Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has chosen a familiar face from his past to serve as his director of communications.
Renée Filiatrault was posted in Afghanistan with Task Force Kandahar under now Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance when she first met Sajjan, who was serving one of his three combat tours with the Canadian Forces at the time. There, Filiatrault served as senior public diplomacy officer.
She has served two ministers of National Defence and one minister of Indigenous Affairs, and was head of media and public affairs for the British High Commission in Canada.
Up until recently, she was a professor of communications at Algonquin College in Ottawa — and, in fact, is still marking papers from her final term.
Sajjan also has appointed his chief of staff, Brian Bohunicky, who served as a senior policy advisor to then-Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff from late 2009 until the 2011 election. More recently, he was CEO of Maple Pure Products, and prior to that was a consultant at Baker Group International.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."