Board News and Reports

Policy on Public Pronouncements (2019-08-19)

Part A

After consultation with RHOMA members the Board has arrived at a definitive position on making public pronouncements.

First, a pronouncement may represent the view of RHOMA on its own, for example, in support of Canadian citizens detained in China;

Second, a pronouncement may be in support of a member who has sought RHOMA’s support in defense of a principle that is consistent with the Association’s founding objectives;

Third, either of the above must be consistent with the attached policy that sets out the parameters and procedures that are to be used in both proactive and reactive cases.

Note: In the case of proactive pronouncements the Board will adhere to a 2/3 majority of board members.

In the case of reactive pronouncements, the Board will adhere to a 2/3 majority of RHOMA respondents in support, when it is deemed appropriate to consult the membership, i.e. on a
case-by-case basis.

Gilles Rivard



The Board of RHOMA is empowered to take a decision to formulate a position in the name of the Association.
This position can be for public dissemination or addressed privately but it engages the Association.
This decision can be initiated at the request of a member of the Board or be taken in answer to a request made by a RHOMA member to a Board member.
The Board will take a public stand to protect RHOMA in case of a clear abrogation of one of its founding objectives
Once the Board has agreed to act, it informs the membership and proceeds according to the steps outlined above in Part A.

When a request originates from a RHOMA member, all Board members must be made aware of the request normally through the Association’s president

The President ensures that Board members are invited to express themselves on the merits of the case in light of the Association’s interests.

Factors to be considered in evaluating the merit of the request:
• The nature of the request: a case involving a single individual or collective interests, an invitation to take sides in an argument involving third parties
• The impact on the reputation and credibility of the Association
• The precedent-setting consequences of a position taken in a particular case
Guiding principles must be fairness and equity in treating requests and accountability to the membership in justifying the reasons for the Board’s decision

The President will follow up on the request according to the majority view expressed by board members.



Notes from President’s Remarks at NCR Monthly Luncheon at Royal Ottawa Golf Club (2019-07-17)

L’ACMAR vous annonce avec regret le décès de De Montigny Marchand bien connu de plusieurs d’entre vous qui a occupé les plus hautes fonctions au sein du ministère des Affaires extérieures en plus de représenter notre pays à plusieurs reprises comme ambassadeur.

Je voudrais aussi souligner le décès de la conjointe de notre collègue Jacques Roy, Mme Sylvie Roy. Nous lui présentons nos sincères condoléances

Enfin nous soulignons le décès de Mme Anne-Marie Trahan ancienne juge de la Cour supérieure du Québec. Mme Trahan a travaillé de près avec Affaires mondiales Canada sur des programmes de réforme de la justice en Russie et en Ukraine notamment,

I am pleased to announce that our colleague Chris Greenshields will join RHOMA board. Thank you Chris for your commitment. The addition of new Board members is often associated with departures. In this case, our colleague Susan Gregson will leave her fonctions. She is not here today but we all thank her for the time she spent in supporting our association.

Mise-à-jour sur les plus récentes activités et projets de l’association

1) Second unveiling of Memorial to Fallen:. The ceremony took place on June 10th. Thanks to the good work of our colleague Abbie, 6 new names have been added this year: J. MacLeod Boyer, Dr. Egerton Herbert Norman, Hans Karl Rott, Alfred Sautner, Wayne Hubble, Patricia Harland. The ceremony has been an opportunity to meet with GAC new deputy Mme Marta Morgan.

2) S’agissant de la nouvelle sous-ministre Mme Morgan, nous avons sollicité une rencontre avec elle dans les jours suivants la cérémonie. Son bureau a rapidement indiqué son intérêt à nous rencontrer. Une rencontre devrait avoir lieu vers la fin du mois d’août.

3) Writing award from RHOMA for Bout de Papier: Each year RHOMA awards a prize of $500 to the author of the best article to appear in the foreign service magazine Bout de Paper. This year Gary Luton, who won the prize.

4) Nouvelles bourses d’étude pour des étudiants provenant de l’université d’Ottawa et de l’Université de Victoria : Un des objectifs primordiaux de l’ACMAR consiste à stimuler les études académiques en affaires internationales et en diplomatie Récemment, l’ACMAR a mis en place un nouveau mécanisme de subventions avec deux écoles supérieures en affaires publiques et internationales, soit l’Université d’Ottawa et l’Université de Victoria, dans le cadre de leur programme de stages à l’étranger. Dans chaque cas, l’ACMAR verse 2 000 $ annuellement pendant trois ans pour couvrir les frais de voyage des étudiants choisis comme stagiaires auprès d’une mission canadienne à l’étranger ou d’une autre institution internationale semblable.

5) RHOMA Speakers Bureau initiative: there is a strong interest among Canadians, particularly outside Ottawa, in learning more about the foreign service, diplomacyand exactly what it is that diplomats do for a living and why it matters to their everyday lives. In addition to universities and colleges, there is a variety of service clubs and organizations across the country (Lions, PROBUS, University Women etc.) that have regular monthly meetings and that are always looking for interesting speakers. Il est fort probable que plusieurs d’entre vous participent déjà à ce genre de tribune, mais existe-t-il un intérêt suffisant pour justifier la création d’un « Bureau des conférenciers » qui pourrait faciliter et alimenter la coordination de ces efforts communs? Si quelqu’un parmi vous était intéressé à se porter volontaire pour “gérer” ce projet, nous vous invitons à nous en faire part.

6) Ambassadors of Note project: Thanks to the initiative of our colleague Gary Smith about recognizing the outstanding work of ambassador of notes, we received 79 suggestions coming from more than 30 RHOMA members. We are close to achieving consensus on 20 names. More will come at the end of the summer about this interesting initiative.

7) On June 6, RHOMA co-sponsored with Canadian International Council and Center for International Policy Study an all party PRE-election panel on Foreign Policy. The event was held at University of Ottawa. RHOMA was co-featured in all publicity and our past President Sandelle thanked the panel. Rob Oliphant – Liberal, Erin O’ Toole – Conservative, Guy Caron – NDP and Elizabeth May from the Green party were part of the panel. The panel is the only one until now with all Foreign policy critics. We had 180 persons registered with about 155 turning up. A very successful initiative. CIPS / CIC are interested in principle to do other events with us.

8) RHOMA’s second book, « Not Mentioned in Dispatches” is coming out soon. Probably for November Writer’s luncheon.

9) Lunchs de l’automne : Afin de vous donner un avant-goût de nos conférenciers-invités pour l’automne, nous espérons que Jonathan Fried acceptera de revenir devant nous afin de nous parler du dernier sommet du G20. Nous aimerions bien compter sur la prÉsence du Haut-commissaire de la Grande-Bretagne. In November we plan to hold Writer’s luncheon and our popular book events.

Contribution annuelle / Annual contribution: to remind members that we are still waiting the annual membership contribution from many of them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Almost all of the information that I report to you today at the luncheon can also be found on the RHOMA-ACMAR the web site: including Board reports and messages, upcoming luncheons, the bout de papier award, the membership directory, links to obituaries (In Memoriam) and links to RHOMA Members Reach Out, including recent CPAC video interviews with Raymond Chrétien ,


RHOMA Media Engagement and Speakers’ Bureau


International events are a significant part of Canadians’ every-day news consumption and our media are keen to bring a Canadian viewpoint to bear when it is knowledgeable and available in a timely fashion.

A number of RHOMA colleagues are active participants in media outreach, both electronically and in written form. When RHOMA is alerted, these contributions are reflected in our monthly publication “RHOMA Members Reach Out” (

We would like to encourage more members to engage in this endeavour.

CPAC, among others, has asked RHOMA for a listing of “Canadian Experts” on global, regional and country-specific issues.

If you wish to participate, not only would that be welcome, but it would greatly assist in raising RHOMA’s profile and that of Canadian diplomats, generally. Here’s all you need to do to join-in the exercise – let us have:

– Your name and contact Information (email and phone)
– Subject matter you would be comfortable discussing
– Hours of your availability (in person, telephone, via Skype or other devices).


Similarly, we are aware that there is a strong interest among Canadians, particularly outside Ottawa, in learning more about the foreign service, diplomacy and exactly what it is that diplomats do for a living and why it matters to their everyday lives.

In addition to universities and colleges, there is a variety of service clubs and organizations across the country (Lions, PROBUS, University Women etc.) that have regular monthly meetings and that are always looking for interesting speakers. (Incidentally, many pay an honorarium).

It is quite likely that many of you may already be engaged in public speaking of this sort, but, is there enough interest out there in setting up and participating in an organized ‘Speakers’ Bureau’ to facilitate coordination and enhancement of our collective efforts?

Indeed, let us know whether any among you might be interested in volunteering to ‘manage’ such an endeavour. While there is no guarantee at this stage, it might be possible to set up a system in such a way that honoraria might include a small “management fee”.

We would welcome hearing from you.

Your RHOMA Board.



Notes from President’s Remarks at NCR Monthly Luncheon at Royal Ottawa Golf Club (2019-06-19)


1. Bienvenue à notre déjeuner du mois de juin. Dabs quelques minutes je vous présenterai notre conférencier invité. Andrew Griffth;
2. Since our last event we are happy to announce the signing up of new member Sara Hradecky (who is with us here today!
3. And pleased to confirm there are no obituaries to announce;
4. En juin, l’ACMAR a offert à nouveau sa séance annuelle de mentorat dans le cadre de la formation pré-départ offerte par AMC pour les nouveaux chefs de missions. Nous tenons à remercier tous les membres de l’association qui ont participé à l’événement comme mentors bénévoles!
5. We wish to thank Abbie Dann and Penney Reedie for their leg work in organizing the second unveiling of GAC’s Memorial to the Fallen, in coordination with PAFSO, and with opening remarks by GAC’s new Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marta Morgan;
6. RHOMA’s President has written to congratulate Ms. Morgan and to seek a meeting with her soon;
7. RHOMA was involved and participated financially with the Conference on Foreign Policy and the Federal Election with foreign affairs critics at the University of Ottawa;
8. Nous tenons à vous rappeler que vous avez jusqu’au 23 juin pour soumettre vos suggestions de candidats qui pourraient faire partie de la liste de 20 CdM qui se sont distingués durant leur carrière;
9. We will shortly be circulating to members the Talking Points that have been developed under RHOMA’s Dynamic Diplomacy project – we encourage members who speak out in public or interact with decision makers to use these in support of making GAC even better;
10. We will be canvasing members who are interested in speaking with the media on FP subjects or willing to speak to outside audiences – RHOMA’s Speakers’ Bureau as it were; stay tuned;
11. Plusieurs membres de l’ACMAR ont été invités à célébrer le 80ième anniversaire naissance du Très Honorable Joe Clark – les 40 ans depuis son élection comme PM ainsi que les 35 ans depuis sa nomination comme Ministre des Affaires étrangères;
12. I’ll return after the second course to introduce our speaker, Andrew Griffith. Bon Appétit.

Rick Kohler

Letter from RHOMA President to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marta Morgan (2019-06-10)


letter to marta morgan 


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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