What Others Say


John Tennant was Canadian Consul General in Detroit on September 11, 2001, when he acted quickly to address the unprecedented issues that arose on the Canada-US border at its major crossing points. Praise for his actions and service came in a Detroit Free Press editorial at the time of his departure from Detroit a year later.

Detroit Free Press – Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Border Diplomat

Give John Tennant much credit for resolving crisis

In the not-too-distance future, John Tennant expects to be crossing a U.S.-Canada border that will be secure, speedy and fully automated for most of the routine traffic that carries $1 billion of commerce a day between the two countries.  And Tennant will be able to take some satisfaction in the role he played to bring it about.

Being a diplomat, Tennant credits many others for their roles in resolving the border crisis that followed the Sept. 11 attacks, and drafting an agreement to modernize U.S.-Canada traffic controls within a few years.  But as Canada’s consul general in Detroit, Tennant was at the table, helping to frame the issues and shape the dialogue.

“The task was to get people talking and information flowing so they could understand the extent of the problems that needed to be addressed,” Tennant said, “and then to get all the elements working together to bring resources to the border, which is an increasingly complex place.”

The work was done under the dual pressures of national security and the global economy, when industrial production was threatened by parts shortages as border traffic stalled after Sept. 11.  Most of the issues were resolved in a 30-point “smart border” plan issued jointly by Canada and the United States.

Tennant, 60, describes that recent period as the most demanding and rewarding of his long career in foreign service for Canada, a career that will end early next month when he takes a job in economic development for the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area of Ontario.

Tennant said his assignment in Detroit, while hardly the most exotic of his many postings, gave him a great appreciation for the “overwhelming importance of Canada’s relationship with the United States.”

Tennant leaves with that relationship in good shape, and the knowledge that he contributed to keeping it so – diplomatically, of course.


Tributes As John Left Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc (2008)

“What an extraordinary legacy of leadership you leave.”

  • Professor David Johnston, President of the University of Waterloo (subsequently Governor General of Canada 2010-2017)

“You have left your mark on our community.  Thank you for your outstanding leadership.”

  • Elizabeth Witmer, former MPP, Kitchener-Waterloo and former Deputy Premier of Ontario

“Your vision and hard work have moved CTT to a higher plain.  Through your guidance, we have found a place on the international stage while retaining the values that define us as a community.”

  • Karen Redman, former M.P. and Government Whip (and subsequently Chair, Regional Municipality of Waterloo)


John Tennant is listed again in the Canadian Who’s Who 2024 Edition, published by Grey House Publishing Canada.