HALIFAX - Defence Minister Peter MacKay says Canada is continuing to press forward in its attempt to shore up NATO reinforcements for the combat effort in southern Afghanistan.

MacKay, who spoke in Halifax during the provincial Conservatives' annual general meeting, has just returned from Lithuania where he sought support at a meeting of NATO ministers.

He says there has been progress, but he isn't elaborating.

He will only say that Canada is "much further down the road'' than it was just a few days ago.

France is hinting it might respond to the Canadian request for help in Afghanistan.

MacKay can't shed any more light on what the French will do at this point saying only, "we'll know when we know.''