We will now be providing a regular update on the Alumni Association’s activities in response to the Arbour Report, as we expect the Canadian Military Colleges (CMC) Review Board will be getting underway in 2023 (as noted in the Minister of National Defence’s December 2022 Report to Parliament on Culture Change Reforms in response to former Supreme Court Justice Arbour’s recommendations).
In our December update, we noted that Jill Carleton, as the Chair of the Royal Military Colleges of Canada Alumni Association at that time, wrote to Minister Anand in late October 2022 to express the Association’s desire to contribute to the CMC review. This letter also signaled the Association’s support for reconstitution of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) including support for culture change. The letter reaffirmed our support of the CMCs, and for the integration of education, athletics, bilingualism, and military leadership development in the CMC programs. Moreover, this letter underscored the Association’s acknowledgement that systemic and cultural failings enabled abuse to occur and persist, and reasserted our recognition of, and support for, survivors of sexual assault and harassment within our community.
Minister Anand recently replied to our Chair’s letter and recognized the Association’s support of positive change at the military colleges. The Minister explained that (at the time of writing) details of the review have not yet been determined (i.e., mandate, leadership, composition). That said the Minister noted that the alumni, alongside all other stakeholders, will be fully consulted over the course of any review. The Minister also expressed appreciation for the Association’s support for CAF reconstitution and culture change.
As 2023 progresses, you should expect to hear more from the Alumni Association regarding how the alumni can contribute to reconstitution of the CAF. With members and branches across the country, the alumni community has significant capacity that could support potential applicants in making informed decisions. Similarly, with an active network of serving military members and veterans, the alumni community is a vibrant source of peer support for those facing decisions of whether or not to remain in the Forces. Collectively, support for reconstitution of the Armed Forces is another way that we can be of service to Canada.
Since our last update on December 15th 2022, representatives from the Alumni Association have been engaging with key stakeholders. Scott Stevenson and Nancy Marr briefed the Board of Governors of the Royal Military College of Canada at its February meeting. Similarly, Board Chair George Lundy recently met with the Commander Canadian Defence Academy. Our key messages to these stakeholders focused on the fact that since the merger of the RMC Club and RMC Foundation in October 2021, the RMC Alumni Association has the potential to do more to support the CMCs. We also explained where the Association stands regarding the Arbour Report, as noted in the exchange of letters with the Minister.
The response team that the Association put in place immediately following the release of the Arbour Report continues to meet on a regular basis. The team is made up of committee chairs from across the different functions of the organization, including governance, alumni engagement, fundraising, investment, gifting, and advocacy, along with key members from our staff. The response team’s main areas of focus over the past months leading up to the CMC review have been on actively monitoring the public and media environment, and on engaging with our members. As the pre-review period ends, our focus is now shifting to ensuring that the Alumni Association makes a credible and positive contribution to the CMC review. This is an historic opportunity to improve the quality of leadership development at the CMCs, to create a safer experience for all members of the military college community, and to contribute to developing exemplary leaders for the CAF who are ready for the challenges of the 21st century.
We continue to welcome your feedback and your perspectives. You can reach our Arbour response team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
J Scott Stevenson, 16598
Chair – Advocacy & Promotion Committee
Lead – RMCAA Response to Arbour Report
Royal Military Colleges of Canada Alumni Association