A well-deserved award
Tréva Cousineau received the Richelieu Albert-boyer Award
Usually the Gala Richelieu de la francophonie is largely credited to the work of Tréva Cousineau. But for the 13th edition, she had passed the torch and it was she who was honored Friday, March 2.
"When I learned that I would receive this award, I was very happy but very surprised. Usually, I helped organize the gala, so when they called me, I initially thought they wanted me to ask for help," smiles Cousineau.
Always ready to lend a hand, the president of the Orléans sector of Club Richelieu Vision has continued to invest in the Francophone community, no matter where she lives. The Richelieu Albert-boyer Award, which recognizes an individual who has distinguished his or herself for the Francophone cause, was therefore logically meant for her.
Since moving to the board in Timmins, where she was born, the former teacher and dietitian has continued to invest in advancing Francophone life, including the general direction of the National Federation of Francophone School Boards and the Council of Catholic Education for Francophones in Ontario (CCEFO) and in several local, provincial and national committees.
"I was lucky because in the north, there were not many francophone women to qualify to sit on these committees. I might have had fewer opportunities in Ottawa. That said, it put a great responsibility on my shoulders when I was speaking as the only francophone."
Former President of the French Canadian Association of Ontario from 2004 to 2006, Cousineau has represented Ontario on the board of directors of the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques since 2010. At 74, her desire to become involved remains intact.
"This is a new challenge for me. After all these years, I’m not tired!" she says.
While acknowledging that it is sometimes difficult to delegate, her enthusiasm and dedication for the French language, it’s allowed her to make a contribution to the still fragile Francophone community.
"I am particularly proud to have chaired the advisory group on the management of education in French that gave birth to the French school boards. The Monument de la francophonie d’ottawa is also among the greatest achievements of my career."
With her experience, she looks to the future with caution, and is always on guard.
"Every fight lets us move forward. If I am not pessimistic, the future worries me because of the rampant assimilation, especially in eastern Ontario. The younger generation has not experienced major struggles and takes what we have for granted. As Pierre Bergeron said, ‘Being French is a decision we make every day.’ So be careful. But what reassures me is to see the work of FFOY (Federation of Franco-ontarian Youth). We need them!"
Ms. Cousineau, who sits on the organizing committee for public cafes in the community, has high hopes.
"It is important that the whole community is involved and not just the regulars. We want to hear what people have to say."
Ms. Cousineau does not hide her own wishes. She would like to see the City of Ottawa become officially bilingual.
Translated by Ciara Mcgrath, co-op student
Tréva Cousineau was awarded the Albert Richelieu-boyer Award Friday, March second, at the 13th annual Richelieu Francophony Gala.