RCNA election sees three contested spots up for grabs

By Jesse Robitaille

As the election to name the incoming board of directors for Canada’s national coin club comes to a close, many are awaiting the results of what’s being hailed as a promising vote.

While there’s some confusion surrounding the new voting system – brought forth not by choice but by tedious government regulations – one thing is for certain: the face of the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA) will look different for the upcoming 2015-17 term.

There are 22 nominees in total, but with only 16 positions available, there are three spots being contested on the RCNA’s executive; they will be named at the association’s annual general meeting (AGM), to be held in Halifax, N.S., on July 25.

“It’s always encouraging when people step forth to seek a leadership role in the RCNA,” said Bret Evans, outgoing RCNA president. “In this instance, it’s doubly encouraging because it means that many of our board positions will be decided by an election, not by acclamation.”

The RCNA AGM opens at 10:30 a.m. and will hear reports from several committees before the results of this year’s election are announced.


Despite Evans’ excitement, he said this year’s election process is more convoluted than in previous years following changes to government regulations for non-profit organizations.

“The new election process means more work for a handful of dedicated volunteers and a few changes in how we need to do things,” said Evans, who added all candidates – even those running unopposed – must appear on the ballot for voters’ consideration.

“We can thank government meddling and bureaucracy for that bit of unhelpful absurdity.”

Paul Johnson, RCNA executive secretary, agreed the new rules caused some complications, requiring several changes to the RCNA Constitution.

“We have to abide by their rules; we can’t impose our own rules,” said Johnson. “Now, when you vote for president or any position – even if there are no other candidates – there’s a spot to withhold your vote, so you can either vote or abstain and put an ‘X’ in that box. That’s a major change this year.”

Henry Nienhuis, first vice-president and RCNA convention chair, said each association member would have the opportunity to cast a vote for every director position, including those positions with only one candidate. He also made note of a section at the end of the ballot for the voter’s name and signature, both of which are required for the vote to be counted.


Johnson said there are three contested spots in total: one for first vice-president between Rob Forbes and Serge Pelletier; another for second vice-president between Bill Waychison and Steven Woodland; and one for director of south-central Ontario between Mike Walsh, Canadian Coin News publisher, and Robb McPherson.

Johnson also said there are several new candidates vying for spots on the RCNA executive for the first time.

“It’s good to have new blood on the executive to share a new point of view on things,” he said. “It’s always nice to have some turnover, too, and sometimes it’s a bit of a battle to do that, but this year we have a lot of strong candidates. I think that’ll bode well for the RCNA over the next two years.”

All ballots have been mailed out and must be completed and returned to the election committee in Halifax by July 17.

The Candidates

Henry Nienhuis is the uncontested candidate for president.

“That likely means he will become the president by acclamation,” said Johnson. For a full profile on Nienhuis, turn to page 24.

Former CCN editor Bret Evans, who is closing out a two-year term as president, is the uncontested candidate for immediate past-president.

Up for first vice-president is Robert Forbes, who is completing his second consecutive term as second vice-president, and Serge Pelletier, a retired Army officer and, most recently, area director for north and east Ontario.

Steve Woodland, winner of two RCNA President’s Awards, and Bill Waychison, who is the current past president of the RCNA, are the candidates for second vice-president.

Jeffrey Wilson, former president of the Halifax Regional Coin Club (2010-13), is the uncontested candidate for director of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

Kevin Day-Thorburn, a member of the Saint John Coin Club and editor of its newsletter, is the candidate for director of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Louis Chevrier is the uncontested candidate for director of Montreal and suburbs.

Jeff Fournier, former president of the Nickel Belt Coin Club and author of the book Sudbury Numismatics, is the uncontested candidate for director of north and east Ontario.

Michael Walsh, CCN publisher, and Robb McPherson, president of the Ontario Numismatic Association, are the candidates for director of south-central Ontario.

William O’Brien, who is beginning his second term as president of the North York Coin Club, and Brett Irick, a 40-year numismatic veteran, are the uncontested candidates for director-at-large.

James Bailie and Miranda Bonnet are the uncontested candidates for directors of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, respectively.

James Williston, former president of the Canadian Numismatic Society, is the uncontested candidate for director of Alberta and the Northwest Territories

Michael Tarantino is the uncontested candidate for director of British Columbia.

William Kamb and Jeff Chapman are the candidates for director of the eastern U.S.

Rob Turner and Michael Turrini are the candidates for director of the western U.S.

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