Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Honourable senators, today I would like to talk about an exceptional lady. With Vimy Ridge Day not far behind us, I would like to draw to your attention the most recent recipient of the Vimy Award from the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross.
She was a most fitting choice for this prestigious award, which recognizes Canadians who have made a lifelong commitment to our security and defence. Over the course of her career, Lt.-Gen. Whitecross has indeed made many important contributions in those areas of security and defence, as well as in promoting democratic values. Her achievements have been, in a word, exceptional.
Lt.-Gen. Whitecross joined the Canadian Forces while at university. She received her master’s degree in defence studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. Ever the trailblazer, she has held a variety of leadership roles in the Canadian Armed Forces, having served in Germany, Bosnia and Afghanistan, and postings in almost every province and territory in Canada.
She has been awarded the medal of Commander of the Order of Military Merit, the U.S. Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal. Her last Canadian posting was here in Ottawa as Commander of Military Personnel Command. She also headed up the Canadian Armed Forces Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct. Most recently she was elected by NATO members as Commandant at the NATO Defence College in Rome. She is the first woman to ever hold this role, and only the third Canadian since its creation.
Lt.-Gen. Whitecross’ sense of service is not confined, colleagues, to military matters. She was a member of the Rotary Club for many years. She worked with the Christmas hampers program, The Snowsuit Fund, and participated in city cleanups here in the Ottawa region.
Along with raising her own family, she and her husband, Ian, have been foster parents for more than 30 children. Thirty children.
Honourable senators, at home and abroad, Lt.-Gen. Whitecross has served with dedication and distinction. She is a role model for all Canadians. Please join me in congratulating her on receiving the Vimy Award and wishing her continued success as one of the country’s leading officers in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.