It was during his provincial electoral campaign in 1909 that
liberal candidate Wilfrid Gariépy founded the French language
newspaper Le Progrès in Morinville to promote his
campaign.1 Although he did not win that year, Gariépy had been
elected to city council since 1906, where he served until 1910.
He also served on the school council from 1904 to 1912. He was
elected for the 1913 election, where he served on the cabinet as
the Minister of Municipal Affairs for the Liberal government
until 1918, and then as Provincial Secretary until 1921, after
which he returned to Eastern Canada, where he sought to enter
federal politics as a member of parliament for Trois-Rivières.
He was elected in 1935 and 1945.
As for Le Progrès, Gariépy sold it in 1909 to T.
L.Girard and J. Adolphe Nantel. The latter became sole
proprietor a few months later, but sold it to Omer St. Germain
in October of the same year. The newspaper was bought back by
Gariépy in 1912.
The newspaper’s basic mandate was to promote settlement for
French-speaking settlers in Alberta and to uphold the rights of
the francophone population. It also competed against the
Courrier de l’Ouest which had been established in 1905 and
L’Ouest canadien (the second of the same name). In
contrast to its rivals, the paper supported the Liberal party.
As it became evident that the initial goal of the paper to
serve the Morinville and Saint-Albert regions could limit itself
to just those two communities, in 1914, the name was changed to
Le Progrès Albertain. However the newspaper came to a
sudden and dramatic end when on 19 August, its editor published
damning evidence showing that Gariépy had done more damage to
the recognition of the French language than the Orangists ever
had. Gariépy who was then in San Francisco as Minister of
Municipal Affairs never published another issue. Other factors
may have influenced the decision to shut down the paper, which
consisted of only four pages, particularly the competition for a
small market during the wartime years.