Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark National Peacekeepers' Day:
Today, we pay tribute to all Canadian peacekeepers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and to those who continue to work tirelessly to defend our interests while promoting the democratic values that we, as Canadians, hold dear. National Peacekeepers Day commemorates the tragic day in 1974 when nine Canadian soldiers were killed, when their plane was shot down in the Middle East. Since that time, other Canadians have also made the ultimate sacrifice on important peacekeeping and military missions around the world, most recently in Afghanistan.
Whether they are working with our allies, providing humanitarian assistance, or helping to restore peace and security in troubled countries, Canada's serving personnel have played essential and pivotal roles defending our national interests. These men and women represent a fundamental part of our national identity.
Canada has long been at the forefront of international security missions, and we have a reputation internationally of being active in support of peace. Our military has contributed many years to both United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations, and Canadian police and civilians are also increasingly participating in both conflict and post-conflict situations.
On this National Peacekeepers' Day, let us remember and honour the men and women who carry on Canada's long and proud tradition of peacekeeping, and their efforts to promote peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law around the world."