The Hatfield Era in New Brunswick: The ‘Politics of Fun’?

By Greg Marquis

In 1969, columnist Dalton Camp informed his readers that in a year he considered bleak, he had found a reason to be hopeful. In New Brunswick, whose politics were marked by “belligerence and bellicosity,” the provincial Progressive Conservatives had chosen “a quiet young man” as their leader. For Camp, the selection of Richard Hatfield augured well for not only the party, which needed to become less vindictive and partisan and “more responsible,” but also for the province, which was facing important issues in relation to the federal government, such as regional economic development.[1]    

Slightly more than a year later, Hatfield, a lawyer from Hartland, defeated the government of Louis Robichaud, who had transformed the province over the past ten years. Hatfield, who had crossed the province in a helicopter during the campaign, was portrayed as a new type of politician. Over the next few years, the “quiet young man,” who remained a bachelor, would morph into one of Canada’s hippest premiers, befriending or socializing with journalists, writers (Alden Nowlan, Antonine Maillet), artists (Molly Lamb Bobak) and musicians (Edith Butler, Stompin’ Tom Connors) and travelling regularly to major urban centres to enjoy the nightlife. He also emerged as a prominent player in Canada’s evolving constitutional process in the early 1980s and as a political commentator in the media, a novel situation for a serving politician. More national exposure came through his role in helping to entrench francophone rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Common adjectives to describe the New Brunswick leader in this era were flamboyant and eccentric. In 1987, Fredericton-based journalist Chris Wood wrote a retrospective piece on Hatfield’s “politics of fun.”[2]     

His attraction to the metropolitan nightclub scene earned Hatfield the nickname “Disco Dick.” In 1980, a Liberal MLA claimed that the premier had the travel habits of “an oil sheik” and been out of the province for 168 days in 1978. His expense records indicated that since early 1978 he had visited not only Paris, London, Boston and Vancouver, but also New York (35 times) and Quebec City (25 times).  On Labour Day weekend in 1979 Hatfield stayed at New York’s prestigious Plaza Hotel and visited hip night spots such as Régine’s disco, La Folie, an upscale restaurant-disco in the Carlton House, and Randy Dandy’s. In the late 1970s these high-profile clubs attracted politicians like Henry Kissinger, writers such as Truman Capote, artists like Andy Warhol, musicians such as Mick Jagger, supermodels like Iman, actors such as Warren Beatty and other New York scenesters. This was a far cry from sedate Fredericton where the nightlife consisted of the bar in the Lady Beaverbrook hotel and the all-night restaurant in the Diplomat motel. The premier defended his trips by explaining that he was acting as a goodwill ambassador for the province and trying to secure investment.[3]

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2022 David Alexander Prize

The David Alexander Prize is awarded annually for the best essay on the history of Atlantic Canada written in a course by an undergraduate student in any university. The amount of the prize is currently set at $400.


  • Entries must be undergraduate essays between 1,500 and 5,000 words in length on some aspect of the history of Atlantic Canada, written in English or French.
  • They may be research, interpretive, or historiographical efforts.
  • The author must be part-time or full-time undergraduate student in a degree program at an accredited university or college, and the essay must have been written to meet the requirement of an undergraduate credit course during the 2021-2022 academic year. 
  • Previous winners of the prize may not compete.

Submissions: Entries shall be submitted by course instructors no later than 30 June 2022. No instructor shall submit more than two entries. Essays should not bear the instructor’s comments or a grade. Entries may be sent as an electronic copy or a printed copy.

Adjudication: Entries will be judged by a panel of three distinguished historians. The winner will be announced in the autumn of 2022. No runners-up or honorary mentions will be designated.

Entries may be submitted by email attachment to the Acadiensis Administrative Assistant at, or by post to:

Alexander Prize Committee
c/o Acadiensis Administrative Assistant,
Campus House, University of New Brunswick
P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, N.B.   E3B 5A3

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The Good Life of Wallace Brown

By Peter C. Kent

After Wallace Brown retired from his 30-year teaching career at the University of New Brunswick, he started a newsletter entitled “Sergeant Brown’s Tips for Better Living”, linking back to his British National Service days as a sergeant in Hong Kong in the early 1950s. He sent this amusing newsletter to his friends around the world in his retirement years. The newsletter promoted good food, good drink and good companionship, which represented the good life as Wallace had lived and enjoyed it. As he wrote of himself, “he liked mystery novels, fly fishing, beer, hiking, curries, wine, jazz, theatre, pubs, alcohol, the films of Jean Renoir, the poems of Thomas Hardy, and the company of women”.

Wallace Brown, 1933-1922

Wallace could best be described as “mid-Atlantic”, with the accent to prove it. He was born in Alberta, raised and educated in England from the age of 5 to his graduation from Oxford. Then, graduate studies in the United States for an MA at the University of Nebraska and PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. In spite of his familiarity with all sides of the Atlantic world, his favored corner was Scotland and, in Fredericton, he helped to keep the Scottish tradition alive as an active member and promoter of the St. Andrew’s Society and as a founding member of the Fredericton Whisky Tasting Society.

After short stints of teaching at the University of Alberta and Brown University, Wallace arrived at the University of New Brunswick in 1967 as one of three American historians in an expanding department. In the department, he was a very agreeable colleague; charming and easy going with a fine sense of humour.

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23rd Annual J.B. McLachlan Memorial Lecture at CBU

On Thursday, March 10, 11:45 – 1:00, we are excited to work with the School of Arts and Social Sciences to feature the 23rd Annual J.B. McLachlan Memorial Lecture, held virtually on Zoom. This year, Dr. Jennifer Evans will present “Learning from the Germans about the Legacy of Genocide”. A professor of history at Carleton University, her talk will consider what Canada can learn about decolonization from the Germans’ experience dealing with its Nazi past. Click here to register on Zoom.

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In her recent article “The TRC, Reconciliation, and the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School” Martha Walls suggests that John Reid’s book Nova Scotia: A Pocket History (2009) does not mention the SIRS. Reid’s book does, however, address the school’s “painful history” (p. 32) and its important role in intensifying the assimilation agenda of the state. The author and co-editors of Acadiensis sincerely regret this error, especially given Dr. Reid’s many contributions to Indigenous history in the Atlantic region, and to Acadiensis.

Every article published by Acadiensis undergoes a thorough peer review process, and editorial oversight. Readers of Acadiensis expect that published articles are accurate, complete, and free of errors. We regret that this error was not caught during peer review or by the co-editors.

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Acadiensis at 50

Acadiensis is marking 50 years of publication with a special edition featuring the cover art of Mi’kmaw artist Loretta Gould’s Share Our Teachings. The back cover image reproduces the original Autumn 1971 cover, which we have purposely scanned in such a way that readers can see the material qualities of that paper issue. We chose these two images to represent the past and the present, as we think about the last 50 years at the journal and plan for the next.

Our current editorial team acknowledges with gratitude the scholarship and labour that has kept Acadiensis as a dynamic and cutting-edge journal. We will pay tribute to the legacies of the Acadiensis generation on the blog throughout the 50th year. Stay tuned!

For the 50th anniversary journal Autumn issue, we mark this important anniversary by looking at the state of the history of the Atlantic region today and consider the future.  Jerry Bannister (Dalhousie) reflects on this moment as he introduces a set of three articles on this issue. Michael Poplyansky (La Cité – University of Regina) writes on “Le tournant transnational en historiographie acadienne,” Heidi MacDonald (UNB Saint John) asks about “Atlantic Canadian Women and Gender History: Where Is It Going and Where Should It Be Going?” and Daniel Samson (Brock) urges us to think about “Building Research and Community Networks: Putting Acadiensis at the Centre of a Digital Community.”

Three reflections draw on practical experience in research, teaching, or editing. Martha Walls (MSVU) focuses our attention on regional history and “The TRC, Reconciliation, and the Shubenacadie Indian Residential School.  Recently retired Nicole Lang (Edmunston Campus of l’Université de Moncton) shares her experience “Enseigner l’histoire de l’Acadie au Canada atlantique,” and our own Stephen Dutcher traces his involvement with the journal since 2003.

Emerging scholars and doctoral students Courtney Mrazek (UNB) and Mercedes Peters (UBC) offer concrete evidence that the field continues to grow, thrive, and change. Courtney Mrazek engages John Reid (Saint Mary’s) in an interview and Mercedes Peters takes us along on “A Thought-Exercise in Decolonization: Reflections from a Mi’kmaw Historian Revisiting the Acadiensis Readers.”                     

COVID continues to shape our lives and incoming Acadiensis co-editor (January 2022) Peter Twohig (Saint Mary’s) connects this to his research on labour in nursing homes, while Raymond Blake (Regina) uses the 2021 Newfoundland election to write about political campaigns in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In addition, the Autumn 2021 issue features research articles by Willeen Keough (Simon Fraser) and Leanna Thomas (doctoral student, UNB), as well as a review essay on Canadian history podcasts by Janis Thiessen (University of Winnipeg).

Happy Reading.

Erin Morton and Suzanne Morton


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CFP: Northeast and Atlantic Region Environmental History Forum

Northeast and Atlantic Region Environmental History Forum
Call for Papers, Ninth Annual Workshop
Backyard Environments: Encountering Nature at Home
Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25, 2022
University of Maine Hutchinson Center, Belfast, Maine
Deadline: January 31, 2022

The Northeast and Atlantic Region Environmental History Forum (NEAR-EH) brings together a group of scholars exploring the environmental history of the northeastern United States and northeastern Canada. This group first met in 2012 at the Massachusetts Historical Society with the basic premise that the environmental history of this region has its own story to tell. For several years, the group has sponsored a workshop for which participants submit pre-circulated papers that are then discussed in-depth, going well beyond the typical level of engagement authors get at a standard academic conference. Many participants have since published their papers as articles, chapters of books, or essays, or have used the feedback to advance their scholarly agenda and win competitive research grants.

While NEAR-EH has not met for two years due to the COVID pandemic, the group plans to meet in person in 2022, hosted by the University of Maine’s Canadian-American Center at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Maine. There may be a graduated registration fee (scaled for faculty, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, etc.), but we hope to keep it to a minimum.

However, there will be some funds for help with travel and accommodations. Once participation is confirmed, the organizers will circulate more detailed information about the workshop.

The workshop theme this year is “Backyard Environments: Encountering Nature at Home.” The organizers welcome submission of papers that reflect the reality that many of us have been spending more time at home recently and reflecting on the green spaces nearby. As such, there is growing interest in informed reflections on local places.

Previous NEAR-EH workshops resulted in the McGill-Queen’s publication The Greater Gulf: Essays on the Environmental History of the Gulf of St. Lawrence (2020), and it is hoped that this workshop could act in a similar capacity.

The organizers also welcome submissions that fall outside of the workshop theme but still focus on the environmental history of northeast North America.

We limit paper submissions to twelve so as to ensure a meaningful experience that includes close examination and discussion of the papers. Anyone, of course, is welcome to attend the discussion.

Please submit proposals of 250 words with a shortened CV (max 2 pages) to Mark McLaughlin at no later than January 31, 2022. Additional information concerning the workshop or Belfast, Maine in general can be directed to Mark McLaughlin at

Acceptance into the workshop will be announced late February 2022. Papers are due for circulation to other participants on May 27, 2022.

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Come Home Year Redux: Newfoundland, Nostalgia Tourism, and COVID Recovery

By Shannon Conway

Newfoundlander and Labradorian ex-pats have something to look forward to in the new year: Come Home Year 2022. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador recently launched the quasi-“post”-COVID tourism strategy aimed at Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who live away from home.[1] Tourism is a key sector of the Newfoundland and Labrador economy, but the industry has been devastated by the pandemic, and despite the boarder having been reopened to Canadians for the past several months, the sector has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.[2] This is not the first time that the provincial government has launched such a tourism strategy to bolster that economic sector. The original Come Home Year 1966 proved to be an economic success, and with the current dire economic situation in the province, the government surely hopes to mirror that past success in the coming year.

Newfoundland and Labrador, “St. John's Map and Guide, 1966,” Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives, (Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's, NL).
Each region in the province had its own map and guide book for Come Home Year 1966. Cover of the St. John’s map and guide, courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives, Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John’s, NL.

The first Come Home Year in 1966 was a tourism scheme created by Newfoundland’s Premier Joey Smallwood in an effort to boot revenue in the tourism sector. With this, the government encouraged “thousands of expatriate Newfoundlanders to visit” their home and regale in the “characteristic milieu” of the island.[3] It required large scale organization to ensure it was successful and the government used the celebrations to be self-congratulatory of all it achieved in terms of modernization and development since joining Canada. There was a nod given to that while Newfoundland was changing and modernizing, Newfoundlanders were still as friendly as always, Newfoundland was still the home they knew it just functioned (somewhat) better.[4]

The Come Home Year project was in conjunction with the launch of a long-awaited tourist and travel enterprise for the province, as well as inculcating a sense of Newfoundland pride (amidst the coming Canadian Centennial celebrations the following year) with ceremonies to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Beaumont-Hamel on July 1, 1966. Newfoundland’s Director of Tourist Development, Oliver L. Vardy, touted the endeavour as the “greatest promotional project ever embarked upon.”[5] Aiming tourism towards Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who lived outside the province proved to be a great tactic as 45% of visitor’s during 1966 were visiting relatives.[6] The strategy was quite effective, with the industry seeing a 39.275% increase compared to the previous year, with the average length of stay for visitors being 15.9 days.[7]

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« Reconstitution du parcours militaire de J. Ulric LeBlanc, soldat acadien de la Première Guerre mondiale à partir des archives et de Google Maps »

Samuelle Saindon et Gregory Kennedy, Université de Moncton[1]


La contribution acadienne à la Première Guerre mondiale reste méconnue, à part quelques études du 165e (Acadien) bataillon du Corps expéditionnaire canadien (CEC).[2] Ce bataillon national fut créé à la demande d’une assemblée de notables acadiens tenue à Moncton en décembre 1915. Pourtant, au-delà du 165e bataillon, d’autres soldats acadiens ont participé à l’effort de guerre durant la Grande Guerre. Dispersés à travers différents bataillons anglophones des Provinces Maritimes, ces Acadiens sont difficiles à retrouver, notamment parce que les dossiers militaires ne précisaient pas la langue maternelle des recrues. Il demeure que leurs expériences méritent d’être étudiées pour mieux saisir la contribution des soldats acadiens à la Première Guerre mondiale. D’ailleurs, les correspondances de quelques soldats acadiens étaient analysées par France Martineau sur le plan linguistique en comparaison avec d’autres soldats canadiens-français de la PGM.[3]

Ce billet de blogue porte sur un de ces soldats volontaires. Joseph Ulric LeBlanc fut un des premiers Acadiens à s’enrôler à la guerre. Le Centre d’études acadiennes Anselme-Chiasson de l’Université de Moncton (CEAAC) conserve un fonds d’archives du médecin, le Dr. Hilarion LeBlanc, le père d’Ulric, et nous y retrouvons 53 correspondances rédigées par le soldat à ses parents. Membre du Canadian Army Service Corps (CASC) du mois de novembre 1914 jusqu’à 1919, le parcours d’Ulric s’avère différent de celui des fantassins. Nous avons reconstitué ses mouvements en tant que chauffeur routier avec le « 2e Train divisionnaire canadien » à l’aide de plusieurs sources historiques et le logiciel Google Maps. [4]

IMAGE 1 – portrait du soldat J. Ulric LeBlanc

Présentation du soldat J. Ulric LeBlanc et de ses archives

Joseph Ulric LeBlanc est né en octobre 1894 à Cap-Pelé au Nouveau-Brunswick. Il est le fils de Hilarion LeBlanc et de Sarah Girouard. Il était le deuxième né de 6 enfants, ayant trois frères et deux sœurs. Bien éduqué, Ulric suivait d’autres jeunes Acadiens et Acadiennes de sa génération en passant du temps aux États-Unis à la recherche d’emploi. Il n’avait que 20 ans lorsqu’il s’est enrôlé au CEC en novembre 1914. Il parlait l’anglais couramment, compétence importante pour un jeune soldat à l’unité de transport de la 2e division canadienne. En effet, plusieurs de ses correspondances étaient rédigées en anglais puisque les officiers militaires responsables pour la censure ne comprenaient pas le français.[5] Durant la guerre, Ulric écrit régulièrement à ses parents, ainsi qu’à sa « sweetheart » Marceline et plusieurs amis de Cap-Pelé. Bien que seules les correspondances d’Ulric à ses parents soient préservées au CEAAC, cette collection date de 1914 jusqu’en janvier 1919, ce qui veut dire que nous pouvons suivre Ulric et étudier l’évolution de ses idées, du début jusqu’à la fin de la guerre et même son temps en Allemagne avec la force d’occupation des Alliés.

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Lest We Forget: Charles Doucette & D-Day

By Keith Mercer

The following is reprinted from Mi’kmaq and Maliseet Nations News, Vol. 30, No. 7, July 2019. We thank them for granting us permission to post this article.

Please click the image to view a larger version.

Keith Mercer is an Historian and the Cultural Resource Manager for Parks Canada in Mainland Nova Scotia. He’s based at Halifax Citadel National Historic Site.

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