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View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
Congratulations on your election to become the chair, and I also thank all members for steadfast support for Ukraine. It sends a very strong message when you have all-party support for Ukraine at the time of need.
Operation Unifier plays a very important role, which I remind all my colleagues at NATO when we go, whether it's me hosting a meeting or hosting a breakfast to be able to elevate that conversation.
On Operation Unifier, there are a couple of things that we're doing. The work that we're doing is about providing for the right need. Rather than just our figuring out for ourselves what we're willing to provide, it's about assessing the various needs. Very early on, rather than training from one location, I made the decision and gave the direction to spread that training out, to go where it's needed. Rather than having the Ukrainian armed forces members come to one location when they have to deal with trying to get in the front line and doing all the various training, we now go to them. The locations fluctuate depending on what's going on. It's usually over 10 at any one time. We look at any opportunities to be able to expand on that training.
One thing we've also said is that with the defence co-operation arrangements, plus Ukraine being added to the automatic firearms control list, that allows us to now look at how the procurement system will work. What we want to do is link from procurement into the type of training that we can provide, because equipment is absolutely useless until you train somebody to use it well, and you make them far more effective. For example, the sniper rifles that have been purchased through Canada, and the training that we provide—because we literally do have the best military snipers in the world—is providing that capability that has the impact.
Also the medical training resonates in my mind directly. That was something that a team identified. It wasn't part of the initial training. People coming back from the front line didn't have the appropriate training and people were dying. Getting the first aid training is not just for the individual, but it's teaching about the whole system that's needed, from the casualty collection point to putting people into an ambulance. You need to stabilize them before they get into the ambulance; otherwise, they're going to die on the way. Those are all things that actually have had an impact.
What we also need to work very hard on is to support Ukraine on its reforms, because the reforms are going to be absolutely crucial to making sure that Ukraine is going to be eventually successful.
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