Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes part in chief of the defence staff change of command ceremony

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today took part in the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Change of Command ceremony, presided over by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada. The event was held at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa. They were joined by Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to address Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and guests, and to thank the departing CDS, General Tom Lawson, for his service to Canada. He then outlined some of the responsibilities awaiting the new CDS, General Jonathan Vance, including the assurance that the CAF will increase its ability to carry out special operations and use advanced battlefield communications and surveillance.

Quick Facts 

  • General Jonathan Vance, CMM, MSC, CD, previously Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command, replaces General Tom Lawson who has been serving as CDS since October 2012.
  • General Vance assumed his position as Commander of the Canadian Joint Operations Command in September 2014. As part of his duties, he oversaw both the air and ground deployments against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as well as Canada’s contribution to NATO in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
  • General Vance has also served as Deputy Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples in Italy and as Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, National Defence Headquarters, as well as Chief of Staff Land Strategy, Canadian Army.


“As we face growing instability and threat in the world, including direct threats by jihadi terrorists, General Jonathan Vance will provide strong leadership as the Chief of the Defence Staff at a critical time for Canada. His experience in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism warfare, his work with key allied forces and partners, his combat experience and the strategic leadership skills he possesses will help position the Canadian Armed Forces for continued success.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

“Since October 2012, General Tom Lawson has led the Canadian Armed Forces with distinction. His legacy will live on in a number of key accomplishments – including the completion of the CAF’s mission in Afghanistan and the well-merited National Day of Honour that followed – as well as in the reforms and initiatives he oversaw to ensure that our Forces continue to strive for excellence.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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