Author Topic: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.  (Read 11545 times)

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Offline argo84

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French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« on: May 21, 2011, 10:23:11 »
Hello-

I'm an American and am curious about how French speaking sailors are accommodated in the Canadian Navy. It appears to me that there are units in the Canadian Army that are exclusively for French speakers. Are there ships in the Navy that are reserved for French speakers?

Respectfully,

John

Offline Mtl432

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2011, 10:46:56 »
Here is a link about the HMCS Ville De Quebec. The only ship as far as i know that has operated in french.

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,95550.0.html

Offline Navalsnipr

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2011, 10:48:49 »
Yes,

NCSM VILLE DE QUEBEC is the only French Naval unit on the coasts:

http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/villedequebec/
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Offline Dennis Ruhl

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2011, 19:22:22 »
I had no idea that the navy is almost completely Anglo as the army is about 1/3 French.  I suspect it might be a different story if some ships sailed out of Quebec City.  Mind you, Quebec City is almost landlocked compared to Halifax.
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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2011, 19:26:52 »
Yes,

NCSM VILLE DE QUEBEC is the only French Naval unit on the coasts:

http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/villedequebec/

I didn't realize they were a French Naval unit.

I thought they were a Canadian Naval unit that spoke French as the predominent working language aboard ship.  8)





I know ::) Just jerkin' yer chain ;D
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Offline N. McKay

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2011, 21:16:23 »
I had no idea that the navy is almost completely Anglo as the army is about 1/3 French.  I suspect it might be a different story if some ships sailed out of Quebec City.  Mind you, Quebec City is almost landlocked compared to Halifax.

The Naval Reserve seized onto similar thinking a while ago and, in addition to standing up several new units in Quebec, moved NAVRES HQ to Quebec City and opened a fleet school there as part of the Naval Presence in Quebec programme.  I'm not sure what effect that has had on interest in the navy within the francophone population, but I imagine there's been at least some.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2011, 07:28:47 »
Thanks for the question Argo.

As far as ships go, the above is correct: Only Ville de Quebec is a Franco unit (by the way - that is how we refer to units that work in French in the CF: Franco).

In the reserves, four of the five units in the province of Quebec are Franco, the last one, H.M.C.S. Donnacona, being the only bilingual unit in the Navy. There everything is done in both languages.

Basic is done in St-Jean, in the province of Quebec for all sailors and there are French and English courses. Otherwise, many trade courses are also available in French and when they are not, some language assistance can be provided. The officer corps is mandated to have a large proportion of its ranks that have received language training in the second official language of the country (at flag level - they must all be bilingual).

When I joined, in the mid 70's, there was still a lot of anti-French sentiment in the Navy, particularly in the West. I remember being told by an officer that I could not speak French with one of my mates, also a French-speaker, even though just chatting while off watch. Such things would never happen today and immense strides have been made to accommodate French Canadians in the Navy. There is definitely no bar to advancement for Franco speakers and many of our admirals have been French Canadian.  The greatest challenge remains accommodating sailors families. The naval bases are just located in near completely English parts of the country and it makes it difficult for the families to have what they would consider a normal life.

The Army and Air Force have bases in Quebec, so it is easier for them to recruit and retain French Canadians. It is not that Quebec (the only predominantly French province) does not have a maritime tradition. For proof, the coast guard has one of its largest base in Quebec and operates it exclusively in French, including the numerous ships that are based there.

Hope this answers part of your question.

Offline Navalsnipr

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2011, 08:43:20 »
Although NCSM VDQ is a franco unit, more than half of her ship's company (NCM's) can not speak french, therefore emergency pipes are still made in English.  The positions would be CBC French Language Profile imperative, however if there are not enough people with CBC, they commonly fill it up with Anglophones.   A number of years ago I was onboard and the department I was working with was approx 25% bilingual and the remainder were Anglophones.
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Offline N. McKay

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2011, 10:46:54 »
Was PRO even a FLU?  I have some vague notion that it was but I can't say for sure.

If so, I wonder what's changed for the navy to go from two (or more) FLUs to some fraction of one?

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2011, 11:02:38 »
... what's changed for the navy to go from two (or more) FLUs to some fraction of one?


I think Oldgateboatdriver and Navalsnipr have each provided part of the answer, plus, the Navy has had across the board recruiting (and retention) problems for years and recruiting from Franco areas has not been any better than that in other areas. Put simply: there are not enough sailors, of any type, and the Navy makes do with what it has.
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Offline Dennis Ruhl

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2011, 11:12:21 »
I discovered a relevant paper of interest  for this topic.

Quote
The ship discussed in this paper, the Ville de Québec, is actually the Canadian Navy's third French Language Unit, preceded by the HMCS Skeena (1931-) and the HMCS Ottawa (1968-1973).

http://www.ualberta.ca/~antropol/PDF-Reading%20Between%20the%20Lines%20%28Benschop%29.pdf

Only the 3rd ship ever?
« Last Edit: May 22, 2011, 11:31:59 by Dennis Ruhl »
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Offline Baden Guy

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2011, 11:23:15 »
Just as an aside, despite the best efforts of Ottawa, Bagotville had a minority of Anglo techs when I was there in the 70's.

Offline Chief Stoker

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2011, 11:25:49 »
I discovered a relevant paper of interest  for this topic.

http://www.ualberta.ca/~antropol/PDF-Reading%20Between%20the%20Lines%20%28Benschop%29.pdf

Only the 3rd ship ever?


I believe when HMCS Shawinigan was commissioned it was intended to designate her a Franco unit, even as far as buying a thousand NCSM Shawinigan hats for crew and to give away.  Apparently they couldn't make it work due to the fact they couldn't get enough Franco crew.
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Offline Chief Stoker

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2011, 11:34:41 »
The decision to move NAVRES from Halifax and move it Quebec city was also politically motivated. As well eventually virtually all trade courses were moved from other schools to the fleet school there. Today there is a real problem getting personnel to take employment at NAVRES and CFFS(Q), so much so there are pers  that have been posted there for many years and they have no intention of ever taking a sea posting. The career shop turns a blind eye because they are the only ones who want to stay there.
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Offline sledge

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2011, 12:29:25 »
Now I have also heard that many franco sailors try to avoid getting posted to VDQ.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2011, 08:31:21 »
I discovered a relevant paper of interest  for this topic.

http://www.ualberta.ca/~antropol/PDF-Reading%20Between%20the%20Lines%20%28Benschop%29.pdf

Only the 3rd ship ever?

You should check your time line: It's Skeena II (the DDH) that was a FLU, not the WWII Skeena. I know because I served in her and I wasn't born during the war! ;)

Offline NavalMoose

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Re: French Speaking Sailors In The Canadian Navy.
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2011, 08:57:31 »
I served briefly on/in HMCS Skeena in 1990 and my first day down the mess when I was getting changed for work, someone started speaking French to me, I said sorry I don't speak French very well and was told "that's your f&%$ing problem"