Former Federal Cabinet Minister David Collenette a Distinguished Fellow at Glendon
by Marika Kemeny, Glendon communications officer
David Collenette, currently a Distinguished Fellow in the Political Science Department of Glendon College, has served in the federal cabinet under three Prime Ministers: Pierre Trudeau, John Turner and Jean Chrétien in a number of portfolios, including Transport, National Defence, Veterans' Affairs and Multiculturalism. Collenette, who was first elected in 1974, served for 20 years in the House of Commons and did not seek re-election in the June 28th election.
Collenette is a Glendon and York alumnus, and the first graduate of this university to have held the positions of Member of Parliament and member of the federal cabinet. He was appointed Minister of Transport in 1997, and was the Minister Responsible for the Greater Toronto Area. In addition, his portfolio included a number of government corporations, such as the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint. For close to thirty years, he served on numerous government committees and held a variety of responsibilities.
Since taking office as Glendon’s Principal 5 years ago, Kenneth McRoberts (a Political Science professor himself) has maintained a continuous, positive working relationship with Collenette on a number of projects, Glendon events and conferences.
“Over the years, we have built an excellent rapport”, says Collenette, “and when I decided to leave politics in January , Principal McRoberts invited me to come to Glendon and offer the benefit of my experience to currently enrolled students.”
The arrangement, which Collenette has declared ‘excellent’, affirms is his presence at Glendon at least one day a week during the 2004-2005 academic year. He has committed to giving eight lectures during this period, as well as a public Symposium in the field of international security, to be held in November, featuring a foreign guest speaker – with a specific topic to be announced shortly.
“I want to be in evidence for the students; my office in York Hall will be open to them. This provides me with a renewed opportunity to give back to my university,” states Collenette.
How does it feel to be back as an official member of Glendon? “This is a homecoming for me and a source of great pleasure. I have a particular affection for this College, the locus of so many “firsts” as I reached adulthood. This is where I became fluently bilingual, and where I developed my focus of interest. Some of the most exciting personalities of the political scene of the ‘70s – among them René Levesque and Lester Pearson - came to Glendon during my studies here. I identify strongly with Glendon’s goals and ideals and admire the beauty of the campus and the facilities and opportunities it presents to every member of the Glendon community”.