For sixty-one years, Canada has had a proud and rich tradition of being at the forefront of United Nations’ peacekeeping missions around the world.
To remember the brave sacrifices of more than 125,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, civilian experts, and provincial and municipal police officers, August 9 is marked as National Peacekeepers Day.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Kent Hehr, and Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan issued the following joint statement:
“In honour of National Peacekeepers’ Day, we join Canadians in expressing our deepest gratitude to Canadian peacekeepers, past and present. We recognize the women and men who have upheld our country’s proud history of peacekeeping throughout the years by helping to bring peace and security to vulnerable people and communities in some of the world’s most volatile regions.”
The statement goes on to read, “While the challenges facing peacekeepers have evolved since the time of Lester B. Pearson, Canada remains steadfast in its pledge to advance global peace and security. Canada’s new defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, underscores our commitment to peacekeeping and peace support operations. This is also evident as we host the upcoming 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial meeting in Vancouver.”
Aug. 9th has been marked as National Peacekeepers Day since 2008. The date was chosen to mark the events of Aug. 9, 1974, when nine Canadian peacekeepers, serving in the United Nations Emergency Forces in Egypt and Israel, lost their lives when a plane was shot down over Syria.
“We also pause today to remember the nine Canadian United Nations peacekeepers who tragically lost their lives on August 9, 1974, when a United Nations-marked Canadian Armed Forces transport aircraft was shot down during a resupply mission in the Middle East. This remains the largest single-day loss of Canadian life during a peace support operation. These Canadians, counted among the 122 Canadian peacekeepers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace since 1948, will not be forgotten. Their bravery will continue to be represented in the selfless work of peacekeepers around the world,” said the ministers in their statement.