At its 2017 AGM The Ottawa Gunners adopted a new constitution that invites all gunners, regardless of rank, to become members of the association and also eliminates the payment of annual dues.
Over the past several years there have been various discussions at the Executive Committee and at the AGM with regards to our mission, our membership and our ability to continue to function in the face of declining numbers. The Ottawa Gunners was formed by Reg F gunner officers at NDHQ in the early 1970s to provide a social focus to replace the unit gunner messes to which many were accustomed. Local, retired gunner officers were also invited to join the association. Over time many of the original members have subsequently retired but have maintained their membership and commitment to the Ottawa Gunners.
Through the 1990s and into the turn of the century mess life in the Reg F underwent a major shift. Gone were the unit messes and with them the inherent social life. Social and cultural norms also changed the result of which was general disinterest among serving officers, particularly junior officers, in joining organizations such as the Ottawa Gunners. We have gone from a membership of some 400 officers in the 1970s to less than 50 today.
Last Fall, the Executive Committee formed a small working group to make proposals regarding membership and to redraft our Constitution to incorporate the proposed changes.
It was agreed by the Executive Committee that we will open our regular membership to anyone who has served in the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. While we are opening the membership to all ranks and will welcome any NCM into the Association, we recognize that our traditional venue, the Army Officers’ Mess, may inhibit a more broadly-based membership.
It was further agreed by the Executive that we will dispense with an annual dues payment for membership. Many serving personnel believe that as they are members of the RCAA, through the RCA Regimental Fund, then they should also be considered members of the Ottawa Gunners. The elimination of annual dues may therefore encourage their participation in Ottawa Gunner activities. Having eliminated the annual dues, the Association must therefore rely on all activities being cost neutral and encourage members to make donations to support the day-to-day business of the Association.
A third proposal, incorporated in the draft Constitution, is, with the support of DArty, to have a Reg F member to serve on the Executive either as the President or Vice-President. The intent is to raise the visibility of the Ottawa Gunners as part of the Gunner Family and to encourage participation by serving members.
At the 2017 AGM held on 9 June the proposed Constitution was adopted by the attending members. Regrettably, attendance was sparse though there were enough members to establish a quorum and to complete the work of the Agenda. LCol Dave Brassard has been nominated by DArty to fill the position of Vice-President of The Ottawa Gunners, we trust this will be the start of increased RegF participation in the association.
Every third Friday the OP at the Army Officers’ Mess is open for gunners to meet and socialize so join us on 21 July, further, in September we are planning a Meet and Greet to welcome gunners and their families recently posted into the NCR; watch for the announcement.