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The former president of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) and a true pioneer in the world of French-language education in Ontario Mariette Carrier-Fraser died Thursday.
Born in Hearst, he has worked for more than 36 years in the Ontario education system. He began his career as a teacher in 1961 in Hearst at the age of 18. For 14 years (1983-1997), he was assistant deputy minister of French-language education at the Ministry of Education. We owe him, in particular, the creation of the Collège Boréal, the Collège des Grands Lacs, but especially that of the 12 French-language school boards in Ontario.
In an interview with ONFR+ in the wake of the Ford government’s cuts in 2018, he said he was proud to see the progress of French-language school boards in the province.
“They are getting stronger and stronger! If we look at the results of the provincial tests, our young people are doing well in French schools. There are things that may need to be improved, such as inter-council cooperation. We are very small, we need competition, but healthy, to work together better. Between the public and the Catholics, why is it not good to share resources, it will not harm anyone and will benefit the students. »
In another interview in May 2017, he explained that his move to the south of the province led him to fight for French language education.
“I’m from Hearst and there, I accept that in Ontario, everyone speaks French. When I arrived in the southern part of the province, I realized that the francophones had no rights. I immediately worked on English, but soon realized that I was starting to lose my own language. I said to myself: My two daughters will not spend their lives without an education in the French language! And that’s where my commitment started. »
He made these comments when he recently received the Order of Canada, an honor given to him for his contribution to the Francophonie during his career.
In recent years, he has been increasingly involved in access to French health care in Ontario. President of the French Language Health Services Advisory Council of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, he also serves on the board of directors of Hôpital Montfort in addition to being a member of the Center Ottawa Psychosocial.
In 2015, the government awarded him the Prix de la francophonie de l’Ontario.
At the head of the AFO
In 2006, a few years after retiring in 1997, he became the first president of AFO, a role he held for four years.
“On behalf of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Mariette Carrier-Fraser,” responded President Carol Jolin. “His long track record brings automatic credibility to the AFO. This is a great loss for our community. Its impact on the Franco-Ontarian community will continue to be felt for many years to come. If we are still here and continue yet, it’s because of people like Mariette.”
The Minister of Francophone Affairs, Caroline Mulroney praised a “figurehead of the Franco-Ontarian community. May his dedication be an inspiration to current and future generations. »
The Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada (FCFA) paid tribute to the woman who sat in its organization when she headed the AFO. “The Canadian Francophonie has lost the voice of wisdom and experience. »
“A great woman from French Ontario who fought all her life for a quality French education has left us,” said Collège Boréal.
Hôpital Montfort is in mourning, commented its president Bernard Leduc. “I will miss his good humor and his determination. The Ontario Francophonie has lost one of its pillars,” he wrote in a message on Twitter.
“Thank you Mrs. Carrier-Fraser for your exemplary commitment,” replied Anne Vinet-Roy, president of the Association des enseignements et teachers franco-ontarien, who described the Franco-Ontarian activist as “a woman of heart and vision, (who) devoted his life to the field of education and will leave an important legacy. »
More details to come...