I have received feedback from a number of members that our approach to Transformation seems to focus on the negative and underestimates the positive … it is true that my presentation at the AGM [http://www.rac.ca/en/rac/2010-agm-presentation/] has a litany of issues which I believe need discussion. It was preceded on the Friday by a two and a half hour open discussion [at the AGM] going over the positives and negatives of RAC and was followed by presentations by two Directors [ Atlantic Region -Len Morgan VE9MY, Ontario Northeast - Bill Unger, VE3XT as well as Ian Macfarquhar, VE9IM First Vice President]. I enjoyed the open discussion and give and take at the AGM [as well as the hospitality of the Halifax Amateur Radio Club!]. I was accused of listening.
We need to see the future and honour the past but perhaps we should ensure that the present is in context.
Ian wanted to say something and so I give you some musings by First Vice President, Ian VE9IM:
There has been a lot written and talked about recently concerning the Transformation Process that the RAC is currently undertaking. This has spurred discussion amongst some members and clubs as they think about what the RAC means to them, what they would like it to be and their visions for what it could be in the future. This is a worthy exercise and much good is expected to come from it.
A side effect of this process has been a tendency to focus on the negative, at the expense of the things that are achieving success within the organization. This can leave a negative and incorrect impression about the organization as a whole to those following the process. A new vision has to be brought forward and many things changed and but when looking at the big picture, one has to recognize what is working and what members value. The law of unintended consequences is always at play. I think it is useful to remember a number of the things that members value. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a sample of a few things the RAC is doing for its members that may be being overlooked.
The RAC is doing yeoman service in representing the interest of its members with the regulatory bodies that control the frequencies we get to use. Both our national regulator, Industry Canada and international organizations such as the I.A.R.U. have expressed great respect for the RAC and consider it to be a vital organization that garners international respect. The RAC team that performs on behalf of members on the international stage e.g. WARC, I.T.U. continually punches above its weight and provides stellar representation for the interests of Canadian Radio Amateurs where it counts. These are the bodies that determine who gets to use what spectrum. The RAC’s contribution to these international bodies is seen as highly competent and the RAC’s opinion is valued and respected.
The RAC sponsors and continues to operate two of the most popular HF contests in North America, the Canada Day and Winter contests. These are consistently rated very highly by participants. The RAC QSL bureau system continues to be sponsored and funded by the RAC Bureau service for normal usage is at no cost to members. Unlike RAC, some organizations (ARRL for example) charge for each and every card their bureaus handle. We don’t. The RAC bureau handles cards within Canada ie VE-VE cards, others like the ARRL do not provide a similar service. The RAC is again punching above its weight.
The RAC produces a jewel of a national amateur radio magazine, TCA – The Canadian Amateur. This magazine receives strong reviews from both Canadian hams and foreign amateur bodies and groups. For an organization of the RAC’s size, this magazine is top notch and the envy of similar sized national Amateur Radio societies. Increased interest from advertisers will result in further improvements. Whether a paper or electronic publication or hybrid, this national outlook on Amateur Radio is important to RAC members.
The RAC has developed several insurance programs that its members and Affiliated Clubs can participate in. These programs are highly valued by the RAC membership and offer a range of insurance that can provide liability coverage at a cost far below that of the open market. New programs are being introduced to provide equipment loss protection and enhanced liability coverage. These programs are only available as a result of an organization of the RAC’s stature and long term track record. Again the RAC is punching above its weight.
There is a lot of work and visioning and growth to do but we should keep in mind the things that are useful and valued. We will all benefit from improvements and changes.
Ian MacFarquhar, VE9IM
First Vice President, RAC