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Statement on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the signing of the NORAD Agreement.

Honourable senators, on May 12, 1958, Canada and the United States signed the NORAD agreement. Perhaps more than any other institution, NORAD defines the enduring and steadfast military relationship of our two countries, but it also transcends the purely military and serves as a constant reminder of the unbreakable bond between our two great democracies — partners, friends and allies.

NORAD has changed over the years, which more than anything else is testimony to this remarkable organization's ability to adapt to changing circumstances. In fact, there have been nine renewals of the original agreement with four substantial changes in 1975, 1981, 1996 and 2006.

In spite of these changes and the half century that has passed since its founding, the rationale for Canada's participation in NORAD remains the same: It provides us with enhanced protection from direct military attack; it gives us first-hand insight into U.S. military thinking, not to mention some measures of influence over decisions that may affect Canadian interests; it provides valuable and ongoing opportunities for joint training, as well as cooperation in the areas of defence research and development; and it provides or supports thousands of jobs in defence production.

I hope that all honourable senators will join me on this, the fiftieth anniversary of NORAD, in not only celebrating this occasion but also doing what we can from this moment forward to ensure that this organization exists for another 50 years.