Branch Events - 2014


                        2014 Events

January 8, 2013 Three members of the RMC Expedition Club on India and Arctic expeditions

February 5

Wives and Girlfriends Valentines Luncheon

Lt Col Walter Taylor - DART's  humanitarian mission in the Philippines

2 April Bernie Laliberte - on his work with the Red Cross in Bangladesh
9 April Spring Formal
7 May AGM and luncheon - speaker - 14444 Dorothy Hector
13 August BanYan
1 October Peter Milliken - Life as a Parliamentarian and House Speaker
5 November Dr. Nikolas Gardner, Associate Professor, RMC,History Department  - Reflections on the effects that WW1  and its 'peace' have had on the major events over the last century.

December Luncheon:

Report on Presentation at Meeting on 3 December 2015

The members of the Kingston Branch were privileged to hear a presentation by LGen (ret) Michel Maisonneuve the Academic Director of RMC St Jean. He was graduated from RMCC in 1975. Michel has held the post since 2007 and has been instrumental in establishing programs that are coherent between the two colleges. He told us how he works closely with his counterparts at RMCC Kingston.


The College is essentially a military CEGEP in Quebec that prepares cadets for military careers and for furthering their studies in Kingston. Before closing in 1995, CMR granted degrees through an affiliation with the University of Sherbrooke. Michel hopes that sometime soon the College will regain its degree granting status for two programs that are not offered at RMCC but needed in the Canadian Forces – one in anthropology & psychology and another in ethics & leadership.

RMC St Jean currently has just under 200 cadets, well short of the capacity. Michel identified the recruiting process in Canada and the closing of recruiting offices for the difficulty in finding sufficient candidates, especially from Quebec. 

Michel described another important program that functions year-round at the College but separate from the cadet wing – a training program for senior NCOs that trains 1,500 candidates a year. Participants are in residence and attend classes a few weeks at a time for each cycle.

november Luncheon:

RMC Club Kingston Branch luncheon – 5 November 2014

Dr Nik Gardner, a history professor at RMC since 2011, specializing in the First World War spoke to the members (38) of the RMC Club Kingston Branch on Wednesday, 5 November. His remarks focused on the campaigns in Mesopotamia (current Iraq) by the British.

The western powers were exhausted with the intensity of the fighting in northern Europe. Britain was looking for a battlefield success after the debacle at Gallipoli where so many Australian and New Zealand soldiers were slaughtered. It did not intend to destroy the Ottoman Empire but though that capturing Bagdad could restore its tarnished prestige. When the British army landed at Basra near the north end of the Persian Gulf there was no infrastructure to support the troops. Most of the British soldiers were Indians. Initially, in 1915, the British suffered some defeats but eventually the lack of discipline in the Ottoman ranks and improved British logistics enabled the British to prevail. In April 1917 it captured Bagdad.

Military success was just the start of political difficulties in the region. British officials had made territorial promises to many local leaders and tribal chiefs that were impossible to fulfill. The Shias, Sunnis and Kurds in the area were not natural ‘friends’ and that antagonism continues to the present. The legacy of the First World War in this area has been continued tension and turmoil.

OCTOber Luncheon:

RMC Club – Kingston Branch – Meeting on 1 October 2014
Presentation by Hon. Peter Milliken

The 36 members who attended the meeting of the Kingston Branch on 1 October 2014 were treated to a very interesting talk by honourary member, Peter Milliken. Everyone locally knows Peter as our immediate past Liberal member of Parliament for the federal riding of Kingston and the Islands from 1988 to 2011 and as the past Speaker of the House of Commons. A very interesting account of Peter’s life can be found in Wikipedia under his name.
He explained some of the inner workings of Parliament starting with how the Speaker is chosen. Before 1986 a member was nominated by the Prime Minister and then approved by all parties. After that year, there has been an election at the start of a new Parliament with all members being eligible except cabinet ministers and the party leaders. Most are not interested in the job and can withdraw from consideration. The House of Commons must select a speaker before its members join the senators for the reading of the Speech from the Throne at the start of a new session. There are three deputy speakers usually representing the three major parties but at present the Speaker is a Conservative, two deputies are conservatives and one a member of the NDP.

The Speaker does not make speeches or ask questions. The Speaker votes only in the case of a tie. Peter had to cast five tie-breaking votes, half of the tie votes since Confederation. The deputies have seats in the House and can vote.
The daily sitting of the House of Commons is closed until the members convene and a prayer is read. The doors are then opened and the cameras turned on. The Speaker usually attends to any procedural items at the start of the sitting and then turns the task over to one of the deputies. The Speaker presides over any votes.

Question Period is the part of the sitting with which Canadians are most familiar due to the coverage on newscasts. The parties nominate speakers each day, the number of opposition slots being proportional to their numbers in the House. The Government names one or two members to provide answers. Under the current regime, all questions and answers are scripted by the parties. The reading of speeches and questions is a recent practice.

The Speaker is the chair of the Board of Internal Economy which manages the House of Commons and its members. All meetings are ‘in camera’ and the minutes are quite inexplicit. Peter feels that this apparent secrecy should be maintained to preserve the cooperation of members, the openness of the discussion and an impartial manner in dealing with issues.
Other parts to the position are mainly involved with the structure of the Parliament and protocol. The Speaker is fifth in order of precedence in the country. As a result he receives ambassadors, hosts visiting dignitaries and attends an endless round of receptions and dinners. It is not unusual to attend three receptions before dinner. There are 120 embassies or high commissions in Ottawa each of which holds a ‘party’ on its national day to which the Speaker is invited. The Speaker is also required to attend meetings and event internationally.

Peter’s talk gave us an interesting ‘look’ inside Parliament and the job of Speaker.

Book Awards

High school students from the area who received the RMC Club Kingston Branch Book Award attended the cadet parade on 27 September 2014 as part of the Reunion Weekend activities at the College. Eleven award recipients attended with their parents for a group totalling 33. This was an impressive attendance on a day that was equally outstanding.

 The invitation was organised by branch member Bernie Laliberte and facilitated by two second year cadets, Ian Saciuk and Mathieu Briere who acted as hosts and guides. Our guests sat in the bleachers right beside the reviewing stand and had a great view of the entire parade. They were able to see the first year cadets receive their cap badges and join the cadet wing.

 All our guests had lunch in the cadet mess in Yeo Hall followed by a tour of the College. Ian gave a good description of the campus, the buildings and aspects of College life. We visited Fort Brant, the newest dormitory where the students were able to see a cadet room.

 We reached the Wall of Honour ceremony after the ceremony had started so were unable to meet Chris Hadfield but, those who were able to stay, heard his speech.

 Everyone seemed to enjoy their introduction to RMC.

September Luncheon:

ALOY is not a composite metal (alloy) but an interesting program at RMC to help aboriginal youth to develop leadership skills and solidify their education. The Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year program was described to our members by Major Jon Hamilton, the commander of the program and a recent graduate, OCdt Allora Castle. Major Hamilton told us about the program while OCdt Castle described the highs and lows of adjusting to military life and school. She was so successful that she is now in the ROTP as an undergraduate cadet starting into the four year academic program focusing on health administration.

This is the 7th year of the program that has an intake of up to 20 cadets. This year’s class has 17, each of whom has signed a one year contract that does not require a commitment to serve. Even though this group is not part of the cadet wing in a strict sense, the members take most of their classes with first year cadets, participate in parades and play both intramural and varsity sports. The program is a blend of academics, military leadership and training, physical fitness and native culture. Graduates may qualify to be a cadet at RMC, join the CF or return to their communities where they might serve in a leadership role.

In addition to a small staff of three serving CF members there is an academic advisor from the RMC faculty and a native elder. The program attempts to blend as many native cultures as possible but the main emphasis is on First Nations’ culture (mainly Cree). The current class represents First Nations, Inuit and Métis with five band affiliations. During the years, ALOY cadets participate in native events in various parts of Ontario. Allora is an Ojibwa born in Winnipeg whose family now lives in Vancouver.

During the question period we learned that John Cowan, when he was Principal, established a bursary program to assist ALOY graduates who qualify for the RETP.

August Luncheon:

Col (ret) Chuck Oliviero, a member of the class of 1976, gave our members a very interesting presentation on the Canadian Army's Simulation training. The Simulation Centre is based here is Kingston but has five other sites in Gagetown, Valcartier, Petawawa and Edmonton. The centres are run by Chuck's employer, Calian. The centre started in Kingston in 1995 with five staff members, one of whom was Chuck, and now has 75. He contends that the centres and their role is one of the best kept secrets in the Canadian Forces. The RCAF and the RCN have similar centres.

 He explained that there are three types of simulation:

  • Live: real people and real equipment in a real location;

  • Virtual: live people using simulated equipment;

  • Constructive: virtual players with virtual tools; most commonly used; five different simulations; featuring extreme simulation fidelity;

The Army's centres use hundreds of computers interacting with one another. The centres were able to achieve in two years what had previously considered impossible.

The process features different networks and different simulations all working together at the same time. This is the only simulation centre in the world that has been able to achieve this.  

The centre has developed simulations for non-military clients for a fee. One such contract was for a disaster response exercise for Bruce Nuclear Power Generation. Chuck feels that there is a huge unrealised potential for the CF to make more money from the ability of the centre.  

When asked how the centre obtains 'foreign information' Chuck told us that the centre has a large cadre of outside experts from military and civilian life who are assembled to develop the necessary information. 

A most interesting presentation. Chuck invited members to visit the centre especially when simulation training is in progress. 

JULY Luncheon:

A large number of members were privileged to hear about Canada’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan from the final commander, MGen Dean Milner. MGen Milner was responsible for leading the last contingent of Canadian Forces home from that challenging country. His presentation covered our role in fighting the Taliban, assistance in training the national army and police force and also the incredible accomplishments of reconstruction and community building work. Some of the current numbers:

·         14,000 schools

·         7.9 million students

·         173,000 teachers

·         42,000 km of roads

MGen Milner described the evolving stages of the war from Canada’s role in Kabul to the many years in the hot-spot of Kandahar. He had two postings to this war zone.

The Afghan National Army (ANA) now stands at 352,000 members and has evolved from a strictly infantry force to one with many facets including artillery, engineers, logistics and signals. He feels that it is very capable with a few exceptional generals in leadership roles. A major emphasis is an attempt to shift the allegiance of members from their tribal roots to that of loyalty to the country. Thanks to the Americans, the ANA is very well equipped.

One aspect of the training initiatives has been the establishment of an RMC/Sandhurst type college to train officers. Canadian officer were very effective as mentors working alongside senior officers of the ANA and government officials.

The CF has recently conducted a ‘lessons learned’ exercise to ensure that any mistakes that may have been made will not be repeated. MGen Milner is optimistic that Afghanistan will overcome its challenges and develop into a respectable country.

MGen Milner is now commander of 1 Cdn Div with its HQ in Kingston.

APRIL Luncheon:

Bernie Laliberté, one of our Branch members, told us about the Amarok Society at the Kingston Branch’s meeting on 2 April 2014. The Amarok Society is a small, Canadian-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that is currently supporting 16 schools in densely populated Bangladesh. It was started by Tanyss and Gem Munro who initially focused their efforts and their care for people in need, on the First Nations People in northern Ontario and Alberta.

Bernie retired from the CF in 1993 and immediately started working for the Red Cross. He served on many Red Cross missions around the world during which he and his wife lived for two years in Bangladesh. After retiring from the Red Cross he was awarded an honourary degree from RMC for his humanitarian work. Three things lead Bernie to his relationship with the Amarok Society, his interest in helping people in need, his love for the people of Bangladesh and his work as a Rotary Club member.

One of the main sponsors of the work of the Society is the Rotary Club Foundation. In order for this Foundation to provide funds there is need for a sponsoring club (Belleville, ON) and a host club (Dhaka, Bangladesh). When the Dhaka club needed a little stimulation recently, the Munros asked Bernie to join them on a recent trip to Bangladesh in a liaison role. Bernie and Gem personally introduced local club members to the schools, the students and the successes that are being achieved.

The sixteen schools train mothers from the slums under a program that the Society calls ‘Mothers of Intention’. There is a great need to help women get an education in this Muslim country, particularly those living in the slums. The mothers, who attend with some of their children, learn English, math and basic life skills. In turn, the mother-students are asked to pass on what they have learned to others in their neighbourhoods. A mother-student who stays in the program for four years is accepted in the secondary level in the public school system. 

Tanyss and Gem Munro spend about two months each year in Bangladesh where Gem teaches the local teachers in the program. In a country where the political system is rather dysfunctional and where the education of women is not encouraged, this sort of program provides a little hope and opportunity to the mothers who participate.

MARCH Luncheon:

The Kingston Branch of the RMC Club held its regular monthly meeting in the Senior Staff Mess on Wednesday, 5 March following lunch. Thirty members were in attendance to hear and interesting presentation by Dr. Harry Kowal who was appointed Principal of the College in the summer of 2013. Harry graduated from the College in 1984 with a degree in mechanical engineering and entered a career in the Air Force specialising in aeronautical engineering. Along the way he earned two Master's Degrees and a PhD. He retired from the CF in 2013 as a Brigadier General. He described some of the highlights of a favourite posting in Cold Lake as CO of the Aerospace, Engineering Test Establishment. He placed an emphasis of spending as much time as possible flying with his test pilots.


Harry described his appointment as Principal of the College as a 'dream come true'. The four priorities and principles that he outlined for his job are:

  1. helping all parts of the College to work together so that the required emphasis is placed on each of the military, academic, athletic and bilingual elements; he would like to see the pendulum stop that has sometimes swung to place more emphasis on one element or another;

  2. re-energise the morale of the academic staff following budget cuts and to try to manage their expectations; he plans to be as transparent as possible and involve staff in the development of future strategic plans;

  3. ensure that the College continues to be a prestigious academic institution with emphases on both academic programs and research;

  4. focus on internal and external communications; Harry is already taking a role in Ontario and national university councils; locally he has developed a strong relationship with the principals of both Queen's and St. Lawrence College and is on Kingston's "Town & Gown" Committee.

In answer to questions he said that it is necessary to squeeze every bit of capacity and value from each dollar that is allocated to the College. He thanked both the parent club and especially the RMC Foundation for its strong support of academic programs and cadet activities.


FEBRUARY Luncheon:

The Kingston Branch of the RMC Club hosted spouses at its February 2014 meeting as a Valentine's present. Spouses were each given a red rose, valentine candies and special cake was served. The meeting was well attended in spite of a major snow storm raging outside.  

We were treated to a description of Canada's DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team) mission to the Philippines by the unit's commanding officer, LCol Walter Taylor. DART was mobilised in November after super typhoon Haiyan roared across the central islands of the Philippines. The unit carried out its mandate for 40 days to mid December before returning home. Walter explained that in any disaster the first responders are the resources of the country affected. If more assistance is required, the country will call on the United Nations and NGOs. If a country asked for even more assistance, other foreign military may be mobilised. These military units remain until the national agencies and NGOs are able to function effectively.


Canada's DART deployed 350 personnel to Panay Island staffing engineering (80), medical (80), aviation (3 helicopters & 50 people), defence & security, signals & communication and logistics roles. During the mission, the members set up three water purification units which were able to deliver 5,000 litres of clean water an hour totalling 519,000 litres. The medical staff treated 6,000 patients. Road clearing covered 131 km while 290,000 kg of food was delivered. Reconstruction activities focused on repairing hospitals and medical centres. One of the challenges was reaching many of the villages that did not have road access even before the storm. The Gryphon helicopters did this job.

 One unique part of the mission was the addition of Filipino Canadians who were already serving in the Canadian Forces. Most volunteered once they heard that DART was being mobilised. These people were given a week's worth of rations and water and sent to remote towns and villages. Their task was to send back objective reports on the needs of the people so that resources could be effectively deployed.   

One of the successes was the high level of coordination of resources by all participating agencies, unfamiliar with one another, that had been mobilised in a hurry. Representatives of each set up their command posts in one large room in the provincial headquarters building. The mission was another success for the DART and for Canada.

JANUARY Luncheon:

RMC Expedition Club Meets with the Kingston Branch

In the photo: L to R - Al Pickering, Stéphanie Paquette, Andrew Robb, Ali Mansour, Riley Perrior, Matthew Howse and Raakesh Bharathi.

This Wednesday January 8th, a group of members from the RMC Expedition Club gave a presentation to the RMC Foundation Kingston Branch. OCdt Stéphanie Paquette, President of the Club, was present to explain the vision and the different projects of the Club.
OCdt Raakesh Bharathi and OCdt Ali Mansour, respectively IC and 2IC of the India 2013 expedition, were present to brief the audience about their cultural and firsthand learning experience in Chennai, the villages of rural Tamil Nadu, in the Western Ghats, in the coastal communities of Kerala and in New Delhi. Their presentation was followed by OCdt Matthew Howse and OCdt Riley Perrior, IC and 2IC of the Arctic 2013 expedition, who were able to develop their leadership and planning skills through their challenging eight-day trek outside the boundaries of Pond Inlet, NU and up Mt Morin.
Both expeditions required a lot of logistic planning and well-coordinated team work. The RMC Expedition Club’s expeditions allowed the Cadets on the expedition teams to get out of their comfort zone by challenging themselves physically and mentally. Thanks to the financial support of the RMC Foundation that allowed a total of 20 Cadets to benefit from those expeditions in 2013.
In appreciation for the presentation from these Expedition Club members, the Kingston Branch donated $200 to the club.

Author: OCdt (III) 26268 Stéphanie Paquette - Photo and article courtesy of eVeritas

At ease!