Partners in Defence Main Reception
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, September 13, 2017
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
What a pleasure to be here to celebrate the important defence relationship that exists between Canada and the United States.
Our two countries are indeed partners in defence. This is my seventh visit to the United States as governor general and commander-in-chief of Canada, and during those trips, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the close co-operation that exists between our respective armed forces on a number of occasions.
For example, in Hawaii I observed members of the Canadian Armed Forces participating in the impressive Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise alongside their U.S. counterparts.
In Oklahoma, I visited Tinker Air Force Base, where our armed forces members are stationed as part of the 552nd Air Control Wing.
And in fact, while here in Washington last year, I visited Arlington National Cemetery across the river in Virginia and laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Canadian Cross of Sacrifice.
The Cross of Sacrifice is a particularly poignant symbol of the close defence ties that exist between our two countries. As you know, it honours U.S. citizens who served in the Canadian military and gave their lives in the first and second world wars and in the Korean War.
At the time of the Cross’ dedication, U.S. Secretary of War Dwight F. Davis said:
“In the years to come, this monument shall stand as a symbol of that friendship which has been sealed by the blood of our heroic sons.”
The friendship between Canada and the United States is a very important and unique one, and defence is a critical element. We are greater than the sum of our parts, and the closeness of the Canada-U.S. defence partnership gives us greater security than we could achieve on our own.
There are so many facets to our co-operation. They include joint training exercises, personnel exchanges, strategic policy discussions and operational co-operation. I’ve mentioned a few of these exchanges, and there are many more for us to be proud of.
This important partnership is grounded in the values we share, our close economic interdependence and the deep and lasting ties that exist between the people of Canada and the United States.
Ultimately, it is these relationships between people that form the heart of our friendship, which is why I’m so pleased to be here with all of you to express appreciation on behalf of all Canadians for all that you do.
I wish you all a wonderful evening.