OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 29, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, was appointed Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown of the Kingdom of Belgium during a ceremony in Brussels today.
The honour was presented to Minister MacKay by Belgian Minister of Defence,
Pieter De Crem, in recognition of the longstanding and close historical relationship between Canada and Belgium. The Belgian award also acknowledges Minister MacKay's personal leadership role and contribution within NATO, particularly in positioning the Alliance to be an agile, deployable and modern organization, as well as for Canada's steadfast commitment to promoting peace and stability in Europe.
"The Kingdom of Belgium grants you, Peter MacKay, the distinction of Grand Officer in the Order of the Crown for your accomplishments as Canadian Minister of Defence, for your efforts to increase the cooperation between allied countries and to strengthen the transatlantic relations," said Minister De Crem. "Furthermore, this is a token of our appreciation for all the sacrifices made by the Canadian population during both World Wars, and more recently for your country's contribution to peacekeeping missions."
"I am honoured and humbled to be here today, with my Belgian counterpart, to receive this special recognition from the Kingdom of Belgium, on behalf of the men and women of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces," said Minister MacKay. "I consider this honour a symbol of our countries' deep historical bonds, our shared commitment to the success of our transatlantic NATO Alliance, and of the indivisibility of our security."
The Order of the Crown is junior only to the Order of Leopold in Belgium's national decorations, the highest order of Belgium.
In addition to his appointment as Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown of the Kingdom of Belgium, Minister MacKay has also been awarded the title of Champion of Mental Health in 2009, by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health.