Rick Hillier

We're not the public service of Canada. We're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people.

Born in Newfoundland and Labrador, General Rick Hillier joined the Army at the age of 17.  Throughout his career, Gen Hillier has commanded troops from the platoon to division level and has worked as a staff officer at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. 

He has served throughout Canada, notably commanding the two-brigade commitment to the Red River floodings in 1997 and the CF commitment to the Quebec Ice Storm in 1998.

In 1998 Gen Hillier was appointed as the Canadian Deputy Commanding General of III Armoured Corps, US Army in Fort Hood, Texas. In 2000 he took command of the Multinational Division (Southwest) in Bosnia-Herzegovina. and has spent enough time with the United Nations and NATO forces in the former Yugoslavia to be eligible to vote there.

After returning to Canada, he assumed the duties of Assistant Chief of the Land Staff, and on May 30, 2003, assumed the duties of Chief of the Land Staff. In October 2003 Gen Hillier was selected as the next commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan leading 6000 allied soldiers.

In 2005, Hillier was promoted to General and appointed Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), the highest position in the Canadian Forces.  At the time, about 600 troops were serving in the relative safety of the capital, Kabul.  Within three months, Canada was sending just over 1,200 troops to Kandahar and by April 2008, when Hillier announced he would step down as CDS, Canada had 2,500 troops committed to Afghanistan. By then, the mission had been extended twice.

The most outspoken Canadian military leader in a generation, and a tireless military advocate, Gen Hiller has undoubtedly raised the profile of Canada's military.

On July 3, 2008, Hillier began a term as Chancellor of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, his alma mater.