Renowned economist Gilles Paquet, a former Carleton University professor and member of the Order of Canada, has passed away at the age of 82.
“The Carleton community mourns the passing of Dr.Gilles Paquet, former chair of Economics and dean of Graduate Studies at Carleton,” said President Benoit-Antoine Bacon. “An outstanding teacher and researcher, he was also awarded a Carleton honorary degree. Our thoughts go out to Dr. Paquet’s family and loved ones.”
During Paquet’s 10 years at Carleton, he mentored many students, including Stanley Winer, now a professor of Economics and Public Policy.
Winer recalled how Paquet supervised his honoursessay in 1970.The men would later become colleagues, co-authors and friends.
“Gilles was gracious and warm as a person. Discerning and judgmental as a scholar—he thought it a duty to be so—but never angry,” recalled Winer, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Policy.“He wrote prolifically in both official languages with a vocabulary that often taxed one’s knowledge. He was exciting intellectually, often unpredictable, and always original. I never had a dull conversation with him in the almost 50 years I knew him.”
Economic Prof. André Plourde, also dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs, reflected on how Paquet influenced his own career and his field.
“Gilles Paquet’s active presence in my professional (and personal) life dates back to the mid-1980s. He was Dean of Management (the predecessor to the Telfer School) when I joined the University of Ottawa as a junior faculty member. Before then, he had been present, but at a distance,” recalled Plourde, who was familiar with Gilles Paquet’s academic research, his French-language translations for the Canadian Journal of Economics, and his work as the longstanding secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Economics Association.
“He was as impressive in person as he had been at a distance. He was also approachable, interested in an impressively wide range of ideas and topics, and—most importantly for me at that time—he was willing to engage with a (very) junior colleague from another faculty. We had a number of fascinating conversations and I benefitted from his advice and thoughtfulness. His contributions helped to shape both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa; his legacy will be felt far beyond.”
That legacy was recognized in 1992 with the Order of Canada for his interdisciplinary research in the social sciences.
He also received a number of honorary degrees, including one from Carleton in June 2015. Plourde stayed in touch with Paquet over the years and was “thrilled to be asked to read the citation” for his special degree.
Economics Prof. Frances Woolley also got to know Paquet over the years through the Canadian Economics Association, where she is a past president.
“Gilles played a pivotal role in the creation of the association and the growth of a community of academic economists in Canada. Indeed, he continued to translate abstracts for the Canadian Journal of Economics until his death,” said Woolley. “I am only one of many people to have received a note from Gilles, sharing thoughts on a paper. Sadly, his comments on my paper published in the November issue of the CJE is the last communication I’ll ever have with him.”
She and many others at Carleton have warm memories of their time with him, and extend their deepest condolences to his family.
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