Gérard Filion | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Gérard Filion

Gérard Filion, newspaper publisher (born 18 August 1909 in L’Île Verte, QC; died 26 March 2005 in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC). He was the publisher of Le Devoir and an important figure of the French-Canadian nationalism.

Gérard Filion earned a Bachelor’s degree from Laval University in 1931. He continued his education at Montréal’s École des hautes études commerciales, from which he received a degree in administration studies in 1934. He became the publisher of Terre de chez nous in 1935, and then secretary general of the Union des cultivateurs catholiques, to which the journal was connected.

As publisher of Le Devoir from 1947 to 1963, French Canada’s most renowned independent daily, Filion was able, with his editorial staff headed by a close friend, André Laurendeau, to make the paper the most vocal critic of Québec’s Union Nationale government during the 1950s. Gérard Filion advocated for the modernization of Québec society at all levels. He helped redefine traditional French Canadian Nationalism by demanding the creation of an activist, interventionist Québec state to help the nascent French Canadian bourgeoisie gain control over Québec’s economy through a range of crown corporations.

In the 1960s, Filion promoted the modernization and secularization of education as a member of Québec’s Royal Commission on Education, was vice president and director general of the Société générale de financement du Québec, and headed several of Québec’s provincial government corporations.