The Courier

 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with a CAF member at 4 Wing inside CFB Cold Lake on August 26th – Photo by Mike Marshall – The Courier News 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and other dignitaries stopped in at 4 Wing on Friday, where the two leaders discussed shared priorities and threats to transatlantic security.

The two leaders toured CFB Cold Lake on August 26th, where they participated in a morning welcoming ceremony featuring an honour guard and later attended a luncheon with members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). At a mid-morning press conference, Trudeau said the meeting was a way to discuss the defence of the Arctic and the changing security situation around the world.

“Over the last few days, we’ve had a chance to talk about the security challenges the world is facing. The Canadian Armed Forces have been able to show us their tremendous expertise. We discussed security threats posed by climate change and its unique challenges in the Arctic. Most importantly, we had the chance to see Canada’s strength on the western and northern approaches to NATO.”

Joining the Prime Minister and Secretary General on the trip were Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Wayne Eyre, Minister of National Defence Anita Anand, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly, Minister of Northern Affairs, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency Dan Vandal.  Stoltenberg spoke and restated the importance of security when it comes to the high north region.

“The high north is strategically important for North Atlantic security. When Finland and Sweden join NATO, seven out of eight Arctic nations will be NATO members. The shortest path to North America for Russian missiles and bombers would be over the North Pole. This makes  NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) role vital for North America, and also for NATO.”

The Prime Minister’s Office says the two leaders discussed “a bilateral meeting to advance shared priorities including Canada’s ongoing commitment to NATO and additional support to the Alliance’s eastern flank, continued assistance to Ukraine, the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA), taking ambitious climate action, and the establishment of the NATO Climate Change and Security Centre of Excellence in Montréal.”

Prime Minister Trudeau noted that this trip marked his first visit to CFB Cold Lake, but not his first to 4 Wing.

“In 1982, with my father, I visited 4 Wing when it was based at CFB Baden–Soellingen, near Baden-Baden in Germany. That was one of my first tastes of how Canada’s commitment to NATO is deep, serious, and continues today.”

On Thursday morning Trudeau, Stoltenberg, and other dignitaries were in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where the leaders visited one of the sites of the North Warning System, which is part of a network of sensors that enable the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to safeguard North America.

The two leaders also visited the Canadian High Arctic Research Station to witness the work being done to study the impacts of climate change on permafrost, weather, and the ecosystem and understand their consequences.


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