Defence Minister Anand successfully concludes 14th annual Halifax International Security Forum

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House of Commons in Ottawa Ontario
House of Commons in Ottawa Ontario

“The Halifax International Security Forum is an important show of unity, collaboration, and resolve. It provides the opportunity for our country to do what we do best on the world stage — bring nations together, foster collaboration, and help drive solutions. We cannot take liberal democracy for granted. And as we work together to defend the values that we hold dear, Canada is here as a friend, ally and partner,” says Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence.

Defence Minister Anita Anand was in Halifax to cohost the 14th annual Halifax International Security Forum with HFX President Mr. Peter Van Praagh. The Forum brought together decision-makers, military leaders, academics, and industry to address defence and security challenges including climate change, food security, energy, technology, disinformation, as well as the future of democracy and support for Ukraine.

Minister Anand welcomed delegates with a keynote speech focused on the evolving global security environment, and how Canada is continuing to make investments to protect Canadians now and in the future. During her speech she highlighted several key challenges to global defence and security including Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war in Ukraine and China’s increasingly assertive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific. She also underscored the importance of the global community responding to authoritarian regimes which are openly challenging the rules-based international order that has underpinned global security and prosperity for nearly 80 years.

She called on like-minded nations to protect international peace, stability, and freedom via a strong commitment to multilateralism. The Minister also highlighted Canada’s upcoming Indo-Pacific Strategy and Canada’s ongoing work, in collaboration with the United States, to bolster continental defence through NORAD modernization.

Minister Anand also joined Alar Karis, President of Estonia, Jeanne Shaheen, United States Senator for New Hampshire, and Mr. Dolkun Isa, President, World Uyghur Congress, for a plenary session entitled “And So, Where is the Security?,” during which they discussed how to address 21st century security challenges, including global support for Ukraine.

Since February 2022, Canada has provided over $600 million in military support to Ukraine, including armoured vehicles, artillery, drone cameras and winter clothing. Minister Anand reiterated Canada’s latest commitment of $500 million in additional military assistance for Ukraine.In addition to this support, Canada is also transporting aid donated by other countries, and providing training to Ukrainian soldiers in the United Kingdom and Poland. Canada is extending Operation UNIFIER (United Kingdom) through the end of 2023.

During the Forum, Minister Anand held bilateral meetings with (in order of occurrence):

  • Kosovo’s Minister of National Defence, Armend Mehaj, and discussed deepening bilateral defence relations.
  • Minister of Defence for the Republic of Slovenia, Marjan Šarec, and discussed shared defence priorities, including support to Ukraine.
  • U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, and reaffirmed both countries’ strong support for Ukraine, highlighted a close defence partnership, and discussed NORAD modernization.
  • Head of Switzerland’s Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, Federal Councillor Viola Amherd, and discussed the current security environment in Europe and their shared interest in promoting Women, Peace, and Security.
  • United States Congressional Delegation and discussed ongoing defence integration between the two countries, NORAD modernization, and the need for close and sustained cooperation.
  • Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, Olha Stefanishyna, and discussed Canada’s unwavering support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and highlighted that Canada has now committed over $1 billion in military aid to Ukraine.
  • CEO of ATCO, Nancy Southern, and discussed how Canadian industry can support Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked attack.
  • Sweden’s Minister of Defence, Pål Jonson, and discussed ongoing bilateral cooperation, the Arctic, and Ukraine. Canada also noted its pleasure to be the first Ally to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership.
  • Opposition Leader of Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and discussed Canada’s support for the democratic aspirations of Belarusians and the continued condemnation of Belarus’ support for Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
  • Dutch Minister of Defence, Kajsa Ollongren, and discussed our defence relationship and mutual areas of interest, including working together to further support Ukraine. Minister Ollongren congratulated Canada on its leadership role on DIANA.

Prior to the Forum, Minister Anand announced that Canada is proposing the Halifax Regional Municipality as the location for the North American headquarters for NATO’s Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA). A new NATO body, DIANA aims to bring together the Alliance’s best and brightest start-ups, scientific researchers, and technology companies to solve critical defence and security challenges.