Minister Sajjan concludes visit to Australia and New Zealand

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan visits Australia
The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence Canada, arrives at Department of Defence Offices in Canberra, Australia, to visit Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin. Photo: Lauren Larking, Department of Defence, Australia

​Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan wrapped up a successful visit to Australia and New Zealand last Friday, where he met with his counterparts to discuss a number of security and defence issues of common interest and further strengthen bilateral defence relationships.

“Australia and New Zealand are important defence partners to Canada," said Minister Sajjan. "As Asia-Pacific partners, we share a number of common interests and I look forward to building on these relationships in the years ahead.”

In Australia, Minister Sajjan met with his counterpart, Defence Minister Marise Payne and other senior-level government officials. They discussed regional and global security issues, including counter-terrorism efforts in the Asia-Pacific region and the situation in the Middle East. Canada and Australia have a long history of defence cooperation and currently serve as global coalition partners in the fight against ISIL. Additionally, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is contributing staff, including the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, to the Australian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) responsible for counter-terrorism operations within the Middle East Region.

Minister Sajjan then travelled to New Zealand where he met with Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee, followed by meetings with other government officials. Topics of discussion focussed on continued cooperation in a number of areas, including cyber and space capabilities and efforts to counter violent extremism in Southeast Asia and globally.

Minister Sajjan also took the opportunity to discuss lessons learned with his counterparts stemming from their respective defence policy reviews. Australia released a new defence policy in February 2016 and New Zealand is in the process of concluding its defence policy review. Minister Sajjan will launch a review of Canadian defence policy shortly.

Minister Sajjan also participated in wreath-laying ceremonies at both the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington.

“During my visit, I had an opportunity to seek feedback from my counterparts on lessons learned from their respective defence policy reviews which will help to inform Canada’s own review process," the minister said. "We will be making important announcements about how Canadians can get involved in the review in the near future and I look forward to having a national discussion on defence with Canadians.”