Another Great Year and New Slate for the Club!

Article by: Bryan Bailey – Executive Director RMC Club

Last week’s Reunion Weekend was blessed with glorious, balmy weather which unquestionably enhanced all aspects of the weekend many of which are held outdoors; the obstacle course, the badging parade and Wall of Honour ceremony on Saturday, and the Sunday March to the Arch.  The universal opinion from Cadets and ex-Cadets alike was that the busy weekend was thoroughly enjoyable and enriched by the presence of the Chief of Defence Staff and former College Commandant, General Tom Lawson, as well as Colonel (Ret’d) Chris Hadfield who was one of this year’s Wall of Honour inductees and former Chief of Defence, General (Ret’d) Walt Natynchyk who, along with Chris Hadfield, were presented their Club Honorary Life Memberships.  It was also wonderful to witness the 15 or more first year cadets who were badged by their ex-cadet parents or ex-cadet family friend. The highlight for many was the more than 500 ex-cadets who proudly participated in the Sunday March to the Arch and who paid respects to the senior ex-cadet on the parade, the Club’s Adjutant Emeritus of the Old Brigade, H2612 BGen (Ret’d) Mike Webber.  General Webber is a member of the Class of 1937 which graduated from RMC in 1939 at the outbreak of the war.

An often overlooked aspect of Reunion Weekend is the fact that both the RMC Foundation and RMC Club conduct key governance meetings on the Friday culminating in the joint Saturday morning AGM. During this year’s AGM, the Governance Committee presented the new governance model, revised Constitution, and new Board Policies and Procedures which were endorsed. As well, the new slate was approved and three Club President’s Awards were announced.

By any measure, the Club enjoyed an excellent year in terms of its operations, budget management, and varied accomplishments most of which are linked to the implementation of the Strategic Review.  Jacques Gagné, as the outgoing Club President, should be very satisfied with the significant progress made on a variety of fronts. Here are a few of the highlights of last year’s accomplishments:

  • Financial Sustainability and Management. In December, the Club invested $1 million of its LMIF portfolio in a mutual fund in an effort to increase the overall LMIF return.  A new Club investment policy was approved to guide this process this year.  Lastly, the Club operations budget achieved a modest surplus for the second consecutive year and it was the first year in some time that the New LMIF debt did not increase.
  • Programmes and Services. Much of the progress in this area was directly linked to communications initiatives. The redesigned website now contains a much desired Club Careers and Networking section. As well, the Club undertook its first steps towards providing a mentoring service. The Gift Shop is now driven by a new e-commerce engine and Club memberships are now tax free.  Finally, a very well attended West Point – RMC hockey reception and RMC Varsity Hockey match were organized by the Club in January.
  • Communications. Phase 1 of the redesigned Club website was completed. There is also a new Narrowcontent Alumni site which includes innovative content such as digitized College Reviews. The refreshed website now has links to a wide variety of Club social media platforms with the Club’s Linkedin group approaching 3,000 members.  Veritas magazine is now published twice annually as eVeritas readership continues to grow exponentially in popularity and readership.
  • Governance and Structure. A Cadet LO position to the Club was created last year as recommended by the Strategic Review.  As well, despite a very ambitious timeline, the Club developed a new Board governance model, revised its constitution (which will need to be approved by membership prior to year-end), and developed a new comprehensive Policies and Procedures document which will amplify the constitution and guide future Board conduct.

The New Slate for 2014/15

As mentioned earlier, the approval of the new slate is another key outcome of the AGM and this may be the last time that the Club officers are elected given the new Board model which will come into effect next AGM assuming that revised Constitution meets with membership approval.

It will be very evident that the Club is very much leaning forward with the new Board model in mind as the two new Executive Committee members who were added this year have deliberately been recruited from the younger demographic cohorts representing the tranche of Club members who entered the Colleges 5-9 years and 10-19 years ago respectively.  A particularly warm welcome goes to LCol Mark Lachapelle (Class of 2002) and Lt (N) Brent Fisher (Class of 2010) for stepping up and becoming Executive Committee members. This reinforces the strategic objective of making the Club more representative of and responsive to its membership.

Position College Number Name
Honorary Officers:
Patron H26223 His Excellency, The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada
Vice Patron H4860 General (Ret’d) John De Chastelain
Honourary President H2951 General (Ret’d) Ramsey Withers
Honourary Solicitor H3356 Robin Cumine
Honourary Chaplain 8457 Reverend Paul Robinson
Adjutant Emeritus – Old Brigade H2612 BGen (Ret’d) Mike Webber
Adjutant Emeritus – Old Brigade H3918 Alex Roberts
President 6440 Tony Goode
Immediate Past President 12059 Jacques Gagné
1st Vice President 9143 Bruce McAlpine
2nd Vice President 5533 Glenn Allen
Treasurer 15946 Jill Carleton
EC Standing Members:
Executive Director 13987 Bryan Bailey
Adjutant Old Brigade 5611 Gerry Stowe
CFLO 16542 BGen Phil Garbutt
Foundation Past President 9660 Cameron Diggon
Cadet LO to Club 26257 OCdt Zachary Day
EC Members Retiring in 2015
19330 Michael Della Fortuna
5780 Bernard Laliberté
10030 Michel Reid
EC Members Retiring in 2016
M0050 Tony Battista
8816 Marius Grinius
10973 John McManus
9318 Dave Bindernagel
EC Members Retiring in 2017
5-9 years from entry (Class 2009-2013) 24712 Lt (N) Brent Fisher
10-19 years from entry (Class of 1999-2008) 22417 LCol Mark Lachapelle


President’s Awards

This year, the outgoing Club president presented President’s Awards to three individuals who have provided outstanding support to the RMC Club over the past year.

RMC Club Presidents Award

H3356 Robin Cumine

H3356 Robin Cumine is awarded the RMC Club President’s Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts and contributions in support of the Club. First of all, the remarkable longevity of his service to the Club as its Honorary Solicitor and former Club President is recognized. Over the course of the many years, he has provided quality participation in governance meetings and sound legal advice which has universally been succinct, prompt, and professional. In addition, he has made invaluable contributions to the Club this past year as he was instrumental in supporting the Club’s governance review.  The review necessitated the increased involvement of the Honorary Solicitor throughout the process which has included the development of the new governance structure and subsequent revisions to the Club’s Constitution and the development of a new Board Policies and Procedures document. In summary, Robin Cumine’s engagement and advice has been invaluable in guiding the governance review process as well as providing recommendations concerning the transition.

 RMC Club Presidents Award

 5533 Glenn Allen

5533 Glenn Allen is awarded the RMC Club President’s Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts and contributions in support of the Club and RMC Foundation. He has served both organizations as Club President and Foundation Director. His involvement with the Governance Committee led him to return to the RMC Club Executive Committee. Over the past year, he has made invaluable contribution to the Club in leading the Club’s governance review.  The review commenced with the development of the new governance structure and subsequent revisions to the Club’s Constitution and the development of a new Board Policies and Procedures document. Further, he ensured that there was constant interaction with the Club’s governance committees and he provided superb communication updates to the Club as a whole. In summary, Glenn Allen’s leadership and efforts were instrumental to the successful conduct of the governance review process which will have an enduring and profound impact of the Club.

 RMC Club Presidents Award

 11623 John Carswell

11623 John Carswell is awarded the RMC Club President’s Award in recognition of his outstanding efforts and contributions in support of the Club, the Foundation, and the Royal Military College of Canada.  Notably he has been the driving force behind the full page congratulatory messages which appeared in both English and French newspapers for the past two years. In addition to being a very dedicated Director on the Foundation Board, he has rendered noteworthy contributions to the Club this past year.  Specifically his company, Canso Investment Counsel, became the Club’s official corporate communications sponsor which indirectly enabled the Club to advance its governance review. Finally, this sponsorship resulted in the development of a new Alumni website, with innovative and impressive content and services, which has greatly enhanced Club strategic communications and transformed Reunion Weekend coordination and promotion.

In closing, the RMC Club should be most appreciative to the very successful year that the Club enjoyed under the stewardship of Jacques Gagné who will remain very engaged with the Club as the immediate Past President and new chair of the Communications Committee. The new Club President, Tony Goode, brings a wealth of experience and a strong bond to all three Colleges. He will be well supported by Vice-Presidents Bruce McAlpine and Glenn Allen and Jill Carleton who was renewed for another two year term as the Club’s Treasurer.  Lastly, I am also most appreciative to the entire Panet House team for their contributions to the planning, preparing and conducting another incredible Reunion Weekend which is always a monumental undertaking.

Due to pressing deadlines following Reunion Weekend we were unable to post the presentation at the  First Year Badging Ceremony by Tony Goode, President –  RMC Club of Canada.

Following is a major portion from his address to members of the Class of 2018.

On this glorious fall day in Kingston, I am reminded of the first time that I encountered a senior cadet at Collège Militaire Royale de St. Jean when I arrived there more years ago than I care to remember, little knowing what I was about to endure. I still remember to this day the fear that scarlet coated seniors generated as they started to shout orders at the top of their voices when we got off the bus at the entrance to the College. It wasn’t just the noise but it was the fact that I was being yelled at in French as well, which for a young man from Ontario was more than disturbing. But it was meant to be as it marked the first step in a long transformation towards becoming an officer in the Canadian Forces, a transformation that continued for several years before I was commissioned as an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy.

Although the techniques may be different today, they all have but one goal and that is to inculcate the values of Truth, Duty and Valour, Verité, Devoir, et Vaillance that mark the graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada. Completing the First Year Orientation Programme marks the finish of a very important phase of your initial training as a cadet at RMC; in many ways it is a rite of passage during which you have been challenged as never before in your lives, a time in which you often thought that you would never make it, a time when you often wanted to give up, a time when you often questioned what on earth you were doing at the College and a time during which you started to plumb new depths in your character as you endured, learned and began to understand what it would take to succeed at the Royal Military College. You are very fortunate to have been led by a very well trained cadre of cadets who worked hard to assist you in this very important transition from civilian to cadet. The proof of their hard work is demonstrated by the fact that you are here this morning about to be welcomed into the Cadet Wing as full fledged First Year Cadets.

Comme Président du Club Des Collèges Militaires Royales du Canada, je suis très fier de réprésenter plus de sept milles members du Club. Nos membres incluent des officiers distingués, des leaders des enterprises au Canada et á l’loutremer, des scientistes, des ingénieurs, des fonctionnaires de toutes niveaux du gouvernement, des diplomates, des médecins et d’autres professions. Tous nos membres ont attribué leur succès au formation qu’ils ont reçu au Collèges Militaires. By the time you graduate from the College, 4 years from now, you will have received a similar education and a high level of training that will fit each one of you to succeed as an officer in the Canadian Forces and, also as a well rounded member of society prepared to succeed at whatever challenges you may face in life.

Au nom du Club de RMC, je voudrais vous féliciter de vos accomplissements á date. Il y aura beacoup plus de célébrer pendant les prochaines quatre années quand vous seriez prêt á prendre vos places commes membre de votre Club.

I would like to thank all of the parents, relatives and friends who have stood by their daughters and sons while they went through this very challenging phase of their life at RMC. They will need more of the same during the next four years but I promise you that it will be worth it when you join them at graduation.

On behalf of our members and all those who have graduated from one of the military colleges, we would like to wish you every success in the academic year to come. Once again, our congratulations and hats off to all of you.

Merci beaucoup.

Anthony Goode – President RMC Club of Canada