The Courier
Lieutenant-General M.H.L. (Lise) Bourgon, CMM, MSC, CD, Acting Commander, Military Personnel Command – Supplied Photo


I am honoured to be your Defence Champion for Women for a second year in a row. As today marks International Women’s Day, I look forward to celebrating what we have accomplished so far and having meaningful discussions about where we still need to go as an organization. Together we can create an environment where all our best ideas flourish.

This year’s Defence Team theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” is an important one. How do we inspire? For me, it means first examining barriers that prevent us from achieving a fully inclusive work environment. To do this, it’s important we seek out diverse perspectives, all while listening, empathizing, and collaborating. Having these important conversations, at all levels, is key to achieving a work environment that is effective and engages everyone on the Defence Team.

This year, I’m delighted to once again be hosting a virtual / in person discussion panel alongside other women and gender-diverse Defence Team members, of a range of ranks and trades. I expect a lively conversation, celebrating the positive impacts of inclusive initiatives that have rolled out over the past year. I hope you will join me, and that afterwards, you will feel inspired to push for greater inclusion, for yourself and others. If you’re not able to attend in person, a video link will be made available during the next few days.

As many of you know, Canada is a world leader in both the proportion of women and gender-diverse individuals in its military and the areas in which we can serve. Women’s involvement in the Canadian military has long been an important part of our identity. Today, women and gender-diverse individuals serve with distinction in all occupations within the Department of National Defence, as civilians and as Canadian Armed Forces members, including on combat operations. Inclusion is a Canadian value and one we take seriously.

Pushing against the challenges that face women and gender-diverse members of the Defence Team is not only the right thing to do, but it will make the Canadian Armed Forces a more effective fighting force. This International Women’s Day, I hope you feel inspired and supported, as we strive for a more equitable outcome for all, at home and abroad.

Lieutenant-General M.H.L. (Lise) Bourgon, CMM, MSC, CD
Acting Commander, Military Personnel Command

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