La Chasse-Galerie & H7543 Senator Joseph A. Day

“Logo courtesy of Sleeman/Unibroue”


E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) interviewed H7543 Senator Joseph A. Day (CMR RMC 1968), one of fifteen Ex-Cadets who will raise money for the Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund by paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston this September, 2011. You can make a pledge or donation at

Victoria Edwards: This will be your first fund-raising canoe trip down the Rideau. What gave you the idea?

Sen Joseph Day: I commend 8788 Geoff Bennet (RMC 1971) for organizing both fundraising trips (2001 & 2006) and inviting me to join the fun. I got to know both Geoff and his father, 2435 BGen Robert Bennet (RMC 1935) well over the years.  In 2001, I visited the paddlers at more than 1 location during their evening breaks from paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston. I spend one memorable evening over dinner and Les Maudits beer with the paddlers. I thought the trip was good fun and wished I could have taken a week off from my legal practice to join them. I was happy to cheer on the paddlers and could tell that they were pleased with their accomplishment.

In 2006, I saw the paddlers off and took the salute as they paddled by the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. While listening to H4860 Senator John de Chastelain (RMC 1960) play the bagpipes, I recall thinking that I have to take a week off from the Senate and go on one of these trips. I met the paddlers in Kingston when they arrived at the Navy Bay Jetty. Danny McLeod got in the canoe with them. Although it was cool and windy, they sang songs and seemed immune to the cold after a week on the Rideau Canal. I chaired a Legacy dinner during which I called upon the paddlers, who were wearing matching t-shirts and sitting at the same table. I was impressed by the comraderie and satisfaction of the paddlers. I recently spoke to John de Chastelain who mentioned that he was practicing his bagpipes for the trip.

Victoria Edwards:  You have previous paddling experience.

Sen Joseph Day: Yes, but not a lot. When I lived in Toronto, I went on several canoe trips in Algonquin Park. I have paddled and portaged but never with a large voyageur canoe. I am looking forward to the challenge.

Victoria Edwards: In your public relations role for the fundraiser canoe trip, what is your strategy for managing communication between RMC and its ex-cadets?

Sen Joseph Day: The wide range of potential ex-cadet and corporate donors means that various PR techniques can be applied to the process of identifying donors, getting a message to them, collecting the donations and thanking them. Commercial donations include gifts from firms and businesses that want to advertise their good will and support.

Our logo is “La Chasse-Galerie,” a witch canoe manned by voyageurs paddling through the sky to their distant homes. The flying canoe appears on the label of Maudite, a strong Quebec beer brewed by Sleeman’s, who have permitted the paddlers to use it as a symbol of our fundraising adventure. The donated resources include paddler’s labour, donated skilled labour, time spent by community members and leaders in meetings for planning, or non cash physical donations. Since the participants are sharing the costs of the trip. E-Veritas is to conduct one-on-one interviews with all 15 paddlers (in no particular order) over the next few months, I suspect we will chat again closer to the event. I encourage ex-cadets, family and friends particularly my cadet class of 68-69 to sponsor the other paddlers and me.

Victoria Edwards: As a cadet you were involved in the College intramural and varsity programs. What do you see as the main advance?

Sen Joseph Day: When I was a cadet, the focus was on intramurals and varsity sports. I competed on the varsity teams for badminton, hockey and served as Captain of the soccer team. As a senior officer cadet in Fourth year, I held Cadet Wing Sports Advisor, a command appointment in the Cadet Wing. I received practical training in leadership by being responsible for organizing and running a varsity and intramural sports program. Every committee at the College handling cadet affairs has strong cadet representation. This gives the representatives insight into the problems of organizing and administering sports and entertainment, including the budgeting of funds. In recent years, many cadets and ex-cadet athletes and coaches have also participated in international sports as a member of the Conseil international du sport militaire (CISM), an international military sports organization with 133 member countries in basketball, fencing, golf, running, sailing, shooting, soccer (men’s and women’s), swimming, taekwondo, triathlon, and volleyball (men’s and women’s).

Victoria Edwards: Why was it important to you to support the Athletic Endowment Fund which was named in honour of Major Danny McLeod?

Sen Joseph Day: The College is dominated by a program made up of four interlocking components of achievement: academics, military, athletic and bilingualism. The athletic pillar is important to the College, since it attracts individuals out of high school who are both academically and athletically achievers. In my case, I didn’t have any ex-cadet relatives. I was attracted to the College by its good academic and athletic program. I had the opportunity at CMR to learn Canada’s second official language. The Athletic Endowment Fund is important since it helps maintain the standards that RMC is known for. After graduating, my classmates and I played fundraising soccer matches against the RMC rep team, and the Ladies` Varsity. I enjoyed the matches tremendously, kept in touch, and attended weddings of several cadets. To stay fit, I try to eat right, and I make a point to walk and run every day. I continue to enjoy sports of all kinds.

Victoria Edwards: Any stories about S109 Maj Danny McLeod?

Sen Joseph Day: Several. When I was a cadet at RMC I worked closely with Maj Danny Mcleod who was the head of the athletic department when I was the Cadet Wing Sports Advisor. Two cadets, who were responsible for varsity and intramural sports reported to me. We met daily to discuss varsity and intramural sports. The College is a member of the Ontario Universities Athletic (OUA), one of the four regional associations that make up the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS). These teams also take part in a number of tournaments, as well as the traditional international exchange with West Point (United States Military Academy).

As my direct supervising officer, Maj McLeod provided tremendous leeway to learn leadership skills. Although he was demanding, you always knew where you stood. He was consistent and the expectations were clear. I learned that obstacles which seem insurmountable may, in fact, be overcome through cooperation with others, combined with high level of fitness, individual stamina and determination. He had an informal approach. Although I never had dinner with his family in his home, the athletes regularly shared meals with Maj McLeod and the varsity coaches on the road and in the RMC dining room. Over the years we have become close friends. During homecoming, the cadet class of 68-69 honoured Maj Danny McLeod at a dinner at the senior staff mess in Kingston. He was featured as guest of the class of 69 table. He was pleased to be there.

Victoria Edwards: You studied Electrical Engineering at RMC. Did you keep in touch with ex-cadets during your career progression since leaving the College?

Sen Joseph Day: I entered RMC under the Reserve Entry Training Plan (RETP). I hold a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada. I was awarded my pilot wings in 1967. I earned 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. 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 met several ex-cadets who were lawyers.

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. Since J.D. Irving had contracts to built the frigates, I recall meeting several ex-cadets who were senior officers. It was fun to reminisce about the old days with Admiral 7441 RAdm (Ret’d) Kenneth Summers (RRMC RMC 1967), who played with me on the College badminton team. Most recently (1999-2000), I served as President and CEO of the New Brunswick Forest Products Association.

Victoria Edwards: You have served in the Senate of Canada since October 4, 2001.

Sen Joseph Day: I was called 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. My areas of interest and specialization include: science and technology, defence, international trade and human rights issues, and heritage and literacy. I currently serve with H7860 Senator Roméo Dallaire (CMR 1969), who I met as a teenager at the College.  I look forward to the RMC Politics Cadets’ annual trips to Parliament Hill since they are opportunities to give them an intimate tour of the Senate.

Victoria Edwards:  You are a member of many interparliamentary associations, including Co-Chair of the Canada-China Legislative Association and NATO Parliamentary Association, Chair of the Defence & Security Committee in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Any highlights?

Sen Joseph Day: Yes. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Defence and Security Co-operation, which I chaired, held a September 8-11, 2009 fact-finding mission to Canada. The delegation of 25 members of Parliament from eleven NATO member states and Sweden, held meetings in Ottawa with senior government and military officials, and also had the opportunity to visit several important Canadian defence facilities, including the Royal Military College of Canada. After a College tour and a presentation by Commandant, Commodore William Truelove, and Principal Dr. Joel Sokolsky, there was a lively discussion with senior cadets in Currie Hall. The Delegation engaged in an extended exchange with cadets on issues including NATO’s role in cyber defence, NATO enlargement, the problem of caveats in military operations, elections in Afghanistan, and the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. I look forward to returning to the College at the next opportunity.

Victoria Edwards: You are currently a Member of several Senate Committees: National Security and Defence; as well as the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and Senate Committee on National Finance. Any advice for ex-cadets preparing to testify before a senate committee?

Sen Joseph Day: Certainly. Ex-cadets regularly testify before Senate Committees. Senior serving military leaders at Headquarters often stick to their prepared statements, which may be prepared by staff officers. The key is being prepared and to remember that the testimony may influence the committee’s action and may be used in future research. It is part of the permanent record. Before the meeting, have a frank discussion with the Committee Clerk or Chair. Get to know your audience. Get some background on what the Committee is looking for in the hearing. If possible, attend a committee meeting or watch one on television before you testify to become familiar with the process and room layout. Since the committee questions will relate to the themes that are developing, I recommend reading the on-line interviews of other witnesses. Be familiar with the subject matter. Do not read your testimony to the committee word for word. Prepare an outline. When a member asks you a question, address the problem, possible solutions, and your organization’s best solution.  Support your personal opinions with as many facts as possible.

Victoria Edwards: The Senate Committees: National Security and Defence; as well as the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs gather information less formally through site visits and informal lunches. Any advice for ex-cadets?

Sen Joseph Day: Being a graduate of the Royal Military College in Kingston, I have always maintained a deep interest in matter relating to Veterans Affairs in Canada. Therefore I am delighted to serve as a member of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs. Recently, the subcommittee was studying the services and benefits provided to members of the Canadian Forces; to veterans; to members and former members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and their families. The Committees travel to sites across Canada and overseas because we cannot simply rely on partisan government propaganda to develop public policy. We need to know what the real situation is. We make a point of gathering information less formally, for example over lunch with Non Commissioned Members (NCMs), cadets, junior officers, veterans during site visits because they can provide a flavour for what is happening in field based on their different backgrounds and life experiences. We are interested in learning about what the rank and file are thinking. This is an important part of reports since it gets to the meat of the issue. Speak from your heart while drawing from your own knowledge and experience. Obviously, the opportunity can be a short one so be prepared to briefly summarize your point.

Victoria Edwards:  You Chaired the Senate Committee on National Finance.

Sen Joseph Day: I served as the Chair of the National Finance Committee, which is charged with reviewing all matters relating to government spending, either directly through the Estimates or indirectly through Acts of Parliament. The Committee’s report most recent report is The costs and benefits of Canada’s one-cent coin to Canadian taxpayers and the overall Canadian economy.

Victoria Edwards: The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has been very active, producing 14 reports since its introduction in 2001 relating to many facets of security in Canada.

Sen Joseph Day: The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence analyzes matters relating to National Defence and the overall security of Canadians. The Committee has visited our troops in Afghanistan three times. The reports reflecting the decisions of the committee on the work they are doing and are more substantive in nature would include reports on legislation such as Bill C-55, The Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act. The Committee also produces interim and final reports on special studies such as Sovereignty & Security In Canada’s Arctic; Motion to change the official structural name of the Canadian Navy; and Where we Go From Here: Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan.

Victoria Edwards: You were 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. Your legal interests include Patent and Trademark Law, and intellectual property issues. Any comments on the long-promised revision to the Copyright Act?

Sen Joseph Day: I host the Intellectual Property institute at the Senate each year on World Intellectual Property Day (Apr 27, 2010)  as a means of develop an awareness of IP activity and those who work in area. We invite students who have won science prises in high school and their parents. One of the main issues we will have to consider in the revision to the Copyright Act is balancing the rights of creators with the rights of citizens to access and use such works made readily available by reason of the digital revolution in electronics.

Victoria Edwards:  Outline the key leadership challenges you face as a Senator?

Sen Joseph Day: After the election, all of the Senate committee chairs and members are up for reappointment or change. The committee and leadership will develop the committee terms and research interests. With 32 new senators, the spirit of the Senate may be more partisan than it is intended to be. While I represent all Canadians as a Member of the Senate of Canada, I specifically represent the people of New Brunswick. I take an active interest in investments in both New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada.  Like other Senators, I take an active interest in minorities and interest group. For me, the key interest groups are military members, military families and veterans. A challenge for Senators is to share our different backgrounds life experiences with others. While several Senators are lawyers, few have experience in intellectual property, or have served in the Canadian Forces.

Victoria Edwards: You were appointed Honourary Lieutenant Colonel of 722 (Saint John) Communication Squadron Jan 3, 2002- Nov 30, 2005. Any highlights?

Sen Joseph Day: As Colonel Commandant, I attended meetings, the Army Ball, Council (Senate), special events and parades (cadet unit presentations, change of command parades etc) and Colonel Commandant Unit visits.

Victoria Edwards: You participated in the Nijmegen march. Any lessons learned?

Sen Joseph Day: When I represented the Senate at the annual 160-kilometre, four-day Nijmegen March in 2006 and 2006. The events include four days of walking distances ranging from 30 to 50 km a day, and the accompanying festivities which celebrate the liberation of the Netherlands from German occupation. I participated alongside several cadets and ex-cadets including 8684 BGen (Ret’d) Peter Holt (CMR 1971). I enjoyed the team work and fellowship. I expect the ex-cadet canoe trip to be a similar experience. My lessons learned are to keep fit by running and walking every day. Get a good night’s sleep. Take care of yourself, with good food, hydration and rest. Have fun and get ready for the next morning.

Victoria Edwards: You served as National President of both the Alumni Association (1996) of the Royal Military Colleges Club of Canada and as National President of the Foundation (1998-2000) of the Royal Military Colleges Club of Canada. Any highlights?

Sen Joseph Day: My goal was to bring the RMC Club and foundation into a more meaningful role in supporting the College and its objectives. To that date, the Club raised $100,000-200,000 annually. Through a variety of modern fundraising principals and techniques the College is now endowed with several million dollars cash (and non cash) contributions to support the four pillars of the College and cadets. The canoe trip is a good example of a public fund raising event that combines commercial donations, communal labour, contributions, pledges fellowship and fun.


Donation Forms & Assistance

Our aim at e-Veritas is to conduct one-on-one interviews with all 15 participants (in no particular order) over the next few months of e-Veritas editions.

Class of 1960 4815 Mike Jackson

Class of 1960 H4860 John de Chastelain

Class of 1963 5893 Tom Gee

Class of 1968 H7543 Joe Day

Class of 1971 8684 Peter Holt

Class of 1971 8725 Fergus McLaughlin

Class of 1971 8788 Geoff Bennett

Class of 1971 8816 Marius Grinius

Class of 1971 8833 John Leggat

Class of 1971 8926 Ray Hook

Class of 1972 9143 Bruce McAlpine

Class of 1983 M0288 Roxanne Rees

Class of 1986 15414 Catherine Paquet-Rivard

Class of 1997 20800 Cindy McAlpine

Class of 2002 22461 Claire Bramma