brigadier-General Michel-Henri St-Louis, the Commander of Joint-Task Force Impact, and Major-General Jennie Carignan, the Commander of NATO Mission Iraq (NMI), to learn more about the progress of both missions and Canada’s capacity-building activities in Jordan and Lebanon.
“For all of those who wear the Canadian Armed Forces uniform, and their families, I want to thank them for their service to our country. The work all of you do, every day, protects Canadians, strengthens human rights and shows our friends and allies that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them. To those who serve and their families, Merry Christmas, happy holidays and all the best over this holiday season.”
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
- SNMG2 is one of NATO’s four multinational, high readiness maritime forces composed of vessels from various Allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participation in exercises to operational missions, including monitoring the sea lanes and approaches and providing a capability to respond to contingencies.
- Commodore Josée Kurtz commanded SNMG2 for six months, from June 2019 to December 2019. Under Commodore Kurtz’s command, SNMG2 participated in six exercises, visited 23 ports, and spent 121 days at sea.
- Operation IMPACT is the CAF contribution to the US-led Global Coalition Against Daesh and NATO Mission Iraq. Under Operation IMPACT, the CAF provides training, advice, and assistance to Iraqi security forces, provides capacity building capabilities to regional forces, conducts air operations, and supports the global coalition with highly skilled personnel.
- NMI was first announced at the Brussels Summit in July 2018 in response to a request from the Government of Iraq. To date, the mission has consisted of up to 250 CAF members. Canada has assumed command for NATO Mission Iraq for a second year. Major-General Dany Fortin transferred command to Major-General Jennie Carignan in November 2019.
- NMI is a non-combat, advisory and training mission designed to help build more effective and sustainable Iraqi defence and security institutions. It is founded on partnership and inclusivity as well as on full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. It aims to assist Iraq in strengthening its military schools and institutions and advancing Security Sector Reform.
- Commodore Kurtz’s command of SNMG2 and Major-General Carignan’s command of NMI are a clear and concrete demonstration of Canada’s commitment to Women, Peace, and Security.