With the sun setting over Valparaiso, an impressive cross-section of Canadian and Chilean officials celebrated the Canadian Navy’s 100th Anniversary and Chile’s Bicentennial. The celebration included Chilean naval and military commanders, members of parliament, government officials, and business and community leaders, as well as the crews of HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Algonquin.
Co-hosted by Ambassador Sarah Fountain Smith and Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, Canada’s Chief of Maritime Staff, well over 150 guests participated in the reception, which afforded an invaluable opportunity to further deepen connections between Canada and Chile. The ship was decorated with a bright red and white awning for the occasion, lending a distinctly Canadian flair to the gathering.
The ship visit concretely reaffirmed that Canada sees Chile as a strategic partner in the pursuit of democracy, prosperity and security in the Americas. Expanding defence cooperation between both countries is a key component of these objectives.
In his address to the assembled crowd, Vice-Admiral McFadden highlighted that both navies “share a fundamental relationship, founded on a common vision, which continues to grow and mature.” Indeed, the indelible and positive impact of both countries’ extensive coastlines, maritime communities and cultures have featured a central role for the Navy in the history and development of Canada and Chile alike.
During their port call in Chile, Protecteur and Algonquin engaged in a three-day multinational exercise focused on practicing various aspects of naval operations, including anti-submarine warfare, among others. Such joint exercises help to enhance Canada and Chile’s capacity to protect against threats–economic, environmental, or otherwise. More importantly, they allow people to connect: sailor to sailor; soldier to soldier; and person to person. Such connections, in turn, serve as the foundation of our bilateral relationship.
This strong connection was further enhanced by the participation of HMCS Algonquin in the special Bicentennial Naval Fleet Review of the Chilean Navy, along with ships from five other countries
With the Canadian flag flying proudly off the stern, the men and women of the Canadian Navy, Army and Air Force standing at attention on board Algonquin distinguished themselves with a robust salute of "Viva Chile!" as they sailed past, a gesture deeply appreciated by all.