Paul Maguet, a resident of Actionmarguerite St. Vital since July 2017, was born in Ste. Rose du Lac in 1930. He grew up on a farm and returned there to work after completing his studies. Very involved in his community, he joined the co-operative movement and spent many years promoting co-operatives.
“When I was a kid, we lived in the country. I was the eldest of three boys. At the age of 10, we started milking cows by hand. We could milk 11 or 12 a day.”
Paul Maguet went to high school in Laurier, travelling on his bike “from September to November.” He then attended university and obtained a certificate in agriculture “designed for students who planned to stay on the farm,” he explains.
He then returned to the family farm. “I worked with my father until he retired, and one of my brothers went to work on the railroad.”
With his experience, Paul Maguet taught agriculture to groups of about 20 students from 1971 to 1976. “I taught during the winter months. I had to stop in March because that’s when calving season started.”
In 1978, Paul Maguet moved with his wife Marguerite and their two children to St. Norbert, where Marguerite is from. Very quickly, he looked to get involved in his new community. “It’s easy to get involved in things if you want to. It doesn’t matter where you are, there will always be room for you and things to do.” In 2004, he received a certificate of merit for his involvement in community affairs and agriculture.
The year he moved to St. Norbert was the year he joined the co-operative movement. “I wanted to try something new. With the co-operatives, we formed several farmers’ markets, where we’d go to sell our products during the week.”
A year later, he arrived at the Department of Co-operative Development, where he remained until 1996. “I was in charge of forming co-operatives, meeting with people who wanted to form them, and explaining how it worked.”
More recently, Paul Maguet began writing his autobiography. “My wife encouraged me to share my story with my children and grandchildren. It took me long enough, but with Marguerite’s support, I’ve created something I’m proud of.”
Writing the book allowed him to revisit his past. One thing in particular that he remembers is wanting to educate his children in French. “Laurier and Ste. Rose were in a completely English-speaking region. I wanted my children to learn French and to be able to attend school in that language. A school trustee at the time, Louis Saquet, was working on getting a French school set up. Thanks to him, our children were able to go to school in French.”
But his fondest memory is still getting married. “I wasn’t young; I was already 38 years old! But everything I did in my life was thought out. That’s how I was raised, with a very strong faith,” says Maguet.