Minister of National Defence Rob Nicholson (left) shakes hands with Lt.-Gen. Marquis Hainse as he takes command of the Canadian Army during a Change of Command parade on Parliament Hill in Ottawa today. — Photo by The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada has a new top soldier, and Lt.-Gen. Marquis Hainse is promising to do “what it takes” keep troops trained and ready in the face of austerity.
Hainse was sworn in today as the new commander of the Canadian Army, taking the place of Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, who is retiring after a 35-year military career.
Until recently, Hainse was deputy commander of NATO’s Joint Force Command in Naples.
The change of command, which took place on Parliament Hill, was the first public event for newly appointed Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, who took over Monday after more than six years in the justice portfolio.
Prior to his departure, Devlin expressed concern about keeping the army ready in an era of declining budgets, and even warned last week that some of the hard-won lessons and capabilities from the Afghan war remain on “life support.”
Hainse says Canada is no different than any other Western army, all of which are facing reductions.