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I'm from Bouctouche, Me

I'm from Bouctouche, Me: Roots Matter

Donald J. Savoie
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 288
Stable URL:
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  • Book Info
    I'm from Bouctouche, Me
    Book Description:

    In the 1950s most of Acadian society was poor, uneducated, isolated, and dominated by the Roman Catholic clergy. In the following decade two individuals, Pierre E. Trudeau and Louis J. Robichaud, pointed the way for Acadians like Savoie to make important contributions to Canada's development. Trudeau's objective was Canadian unity and he turned to Acadie to show Quebec that there was a viable French Canadian presence outside their borders. Robichaud, New Brunswick's first elected Acadian premier, had witnessed Acadian poverty first hand and made it his mission to bring New Brunswick into the modern era. Savoie shows how their efforts led to fundamental change for both Canada and New Brunswick and changed his life.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7630-8
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction (pp. 3-14)

    I am an Acadian, born in a small hamlet just outside a small community, Bouctouche, in eastern New Brunswick. Being born Acadian meant that one was Roman Catholic, probably a supporter of the Liberal Party and almost certainly of the Montreal Canadiens. Being a Maritimer meant that one was also very likely to be a supporter of the Boston Red Sox. I was all of that and to this day have remained loyal to the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Red Sox.

    Growing up Acadian meant a number of other things. Most of Acadian society in the 1950s was poor,...

  5. Illustrations (pp. 15-17)
  6. 1 L’Acadie: How It All Began (pp. 18-36)

    A brief history of l’Acadie is in order. While many Acadians know their history, particularly as it relates to the Grand Dérangement, those from away need to have some background, however preliminary, of l’Acadie’s beginnings and early years in order to understand my story. It takes only a moment’s reflection, however, to appreciate that I can hardly do justice to the rich and colourful history of l’Acadie and Acadians. This chapter is, by definition, incomplete, but if I am able to whet the reader’s appetite about Acadians and their history, then it’s all to the good. There are now available...

  7. 2 Saint-Maurice: Where It All Began for Me (pp. 37-55)

    It is difficult to imagine a more inhospitable setting than Saint-Maurice. Yet it is also difficult for me to imagine a happier childhood than the one I had there. First, the community. Saint-Maurice today is a dying community, simply because it has no economic reason to live. It is several kilometres from the Northumberland Strait and from a main highway, thus away from any commercial fishing or traffic of any kind. It is impossible to grow anything of commercial value in Saint-Maurice, and the village is hidden away in the middle of a forest – and not a good forest at...

  8. 3 Moncton: Louis J. Robichaud to the Rescue (pp. 56-91)

    Saint-Maurice in 1959 could hardly have been more different from Moncton. It was much like the old television programCheers, where everyone knew your name, everyone had a thorough knowledge of everyone else’s news, good and bad, and there was a deep sense of community, orappartenance. Saint-Maurice had about 200 inhabitants in 1959 – all Acadian, Frenchspeaking, and Roman Catholic. Moncton had a population of about 44,000, 67 percent of whom were English-speaking, and the majority were Protestant.

    Saint-Maurice and Moncton were different for other reasons. Moncton was urban, home to many businesses, and all levels of government had offices...

  9. 4 Université de Moncton: All Hell Breaks Loose (pp. 92-116)

    In my first week at the Université de Moncton, I met Bernard Imbeault, a fellow student from Quebec. Bernard is a softspoken man, unpretentious, and in the parlance of the Maritime provinces, “one hell of a nice guy.” I had not until then met many Québécois, and I was fascinated by what he had to say and how he said it. The words he used were mostly – though not always – the same we used, but his accent was quite different. And there was another difference, one that shocked me. Bernard was an atheist! How could such a nice and smart...

  10. 5 On the Inside Looking In (pp. 117-132)

    Fredericton and its university was of course vastly different from Moncton and its university. This English-speaking community was divided and uncertain about Robichaud, bilingualism, and the sudden arrival of Acadians in their midst. Robichaud’s election, combined with Moncton graduates coming to work in a growing provincial public service, saw a sudden in-flux of francophones in a community that hitherto had largely been the preserve of English speakers. The old guard in the provincial public service looked on bilingualism as an improper idea that some unreasonable politicians had brought into Fredericton for purely political purposes, much like dropping a baby on...

  11. 6 My Oxford Days (pp. 133-151)

    We left Montreal for England in August 1976 on theAlexander Pushkin, a Russian ship. It was hardly a luxury liner, but it attracted a number of young people, particularly students. It had a number of advantages: it was inexpensive, drinks were very cheap, and it enabled students to compare notes before arriving at their new universities.

    We enjoyed crossing the Atlantic. The passengers included Canadian students studying abroad and others taking a year off to see Europe before entering university or graduate school. There were also a number of American students, some North American tourists, and various European families...

  12. 7 Ottawa: It’s Really about Ontario and Quebec (pp. 152-169)

    In 1980 Pierre Trudeau put an end to his planned retirement and led his party back to power. The Liberals had been in purgatory only for a few months before they ousted the Clark government and came roaring back with a majority mandate and ambitious plans to bring our constitution home from Britain. There were sure signs that there would be other changes as well. During their brief time in opposition, some senior Liberals had begun pointing their fingers at bureaucrats for having too much power and for having held back change when the Liberals were in power in the...

  13. 8 Going Home (pp. 170-190)

    I arrived at the Université de Moncton in the summer of 1983 and went straight to work. I knew the campus well, of course, having been a student there. As well, I had taught there when I was working with DREE. I followed Roméo LeBlanc’s advice and made it as clear as I could in the first weeks that my objective was to establish a research institute that was the equal of any in Canada and that the litmus test would be our publications.

    The Trudeau government endowed the Canadian Institute for Research on Regional Development (CIRRD) with $5 million...

  14. 9 Back in Ottawa (pp. 191-216)

    I reported to work at the Treasury Board Secretariat as assistant secretary, Policy, Planning and Communications, in September 1987. Within weeks, I realized that I was not cut out to be a happy public servant. There were too many participants at too many meetings that accomplished nothing or very little. Apart from particular matters in which the minister and deputy minister were interested, things only moved by committee, if they moved at all, and it became impossible for me to figure out who was actually responsible for what. The focus was never on the individual, always on the process. Anything...

  15. 10 Home for Good: Up to a Point (pp. 217-243)

    It was good to be home and at the Université de Moncton full time and all the time, or so I thought. An academic colleague in Ottawa bid me farewell with the advice, “You will need to leaveMoncton from time to time to acquire fresh thinking and to recharge your batteries and to get new ideas.” I resolved to do that, and there would be many opportunities to do so.

    Claude took over my father’s business and expanded it into a remarkable success story. We were very close. I dedicated myGoverning from the Centreto him: “To my biggest...

  16. 11 Acadians: Shaped and Reshaped by Experience (pp. 244-254)

    If I had to begin all over again, I would of course try to avoid this or that mistake, but I would not change the main course of my life. I was shaped by the experiences of my parents and their parents before them, and so on back through history. My generation, the Louis J. Robichaud generation, has lived in a transition period, from the downtrodden days – when Acadians in Moncton named Brun became Brown, and LeBlanc became White – to today’s world, in which we stand tall, a people with strong pride in our roots and our history.

    In his...

  17. Notes (pp. 255-262)
  18. Index (pp. 263-281)