E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) in conversation with H7543 Senator Joe Day (CMR RMC 1968), former RMC Club President 1994-95.
e-veritas: Outline your career progression
Senator Joseph Day: I hold a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada, a bachelor of laws from Queen’s University, and a Masters of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School. I am a member of the bars of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. I had a successful career as a private practice attorney. My legal interests include Patent and Trademark Law, and intellectual property issues. I was certified as a Specialist in Intellectual Property Matters by the Law Society of Upper Canada, and a Fellow of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada. Most recently (1999-2000) I served as President and CEO of the New Brunswick Forest Products Association. In 1992, I joined J.D. Irving Ltd., a conglomerate with substantial interests in areas including forestry, pulp and paper, and shipbuilding, as legal counsel. Prior to 1992 I practiced with Gowling & Henderson in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ogilvy Renault in Ottawa, and Donald F. Sim, Q.C. in Toronto, where I began my career in 1973.
I have served in the Senate of Canada since October 4, 2001. I was summoned to the Senate by Governor-General Clarkson upon the recommendation of the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien. I represent the province of New Brunswick and the Senatorial Division of Saint John-Kennebecasis.
e-veritas: What are you up to these days?
Senator Joseph Day: I am currently a Member of the following Senate Committees: National Security and Defence; as well as the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and Chair of National Finance. My areas of interest and specialization include: science and technology, defence, international trade and human rights issues, heritage and literacy. I am a member of many interparliamentary associations, including past Co-Chair of the Canada-China Legislative Association and NATO Parliamentary Association, Chair of the Defence & Security Committee in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
I recently chaired the Foundation, and the Board of the Dr. V.A. Snow Centre Nursing Home, as well as the Board of the Associates of the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick. I have held positions with the Canadian Bar Association and other professional organizations. I was appointed Honourary Lieutenant Colonel of 722 (Saint John) Communication Squadron on Jan 3, 2002 and served until Nov 30, 2005.
e-veritas: What extracurricular activities were you involved with at Military College
Senator Joseph Day: I studied electrical engineering at RMC; classes were held in the old stables across from the boathouse. In previous years, cadets studying engineering spent a fifth year at Queens or another university; however the academic program was adjusted to allow RMC to issue engineering degrees. The academics were rigorous and the schedule didn’t leave a lot of time for extracurricular activities.
Nevertheless, I was involved in all kinds of athletic extracurricular activities atMilitaryCollege. During the fall terms, I played on the varsity soccer team at both CMR and RMC; I served as Captain of the RMC soccer team in my final year. During the winter terms, I competed on the varsity badminton team and played intramurals. I won an award for intramural athlete of the year.
e-veritas: Did you hold leadership position(s)?
Senator Joseph Day: I served as Cadet Wing Sports Officer (4 bar) under H25917 Major (Ret’d) Danny McLeod in my last year at RMC. Since we have remained friends, I was delighted to have the opportunity a few weeks ago to pin the Jubilee Medal on Danny McLeod’s lapel; the casual ceremony was held with family and friends in his home. In contrast to many supervising officers who would expect a junior to follow orders or watch as he or she completed a task, Major Danny McLeod has a collaborative decision making style. He actively sought the input of cadets and wanted to talk about the taskings and results of the athletic program. In addition to opportunities to develop skills in leadership, and logistics, we were also given the chance under Maj McLeod to make decisions, for example to choose the athlete of the year. Maj McLeod was interested in our rationale, and the transparency of the decision making process, and after which he supported our recommendation.
In my 4th year with 2576 Commodore William Hayes served as Commandant As CWSO I helped program many activites and college events, such as The Cadet Wing parade on Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada’s centennial. In my 3rd year, 2364 Air Commodore Leonard Birchall served as Commandant in 1967 had an active and supportive interest in athletics, and is remembered at RMCC in the Leonard Birchall Leadership Award and the Leonard Birchall Sports pavilion near the Navy Bay sports fields. I recall that members of the College staff, such as H3948 Doctor John Plant (RMC 1957), who was no longer in uniform at the time and not yet Principal, were very good and supportive of Cadet Wing Sports and events.
Cadets organized and ran the full intramural sports program, Varsity Programme, and Recreational Programme (group and individual sports and hobbies). All officer cadets participated in the Cadet Wing Sports Days which include the Harrier cross- country race. The Wing tournaments normally offered activities such as football, hockey, baseball, soccer, and volleyball. Although Cadet Wing boxing was offered in first year, its official status was just coming to an end owing to the risk of serious injuries.
e-veritas: How did you get involved with RMC Club business? How did you end up as RMC Club president?
Senator Joseph Day: After graduating from RMC, I was advised that my dream to train as a pilot was not possible at that time. Although, I was cross trained in telecommunications as a qualified engineer, I decided to attend Law School at Queens. I became active in the Toronto Branch of the RMC Club while completing my articles and working in Toronto. After serving on the board of the Toronto branch for 5 years, I was asked by 3251 Jim Tremain and 4820 Harry Rivato serve on the National Executive, which I did for three years. At that time I ran (unsuccessfully) for political office, I couldn’t serve on the alumni association board. While practicing as a lawyer in several places in Canada, I helped found branches of the RMC Club in Gagetown, New Brunswick; and Kitchenor Waterloo I also kept up contacts with Ex-Cadets by attending meetings in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa. I then rejoined the National Executive. I served as National President of both the Ex-Cadet Club (1996) and the Foundation (1998-2000) of the Royal Military Colleges Club of Canada. Recently I was a member of the RMC Board of Governors from January 2004 until January 2007 (3 yr term).
e-veritas: What were some of the biggest challenges during your tenure as president?
Senator Joseph Day: The biggest challenge during my tenure of president was the legal and organizational separation of the RMC Club from the RMC Club Foundation. We sought to revitalize the Foundation’s fundraising and college and cadet support. A Vice President was hired at that time to support the expanded foundation activities.
Since Canadian Military Colleges were traditionally only open to men, there was some resistance to opening the doors to women, and by extension the granting of women full membership in the RMC Club. Similarly, since the Military Colleges traditionally provided 4-5 years of undergraduate education, there was resistance to granting postgraduate students full membership in the RMC Club. Some saw the integration of uniformed cadets, UTPM, and graduate students into the Military Colleges as a social and political experiment which would shortly and inevitably end in failure. In effect, the integration of women and graduate students as a lasting trend was a matter of human rights, reflecting changing demographics in the Canadian Forces and Canadian educational trends. After much debate, the RMC club executive changed the constitution to accept women, UTPM, and graduate students as full members of the club, enabling them to run for leadership positions. In time, the advantages and benefits of these expanded roles to the college and the Ex-Caded Club became apparent.
e-veritas: What are you most proud of?
Senator Joseph Day: I served as president of the RMC Club during tough economic period inCanada, and specifically in the Canadian Forces. Although I had the opportunity to talk to the Minister of National Defence on various matters of interest, the RMC Club was not consulted as to the closure of Royal Roads and College Militaire Royal. We were also concerned about the deep cuts to programming at the Royal Military College in Kingston, and with rumours of its possible closure.
I am most proud of the revitalization of the RMC Club Foundation. During this period, donations increased from thousands to millions of dollars. This supplement to government contributions to the college brought financial stability, thus it was better able in the future to withstand the ups & downs of government financing
e-veritas: What do you know of the Club business today? What are the Club’s/College(s) biggest challenges?
Senator Joseph Day: Although I am no longer on the executive, I remain interested in the Military Colleges and Club business. As Chair of the Defence & Security Committee in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, I travelled with a NATO delegation to RMC, toured the facilities, was briefed by senior leadership, but the most interesting aspect of the visit was meeting with the cadets.
During the recent celebrations for the 60th anniversary of CMR, I enjoyed meeting Mr. Geoffrey E. Molson, President and CEO of the Montréal Canadiens, who spoke about 1800 the Honourable Hartland Molson (RMC 1924), whom I had met on several occasions.
Although I was disappointed with the closure of Royal Roads, I am pleased that Royal Roads University’s Continuing Studies courses, executive education retreats, Disaster and Emergency Management, Peace & Conflict Management, and leadership and management graduate and undergraduate degree programs, ensure continued alignment with the needs of the CF and DND sector.
I attend functions including Ex-Cadet weekends, spring convocations and the graduation parade. I participate in RMC Club fundraisers. For example, I was one of fifteen Ex-Cadets who raised money for the Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund by paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston last year. The Chasse-Galerie was inspired by 8788 Geoff Bennett, who asked me to join the crew. I am equally proud of the re-establishment of Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean. It was a pleasure to be able to attend the College’s 60th Anniversary on November 20th and to meet several serving cadets!
Previous interviews with Club Presidents:
E3161 Victoria Edwards in conversation with 3010 Peter McLoughlin (RRMC RMC 1952), who served as the RMC Club President from 1987-88.
E3161 Victoria Edwards in Conversation with 5739 André Costin (CMR RMC 1963), who served as president of the RMC Club in 1995-96. Second in a series.
E3161 Victoria Edwards in conversation with 5244 Tony Downs who served as president of the RMC Club 1993-94
E3161 Victoria Edwards in conversation with G0055 Valerie Keyes who served as President of the RMC Club in 1998-99.
E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) interviewed #3251 Jim Tremain (RMC 1954), who served as RMC Club President 1980-81.
E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) in conversation with 8833 Colonel (Ret) Dr. John Leggat (RMC 1971), who served as RMC Club President 1999-2000.
E3161 Victoria Edwards in conversation with 4100 Jacques Choquette (CMR RMC 1959) who served as RMC Club President 1988-9.