Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s statement on NATO’s 65th anniversary on April 4, 2014:
“Canada joins other allies today in celebrating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally created to deter Soviet expansionism, prevent the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe, reinforce the trans-Atlantic link, and to encourage European political integration, the Alliance has become a highly respected instrument in the promotion of both regional and global security.
“NATO allies can be proud that the Alliance has met its founding objectives and extended the security guarantee inherent in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty to 28 member states in the North Atlantic region. Through its assistance operation in Afghanistan, the Alliance has enhanced the safety of its citizens and those of its partners, improved security and stability in the country, and reduced the risk that Afghanistan will again become a safe haven for terrorists. Other security operations in Bosnia, Kosovo and Libya have successfully halted conflicts which were taking the lives of thousands of people.
“Canada has been a committed member of NATO since it was founded in 1949. We have been a major military contributor to the Alliance, playing a significant role in the defence of Western Europe during the Cold War and participating in every single NATO operation in the post-Cold War era. The Canadian Armed Forces have distinguished themselves in these operations as one of the most engaged, agile, deployable and responsive armed forces in the world.
“Canada is a strong believer that NATO must continue to uphold its fundamental principles to defence, peace and democracy while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to the complex challenges that face the Alliance today. Canada condemns Russia’s illegal military intervention in Ukraine and illegal attempt to annex Crimea, and I congratulate members for having the collective resolve and fortitude to suspend NATO-Russia cooperation. We continue to call on Vladimir Putin to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and to engage in direct dialogue with the Ukrainian government so that a solution can be reached.
“NATO is the cornerstone of our trans-Atlantic security and defence, which brings together North American and European allies to address significant global security threats. Canada remains steadfast in our support of and participation in the Alliance and I look forward to working with the new NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and other allies to continue to position the Alliance for success in the future. I would also like to thank NATO’s outgoing Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, for his contributions to strengthening Euro-Atlantic security since 2009.”