100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy
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Reception hosted by Rear-Admiral Pile on the occasion of
the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian Navy
CFB Esquimalt, Friday, June 11, 2010
It gives me great joy and I am so honoured to receive this naval officer’s sword.
As Commander-in-Chief, I have had the pleasure of boarding a large number of Canadian ships, including HMCS Iroquois in Casablanca, during a State visit to Morocco. And the enthusiasm of the navy teams as they supported local humanitarian organizations in Casablanca working with disenfranchised children was absolutely remarkable.
Last year, I had the opportunity to observe again first hand the results of the efforts made by members of HMCS St. John’s to assist and provide supplies to the people of Haiti following the four hurricanes that hit the island in the fall of 2008.
This year, I returned to Haiti, which has lived through so much misery but was once again hit by an earthquake on January 12.
The crews of HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Halifax were there to resupply the troops and the population, organize assistance, support humanitarian organizations, and bring provisions and equipment to the areas that were hardest hit.
The members of these crews worked tirelessly and under extremely difficult conditions.
And the Haitians I met were very grateful for your contribution and spoke with great emotion every time they talked about it. They would come to me and say that the Canadian Forces are a force of love, and love meant compassion, generosity and respect of human dignity.
In Halifax last year, I also experienced one of the most touching moments in my mandate as Commander-in-Chief during the consecration and presentation of new Queen’s colour to the Canadian Navy.
As you mentioned, Vice-Admiral McFadden, it was indeed with great pride and honour that I wore the navy uniform on that occasion and that I will do it again tomorrow during the International Fleet Review, which will bring together the Maritime Forces Pacific.
Because I have the greatest respect for the work you do, whether protecting our marine zones or helping to ensure security in the world’s oceans, transporting merchandise and food, or fighting terrorism and piracy.
You accomplish this work in partnership with our allies—several of whom are represented here today—and I would like to take this opportunity to salute their invaluable support.
The Canadian navy has evolved admirably over the past century, not only in response to changing priorities, but also to reflect Canadian society in all its diversity.
Day in and day out, the Canadian Navy crosses the seas under the banner of peace, justice and freedom, and the Canadian Navy supports the people who need its help the most.
And I believe your latest missions and operations—in Haiti, in the Arabian Sea and in the Gulf of Aden, to name just a few—have demonstrated more than ever the relevance and professionalism of the Canadian Navy.
May this anniversary therefore be an opportunity for us, as Canadians, A Mari usque ad Mare, to thank you for the remarkable service you have provided, with valour and honour, for the past one hundred years.
I would like to salute and express all our gratitude to all those who have answered the call of the Canadian Forces and the call of the sea.