Minister Sajjan, along with Members of Parliament James Bezan and Michel Boudrias, completed a successful trip to Italy and Kuwait today.
While abroad, the group attended Commodore Josée Kurtz transfer of command, visited cemeteries in Italy, met with ambassadors in Kuwait and Iraq, along with receiving updates from Brigadier-General Michel-Henri St-Louis, and Major-General Jennie Carignan and held town hall events with CAF members in Italy and Kuwait to thank them for their service.
“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,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, minister of national defence.
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.
Commodore 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.
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 under Operation IMPACT.
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.
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), a non-combat advisory and training mission, to learn more about the progress of both missions and Canada’s capacity-building activities in Jordan and Lebanon.
Commodore Josée Kurtz, Commander of Standing NATO Maritime Group Two, greets Canadian Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, as he embarks HMCS HALIFAX ahead of the change of command ceremony in the Taranto Naval Base, Italy, on December 16, 2019.
Photo by: Corporal Braden Trudeau