Edouard Montpetit, 1881-1954
Date of Issue
September 26, 1996
Perforation or Dimension
12 x 12.5
Ashton-Potter Canada Limited.
Designed by Jean R. Beauchesne Based on a photograph by Bob Fisher Based on a photograph by Division des archives de l'Université de Montréal
It is well known to social historians that the cornerstones of Quebec's "Quiet Revolution" of the 1960's were cut a half a century earlier by a handful of concerned intellectuals. One of these was Canadian scholar, writer, patriot and public speaker, Édouard Montpetit. Montpetit was an innovator, who as early as 1910 taught what he then called "the science of wealth" at a time when much of Quebec commerce was controlled by Anglophones, and young French Canadians seeking careers were confined by tradition to the classic trilogy of clergy, law and medicine. To offer a young generation new options, Montpetit founded a school of social, economic, and political sciences within the Université de Montréal in 1920. The university rewarded Montpetit for his work by appointing him Secretary General. From then on, he demanded that each student in the school undertake a relentless quest for truth and fairness. Montpetit's statue, by sculptor Sylvia Daoust, stands today in front of the university's social center on the street that bears his name. To recognize the achievements of this quiet academic and man of conviction, Canada Post will issue a single domestic-rate commemorative stamp on September 26 of this year. The stamp was designed by Jean Beauchesne of Montreal, his first for Canada Post. The figure of Édouard Montpetit appears to the left of the stamp while, on the right, the buildings of his beloved Université de Montréal lie within view. Montpetit's signature is faintly visible, a gentle reminder that this was a man less interested in the achievements of his own generation than those of the next. Joseph-Édouard Montpetit was born in Montmagny, Quebec, on 26 September, 1881. His father, a profound influence, was a staunch supporter of Wilfred Laurier, the first in a long line of federalist Prime Ministers from Quebec. A fierce Canadian patriot throughout his life, Édouard Montpetit's motto was "J'ai confiance dans la destinée de mon pays" (I have faith in the future of my country). In modern terms, perhaps one of his greatest achievements was his ability to reconcile his dedicated passions for both his country and his province. Traditionally, it is the role of academics to research, organize, classify, and clarify. Édouard Montpetit, however, stepped far outside this role to change the shape of his province, his country, and even his culture. Praised for his balance of reason and passion, Édouard Montpetit was pressed later in life to serve as a diplomat for both Quebec and Canada, representing the Canadian Government at the 16th Assembly of the League of Nations in Geneva in 1935. Two volumes of his memoirs were published in 1944 and 1949; the third and final, shortly after his death in 1954.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamp Details, Vol. 5, No. 5, 1996, p. 8-10.
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