RMC Alumni Association issue statement on Arbour Report

The Royal Military Colleges of Canada Alumni Association (RMCAA) released a statement on Thursday responding to the Arbour Report, roughly a month after it's initial release.

The RMCAA said the board of directors continue to reflect on the report, and "recognize that systemic and cultural failings enabled abuse to occur and persist."

Mme Justice Louise Arbour conducted the external review of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and Department of National Defence (DND), with the full report being released at the end of May.

Among the recommendations made in Justice Arbour's report is a thorough review of whether undergraduate programs at RMC Kingston and Saint-Jean should continue at all.

"A combination of Defence Team members and external experts, led by an external education specialist, should conduct a detailed review of the benefits, disadvantages and costs, both for the CAF and more broadly, of continuing to educate ROTP cadets at the military colleges," recommendation #29 of the report reads.

"It should also consider and assess the different models for delivering university-level and military leadership training to naval/officer cadets, and determine whether the RMC Kingston and the RMC Saint-Jean should continue as undergraduate degree-granting institutions, or whether officer candidates should be required to attend civilian university undergraduate programs through the ROTP."

Thursday's statement from the RMCAA asserts that there is a value in continuing the education programs at these institutions.

"While we acknowledge the concerns identified in the Arbour Report, we continue to believe strongly in the value of the military colleges at Kingston and Saint-Jean for undergraduate, postgraduate and distance learning," the RMCAA statement reads.

"Unlike civilian universities, these colleges require demonstrated capability in academics, leadership, physical fitness and bilingualism to graduate."

Arbour's report, however, questions just how much attention to detail is put into those pillars, and in particular whether the leadership qualities bestowed are valuable. 

The RMCAA state that an Arbour Report response group has been assembled under 1988 RMC grad Scott Stevenson who can be reached at [email protected].

RMCAA say the statement released is the beginning of their total response.

The DND and CAF have until the end of the year to decide which recommendations from the Arbour Report to implement. 

Story by Owen Fullerton, YGK News, for the Local Journalism Initiative