Mariette Carrier-Fraser: Death of a giant of the Franco-Ontarian school system

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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.

She was born in Hearst and worked in the Ontario education system for over 36 years. She began her teaching career in Hearst in 1961 at the age of 18. For 14 years (1983-1997) she was deputy deputy minister for French language education at the Ministry of Education. We owe him in particular the founding of the Collège Boréal, the Collège des Grands Lacs, but above all that of the 12 French-speaking school boards in Ontario.

In conversation with ONFR+ After the Ford government cuts in 2018, she said she was proud to see the pace of French-speaking school boards in the province.

“You’re getting stronger! If we look at the results of the provincial tests, our youngsters are doing well in the French schools. There are things that might need to be improved, such as cooperation between councils. We are too small, we need competition, but healthy to work better together. Between the public and the Catholics, why not better share the resources, it would not harm anyone and benefit the students. »

Mariette Carrier-Fraser, former President of the AFO. Archive ONFR+

In another interview in May 2017, she explained that it was her move to the south of the province that prompted her to fight for a French-language education.

“Coming from Hearst, I took it for granted that everyone in Ontario spoke French. When I got to the south of the province, I realized that francophones had no rights. I then worked in English, but quickly realized that I was losing my native language. I said to myself: my two daughters will not spend their lives without an education in French! And that’s when my involvement began. »

She made these remarks as she had just received the Order of Canada, an honor bestowed on her contribution to Francophonie throughout her career.

Former AFO President Mariette Carrier-Fraser with former Governor General of Canada David Johnson. Archive ONFR+

In recent years, she has been a particular advocate for access to French-language healthcare in Ontario. As President of the French-speaking Health Services Advisory Board of the Ontario Department of Health and Long-Term Care, she has also served on the Board of Directors of Hôpital Montfort and a member of the Center Ottawa Psychosocial.

In 2015, the government awarded him the Prix de la francophonie de l’Ontario.

At the top of the AFO

In 2006, a few years after her retirement in 1997, she became the first female president of the AFO, a position she 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,” said President Carol Jolin. “Its long track record automatically gave AFO credibility. This is a great loss for our community. Its impact on the Franco-Ontarian community will be felt for many years to come. If we’re still here and still strong, it’s because of people like Mariette. »

Other reactions

The Minister for Francophone Affairs, Caroline Mulroney, described her as a “flagship of the Franco-Ontarian community. May his commitment be an inspiration to present and future generations. »

The Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada (FCFA) paid tribute to the woman who sat in their organization when she headed the AFO. “Canadian Francophonie loses a voice of wisdom and experience. »

“A great woman from French Ontario who has fought her whole life for a quality education in French has left us,” said the Collège Boréal.

The Hôpital Montfort mourns, commented its President Bernard Leduc. “I will miss his good humor and determination. Ontario Francophony is losing one of its pillars,” he wrote in a message on Twitter.

“Thank you, Ms. Carrier-Fraser, for your exemplary commitment,” responded Anne Vinet-Roy, President of the Association des enseignementes et Teachers Franco-Ontaria, describing the Franco-Ontarian activist as “a woman of heart and visionary, (who) wants dedicated his life to education and will have left an important legacy. »

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Darren Pena

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