Westmount, Quebec – 19 December 2022: As part of the annual Honorary Colonel’s Christmas Parade, the Regiment bade farewell to their former Honorary Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel (ret’d) Colin Robinson, whose mandate ended over the summer. Former Honorary Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel (ret’d) Harry Hall introduced him with these notes:
Retirement Notes – December 2022 – RMR HCol Colin Robinson, CD
Good afternoon RMR Comrades, my name is LCol Harry Hall and as I have known Col Robinson longer than most present, Colonel Bensoudan has asked me to say a few words about our outgoing Honorary Colonel. That is a pretty hard challenge considering his RMR journey spans close to 40 years in different capacities within our Regimental family. I will make this as short as I can, so bare with me. I first met Col Robinson when he was a cadet at CC2806 (RMR) City of Pointe-Claire Cadet Corps in the mid 1980’s of which he eventual rose to Cadet Commanding Officer in 1988. He delayed joining the Regiment in order to complete the prestigious Canadian Forces Basic Parachutist Course and was awarded his Parachutist Wings during the summer of 1989. Shortly thereafter in November 1989 he successfully applied to The Royal Montreal Regiment, passing his Officer Selection Board and was accepted to be considered as an Infantry Officer Candidate. I was the Commanding Officer at that time and as such took a great interest in developing our young officers, so we had many pleasant discussions in the Mess playing Liar’s Dice and less pleasant attitude adjustment sessions in my Office during his formative developmental years.
Everything Col Robinson did then, as now, was with high energy, total focus and results oriented. He expected a lot out of his soldiers, leading by example, motivating through encouragement, knowing when to push and when to console in order to achieve the most from his team to accomplish whatever task or mission he was given. His development was such that he was selected to be the Senior Liaison Officer on Roto 9 Op Palladium with 3rd Bn R22eR serving with distinction in Bosnia and Herzegovina from October 2001 to April 2002 being awarded the NATO Division Commander’s COmmendation, the NATO(Former Yugoslavia) Medal and the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal to add to his Canadian Forces Decoration. His proven leadership and Infantry skills ability; initiative and maturity continued to develop throughout to the point that in 2005 he was appointed Commanding Officer of the Royal Montreal Regiment serving as such until 2009 when he reluctantly retired from the military.
However, we know, “old soldiers never die nor do they fade away” and Colonel Robinson is a prime example as he continued to be very active in Regimental life. Upon his retirement he made it his mission to help Ex Sgt Mike Fitzgerald revive the RMR Association – Branch 14 Royal Canadian Legion embrace the new generation of “Cold War” veterans as well as returning soldiers from NATO and UN Missions almost tripling the size of Branch 14. From 2010 to 2013 LCol Robinson served as Legion Branch VP and Poppy Campaign Chair and 2012 the Royal Canadian Legion awarded him with the prestigious Quebec Provincial Command’s “Legionnaire of the Year” honour.
His support of Veterans never stopped and he has been the catalyst for initiatives such as the Homeless Veterans’ Program – The Old Brewery Mission (OBM) starting in 2012. He was subsequently asked to Chair the Veterans’ Program Committee, a sub-committee of the OBM Board. Another member of the Committee is Lieutenant General Yvan Blondin (Ret’d) who also sits on the Board of the Quebec Veterans Foundation (QVF) (formerly The Ste. Anne’s Hospital Foundation). The main objective of the Program is the elimination of veterans’ homelessness in Quebec. Since May 2017, nine plus homeless veterans have been identified, each assigned a counsellor and transitioned into appropriate private accommodation.
Other projects during his “retirement” included:
- Canada Company, a non-partisan charity focused on supporting troops and veterans and their families.
- The Royal Montreal Regiment Museum travelling exhibitions, renewal projects, and Vimy commemoration
- RMR Great War Education Project which became “Je Me Souviens” Quebec Education Program
- Royal Montreal Regiment 100th Anniversary in 2014
In 2013 upon my retirement as HCol, Andrew Molson became HCol and Colin became his HLCol serving in that capacity until 2019 when he became the HCol and David Bensoudan became the HLCol.
In conclusion, I have known Colin Robinson for over 30 years. Soldier, Businessman, husband and father all of which he has excelled at. None of which could have been done without the support, patience and understanding of his beautiful wife Kendall their great boys Jack and Charlie and the whole Robinson family clan. He has become the “go-to” person for much of Montreal media in the areas of military history and affairs in Montreal. His contribution and impact on the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14, the Old Brewery Mission homeless veterans and last but far from least, the Royal Montreal Regiment in his many capacities over the years is incalculable. What I can say is that his energy is infectious, he is selfless, dedicated and hard working for the advancement of all who he has come in contact with. I am humbled by his dedication and hard labour for the betterment of others. He is deserving of recognition from all for these actions that have brought honour and distinction to the Canadian Forces in general and our Regiment in particular.
With that I will turn it over to the HLCol, David Bensoudan, for a little presentation in appreciation from the Regimental Foundation.
LCol (Ret’d) Henry F. Hall, CD
CO RMR 1989-92, 1996-1999
HLCol RMR 2004-2008, HCol RMR 2008-2013