When Winston Francis immigrated to Canada 22 years ago, despite objections from friends and family, he insisted on charting his own course. Winston says, “I decided to come to Canada because I always like to better myself, explore new horizons, and look at what I can do differently.”
His entire extended family was immigrating to Australia, and they wondered why he willing to come to Canada alone. He told them, “I want to do something different because when you do something different, you stand out.”
Standing out while standing his ground
Winston brings that same individualistic spirit and determination to his campaign for Waterloo Catholic District School Board Trustee. Voting began this week and runs until November 25th.
He was motivated to run after hearing friends and parents of young children complain that elements of the curriculum at the elementary school level were inappropriate for young children. Some even removed their children from school because of it.
Growing up in India as an only child, whose father passed away when he was a teenager, Winston’s mother instilled in him a deep sense of traditional values. Those values influence his decisions today. He moved to Cambridge from Mississauga and began connecting to people in the community. He’s very involved at St. Patrick’s Church in Cambridge. He’s a lector who is often called on do the readings during mass and is commended for his communication skills. He’s working diligently to get more parishioners including children, youth and the elders involved so that they would be more connected to each other after enduring two years of pandemic isolation.
Balancing a traditional and progressive approach
If elected, Winston wants to get an in-depth look at the curriculum and offer some ideas for improvement. Winston comes from a family of teachers. His mother was schoolteacher and so were several of his relatives. Winston says, “When somebody says to me, this is how we’ve done it before, I always ask the question ‘why’? When somebody asks me why, I then say why not? I’m about change, I’m about progressive thinking.”
He is a proponent of Bill 67, provincial legislation that would require teachers to be trained to respond to racial issues in school. He says he would like to see an environment where students of different races, religions and sexual orientations feel included. He says, “There should be more dialogue between teachers, students, and parents. I think parents should take back control of the school and stop obsessing about gender and different orientations.”
Winston would like to see more of a focus on core education values. He says students are in school to study. “What we should be focusing on is their academic merit and achievements.” Winston says we need to demand higher standards for students to ensure that they can compete on the world stage. “Canadian students should be able to compete effectively with students from other countries, and to do that we need to offer them the best competitive advantage.”