Mr. Peter Van Praagh, President, Halifax International Security Forum
Baroness Michèle Coninsx, Assistant Secretary General, Executive Director, Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, United Nations
The Hon. Scott Brison, President, Treasury Board, Canada
The Hon. Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, Canada
The 2017 Halifax International Security Forum kicked off with remarks by Peter Van Praagh, President of the Halifax International Security Forum.
Remarks on behalf the United Nations were delivered by Baroness Michèle Coninsx, Assistant Secretary General, Executive Director, Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, United Nations.
The Hon. Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, introduced the Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Canadian Minister of Defence, who welcomed participants to Halifax and to the 2017 Forum.
In the weekend’s first Halifax Chat, discussion focused on Canada’s recommitment to peacekeeping with the United Nations and NATO’s role in the face of changes in America and the European Union. On the heels of the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in Vancouver, B.C., Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan emphasized the country’s military leadership in Latvia and Ukraine and that bolstering Canada’s peacekeeping abilities reflects the will of the people. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the European Union’s new Permanent Structured Cooperation as an opportunity for a more secure and well-defended European continent. Both noted that despite rhetoric about NATO in the United States, America continues to be a leader and active participant in NATO. There was overwhelming consensus that women must be involved in all aspects of military operations, and that there must be more women in uniform if lasting peace and security is to be achieved.
“Together, we share not only a military alliance, we share a common vision for global progress.”
“I am confident that the United States is committed to NATO and to the Trans-Atlantic bond.”
World War II. Korea. 9/11. These have been key moments when western states came together in defence of freedom, democracy and shared values. Yet today, the people’s faith in democracy and international institutions is under threat. Neo-Nazis are also emboldened. The political divide is no longer just left versus right, but increasingly it is between those who value liberalism and those who do not. Panelists discussed the future of the principles for which men and women a generation ago fought and died – especially in light of a recent rise of populism, individualism and radical protests in a number of democratic countries. Panelists noted that during this democratic stress test – the greatest that this generation has faced – domestic problems must be solved while valuing the post WWII international order. Suggestions ranged from classes in civics to fostering grassroots solutions to encouraging a greater diversity of views in foreign affairs. All agreed that the way forward is still uncertain, but the work begins through cooperation.
“Presidential words and tweets carry their own throw-weight.”
“Although we have our differences in our alliance, it is a unified alliance, and it is unified to make sure we have a security umbrella for our freedoms and our way of life.”
“I applaud the notion of educating every kid…getting from here to there, even in America is going to be a real reach.”
“I think we have to find a way to absorb immigrants, not to push them out.”
LOCATION: Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
LOCATION: Westin Lobby
Presentation of the Builder Award to NATO
“The senior envoy for northern Iraq’s Kurds – who have spent years honing their military skills under the tutelage of Canadian special forces – is calling on the Trudeau government to intervene in a growing conflict between the ethnically distinct minority and Baghdad. Falah Mustafa Bakir visits Canada on Friday for the annual Halifax International Security Forum, where he plans to ask Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and other Canadian officials to help mediate tensions in northern Iraq over a referendum in which Kurds voted to separate.”
“NATO’s chief said Wednesday he is certain the alliance will have sufficient forces to fulfill its training mission in Afghanistan after months of lobbying allies to increase troop contributions. He spoke of ahead of his attendance at the Halifax International Security Forum this weekend.”
“All over the developed democratic world, people are asking: “Who are we?” and “What do we stand for?” A fierce controversy about free speech is roiling university campuses from Budapest to Berkeley. An angry politics of exclusion, given voice by populist leaders, is generating renewed discussion of who’s in and who’s out. Evidence is less and less important as charges of racism, bigotry, fake news, and political correctness clog social media.”
“Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said his department’s job is ensuring foreign fighters don’t become a threat. “We will make sure that we put every type of resource into place so Canadians are well protected,” he told a crowd at the Halifax International Security Forum on Friday.”
“NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is praising Canada’s commitment to peace operations and says it comes as the military alliance considers greater cooperation with the United Nations to help with increasingly dangerous missions. “NATO has lots of experience in operating in dangerous environments and therefore we can help the UN with training, sharing our experience in operating non-permissive environments,” Stoltenberg said in a telephone interview Friday from Halifax, where he is among the delegates attending the Halifax International Security Forum.”
“NATO’s secretary-general apologized to Turkey on Friday over military exercises in Norway during which Turkey’s founding leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were reportedly depicted as “enemies.”