By Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk
Commander Canadian Army
At this most special time of year, Chief Warrant Officer Alain Guimond and I would like to offer our best wishes to the entire Canadian Army family.
This is also an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the year that has passed. I am extremely proud of the great work that our women and men in uniform and members of the Defence Team do every day. In the last year we have achieved a number of great successes and benefited from many learning experiences. This year, we have taken on the responsibility for Army Reserve enrollment and streamlined the recruiting process. This and other components of the Strengthening the Army Reserve initiative will continue to be one of our priorities in the New Year and years to come.
Our personnel were extremely busy this year while responding to various natural disasters across the country as part of Operation LENTUS including: the ice storm in New Brunswick; flooding in Kashechewan, Ontario; severe flooding in Quebec; and wildfires in British Columbia and Manitoba. Our members demonstrated time and time again, and continue to demonstrate, that they are ready to support and serve alongside our federal, provincial and municipal partners, who are working diligently to serve Canadian citizens in need.
On a different note, I am also very proud of our efforts towards the enhanced Forward Presence mission in Latvia, where Canada has assumed a leadership role as one of four Framework Nations leading a multinational battlegroup. This is our first permanent mission in Europe since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s. CWO Guimond and I had the pleasure of visiting the men and women of the Canadian Army in Latvia, as well as Ukraine, who continue to display outstanding professionalism in all that they do.
On numerous occasions, the Army Sergeant-Major has recounted to me how he is honoured to travel and witness the high quality, the dedication and the professionalism of our soldiers both across Canada and deployed around the world.
This spring marked the Government of Canada’s unveiling of Canada’s defence policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged – which has provided the clarity the Army needed to balance priorities, respond to emerging challenges, and invest in future capabilities. Maintaining the proper mix of combat capabilities, along with the ability to operate jointly with the rest of the CAF, in concert with key Allies and partners, is crucial for Army success.
This year also marked the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and other significant military anniversaries, including the 100th anniversaries of the Battles of Vimy Ridge, Hill 70 and Passchendaele, and the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. Many of our soldiers had the honour of representing the Canadian Army at these commemorative events in Europe. In 2017, we also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Canadian Rangers, who do tremendous work in northern, coastal, and isolated areas of Canada as our eyes and ears on the ground.
To those of you serving Canada far from home, know that our thoughts and good wishes are with you. Those of you who have served overseas during the holidays know how difficult this can be: stay focused and stay safe. A special thanks to all our families for supporting our soldiers each and every day.
To each member of the Army Team: Take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your colleagues during the holiday season and always. Take advantage of the holiday season to spend quality time with family and friends. We also urge you to reach out for support if you, or someone you know, need it.
CWO Guimond and I wish you and your loved ones all the best for a safe, healthy and happy holiday season, as well as a joyful New Year.