For the past 15 years, our annual West Point cadet visits to Ottawa have provided emerging leaders with a deeper understanding of the Canada-U.S. military and civilian relationship, and Canadian society and its political system at the beginning of their careers. This year’s tour continued that proud tradition.
Cadets began their tour on November 9 with a visit to Global Affairs Canada headquarters. Eric Walsh, Director General for North America, provided welcome remarks. Afterwards, cadets engaged in a detailed Q&A session with Senator Peter Boehm.
On Nov. 10, cadets received a series of briefings at the Canadian War Museum – beginning with welcome remarks by Dr. Dean Oliver, the museum’s Acting Vice President and Director General. Vincent Rigby, a Canadian foreign policy expert and senior fellow at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, presented on the need for a new national security strategy for Canada.
Rigby’s speech was followed by an address by Jill Sinclair, Canada’s Representative to the Ukraine Defence Reform Advisory Board at Canada’s Department of National Defense. Sinclair expanded on the vital nature of democratic accountability and civilian control over the military. Véronique Pepin-Hallé and Kevin Tunney, also of Global Affairs Canada, then provided the cadets with a detailed Canadian threat assessment from across the globe.
On the morning of November 11, the cadets participated in the National Remembrance Day Ceremony. Thanks to support provided by the Royal Canadian Legion, the cadets were placed in a prominent location facing the cenotaph and laid a wreath during the ceremony. The trip was a success and highlighted the vital nature of the Canada-U.S. relationship to a group of future military (and civilian) leaders.