The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of National Defence, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, met on the margins of the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia to discuss the Canada-U.S. defence relationship, and sign the Canada-U.S. Asia-Pacific Defense Policy Cooperation Framework.
“It is here, and only here, where international leaders gather annually on Canadian shores for bilateral security discussions and global conversations.. It is a platform where the conversation is held that steers the thinking of international security practitioners for the new year. ”
“Leading thinkers, policy makers and analysts from six continents are converging on Halifax to share opinions and debate solutions to issues that affect us all. These conversations will generate insights, perspectives and a broader understanding of the challenges and opportunities we face.”
“The Halifax International Security Forum has gone from a simple idea, showcasing Canadian views on the world stage, to establishing itself as a premier event to discuss global security issues. International media now speak of it as the defence and security equivalent of the Davos Economic Forum. I am proud – and all Canadians should be proud – of what we do here in Nova Scotia for the cause of international defence, peace and security.”
The most prolific thinkers on international security, decision-makers, military experts and writers joined together in Halifax, Canada to open the fifth annual Halifax International Security Forum. Peter Van Praagh, President of Halifax International Security Forum, The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of National Defence, and US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, made opening remarks.
“This year, we gather not only against the backdrop of a challenging international environment but also in the shadow of a President assassinated 50 years ago today.”
“While we may find solutions to some of these problems in the next three days, it is more likely that we will, more modestly, gain insights that enable us to understand more fully, and make better decisions, together.”
“There is no question that the most effective response is always found through like-minded peoples of the world working together. ”
“The challenge of global climate change, while not new to history, is new to the modern world. Climate change does not directly cause conflict, but it can significantly add to the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. ”
“The Arctic is a region of established nation-states. Engagement and cooperation with Canada and the other Arctic nations—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden—is a cornerstone of our strategy. Arctic nations have publicly committed to work within a common framework of international law and diplomatic engagement. ”
Panelists discussed the perceived decline of the West and indicated that the West may be tired or has lost “curiosity,” however they asserted that alternatives to global leadership are not obviously surfacing. Additionally, the progressively quickening pace of change in the world leads to conclusions that the future is increasingly confusing and uncertain, and the West may be challenged to keep up. Panelists suggested that the West should consider using its current power to try to evolve a global political system that would be acceptable in any eventuality. Panelists engaged on the appropriateness of Western political influence on the current dynamic among and within democratic nation-states in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa and what, if any, alternatives are presenting. The panel weighed the impact of non-state influences, such as religion, activism, and corporate bodies within the global political structure and how these actors contribute to the balance of interests and values. The panelists discussed the relevance of Europe in global activities, which led to a discussion about cooperation and working together through international bodies such as NATO. Solidarity will be challenged, but panelists asserted that cooperation is crucial to pursuing and advancing values of peace and democracy.
“You can tweet a revolution; you cannot tweet the transition.”
“I am afraid the West is still strong enough to make more mistakes.”
“No one can deny that at this very moment uncertainty is the most important feature in international relations.”
“I think the West is in decline and the West is in retreat; I also think that nobody else is doing any better; so if we are confused and confusing, that is because the world is confused and confusing.”
LOCATION: Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Presentation of the Halifax Builder Award
Remarks from the U.S. Congressional Delegation
Mr. Peter Mansbridge, Chief Correspondent and Anchor of “The National”, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation