DORION, EUGÈNE-PHILIPPE, lawyer, translator, and man of letters; b. 6 Aug. 1830 at Saint-Ours, of the marriage of Dr Jacques Dorion and Catherine-Louise Lovell; d. 1 July 1872 at Ottawa and was buried at Saint-Ours.
Eugène-Philippe Dorion completed his secondary education at the seminary of Saint-Hyacinthe, which he had entered in 1841. He was called to the bar on 5 Dec. 1853, and two years later was appointed a translator to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. In 1859 he was invited to direct its office of French translators, a post he afterwards held at Ottawa in the House of Commons. His contemporaries spoke highly of his knowledge of classical languages, English, French, and some Indian languages. Dorion considerably improved the French text of laws, but he sometimes had to bow to the wishes of the politicians. Thus George-Étienne Cartier is said to have compelled him to translate the word “dominion,” in the British North America Act of 1867 as “puissance” (power).
In 1862 Dorion had published at Quebec a pamphlet entitled Historique des fonds de retraite en Europe et en Canada, in which he asked that a pension fund be set up for civil servants. After describing the pension systems in France and England, the author analysed the schemes that had been submitted to the parliament of the Province of Canada in 1860 and 1861, and concluded that it was in the interest of the state to create a pension fund rather than to continue to pay old and inefficient civil servants.
In the last years of his life in Ottawa, he was president of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste and of the Institut Canadien-Français. He was a tall man, eloquent, and much admired for his impromptu speeches.
In 1855 he had married Marie Panet, daughter of Charles Panet, a lawyer and mla for Portneuf. In 1876 their daughter Eugénie married Alfred Duclos* de Celles, parliamentary librarian at Ottawa.
E.-P. Dorion, Historique des fonds de retraite en Europe et en Canada (Québec, 1862). La Minerve (Montréal), 3 juill. 1872. P.-G. Roy, Les avocats de la région de Québec, 136. C.-P. Choquette, Histoire du séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe depuis sa fondation jusqu’à nos jours (2v., Montréal, 1911–12), II, 280. [Azarie Couillard-Després], Histoire de la seigneurie de Saint-Ours (2v., Montréal, 1915–17), II, 426–31. Fauteux, Patriotes, 217–18.