When details were first announced for the date for the 2016 RMCC Convocation the plan was always that the Chancellor, Minister of National Defense, The Honourable,Harjit Sajjan would be in attendance in that role. Last minute business in the House of commons prevented him from arriving on schedule.
e-Veritas writer, 27832 OCdt (I) Cardona 12 Sqn was ‘Johnny on the spot’ when the MND arrived. The personable first term MND took time to speak with Pablo. Following is the essence of their one-on-one conversation.
Convocation – Minister of National Defence Perspective
Interview conducted by 27832 OCdt (I) Cardona 12 Sqn
Following this year’s convocation ceremony, the Minister of National Defense, The Honourable, Harjit Sajjan, took the time to meet the class of 2016 and their families. After most of the graduates, families and guests had left, the Minister briefly gave e-Veritas his thoughts on the Class of 2016 convocation ceremony:
Pablo: Do you have any words of advice for the class of 2016 as they go forward in their careers as soon to be commissioned Canadian Forces officers?
MND: “First of all, they should always be very proud of themselves, of what they just accomplished now but this accomplishment, it’s a beginning. The best leadership advice that I got was lead by example, regardless of what you do, and not just in your professional life but also in your personal life as well. As I was saying, I’ve got young kids now, you got to lead by example. You can’t say one thing and do another, you keep that in the back of your mind, the whole lead by example, you can’t go wrong”
Pablo: As you know, at RMC there’s the four components of officership, being bilingualism, military proficiency, athletics and academics – today the particular focus was on academic achievement. So why do you think that’s important for somebody pursuing a career in the Canadian Forces?
MND: “I think as a leader you have to always strive to learn more about the complexities of our world, complexities of what we do and you [need] to learn as you go up in rank and [with] the responsibilities you’re going to get and the training you’re going to get – you can’t just take one book and think I only need this to pass this course. You need to read. You need to learn. And whether it’s formal, academic, or just on your own, you constantly need to learn if you want to be a good leader. So it’s part and parcel with the job.”
Pablo: Why do you see it as necessary to take the time out of your very busy schedule to come to Kingston, to meet all the families, shake hands with the OCdts, with their families, with the visitors, the professors? Why is this something you’ve made a priority?
MND: “This is a priority and everything else that we do in terms of our responsibility. These are the leaders of tomorrow. And not just because of my formal role as Chancellor as RMC, it’s important for me to be able to talk to them and show them how much I care about their graduation and what they do because they are the leadership of tomorrow, and as we make decisions up top, guess who executes those decisions. It’s going to be them. so its important for me to able to stress upon them how important their role in this. [We want to show] their chain of command and even the political leadership that we do care and we do care about their success, we care about their well-being so that they can succeed. Because at the end if they succeed, the whole military structure succeeds.”