“The Navy” by Senator Hugh Segal*

*Moderator’s Note:  The following statement was made by Senator Hugh Segal in the Debates of the Senate on 14 November 2007, during the 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament of Canada.  It is contained in Hansard, Volume 144, Issue 11.

The Navy

Hon. Hugh Segal: Honourable senators, since November 2006, Canadian naval operations and deployments have spanned the globe from Canada's North to the Baltic Sea, South Africa, the Caribbean, and the western coast of South America. The effects of these deployments have been far-reaching and it is those effects that contribute to Canada's influence in the world.

Global deployments are vital to maintaining maritime security in challenging conditions. Since May, the Canadian navy has been involved in such diverse operations as support to high level meetings in the Caribbean; contributions to NATO exercises such as Noble Mariner in the Baltic Sea; and part of the standing NATO Maritime Group 1's circumnavigation of Africa; working with western hemisphere navies off the Panama Canal; and asserting Canadian sovereignty in the arctic.

At the end of 2006, Canada concluded its one-year command of NATO's high readiness maritime response group, SNMG1, commanded from the flagship destroyer, HMCS Iroquois. This group of ships from NATO navies patrolled the Atlantic and Mediterranean with a purpose to interdict those who would use the sea for unlawful purposes.

The presence of the HMCS Toronto and other NATO ships off the coast of Somalia, where piracy is enabled by lawlessness ashore and feeds that lawlessness in turn, is a positive effect on maritime security and the merchant ships that rely on that security to deliver food aid ashore.

Early in 2007, HMCS Ottawa returned from duty in the Arabian Sea as Canada's twentieth ship deployed to that region under the UN mandated operation called Op Altair. The benefit of enhanced maritime security is delivered by our deployments to the coalition effort in the Gulf. The tangible effect of the deployments of HMCS Fredericton, HMCS Toronto and HMCS Regina demonstrated that the navy could deploy ships to conduct the three core missions for Canada simultaneously, and could do so effectively: HMCS Fredericton in the arctic for Operation Nanook asserting Canadian sovereignty and security; HMCS Regina in South America supporting Canadian foreign policy abroad; and HMCS Toronto in the Arabian Sea executing NATO high readiness group responsibilities for sea control, sea denial and maritime power projection in defence of Canadian and allied global objectives and commitments.

In summary, colleagues, domestic security activities, supporting other government departments and participating in collective global defence while projecting Canadian values is what the navy is doing for us now at sea. As we look forward to 2008, whether deployed for Operation Altair, Southploy, NATO operations and exercises or domestic operations, the navy will deliver maritime security while projecting Canadian interests and values off almost every continent and in every one of the world's oceans.

Please join me in honouring and recognizing these brave men and women of the Canadian navy, whose military, security, diplomatic and safety role on and beneath the seas have never mattered more to national security, Canadian sovereignty and global, diplomatic and economic progress worldwide.