The protection of Francophone rights in Ontario put this former teachers union leader at the heart of the political action in 2018 and 2019. With passion and conviction, Carol explains the formative role Franco-Ontarians played in the establishment of provincial society since the end of the 19th century. In the northern and eastern parts of the province, the French-speaking communities of Ottawa, North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins and Hearst have played a crucial part in developing natural resources and settling the area over 100 years ago. Today, Francophones from all over Ontario contribute considerably to the economic life, economic knowledge and arts and culture of the province. Ontario has over 744,000 people whose first language is French, representing 53% of the Canadian Francophonie, excluding Quebec. That’s right, Francophones are everywhere Carol says. He even hears French being spoken in Queen’s Park! The numbers are in fact impressive, with over 1.5 million Ontarians who can have a conversation in French.
Born in 1960 in St-Léon-de-Standon, this father of three bilingual boys earned his degree in physical education from the University of Sherbrooke. He also studied journalism at Université Laval. With the intention of immersing himself in an Anglophone environment, he taught physical education in Welland for two years, followed by six years in Toronto. His family and career choices also led him to Barrie and Ottawa. For 24 years, Carol was involved in the teachers union, rising in the ranks from school delegate to provincial president. In 2016, his support of Francophonie values and development brought him to the helm of the Assemblée de la francophonie ontarienne. The role of the French language in Canada and Ontario is growing in importance, specifically through the willingness of Canadians from all provinces and territories to learn French, and the arrival of large numbers of immigrants from French-speaking countries. This has resulted in a growing need for teachers and new schools. Carol is on a perpetual crusade demanding high-quality, adapted and efficient French services throughout Ontario, and for a job market that supports bilingual positions. His role is to consolidate the wishes of Francophones and Francophiles in Ontario and Canada in all areas of society and, of course, to influence elected representatives. Carol asserts that the establishment of an independent French language university is a unifying project that has a lot of support from leaders and citizens. It will also allow Ontario to grow not only on the cultural front but on economic and social ones as well. The head of the Assemblée has a dream: to see the birth of a provincial delegation of bilingual businessmen and businesswomen who will be able to create new business relationships with French-speaking countries across the planet, thus highlighting Ontario’s human capital.
The Ontario Francophone community educator and leader stays true to his personal motto—helping people. He does so with the determination and confidence of a high-performance athlete!