Joe's letter re OECO/RAC ARES

This letter Written by Joe Cusimano VE3OV is Posted by Ralph Muecke Ve3vxy

I have been reading all the comments going back and forth regards the establishment of the Emergency Communications Ontario Association (ECOA) and the reaction by of the RAC Ontario Section Manager. I’m rather saddened that we are still debating the issues that I had to deal with in 2002 when the Ontario Section Manager and her emergency service managers fired me from my Ontario EMO EOC / RAC Liaison position because I expressed some unhappiness with our progress within EMO. This was subsequently followed by my being fired from my Toronto District Emergency Coordinator position. The Ontario EOC Manager, The City of Toronto EOC Manager and the entire Toronto ARES membership resented this unwarranted show of authority by RAC. Soon after this, the Section Manager and all her Section ARES Advisors jumped ship and resigned their RAC positions. They had no choice.

I learned some valuable lessons during that time. I have hoped that every Ontario Amateur Radio operator with an interest in providing a communications service during emergency times would have also learned something from my experience.

The main thing to understand is the client that we are working to serve. There are primarily only two clients. They are the manager of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) located in our province (Ontario EMO) and the Emergency Management Manager in your municipality.  He controls who comes in and who stays out of the local EOC.

The reality is that those mangers will not be dictated to by any National organization with headquarters in Ottawa regardless of the existence of a provincial ARES section and its good intentions.  They will welcome in an organization that is lead by someone they know and have confidence in. Someone who understands and supports the entire EOC operation, not only the Amateur Radio component. We have learned that today it is no longer sufficient to come in and only pass messages on your Ham Radio. It’s gone beyond that and I doubt that RAC’s interests go beyond solely serving the interests of Amateur Radio.

RAC has a national role to play in all of this. I suggest that RAC set a super strong and efficient national emergency station in Ottawa with all the latest digital modes and with powerful remote controlled HF radios covering the nation. Link together all the provincial EOC Amateur Radio centers on HF. That is THE emergency communications role of the national organization that is RAC.

The Ontario SM should be extremely pleased that the President of ECOA is also the Ontario SEC.  What better way could there be to make sure that the two organizations work hand in hand. Instead the SM finds this difficult and calls it a conflict of interest situation. I can only say: Come up and get your head out of the sand and deal with the reality of our time. The Ontario SM should immediately reinstate Bob Gammon VA3RX as Ontario SEC and wish the new organization ECOA every success. There is NO conflict of interest. Success for ECOA will translate into success for RAC. After all, we are essentially the same people, we are all Amateur Radio Operators. Look to the great success of the emergency communications operation in British Columbia and some of the other provinces to prove that the ECOA approach is the only way to go here in Ontario. To fight it, is foolish and futile. If you agree, please speak up.

Joe Cusimano – VE3OV

EC – Toronto North York

Board of Directors Member -  ECOA

CITIG Member