OTTAWA, Sept. 4, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today hosted his French counterpart, the Honourable Kader Arif, Minister for Veterans at the Ministry of Defence in France, and discussed efforts to work together to commemorate the Great Wars. Minister Fantino and Minister Arif also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial to recognize the contribution of Canadians and all Veterans in times of war.
"The sacrifices and achievements of Canadians, alongside Allied forces, made a significant difference in the outcomes of the First and Second World Wars," said Minister Fantino. "Canada is proud to work with international partners to honour those who served—and those who continue to serve—for freedom, democracy and the rule of law. We are dedicated to ensuring that the sacrifices and contributions of Veterans are never forgotten."
The ministers' discussions built on the joint Canada-France commitment, focusing on the need to preserve the memory of the conflicts of the twentieth century, and on the preparation for the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War.
"The French people and Government are deeply thankful to Canadian and Allied forces that twice in a century fought for France's liberty," said Minister Arif. "France has a responsibility to serve as a host country for many international delegations in 2014, and I will be personally involved to ensure that Veterans from all over the world, the youth and other visitors, as well as dignitaries, will be received in the best way possible."
Earlier this year, a declaration was signed affirming cooperation between Canada and France on commemorating, between 2014 and 2020, key military milestones of the First and Second World Wars. Commemorative activities marking these key milestone anniversaries will be carried out under the themes of heritage, engagement and youth. Today's meeting was the first bilateral meeting between the ministers on Canadian soil.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to defend the Republic of Korea and uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada's role in the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada