November 13, 2020 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Today, the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, virtually participated in the Rīga Conference 2020. The Minister took part in a panel discussion on burden sharing, the consequences of COVID-19 for defence, and outlined the importance of NATO transatlantic unity for the safety and security of Canada and our allies during this pandemic.

In discussions with his co-panelists, the defence ministers Mr. Jüri Luik from Estonia, Dr. Artis Pabriks from Latvia, and the Rt Hon Ben Wallace from the United Kingdom, Minister Sajjan also stressed the important role defence investment can play in economic recovery. Additionally, the panel discussed how NATO members needed to stand united and move forward cohesively in order to combat the worst effects of the pandemic. Minister Sajjan highlighted the importance of integrating the concept of resilience in our national and collective defence approaches, allowing Canada and its NATO Allies to help overcome complex challenges, such as COVID-19

Minister Sajjan also discussed Canada’s whole-of-government approach to our pandemic response and highlighted the key supporting role the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have played in that effort, such as the role the CAF played in long-term care facilities.

NATO is central to Canada’s international security policy, reflecting the values of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law. The COVID-19 pandemic has added another layer to the ever-changing security environment and underscored the importance of ensuring a strong and resilient Alliance in order to collectively address traditional and emerging threats to stability and peace.

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