Previous Events

The NATO Association of Canada Remembers Bill Graham (1939-2022)

The NATO Association of Canada was honoured to have members of its community attend and share a table at the Inaugural Bill Graham Lecture Series, “Canada’s Role in an Upside Down World,” which the Canadian International Council (CIC) hosted at Arcadian Court in Toronto on March 27. The NATO Association of Canada was also pleased to have its director, Dr. John English, participate as an event co-chair and its chair, the Hon. David Collenette, serve on the organizing committee. 

The event celebrated Graham’s remarkable life (1939-2022) and lasting legacy, with special emphasis on his worldliness and international experiences. In a string of tributes, speakers, which included the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Hon. John Baird, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Mayo Moran, Provost and Vice Chancellor, Trinity College, University of Toronto, offered personal reflections on Graham as well as his impact on Canada. 

Graham was especially dedicated to fostering an engaged, global-facing Canada. The one-time Minister of Foreign Affairs’ global vision and approach received attention in the keynote discussion between eminent historian Margaret MacMillan and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York Bob Rae, moderated by Graham’s nephew, Ron Graham. 

The NATO Association of Canada also has the fortune to speak to Graham’s tremendous influence and pronounced internationalism. Graham chaired the NATO Association of Canada from 2007 to 2012, when the organization was called the Atlantic Council of Canada. 

The NATO Association of Canada greatly benefited from Graham’s global outlook and association with the organization. The late Julie Lindhout, former president of the NATO Association of Canada, warmly remembered her one-time colleague as a staunch advocate of the organization who had lent a hand to organizing first-rate events of relevance to Canadians.

Among Graham’s many talents, Lindhout also admired his rapport with—and regard for—the NATO Association of Canada’s interns. “I enjoyed sitting back and listening to the conversations as he gently probed their backgrounds and their opinions on issues of the day. He tried to promote them at various opportunities and was interested in both their short- and long-term plans for their lives” wrote Lindhout. 

One of those interns, Robert Baines, now president and CEO of the NATO Association of Canada, continues to appreciate Graham’s counsel, camaraderie, and character. Reflecting on Graham, Baines shared: “Bill was a friend and mentor to me for more than a decade. He was a gentleman of the highest order and gave us all an example of the best of humanity’s aspirations.” 

For these reasons, and so many others, the NATO Association of Canada community remains grateful to call Graham a past chair and member, and to have had the chance to join in remembering him at the Inaugural Bill Graham Lecture Series. 

NATO Association of Canada
The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals of peace, prosperity and security. The NAOC ensures Canada has an informed citizenry able to participate in discussions about its role on the world stage.