PM Trudeau speaks to members of the Canadian Armed Forces in Mali
Thank you all, and thank you Chris for your kind words and for your leadership. All of us are so deeply… all of us in the visiting group have been absolutely blown away by what we’ve seen here.
The work you’re doing, the impact you’re having, the professionalism, the expertise you demonstrate is extraordinary. And if my visit can accomplish two things, it will be a success as far as I’m concerned. First is that you know just how grateful we are for your service, for the time you’re spending away from your families, away from our country, in order to have an incredibly positive impact in the world.
And secondly, if I’m here with a bit more media attention, it’s so we underline the work you’re doing every day for Canadians, and the sacrifices you’re making and especially that… your families are making as well.
Because for all of you here not celebrating Christmases with your family, there is a family back home not celebrating their Christmases with you, and we need to think about the sacrifices that you and your families make in order to serve Canada in such an extraordinary way. And it is a real privilege and a real honour to be able to share a Christmas dinner with you… with you all today.
You know, as we talk about engaging, and Canada engaging in peacekeeping operations the way we are once again, we think often -- and you hear this from Canadians -- that, you know, Canada has a great history of peacekeeping but it wasn’t just because we were nice and polite, it was always because Canada had consistently demonstrated the capacity to step up and punch well above its weight class to make a significant and positive impact wherever needed around the world. We did it in the trenches of World War I and the beaches of World War II; and throughout the second half of the 20th century we demonstrated time and time again that Canada could make a significant and positive difference wherever Canadians stepped up and moved forward.
And this mission has been an extraordinary opportunity for me to see come to fruition or a demonstration of what Canadians do best; and that is respond to very specific needs with the highest level of skill, professionalism and service imaginable. What Task Force Mali is accomplishing here is world class, and the lessons that we are learning as we do this about what we can do when we push our own limits; but the lessons we are showing and sharing with our allies and indeed with the world about how to be more effective, how to keep people safe by having an extraordinary medical evacuation system and logistics support at the same time, is one of those ways that Canadians can know that we are always looking for the best way to help.
And the only way we can do that is thanks to the professionalism and expertise of you, the women and men who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces.
We can never, as Canadians, be grateful enough to you for your service, for your sacrifice, for how you step up day in and day out to make our country having its full impact on the world stage. But of course the commander was talking about the fact that this was his third Christmas on deployment. This is a long tradition of troops celebrating Christmas. And I was pointed out that back in 1943, seventy five years ago almost on this date, Canadians were celebrating Christmas dinner after having successfully taken Oronto in Italy… Orono… sorry… Orano… Ortona! There we are. Thank you. I don’t have notes.
When we took Ortona, there was an opportunity to celebrate afterwards; and that idea of coming together and pausing and remembering and reflecting on why we serve, and our families back home, is a really important thing. But of course I wouldn’t come for a Christmas lunch without bringing a few gifts. We brought some Timmy’s coffee, we brought some Near Beer, we brought lots of maple syrup, but mostly, when I was visiting Coach’s Corner earlier I saw that we were missing a significant piece of equipment that probably you will get a lot of use over the coming weeks and months which is a proper bubble hockey table. So you guys will be able to enjoy that at Coach’s Corner down the way.
But of course none of the gifts in the world could actually live up to how deeply grateful we and all Canadians are for you. For your stepping up, for your families’ sacrifice, and mostly for your deep belief and understanding that Canada can and must help in the world. And that’s exactly what you’re doing.
Thank you so much for all that you do. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year, Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
Thank you everyone.