Making History in Moncton: The RCMP Canada Labour Code Trial

By Greg Marquis

Recently, history was made in a court room in Moncton, New Brunswick. Provincial court Judge Leslie Jackson convicted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on one count under the Canada Labour Code: “Failing to provide RCMP members with appropriate use-of-force equipment and related user training when responding to an active threat or active shooter event.” The RCMP as an employer was acquitted of three other charges and both the defence and prosecution will return in January to learn the sentence, which will be a fine of up to $ 1 million. Most of the fine, whatever the amount decided, will be given to programs that help victims of crime.


RCMP Officer – Source: Wikimedia Commons

The trial was unique in that RCMP defence witnesses, including outgoing Commissioner Bob Paulson, testified for the defence which argued that the force had exercised due diligence in training, equipping and supervising its officers in order to keep them safe on the job. While being a police officer in Canada is not as dangerous as driving a taxi cab or working on a fishing boat in terms of the chance of dying on the job, it can be risky and the RCMP rank and file seems convinced that it has become more dangerous even as overall crime rates fall.  The incident that prompted the investigation of Employment and Social Development Canada was a rampage in the summer of 2014 by Justin Bourque, who roamed a residential neighbourhood of western Moncton, dressed in combat clothing and carrying a semi-automatic rifle and a shotgun. Within minutes he had fatally shot three members of the Codiac Regional RCMP: Dave Ross, Fabrice Gevaudan and Doug Larche. The men left behind widows and, in two cases, children.  Constables Éric Stéphane J. Dubois and Darlene Goguen were wounded by Bourque, who eluded the police for thirty hours. By the time he surrendered to Emergency Response Team (ERT) members, Bourque had paralyzed much of the city and prompted one of the biggest deployments of RCMP and municipal police units in Atlantic Canadian history.

In the end Bourque pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two of attempted murder. After apologizing to the families of the victims, he was sentenced to three consecutive sentences of twenty-five years, meaning that the twenty-four year old had no hope of parole for at least seventy-five years. Despite his anti-police and anti-government views, and his explained motive of wanting to target police in order to set off a rebellion against the state, Bourque was not deemed a terrorist. Also, despite initially appearing to paralyze the second largest police service in the province, and forcing much of Moncton’s west end to be ‘locked down,’ the active shooter incident generated little debate on gun control. This was despite the comments of defence lawyer David Lutz, who partly blamed the tragedy on “right-wing, gun nut culture” and Canada’s weakened gun control laws. [1] Continue reading

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Stephen Patterson reflects on Murray Young, 1922-2017

D. Murray Young (1922-2017), professor emeritus in history at the University of New Brunswick, died just before Christmas. Family, friends, and colleagues gathered on January 13 to celebrate his life. Longtime colleague, Stephen Patterson, gave the following remarks.

We who were Murray Young’s colleagues have much to celebrate for he was more than a co-worker. He was a role model, a mentor, and a dear friend. For his students, he was the knowledgeable, fair-minded teacher of things British and imperial. For his fellow historians, he was a model practitioner of the craft, beautifully clear and precise in his writing and generous in sharing his often brilliant insights into how societies grow and change – how history happens. And then there was Murray Young in the University: a member of Senate, one the first faculty members elected to the Board of Governors, and an even-handed chair of his department in years of growth and scholarly achievement.

Murray’s life was shaped by his upbringing in the Nashwaak valley and Fredericton, by the historical forces of Depression and War, by his family’s commitment to education and public service, and by his experience as a veteran-student in the post-war programs of the University of New Brunswick. One could say that his interests were shaped by history itself; in fact, he credited one of his UNB teachers, Dr. A. G. Bailey, with his choice of history as a profession. The University Archives has the copy of Murray’s book he presented to Dr. Bailey in 1961, with the following inscription: “To Dr. A. G. Bailey, with thanks for trying to turn me into a historian.” Continue reading

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Call for Artists: Pier 21 Artist in Residence 2018

2018 will be the third year for the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21’s Artist-in-Residence program. The goal of our six-month residency is to enable an artist to create new work that contributes to the Museum’s mandate while advancing their art practice. We are looking for an artist who wants to be inspired by the themes of our new exhibition Refuge Canada by creating items to be given to recent refugees in the Halifax area. These should be items that the refugees need.

The compensation for this six-month program is $15,000.00 plus cost of materials. This program is available to artists from across the country, but please note accommodations are not included.

Unlike the previous artist-in-residence projects, which have been delivered on-site in an open studio, the setting for this year’s project may happen off site, though we hope prospective artists will find creative ways to share their practice with Museum visitors through workshops or group activities. See sample project ideas below, but we expect that there are many interesting ideas that we have not considered.

In their proposals, prospective artists-in-residence should demonstrate how their project will help reflect the themes of Refuge Canada and benefit refugees to Halifax in a tangible way. Read more …

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Patrick Mannion reviews Gerhard Bassler’s Develop or Perish

Gerhard P. Bassler. Develop or Perish: A Pictorial Record of J.R. Smallwood’s New Industries (St. John’s: Flanker Press, 2017).

 By Patrick Mannion


Gerhard P. Bassler. Develop or Perish: A Pictorial Record of J.R. Smallwood’s New Industries (St. John’s: Flanker Press, 2017).

Develop or Perish is a captivating pictorial account of Premier Joseph R. Smallwood’s “New Industries Program,” as well as the lives of the German and Latvian immigrants who settled in Newfoundland during this period of economic diversification in the 1950s and 60s. The book is a companion to Gerhard Bassler’s Escape Hatch: Newfoundland’s Quest for German Industry and Immigration, 1950-1970, also published by Flanker Press earlier this year (and reviewed by me for Acadiensis: Many of Bassler’s subjects, interviewed over the course of the 1980s, submitted photographs of both their professional and domestic lives, and Develop or Perish provides an opportunity to re-produce hundreds of these images that could not be included in Escape Hatch.

Following Newfoundland’s Confederation with Canada in 1949, the province was faced with an unprecedented outmigration crisis as young men and women abandoned the cod fishery and outport communities in search of better wages on the mainland. Addressing this situation, Smallwood stated: “We must develop or perish. We must develop or people will go in thousands to other parts of Canada. We must create new jobs or our young men especially will go off to other places to get the jobs they can’t get here” (2). “Develop or perish” emerged as a slogan for the New Industries Program – a policy of rapid economic diversification and industrialization that took place through the 1950s. Following a recommendation from C.D. Howe, federal Minister for Defence and Production, Smallwood appointed former Latvian Finance Minister Alfred Valdmanis to oversee the Program. Thanks largely to Valdmanis’ business connections, much of the investment, leadership, technical expertise, machinery, and labour required to establish these new industries came from Latvia, Austria, and, especially, Germany. Seventeen new industries were established across Newfoundland and Labrador, most owned and operated by Europeans. The overwhelming majority of these companies had failed by the late-1960s, and the Program is generally considered a failure. Continue reading

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Job at Acadia: Tier 2 CRC in History of the Atlantic World

Acadia University is hiring Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in the History of the Atlantic World. Click here for more information.

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CFP: Canadian History of Education Association/Association canadienne d’histoire de l’éducation


CALL FOR PAPERS: Canadian History of Education Association/Association canadienne d’histoire de l’éducation (CHEA/ACHÉ) 20th Biennial Conference

Theme: Cultures, Communities, Challenges: Perspectives on the History of Education
Conference Dates: October 18-21, 2018
Conference Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick (Crowne Plaza Hotel)
Deadline for Submissions:  March 1st, 2018   

Canadians spend their formative years in institutions of education. Moreover, they are now expected to be part of a culture of lifelong learning. They are shaped by and in turn shape formal educational structures and informal networks, from scouts to amateur sports, YMCAs to literacy programs. While framed as individual development, educational programming is also centrally about communities and community-building. This is not always an easy relationship, as tensions over community values demonstrate. As a result, education is a site of contention, be it over religious and ethnic differences, language rights, or social and cultural expectations. Presentations at this conference will examine education’s relationship to notions of community and its role in community-building. They will also explore how new educational developments such as insights from neuroscience, the emphasis on social and emotional learning, the consequences of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, or the impact of inclusive education, are reshaping ideals and understandings of community and the enterprise of educational history itself.

CHEA/ACHÉ also welcomes proposals outside of this theme that still relate to the history of education broadly-defined. Papers may be Canadian, non-Canadian, or international/transnational in scope. We are particularly welcoming of graduate students and new scholars. We welcome both individual and panel presentation proposals.

For more information, go to or contact Catherine Gidney at



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Excerpt on Moirs Chocolates from Janis Thiessen’s Snacks: A Canadian Food History

 by Janis Thiessen

(edited excerpt from pages 144-157 of Snacks: A Canadian Food History (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2017)

Pot of Gold, one of the best-known brands of Canadian chocolates, was the invention of Moirs, which began in 1816 when Benjamin Moir opened a bakery in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Moirs was a source of pride for Maritimers, as it was the only business in Halifax with a national product. By 1862, the company had expanded to occupy a five-storey building. With the retirement of Benjamin Moir’s grandson James in 1925, ownership transferred from the third generation of the Moirs family to a group of Halifax businessmen.


Janis Thiessen. Snacks: A Canadian Food History. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2017.

Moirs made their own shredded coconut, chocolate coatings, and chocolate shavings, and employed 1,126 workers (not including salesmen) in the 1920s. “Moirs XXX” was the name of the chocolate coating developed by James W. Moir and L.E. Covey. Covey was superintendent of the chocolate-making department, and had joined the company in 1878 at age fifteen. While women were tasked with shelling the cocoa beans needed, Moir and Covey supervised the cooking of the XXX coating. Moir named the coating XXX because, as reported in “Making Chocolates” from the Moirs Clippings archive, “it conveyed to him, from pleasant association one hopes, the hall mark of excellence of a dissimilar product.” The XXX formula remained unchanged over the years.

The Pot of Gold chocolate box, Moirs’ biggest seller, was developed in 1928. It was the first “mixed assortment box” of chocolates offered for sale by a confectioner. The box design featured a rainbow with an attractive young woman sitting at its end; eleven different models were featured on the Pot of Gold box during its first thirty-five years. An article in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald reported, “The designs have varied considerably, with the emphasis in recent years on the conservative. Both the girl and the rainbow were more subdued. . . . But this Christmas [1969] a beautiful girl again is the centre of attraction, and the rainbow is back in all its splendour.” The year 1974 was  the last in which the box featured a “Pot of Gold girl,” but the rainbow continued to be used, and was promoted in a television jingle: “We all know where the rainbow goes. . . . We are told it’s a pot of gold.” Liberace was featured in advertisements for Pot of Gold in 1975—his first commercial work.

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In Remembrance: Murray Young, 1922-2017

With sadness we announce the death on 18 December 2017 of Professor Emeritus D. Murray Young, member of the Department of History at the University of New Brunswick in 1959-87.


Murray Young, 1922-2017

We understand that Murray was the last of that remarkable group of Second World War veterans who entered UNB on their return from overseas, completed their first degrees here in the late 1940s, and then, as Beaverbrook Scholars, returned to Britain in the 1950s to earn the PhD, and ultimately became distinguished members of the Faculty of this university.

Born in Taymouth, New Brunswick, in 1922, Murray went to school in Marysville and Fredericton, graduated from the Provincial Normal School and taught in rural schools for two years before enlisting in the RCAF in 1942. He trained as a radar technician and served as a member of a ground crew in England. At UNB, Murray studied under Alfred Bailey and others of that extraordinary generation and was a keen participant in the political debates of the day.  Still a student, he stood as a Co-operative Commonwealth Federation candidate in both a provincial and a federal election. He ran as well in a by-election in 1947, doubling the number of votes for the CCF over the previous election but losing to the Liberal candidate Milton Gregg, who at the time was President of UNB.

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Sister Catherine Wallace’s Transformative Feminist Presidency of Mount Saint Vincent University, 1965-74

By Heidi MacDonald

SCHalifax Archives #451 S. Alice Michael Wallace installation, M
Figure 1: Sister Alice Michael (Catherine) Wallace (centre) being assisted into her robe by Mother Maria Gertrude (Irene) Farmer (left) and Sister Margaret Mary (Anna) Maloney (right) after being installed as the fourth president of Mount Saint Vincent College. March 19, 1966. SCHalifax Archives #45. Courtesy of Sisters of Charity, Halifax, Archives.
CW order Canada

Figure 2: Sister Catherine Wallace receiving the Order of Canada, 1972. Courtesy of the Dalhousie University Photograph Collection (PC1), Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

These two photos, the first of Sister Catherine Wallace’s installation as President of Mount Saint Vincent College in 1965, and the second of Wallace receiving the Order of Canada in 1972, epitomize the transformative era not only for North American post-secondary education, but also for the Roman Catholic Church and the women’s movement.  As president of Mount Saint Vincent College (which became a university in 1966), Wallace was convinced the institution had to adapt to 1960s revolutionary social forces (especially feminism) if it were to flourish in the future.

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Blog on Holiday Hiatus

With exams upon us and the December break coming up quickly, the Acadiensis Blog will be taking its annual Holiday Hiatus. We will return in January with all new content. See you in the New Year!

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