you still hear Quebec in his voice and see the Jesuit is evident in his demeanour.
Both are remnants of another life — he's had a number of them — and while he's shed the Roman collar and the earnestness of a computer pioneer, the zeal remains intact.
In his latest reincarnation, Loisel, 69, is an organic farmer — complete with a vision and a vision statement. He has plotted a future for the tiny island he lives on that revolves around a technique he devised to compost table scraps, meat, dairy, seafood; all the stuff they tell you not to put in your garden pile.
Loisel's vision goes way beyond the winter crop of leafy greens flourishing on his small seaside farm. It envisions turning Taiwan into an organic island to feed the fresh-aholic Japanese at premium prices. Along the way, pollution from garbage incinerators would cease, chemicals and pesticides would stop leaching into Taiwan's water supply and a viable industry would develop to fill the vacuum left by the computer business that once fuelled Taiwan's economy but is now moving to cheaper digs in China.
Most Canadian ex-pats in Taiwan today either have family ties on the island, 160 kilometres off the coast of China, or belong to an itinerant band of young people who want to see the world on limited resources and teach English to buy their tickets. It wasn't always so. For part of the last century, it was missionaries, who came to settle.
In fact, probably the most celebrated Canadian ex-pat in Taiwan is still Dr. George Leslie Mackay. Most school kids on the island can tell you his claim to fame —he pulled 21,000 Taiwanese teeth. He wasn't a dentist, rather a Presbyterian minister from Zorra, in southwestern Ontario, who came as a missionary in 1872. But people with toothaches are rarely receptive, so Mackay ministered to their mouths as well as their souls.
A large, modern hospital in downtown Taipei still bears his name, and in nearby Tamsui, a long-bearded statue of him stands in the town centre.
More than half a century later, Loisel also came to Taiwan as a religious man, but as he tells it now, on a largely temporal mission.
Loisel found his vocation at 21 when a Jesuit missionary fresh out of prison in Mao Zedong's China came to speak in Grand Mere and told him that becoming a missionary wasn't necessarily about standing in a pulpit.
"What China needs now is engineers to build up the economy so people will have a little money," he said.
For a budding engineer from small-town Quebec, it seemed like a ticket to see the world.
It sounds very calculating, but as Loisel tells it now, he was totally up front about his "calling."
In 1961, "We signed a contract that I would join the Jesuits under the condition that I would go as a missionary to China to do engineering work.
Just five lines. I was the only one that I know of that joined the Jesuits under a condition."
Loisel arrived in Taiwan and immediately went back to school, first to study Chinese and then to a Chinese-language university to get the science credits he needed for an advanced degree in electrical engineering. Not insignificantly, he also discovered and mastered computers while he was there.
By the time the Jesuits sent him to Santa Clara, Calif., to do his second MA, he was a computer whiz with a scholarship offer from NASA and, ultimately, a job offer from "a little startup company called Intel."
But Taiwan was his love and he returned in 1969 expecting to teach Engineering. Alas, the new university department he was groomed to join was slow getting off the ground and his superiors wanted to send him back to Quebec.
"I said shit. I was looking at these Chinese girls, I loved them. I really was sweating it out. I didn't want to lose all of that."
"So, I said, 'No, I will stay and if I can still be a Jesuit by staying here, fine, I will have a group to rely on. If not, I will be on my own'."
The official reply was: "You try it and we'll see."
In the next few years, as Loisel skyrocketed through the computer industry emerging in Taiwan, he parted ways with the Jesuits.
For him, it was a good life in a fast growing field and lucrative, too, first as vice-president of Hewlett-Packard and then at MiTac, in Taipei.
But at age 51, with two children in primary school, he threw it over to become a stay at home father.
His classical Jesuit education left him with clear ideas of how his kids should be raised and educated, so it was a time consuming job for several years.
It wasn't until he began working to reclaim his seafront land, when he became intimately acquainted with an incinerator that couldn't deal with the wet table scraps that made up 25 to 30 per cent of the neighbourhood garbage, that he shifted gears once again.
Loisel went back to his computer to figure out the garbage problem. He wanted to compost it, but everyone told him it was impossible.
He was a man with a mission again, but soon realized he needed more than a keyboard to accomplish it. He needed garbage, lots of it, at least seven tonnes to begin his experiments.
Loisel established the routine he still carries on today, jumping in his truck in the wee hours of the morning and personally collecting table scraps at schools and along a now well-established route in his local township, collecting about one tonne of slop every day.
After three years of experimenting, Loisel had 200 tonnes of what he now calls his "black gold." And, at age 60, a passion to use it.
The leafy greens blowing in his windy fields now fetch five or six times as much as ordinary vegetables in Taiwan and twice as much as other organic produce commands — roughly $6.50 for 600 grams.
The preaching he didn't do in his Jesuit days, Loisel does now, giving speeches in Taipei and talking to clubs and school groups who visit his farm — about 10,000 people to date — regaling them with his "miracle" solution for a myriad of ills, both environmental and, he insists, physical.
"You have to spread the gospel," he jokes.
Loisel, who last June was awarded the first Canada-Taiwan Friendship Award by the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, is still a long way from turning Taiwan into an organic paradise, but he certainly hasn't given up hope.
Later this year, he's planning to start a small school on his property where he will train half a dozen or so students at a time in his brand of "revolutionary agriculture."
"It's a good life," he contends, "and you can earn a good living."
Photo is of Pierre Loisel