Board Reports

New policy on public pronouncements (2019-04-28)

Dear members of RHOMA,

As you may be aware in recent months RHOMA has on occasion made public pronouncements in light of developments of import to our members as a whole, most notably when we issued a news release, supporting the international call by academics and former diplomats, for the release of the two Canadians detained in China. The Board has also been approached by a member seeking a public statement of support on his behalf. As a result, the Board has agreed that a policy should be put in place setting out the draft parameters and procedures which would be used on both a proactive and a reactive basis. A draft policy, in both official languages, is attached. I would be grateful if you could review and forward any comments you may have to myself, copy Rick Kohler (, Anne Leahy ( and Lillian Thomsen ( by May 15, 2019 in order that we may finalize the policy at our next Board meeting. Alternatively, you can voice your views directly in the Forum on the Members Only section of our website, under RHOMA/ACMAR. The adoption of this policy would not, of course, prevent members of RHOMA, either individually or as a group, from expressing their views on a personal basis, but would give the President of RHOMA and its Board the authority to do so on behalf of RHOMA as a whole under the terms of reference laid out in the policy.

With best wishes.

Gilles Rivard


RHOMA policy on public pronouncements ENG

President’s Remarks at NCR Monthly Luncheon at Royal Ottawa Golf Club (2019-02-20)

Sad to announce the losses of Jean-Yves Grenon, John Harrington, Roger Marsham and finally Michael Wilson.

Nous sommes heureux de compter sur l’arrivée d’un nouveau membre, David Chatterson

Des membres du CA nous quitterons bientôt. Au lunch de mois prochain nous soulignerons leur départ. C’est donc le temps de lancer un appel informel afin de trouver des remplaçants soit en vous présentant ou en recommandant un collègue. Assurer la pérennité du CA et de l’Association avec des collègues prêts à donner d’un peu de leur temps est essentiel.

The governance of our organisation. Indeed the board is reviewing diverse options to possibly inject a more democratic environment to RHOMA’s governance. The recent incident involving a Macdonald Laurier Institute article that besmirched the integrity of one of RHOMA’s esteemed members, Chris Westdal, has again raised the challenge the board faces: namely, as an unelected body, it is not mandated to speak unilaterally on issues without prior consultation with members. Dans le cas de Chris, le CA a fait face à des critiques “bien senties” de la part de certains collègues pour avoir pris une position trop timide dans l’expression de notre mécontentement face à l’article de MLI. Pourquoi l’ACMAR ne prend-elle pas une position plus énergique?Many will recall the Colvin case (2009, 2010) in which a group of 128 RHOMA members signed a joint letter of protest at the unacceptable treatment of one of the foreign service’s finest — as RETIRED HOMS, not as RHOMAns.
And three weeks ago four board members signed a letter to the Globe and Mail’s Editor, as retired HOMs, not RHOMAns, for the same reason — constraint of not having a mandate to speak for the membership. And there are more similar examples.
Y-a-t-il des solutions à ces choix difficiles? Sûrement. Il faut y réfléchir sérieusement surtout à un moment ou cette organisation cherche à s’impliquer davantage sur l’avenir de la diplomatie canadienne. This morning we have started a reflection about it. A message will be send to our members soon.

On the good news side, in keeping with the Dynamic Diplomacy project/ L’avenir de la dipomatie canadienne, RHOMA is planning at least two panel events in Victoria, B.C. and Toronto On. to be organized by Phil Calvert and Jon Allen respectively later this year. Our regional bureaux are active.

Vous avez tous reçu un message récemment vous invitant à renouveler votre membership pour 2019. Nous apprécierions que vous le fassiez le plus tôt possible. Dans le message que vous avez reçu, les différentes options sur la façon de procéder sont expliquées très clairement. Nous vous sommes reconnaissants de votre support et engagement. Merci beaucoup.

RHOMA members are reminded to visit our website which provides information about news and events of interest to the membership. It also has a Members Only section that contains ‘restricted’ items like the RHOMA Directory, Annual Report and photos and a video from our Holiday Reception, to name a few. Most importantly, it has a ‘Forum’ where each and any of you can engage your colleagues in discussions about relevant events of international politics and Canadian foreign policy, trade and development. It is easy to use. Make yourself heard.

Finally, don’t miss next month’s luncheon March 20 when CIPS’ Roland Paris will be guest speaker


Notes from President’s Remarks at NCR Monthly Luncheon at Royal Ottawa Golf Club (2019-01-16)

Luncheon held Wednesday January 16 with guest speaker Manon Cornellier, editor, Le Devoir / Lunch du mercredi 16 janvier avec comme conférencière-invitée Manon Cornellier, éditeur, Le Devoir
1. New Year’s Greetings for 2019 / Souhait de nouvelle Année 2019, Gilles Rivard (GR)
2. Respectful mention of recently deceased members since November luncheon: Art Wright, Percy Sherwood, José Herran-Lima, Alan McGill;
3. Nouveaux membres: Nicholas Coghlan, Pierre Guimond, Dennis Horak, Mario Ste-Marie;
4. New board member: Penny Reedie who will fold-in behind Abbie Dann (VP Special Projects) who is stepping behind at the end of March;
5. GR effectue une revue rapide de ce nous offre 2019 incluant des élections au niveau fédéral et provinciales: Ontario et Québec à l’automne 2018 et des élections à venir en Alberta, Colombie Britannique et Manitoba cette année; les différents défis internationaux, nos relations bilatérales avec les États-unis, le Brexit et l’UE, le Moyen-Orient, le populisme et le Brésil, le Congo, etc. etc.
6. GR pointed to the forthcoming fine-tuning of RHOMA Objectives and membership criteria (members will be consulted);
7. Indeed, GR recalled the comprehensive Annual Report that demonstrated the high level of activity undertaken by the board in 2018: Memorial to the Fallen; the project on the future of the foreign service (Dynamic Diplomacy) and proposed plan of attack (work in progress) to be reviewed at RHOMA’s February board meeting;
8. Finally, GR onvite les membres à faire un plus grans usage dun niveau site wen de RHOMA/ACMAR incluant le site exclusif aux membres (Membres seulement/Members only).
Next lunch Februaray 20th /Prochain lunch le 20 février



It is with pleasure that your Board would like to share with you our 2018 ANNUAL REPORT here below. Please take the time to read it and do not hesitate to send us your comments. It will help to make RHOMA to be a better association in 2019.


RHOMA News Update / Dernières nouvelles de l’ACMAR (2018-11-21)

The following bullets are drawn from remarks made at the monthly RHOMA NCR ‘Writers’ luncheon, held November 21, 2018:


  1. New Members: Pierre Guimond, Alan Sullivan (reinstated former member, welcome back).
  2. Désolé de vous annoncer le décès de notre ami et collègue, Reginald Dorrett.
  3. The annual Christmas Party in the NCR took place on December 6, 2018, from 6 to 8 pm, hosted by Deputy Minister Ian Shugart.
  4. RHOMA-ACMAR website – complete overhaul thanks to RHOMA Director, Gaston Barban; objective is greater public engagement. There is a Members Only section requiring user name and password (details to be emailed shortly); contains a Forum to stimulate engagement and discussion on international affairs and Canada’s role therein. You can access site here:
  5. En janvier, notre conférencier sera Manon Cornellier, journaliste avec le Devoir – grâce aux efforts de Suzanne Laporte.
  6. The board is in the process of reviewing RHOMA’s ‘Objectives’ under three headings, advocacy, education, and social networking … and also reviewing Membership criteria; we’re thinking of broadening membership of Associates, and, introducing a new category of Honorary Members to reach out to Ministers, DMs, and interested politicians.  Will be consulting with the broad RHOMA membership on proposed changes early in 2019.
  7. The board is also working on coming up with a new name – the words ‘Retired’ in English and ‘à la retraite’ in French are found by many not consistent with an organization that would prefer not to be thought of as ‘passive’.  RHOMA’s board is looking to find a ‘brand’ name qui sera confortable à dire à la fois en anglais qu’en français …  Once a short-list of finalist new-names is compiled, RHOMA members will be consulted.
  8. Très heureux de vous annoncer une nouvelle bourse offerte par l’ACMAR à l’Université de Victoria– similar to the RHOMA scholarship at uOttawa, it will focus on support to students studying international affairs and diplomacy.
  9. The fourth annual RHOMA Writers’ Luncheon took place on November 21stat the Royal Ottawa Golf Club. This increasingly popular event attracted over 60 members and spouses. Eight new publications by RHOMA members were presented: James Bartleman: A Matter of Conscience, Richard Belliveau: From Walk-up to Highrise: Ottawa’s Historic Apartment Buildings, Gilles Duguay: Aventurier et ambassadeur, Michel Dupuy: Accalmies, John Graham: Potholes and Politics: A Cartoon Portrait of Ottawa, Dan Livermore: Detained: Islamic Fundamentalist Extremism and the War on Terror in Canada, Michael Molloy: Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975-1980, Roger Simmons: From Railway Brat to Diplomat.


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