OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 26, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today extended his congratulations to a Canadian Department of National Defence delegation on a successful visit with the Australian Defence Force.
The Chief of the Australian Defence Force, General David Hurley, recently invited a delegation of Canadian Forces (CF) members serving in combat occupations to visit Australia to share their combat experiences with the Australian Defence Force (ADF). This invitation was issued to assist with the implementation phase of making all combat positions in the ADF open to women.
"The work of Canadian women and men in uniform is respected by all of our allies. They know that Canada produces the best soldiers, sailors and air personnel in the world and I am pleased that the experiences of women in combat arms are being shared with one of our closest allies," said Minister MacKay. "This invitation represents the closeness of the Canada-Australia Defence relationship, and the many different ways the two forces work together to strengthen both militaries."
Two female Canadian Forces members, as well as a male CF member, and a civilian gender integration subject matter expert representative from the Canadian Defence Academy travelled to Australia from May 7 to 18, 2012, to share their experiences. This visit was an opportunity for the Canadian delegation personnel to discuss with the ADF their shared commitment to gender equality in the military, and to share the military experience of Colonel Jennie Carignan, Chief of Staff, Land Forces Central Area, Chief Warrant Officer Stan Stapleford, Land Forces Central Area Chief Warrant Officer, and Captain Genevieve Bertrand, Adjutant, 3rd Battalion, Royal 22nd Regiment.
The CF encourage women to serve in all occupations, including those in the combat arms and in the submarine service.
"Women and men in uniform are equal partners in the defence of Canada. Throughout Canada's military history, women have played a pivotal role in the success of our operations, at home here in Canada and abroad," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "I am pleased that we are able to share our experiences with our close allies and friends in the Australian Defence Force."
Canada and Australia maintain a solid foundation of defence cooperation through exercises, training, academic exchanges, policy talks, high-level visits, and operations such as the NATO-led Afghanistan mission. While Australia is not a member of NATO, it has made significant contributions to the International Security Assistance Force and operations in Afghanistan during the last decade.