UWinnipeg student elected president of national Francophone group
Justin Johnson plans to take a few cues from Manitoba’s founding father in his new role as national president of the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française (French-Canadian Youth Federation).
A student in The University of Winnipeg’s Masters of Arts in Indigenous Governance program (MAIG), Johnson is studying the complete writings of Louis Riel and developing the political philosophy of the Manitoba Métis — an area of study Johnson, who is a Red River Métis himself, says is very much relevant today.
“Riel’s vision was that peoples could actually come together — whatever their differences — and that’s so in-touch with what’s happening today,” Johnson said, referring to current reconciliation efforts in Canada. “I want to bring that vision to the FJCF moving forward.”
The FJCF has a mandate to represent and defend the interests of French-speaking youth across Canada — a movement Johnson has been involved with for more than a decade.
The 24-year-old is the 11th Manitoban to lead the FJCF and he is looking forward to an exciting two-year term with the upcoming 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. Johnson believes the anniversary is a chance for his organization to respond to recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
“I’m really excited to be able to work on that front,” he said. “Manitobans have always been able to contribute something concrete at the FJCF and so I’m following their footsteps, but I think the next mandate ahead is a special one.”
Aside from informing his leadership style and political perspectives, Johnson says the MAIG program has helped him better understand his own heritage.
“I’m a Red River Métis and I’m proud of it,” he said. “I’m studying my identity and my history here at The University of Winnipeg.”