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Remembering Two Pioneers in Quebec’s Forestry Industry

By Chloé Lemon and Dany Rousseau

Within the span of two weeks, Quebec’s forestry industry lost two notable people. On November 23 Jean-Yves Lévesque, founder of the newspaper Le monde forestier, passed away, followed by Gérard Paris, first president of RESAM, on December 9.

In 1987, Jean-Yves Lévesque founded the newspaper which would later become Le monde forestier or the “Forest World”. At the time, he had the idea of ​​taking a newsletter from the Quebec Forestry Cooperatives “Conference” or CCFQ”(now Quebec Federation of Forestry Co-ops or “FQCF”, a CWCF member) and publishing it in the form of a newspaper. Thus was born The Forest Co-operator, the predecessor of the Forest World.

Initially, Mr. Lévesque took care of everything: he visited all the cooperatives. He managed the local collaborators, advertising, salespeople, and a part-time graphic designer who worked for the newspaper. For a while the office was in his house.  He was in this role for a long time.

In 1988, it was Regroupeent des Sociétés d’Aménagement Forestier du Québec’ (RESAM’s) turn to set up a newspaper. For several years, Mr. Lévesque assumed the management of the two media. It was not uncommon to find similar articles  in the two newspapers.

“A tireless worker, cultivated man and young at heart, Jean-Yves enabled a lot of visibility to private forest owners and forest cooperatives in the regions of Quebec,” said Gérald Beaulieu, CEO of RESAM from 1986 to 1992 and president of the CCFQ at the time.

In 2001, when Le Monde forestier was created following the merger of the newspapers of cooperatives and forestry groups, the founder had already been gone for several years. “I want to pay tribute to those who united the two publications. I’ve been working on this, I’ve been talking about it for a long time, “said Mr. Lévesque in the edition that highlighted the newspaper’s 30th anniversary in December 2016.

In the year before the founding of the newspaper which became Le monde forestier, in 1986, the Regroupement des Sociétés d’Aménagement Forestier du Québec (RESAM) had its first president. It was Gérard Paris, maple grower and president of the Arthabaska-Drummond Forestry Society (SSAD).

The task of the man who made himself known as a businessman is immense, but the need is there. At the time, existing forest groups negotiated Individually according to their needs with the ministry. “My father was a visionary who was always looking for new ways of doing things that were more effective. Going to see the groups and convincing them to work together to be stronger was a project for him, “said his son, Steve Paris, himself a forest engineer.

At the time of its founding, RESAM had 16 member forest groups. Under the presidency of Mr. Paris which lasted one year, the membership of the organization doubled. “Mr. Paris was someone who did not count his hours, a cheerful person who knew how to use the right arguments to convince people to adhere to his vision,” said Mr. Beaulieu. RESAM even went so far as to get involved locally in the creation of certain groups, notably in the Laurentians.

Health problems, however, forced Mr. Paris to slow his pace and reduce his activities. “You have to remember him as a man whose vision was focused on quality. Everything was very clear. At the time, this corresponded perfectly to the needs of RESAM and the groups which were to become professional. We were very fortunate to be able to count on pioneers like him from the start who worked with great conviction, ”concluded Mr. Beaulieu.