Paul-Émile Breton was born in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, where he pursued pharmacological studies at the Université de Montreal. He entered the Oblate noviciate in 1926, beginning religious studies that led him to priesthood in 1929. He was ordained in Ottawa.
Breton worked as a professor in New Hampshire and then in Ottawa before ministering widely in Quebec until 1939. From Quebec, he moved to the Canadian West, spending much of his life in Edmonton where he contributed significantly. He acted as secretary of the Radio Edmonton Itée for four years, and as secretary of the Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta (ACFA). In 1941, alongside Dr. Louis-Omer Beauchemin and representatives from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Breton advocated for the right of western radio. Their hard work paid off, and Breton founded the French radio station CHFA. He is perhaps best known for his position as the editor of the Edmonton based French-language periodical La Survivance, where he worked for 14 years.
Breton’s work as an Oblate father continued as he maintained their archives for several years. In 1963, he became a manager of sorts for Oblate causes in the West, advocating for the nomination of deserving individuals such as Bishop Vital Grandin to the sainthood.
Breton died in Edmonton and is buried in St. Albert.
Morcos, Gamila. Dictionnaire des artistes et des auteurs francophones de l’Ouest canadien. Les Presses de l’Université Laval et la Faculté Saint-Jean, 1998.