GARRISON PETAWAWA – During a visit to the garrison Friday to announce the delivery of new logistics trucks, Canada’s defence minister had special praise for our troops and their families.
Harjit Sajjan told a gathering of soldiers and defence contractors that he’s proud of the work that has been done by Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel in Ukraine during Operation: Unifier, including a task force from Petawawa, mostly made up of personnel from the Royal Canadian Dragoons. The task force deployed in February for a seven-month tour on the sixth rotation of the mission, which began in September 2015. The Canadian mission is to provide specialized training and skill sets to Ukrainian forces who continue to engage Russian-backed separatists in the breakaway eastern republics.
“Their efforts in support of Operation Unifier have not only helped security forces in Ukraine but have also highlighted Canada’s role as a leader in international peace and cooperation,” said Sajjan.
Earlier in the day, the defence minister joined soldiers and their families for breakfast. He said he found it heartwarming to see how military families come together to support each other while their loved ones are deployed overseas or tasked across the country.
“At the end of the day, it is the families that unify all of you,” Sajjan said. “They serve alongside you and the sacrifices you make are the sacrifices that your families also make alongside you.”
The minister unveiled the first of some 1,500 trucks purchased under the Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS) project. The current fleet Canadian Armed Forces Standard Military Pattern (SMP) trucks are decades old, and many of the vehicles had been rendered unfit for service. The Canadian government is spending $834 million for 1,500 trucks, 300 trailers and 150 armoured protection systems in order to modernize the fleet of logistics trucks and mobile workspaces. In addition to Petawawa, which will receive 500 trucks, vehicles are being delivered to bases in Edmonton, Alberta, Gagetown, New Brunswick and Valcartier, Quebec.
“Logistics vehicles like these trucks are vital to every aspect of Canadian Armed Forces operations,” remarked Sajjan. “Our forces rely on them to transport personnel and essential equipment where ever they are needed to get the job done. These vehicles will be invaluable on operations both big and small. These trucks are part of what makes the Canadian Armed Forces a reliable and effective force.”
Mack Defense was awarded the MSVS SMP contract in 2015. Delivery of the entire fleet is anticipated by 2020. The trucks will be used not only during NATO operations, but here at home in the event of natural disasters.
“We are very committed to deliverying you vehicles that will exceed all of their operational expectations and provide you a vehicle that will serve you very well in its life cycle,” said Mack Defense president David Hartzell.
The minister added that this procurement is just the latest development in the Canadian government’s 2017 defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, a long-term plan that commits to a range of new investments for the CAF, its members, and their families.
“In Canada’s new defence policy, we committed to giving all of you, our women and men in uniform, the equipment and support you need and this delivery is another concrete step of honouring that commitment,” added Sajjan.