Esdras Minville

Esdras Minville, professor and economist (b at Grande-Vallée, Qc 7 Nov 1896; d at Montréal 9 Dec 1975).

Minville, Esdras

Esdras Minville, professor and economist (b at Grande-Vallée, Qc 7 Nov 1896; d at Montréal 9 Dec 1975). He was a fisherman's son, and after primary studies at the village school a prominent member of the clergy permitted him to complete secondary business courses at a Montréal college in just two years. Esdras Minville next worked in a factory, then decided to enrol in l'École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC), and was accepted on trial without the usual educational prerequisites. In 1922, he received his diploma in commercial science, and even won the prize for best final thesis. His formal education would stop there. He would learn the rest on his own or through contact with the masters he would meet along his way.

Montpetit was initially his professor at HEC. Minville would meet ASSELIN during his first job as a Montreal insurance broker, where the great journalist and debater was the editor of the organization's internal journal, La Rente. He engaged young Minville as his secretary, and contributed strongly to his education. The Abby Lionel GROULX, who at the time was the editor of the combat journal L'ACTION FRANÇAISE, read La Rente regularly and would have noticed Asselin's young collaborator. One day, he asked him for an article on Canada's invasion by American capital. Thus, Groulx would guide Minville's first steps into Montréal's intellectual world. When L'ACTION NATIONALE replaced L'Action française Minville would become one of the most solid members of the new periodical's editorial team. In the meantime, in 1924, he agreed to join the ranks of the HEC. Since then, Minville would remain at this institution and make an enduring career there.

First of all, in 1925, with Gérard PARIZEAU and two other HEC colleagues, he founded L'Actualité économique, a review that he edited for several years, and that HEC continues to publish. During the 1929 crises, he would collaborate closely with the Jesuits from l'École sociale populaire, and as such would become one of the most sought after speakers at the SEMAINES SOCIALES DU CANADA. But Minville particularly exerted an influence on youth. During the summer of 1935, at a conference that excited wide interest delivered to the newly minted group les JEUNE-CANADA, he would propose an entire program of economic reform for Québec. This conference would inspire Paul GOUIN in the drawing up of the economic program for L'ACTION LIBÉRALE NATIONALE.

The same held true for DUPLESSIS when he founded the UNION NATIONALE. He even unsuccessfully offered Minville the position of Minister of Industry and Commerce. In 1938, Minville would be named director of the HEC, a position he occupied until 1962. During the quarter century that he headed the institution, he was initially preoccupied by organising research, especially pertaining to Québec's economic development. This resulted, among other things, in the series "Études sur notre milieu". His own intellectual output - conferences, articles, and books all relating to economic and social issues in Québec - was considerable, and reached a very broad public. It was especially through his work on the ROYAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON CONSTITUTIONAL PROBLEMS, (The Tremblay Commission), of which he was the principal driving force, that Minville would demonstrate his full capacity for analysis.