8475 Rem Westland Shares High & Lows of Being an ex-Cadet in Politics

Article and Photos by 25366 Mike Shewfelt

It may have been a smaller crowd than usual at the recent monthly luncheon of the Kingston Branch of the RMC Club, but you wouldn’t have known it from the energy. Members of the club were treated to a presentation by 8475 Rem Westland, Class of ’70, who ran as the Conservative Candidate for the riding of Ottawa/Vanier in the May 2011 Federal Election. He may not have won, but his observations were insightful and thought provoking.

“I’m a product of this place,” Westland said, in reference to the College. “I’m not the first ex-Cadet to go into politics, and I certainly won’t be the last. When your country needs your services, saying no is not an option.”

As he went on to highlight the highs and lows of his time in politics, touching on everything from being selected as a candidate to running his campaign (“I tried to run my own campaign, which is something only an idiot does”), he reflected on how his training and time at the College played into who he was as a candidate. “We make good followers,” he said to his fellow ex-Cadets, “but only to a point. I was told to lead and I did, which you’re not really supposed to do. I wouldn’t play ball the way they wanted me to.”

Despite the challenges he faced and the fact that he didn’t went, Westland said it was more than worth it on a personal level. “My wife would kill me if I wanted to do it again,” he joked, “but it was worth it.”

Prior to the presentation, 2908 Al Pickering, Class of ’53, briefed the assembled Branch members on recent recruitment efforts at local high schools. “In past years, we’ve given College books to outstanding high school students,” he said. “This year we took it further, and invited these students to the College for the Badging Parade on Reunion Weekend. I am happy to report that it was a success. Students who knew little more about the College than that it exists now have an idea of what RMC is all about. As of right now, one student is going through the application process with the Recruiting Centre and two others are seriously considering it.”

More on the Book Award:

The Royal Military College is at its photogenic best on a sunny, fall day. These were the conditions when the Kingston Branch of the RMC Club introduced five outstanding local high school students to the College and the idea of becoming Cadets.

The Kingston Branch has been awarding picture books of RMC to outstanding students in over 20 area high schools for many years. The awardees are selected by their high schools for demonstrated excellence and leadership in academics, athletics and student affairs. The hope has been that some of these students would become interested in attending the College as Cadets. This year, for the first time, we invited them all and their families to attend the Badging Parade on Saturday during Ex-cadet Weekend. Five came, three with family members. One had already decided to apply, one has a cousin in the College but the others knew little about our university and its programs.

Four Cadets in scarlets who were not on parade accompanied the group along with three members of the branch. Seats were reserved in the bleachers right beside the dais. During the parade our visitors were given information about the parade, the College and the life of a Cadet.

Following the parade the Branch hosted the group for lunch in the Cadet dining room in Yeo Hall. They went through the cafeteria and ate the same food as the Cadets. The accompanying Cadets then conducted a tour of parts of the College that included the Fort Lasalle dormitory, the Massey Library, Currie Hall, Mackenzie Building and the RMC Museum in the Fort Frederick Martello Tower.

The guests were very appreciative of the opportunity for this experience. The idea of attending seemed to be well planted. The Kingston Branch will follow-up with these Book Award winners during the year. Branch members involved were Mary Darlington, Al Pickering, Dusty Miller and Andrew Robb.

Recruiting Success – The Little Things

Jordan Killen is a first year cadet at RMC in 2012. His parents and twin sisters were in the stands on Ex-cadet Weekend proudly watching the Badging Parade. When Jordan was in grade 12 in Peterborough, ON, he attended a university fair with his choice of three universities firmly in his mind. While at the fair he walked over to the RMC table as there was no one talking to the College representatives. He became interested in College from this conversation and applied. His sisters have been so impressed with their big brother’s experience that they plan to apply to the College in 2013.

You never know when a word, a suggestion or an invitation will ignite a spark that will lead to a recruiting success.

Photos from the luncheon (click to enlarge):

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