Defence and Security

Mr. Collenette advises clients on issues relating to defence, security policy and procurement.

As Minister of Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs, from 1993-1996, Mr. Collenette authored the 1995 White Paper which was the blueprint for the reorganization, restructuring and re-engineering of the department as part of the federal government’s deficit cutting. During this time the Canadian Forces were involved in challenging assignments in the Balkans and Haiti.  On security matters relating to the North Atlantic, he worked closely with his colleagues in NATO as well as representing Canada’s defence on the international stage.

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Perhaps the most challenging period of his career was overseeing Canada’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and the subsequent issues related to transportation security. On Mr. Collenette’s direction, the skies over Canada and the Canadian administered portion of the Atlantic Ocean were closed to all commercial and private air traffic. In the space of a few hours, 226 wide-bodied jets with over 33,000 people aboard landed at Canadian airports.  The coordination of this effort in the air and on the ground proved to be an immense challenge to Mr.Collenette and the public servants working under his direction. In the following days, weeks and months he worked with his colleague, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, the FAA, the U.S. Coast Guard and the newly created Department of Homeland Security to revise transportation security policies and regulations.