With more than 1,000 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members currently deployed around the world, many families will be separated during this holiday season. To give a morale boost to these deployed soldiers, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Gen. Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, paid a visit to a number of the CAF’s operations abroad.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I want to thank all our women and men in uniform serving abroad this holiday season. I want to make a special point of thanking the parents, partners, children, and family and friends of our troops. Supporting a loved one who serves requires an inner strength that many Canadians may never know, but all appreciate. On behalf of all Canadians, I want to thank all our women and men in uniform serving abroad this holiday season and wish them a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year,” said the Minister of National Defence in a statement.
Minister Sajjan began his tour by visiting the sailors of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Charlottetown. During this time he had the opportunity to sail with the members of Operation REASSURANCE Maritime Task Force (MTF) in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Minister of National Defence then travelled to Kuwait and Iraq to visit Canadian soldiers deployed on Operation IMPACT.
During his visit to the Middle East, Minister Sajjan also met with with Dr. Haider Al-Abadi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq and General Othman Al-Ghanimi, Chief of Staff and Acting Minister of Defence of Iraq, as well as Nechirvan Barzani, Prime Minister, Mr. Karim Sinjari, Minister of the Interior, and Mr. Falaha Mustafa Bakir, Head of Foreign Relations from the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Also in the same region, Sajjan visited CAF members deployed on Operation CALUMET, Canada’s participation in the Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai Peninsula.
Gen. Vance also visited members deployed on Operation REASSURANCE MTF and Operation Impact. He additionally met with soldiers deployed on Operation UNIFIER.
“I know what it’s like to be deployed during the holidays, and that’s precisely why I went to visit some of Canada’s men and women serving overseas. Since they couldn’t come home for Christmas, as their CDS, my place was to be with to them to celebrate the season,” said Gen. Vance.
**Featured Image courtesy of Combat Camera Defence Minister, Harjit S. Sajjan speaks to a deployed member of Joint Task Force-Iraq during a visit to Kuwait on December 19, 2016 during Operation IMPACT.Photo: Op Impact, DND KW06-2016-0047-006**