Colonel John McKenna

The NATO Association of Canada mourns the death of Colonel John McKenna. Colonel McKenna was an active and vital member of the NATO Association (formerly the Atlantic Council of Canada) for many years. His humour and “can-do” attitude were invaluable to our organization. In addition to serving as a Vice-President and Director of the NATO Association, he led many of our NATO tours to Brussels as a way of engaging Canadian thought-leaders. Throughout his life, Col. McKenna held senior positions in both the private sector and in the Reserve Forces of Canada. Over a period spanning 32 years he held a variety of key management positions in large multinational companies specializing in environmental process and industrial controls. Concurrent with his civilian career, John McKenna served as a reservist in the Canadian Army (Militia). In 1957 he joined the Royal Canadian Artillery (Militia). He was elected National President of the Royal Canadian Artillery Association (1974). He was elected Vice-Chairman (Ontario) for the Conference of Defence Associations in 1986 and 1987, and served as the Chairman for 1989-1998. In July 1990, he became the Vice-President for Canada and Head of Delegation for the Inter-allied Confederation of Reserve Officers (CIOR) and relinquished that position in 1993, He was appointed as Honorary Lieutenant Colonel, 7th Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (M) and held that position from 1989 to 1992 and was the Honorary Colonel from 1991 to 1999. He was a Board Member and trustee for the Toronto Artillery Foundation. Colonel McKenna wrote on military matters and has been published in the Canadian Defence Policy Review, the Royal Canadian Canadian Military Institute and the NATO Association of Canada’s publications. He was awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration with two clasps, the 1967 Canadian Confederation Centennial Medal, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. He was always present at Association functions with his dear wife, Helen, and added warmth and grace to all of our events. He will be missed.


  • David Sutton

    David Sutton is a Research Analyst at the NATO Association of Canada. David holds a BA in political science and criminology from Western University, as well as a Public Relations and Corporate Communications certificate from Fanshawe College. He served in the Canadian Naval Reserves from 2006 to 2012 as a Naval Combat Information Operator. In that time took part in several operations including the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Halifax Fleet Review commemorating the Navy Centennial. More recently, he spent three years in China teaching at post-secondary institutions, including Dalian's University of Foreign Languages. David studies Mandarin, has a keen interest in Asian culture and politics, collecting art, and running Toronto's waterfront. You can contact David at

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