Time For A Change At RAC?

I see the annual general meeting for Radio Amateurs of Canada is coming to Hamilton, Ontario on October 5th. The AGM is being held in conjunction with the Hamilton ARC’s annual hamfest which will be held in the Marritt Hall at the Ancaster Fair Grounds in Ancaster, Ontario.

Perhaps some of us who are unhappy with the way RAC has been managed over the last few years might want to attend the AGM and during the new business session move a motion of non-confidence?

In Canadian law the passing of a vote of non-confidence in an organization governed by Robert’s Rules of Order like RAC usually means the governing body must resign. But that won’t happen at RAC’s AGM because the AGM at RAC is just a sham and not to be taken seriously.

You see the RAC Constitution makes no provision for direct input from the members at the AGM and no direct input from the overall membership unless there is a demand for a special general meeting by not less than one-tenth of the total number of full and full life members.

Of course since no one at RAC has released the actual membership number how can we know what a tenth is? This is Alice in Wonderland stuff folks. I can’t make it up.

North Korean politics is easier to understand.

So let’s be clear. The way RAC is setup is very traditional and legal. But when it comes to the way it is run things like transparency become murky to the point of obscure and there is no engagement of the overall membership in the day-to-day activities of their own organization.

This is Big Brother stuff.

We don’t know the number of members in our association. We don’t know the actual financials (The annual financial report does not reveal the numbers below the surface.). We have no real way to offer complaint or criticism.

On top of that we have elected a group of directors who have appointed an executive team and neither group understands the concept of serving the membership as opposed to governing the association.

What RAC needs right now is much less governing and true serving by dedicated leaders who understand that the power of any organization rests in the hands of the members and not the directors.

This is a simple concept that has failed to take hold at RAC and our national hobby is suffering as a result.

Here’s an example:

Contrary to what some directors have stated in public a reading of the “Objectives of the Organization” in RAC’s Constitution says that RAC’s  objectives are:

  1. To represent and act as a liaison and coordinating body for Canadian amateur radio associations, societies, organizations and individual radio amateurs.
  2. To act as a liaison organization between its members and other amateur radio organizations within and beyond Canada.
  3. To represent Canadian radio amateurs in policy decisions regarding international issues and regulations that affect amateur radio within the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and at meetings and conferences of the international amateur radio community including the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU).
  4. To act as a liaison organization and consultative body to municipal, provincial and federal governments in matters concerning the Amateur Service.
  5. To promote excellence, the state of the art, and the interests of amateur radio’s many varied activities through a program of technical, regulatory and general information within the amateur radio community and to the Canadian public.
  6. To maintain a tangible presence in the amateur radio community in the form of a corporate office and address.
  7. To maintain a “Field Organization” for public service.

Notice if you will that it is only in section two where our Constitution talks about representing the “members” when we are dealing with other Amateur Radio organizations.

In all other sections the Consitution clearly states that RAC is to represent all Canadian Amateur Radio operators.

I take this to mean whether or not they are paid-up members they get RAC representation. 

A few of our RAC directors should read their constitution and get on with representing all Canadians who are licensed Amateur Radio operators and stop behaving like they’re running an exclusive club only for those who paid their $50 dues.

This is the type of behaviour that gives RAC a bad name and prompts some to claim it’s “an old boy’s club.” It does nothing to attract new members and retain existing ones.

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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.

2 thoughts on “Time For A Change At RAC?

  1. Good morning sunshine,

    Glad you enjoyed the Radcom articles on SSB intelligibility. It’s all common sense really, however as the saying goes, common sense is not too common these days…

    Which brings me to tears.

    That’s right – tears.

    I had tears in my eyes as I read your latest post about the need for change at RAC. Isn’t that an oxymoron – like military intelligence, clearly confused, deafening silence, definite maybe, original copy, open secret…

    But it is brilliant, mate (as they say in VK-land). Makes me want to put CQCanada back on line .

    Juan de Colombia

  2. Your post is a good reminder for all Canadian Radio Amateurs, Peter, especially those who are RAC members. (Incidentally, I’ve heard through the grapevine that current membership stands somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000, but of course I don’t know that for certain. Evidently, the real number is locked away, perhaps in the RAC crypt.

    In my view, it seems there may well have been more than one instance in recent years wherein the RAC Constitution has either been ignored or even flagrantly violated. Don’t ask for examples; I think they may be obvious to many, at least to those of us who know the contents of the Constitution. Or have there been changes to that document of which I am unaware? It’s difficult to judge, given the lack of information being provided to the Canadian Amateur Radio community in general and the RAC membership in particular, the exceptions being when the current custodians of the RAC choose to blow their own personal horns (“Hey ma, look at what we’re gonna do!”), be they often off-key horns and certainly not pleasing to the ear. (Sadly, much of what is claimed to be done, at least anything positive, never does seem to get done.)

    In all my years as a RAC member (with membership first in the CARF which preceded the RAC) and those as an elected member of the RAC Board, and of the RAC Executive — the latter now with fancy names which in themselves may be in opposition to the long-established nomenclature of the RAC Constitution — never have I seen what appears to be such an ignorance or cavalier attitude when it comes to following the RAC written legal administrative rules.

    Nearly 4 years ago, during a telephone conversation I had with a then-new RAC regional director — who still holds that same position — that same director told me the RAC constitution is nothing more than a “guide line”. His words! Unbelievable!?! But perhaps speaks to the current regime’s modus operandi and mind-set..

    “We’re ALL about Amateur Radio!”, as the RAC corporate motto states, a motto written when the RAC was in better times. But does it mean anything any more?

    It’s a shame — even heart-breaking — to see such a vital and worthwhile organisation running on what to many appears to be personal agendae and puffed egos, rather than on what patently is right. Where do we, the Radio Amateurs, be we members or not, fit into this grand plan? Or do we?

    At the risk of being accused of airing personal beefs (which most assuredly is NOT the case but doubtless there will be some who claim so for their own interests) I invite your readers to take a look at
    http://www.qsl.net/ve3bdb/RACresignation.htm
    to see when this sad state of affairs began. It doesn’t tell the entire story but it does give some insight to those who may be unaware of what might be seen as the beginning of the end.
    I know that you, Peter, have your own story to tell and, in fact, have touched upon it more than once in this venue, to your credit.

    Cheers and 73,

    Bob Cooke VE3BDB

    Past RAC President
    Past Ontario South Region Director
    Past Ontario South Region Assistant Director
    Past Vice President Field Services (or whatever it’s called today)
    Several appointed RAC positions in the Field Service, including the ARES

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