Leaders in defence industry talk procurement, global security

Invite-only event hosted by Fortin Consulting Group featured private tour of Canadian War Museum
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Invited guests of the Canada Defence Briefing event hosted by Fortin Consulting Group got a private tour of the Canadian War Museum's collection vaults and artifacts on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Special guests of an invite-only event hosted by Fortin Consulting Group principal Paul Fortin on Tuesday got a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the artifacts stashed away in the collection vaults of the Canadian War Museum.

The tour was one of the highlights of the Canada Defence Briefing event that brought the Ottawa defence attaché community and defence industry executives together to demystify the complexities around Canada’s defence procurement programs. It featured a presentation by business law firm Fasken.

“The world is a very different and more dangerous place than it was two months ago, so the timing of this event aligns with the recent announcement that Canada’s federal budget will provide more than $8 billion in new defence spending over five years,” Fortin said in his opening remarks.

The funding will spin out new procurements and, hopefully, fast track some of the capital projects, he said. "Moreover, it will strengthen Canada's contributions to core alliances and bolster the capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces in the defence of Canada, the continent and in support of our allies."

Attendees included well-known Ottawa entrepreneur David Luxton, CEO of KWESST Micro Systems, a technology company in the global defence industry. 

“I can see why people say the procurement system is broken having seen the very detailed presentation today by Faskens," Luxton told OBJ.social.

Attendees got a frank assessment of Canada’s defence policy, along with a global security update, from retired general Rick Hillier. He's also an advisor to KWESST Micro Systems, which was showcased during the event.

Luxton said he's in agreement with the position of Canada's former top soldier that Ukraine cannot be allowed to lose in its war with Russia. “Canada must do more to help them stay in the fight,” said Luxton. “It’s great that all this humanitarian aid is going there to help people but the number one job is to win the fight.”

Attendees included James Baker, co-founder and CEO of Ottawa-based Keynote Search, which sponsored the networking reception. Fortin has recently joined the fast-growing executive search and recruitment firm as a strategic advisor. Keynote is expanding its key hires into the areas of aerospace, defence and ISR  (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance).

Also spotted was Erin Binks from real estate development consultancy Caber Group. She sits on the campaign cabinet, as does Fortin, for Perley Foundation’s $10-million Answering the Call for innovation and excellence in the care of seniors and veterans.

Fortin said the historical surroundings and the private tour of the museum were definitely a draw for deciding to hold his event there. "That was the eye candy," he said of the artifacts, which include a code-breaking machine from the Second World War.

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Retired general Rick Hillier speaks at the Canada Defence Briefing event hosted by Fortin Consulting Group and held at the Canadian War Museum on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Paul Fortin.
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James Whitham, director of collections at the Canadian War Museum, takes attendees of the Canada Defence Briefing on a private tour of the museum's collection vaults. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Paul Fortin, principal at Fortin Consulting Group, with Dom Spiers and James Baker, CEO and co-founder of Keynote Search, at the Canada Defence Briefing on defence procurement, defence policy and global security, held at the Canadian War Museum on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Peter Mantas, partner at Fasken and leader of the law firm's procurement group, with articling student Christopher Little, Fasken partner Marcia Mills, co-leader of the firm's national security group, and associate MacNeal Darnley at the Canada Defence Briefing event held at the Canadian War Museum on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, David Luxton, CEO of KWESST Micro Systems, with Rick Bowes, vice president of operations for KWESST Micro Systems, at the Canada Defence Briefing on defence procurement, defence policy and global security, held at the Canadian War Museum on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Invited guests of the Canada Defence Briefing hosted by Fortin Consulting Group received a private tour of the Canadian War Museum by the museum's director of collections, James Whitham. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Kyle Dowd, customer success executive at WithYouWithMe, and Erin Binks, business development consultant with Caber Group, at the Canada Defence Briefing event held at the Canadian War Museum on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Krzysztof Książek, who's the defence, military, naval and air attaché at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, with James Whitham, director of collections at the Canadian War Museum, during the Canada Defence Briefing event held at the museum on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, Steve Onions, senior sector strategist for defence and security at Invest Ottawa, with Paul Fortin, principal at Fortin Consulting Group, and Bruce Raganold, director of business development at Welch LLP,  at the Canadian War Museum for the Canada Defence Briefing event held Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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From left, David Luxton, CEO of KWESST Micro Systems, with Francis Bleeker, COO at the Robotics Centre, and Sean Hoopey, senior account director with Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada, at the Canadian War Museum for the Canada Defence Briefing event held Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips
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Keynote Search associate Leah Jenkins with Kyle Turk, vice president of marketing at Keynote Search, at the Canadian War Museum for the Canada Defence Briefing hosted by Fortin Consulting Group on Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Photo by Caroline Phillips

caroline@obj.ca