Letters and Statements
Chief of Military Personnel Provides Additional Information Regarding CFB Borden
20 August 2007
Monsieur Yves Côté
National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman
100 Metcalfe Street, 12th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5M1
Dear Mr. Côté,
I would like to thank you and your staff for your ongoing work on the issue of the provision of French language instruction and services to Francophone students at Canadian Forces Base Borden. Clearly, this issue is of vital importance to the CF. I have noted your recommendations to address, in the short-term, the issues that you identified to me on 25 July, 2007.
First, Major-General Daniel Gosselin, Commander, Canadian Defense Academy and the formation commander responsible for the Canadian Forces Support Training Group and Canadian Forces Base Borden, has provided to me a table of “Official Languages Promotion and Activities for Base Borden – as at 03 August 2007. A copy of this table is enclosed for you. It lays out actions that have already been taken to align staff and students at Canadian Forces Base Borden with the Canadian Forces Official Language policy. It also identifies a series of specific, measurable, achievable future actions, bound by clear timelines, to resolve Official Languages issues in Borden.
Next, Major-General Gosselin visited Canadian Forces Base Borden on Thursday, 2 August 2007. His visit included:
- An address to approximately 60 representatives from Canadian Forces Support Training Group senior staff who were either directly involved in the development of the “Borden Official Languages Strategic Plan” or who are responsible for course scheduling and planning;
- Speaking with the Commandants, Commanding Officers and Branch Heads (and their senior staff) of the various schools, unit and branches in Borden who either deliver training or provide service to Base personnel and their families. A copy of his speaking notes is enclosed;
- Meeting with Canadian Forces Support Training Group senior staff to discuss additional issues including implementation of the Borden Official Languages Strategic Plan, and finally;
- Leading an hour-long session with over 300 unilingual Francophone students in Borden. In the afternoon Major-General Gosselin followed the same speaking notes from the morning’s session with the senior staff but delivered them in a different way as his audience was mostly young students. The afternoon session was completely in the French language and Major-General Gosselin fielded about six questions from the students.
Subsequently, Major-General Gosselin reported to me that he believes that all groups that he met in Borden on 2 August 2007 clearly understood the importance of Official Languages and linguistic rights. It should also be noted that I will visit Canadian Forces Base Borden in the near futur. As part of my visit, I will again raise these issues with the leadership team at Canadian Forces Base Borden.
Next, Commander of Canadian Forces Base Borden has appointed Major Jack Bouchard, the Base Deputy Administration Officer as his Official Language Champion. Major Bouchard has direct access to the Base Commander Official Languages Strategic Plan. He is also responsible for engaging school Commandants, unit Commanding Officers, and Canadian Forces Base Borden branch heads on Official Languages issues and developing solutions when problems are identified in this area. On 2 August 2007, Major-General Gosselin briefed the Francophone students about this initiative and strongly encouraged them to raise any concerns with respect to Official Languages through the chain of command. He also advised them that they may raise Official Languages observations directly to Major Bouchard if needed. Furthermore, he stated that students could expect a response within two working days of identifying a concern.
Finally, my office will submit to you a report on the results achieved against benchmarks of Borden’s short-term action plan. My intent is to submit the report to you by 1 December 2007. If you have any concerns, comments or questions concerning this action plan, please contact me directly, or my Military Personnel Command Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean-Luc Milot.