Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 33 > Page 56 - With Wilfred Poirier, Lobster Buyer

Page 56 - With Wilfred Poirier, Lobster Buyer

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/6/1 (179 reads)

The clergy were working with me on my side. I'll tell you why. See, I'm a Catholic, and they were working with me, and I was working with them. We were trying to pro? mote a better business, and give the fish? ermen a square deal. When I came here, they were getting about 4 to 7 cents a pound for lobster. I started the price up, buying--if I bought--14 cents a pound. But the most of it was on consignment. Consign? ment means it was shipped to the market at a higher price--the fishermen would get a little more on consignment than selling outright here. But some of them would rath? er get the cash right away. I glutted the market at our place two or three times. In 1935, I think it was, I glutted the market, I think, with about 14 million pounds of lobsters. I had about 6 or 7 boats that were always loaded. We had a well-smack boat and we had trucks. We had the railroad. And we had the Nova Sco? tia Shipping Company. My best spot was in Cape Breton here, from Point Michaud to Scatari Island. And when I glutted the mar? ket, the company called me to tell me not to ship any more--"We can't handle them." "Well," I said, "I can stop buying, but you can't stop them from consigning. If you do, we're licked. They'll ship some? where else." (And I guess the price goes down when you glut the market.) Oh yes. Well, the price sometimes wasn't too darn high, but they never got below 18c up. (Starting off, you would go to a town....) We'd hold meetings with the fishermen. At Grand River, Canso, Petit de Grat, L'Ar? doise, Little Bras d'Or. Meeting in New? foundland. Meeting around Halifax--all a- long the shore, wherever I'd be called. When I was called, from the clergymen or somebody at the head--a kind of a union they had, you know--they'd call me. But there was no real union. They'd group, in other words, they'd group and they'd work together. (Would fishermen's organizations help your business?) Oh, that was good. I liked it. I told them to organize. My com? pany didn't mind that. (And the Antigonish Movement?...) I used to work with one of them there in Antigon? ish. He was always after me to go to New? foundland. Till they arranged among the clergymen to send me there. Oh, that was good, the Antigonish Movement. They were working with me, too. I had a clerg3niian tell the audience in a church in West Ari? chat to ship through me. At the sermon, see. Father Barrie was the same thing. He was more of a watchman--see that the lob? sters were kept anchored, you know, no? body 'd steal them. Even Fr. Boyd, who is now a bishop--he was a great friend of mine. Way up near Halifax, Canso--Fr. Bou? dreau was 1007o with me. He made 9 trips to Boston with me in the years I was in busi? ness. I slept in the glebe house. They all knew me. Fr. Poirier, of course, we didn't get along too well, because he didn't think we were paying enough. But he wasn't against me, in one way. I had no trouble. Lots of times I didn't care wheth? er I got them or not. I was afraid of glut? ting the market, I'd rather somebody else got a share of it. (Up to that point, was someone local buy? ing their lobsters?) Oh, yeah--for nothing. Lobster factories. Used to buy them for 3 /-'r Announcing New Book "Mining Photographs and Other Pictures" 1948-1968 A selection from the negative archives of Shedden Studios, Glace Bay. 280 pages, 400 illustrations with critical and historical analysis of photos, with commentary by Allan Sekula, Don MacGillivray and Robert Wilkie. Available From: university College of Cape Breton Press P. O. Box 5300, Sydney, N. S. B1P 6L2 Phone 539-5300 Also available in local retail outlets A co-publication of NSCAD and UCCB (56) HANDCRAFT & GIFT SHOP Spinning Wheels - Pottery - Crafts R. R. 2, Leitches Creek, Cape Breton (794-2721) ;0n Rt. 223, 4 miles from intersection with Rt. 125) EAT IN OR TAKE OUT Julia's Pizza & Grill Inverness 258-2784 Spaghetti & Meat Balls, Burgers, Sandwiches, & More Sun.-Thu. 7 a.m.-Midnight; Fri. & Sat. 7 a.m.-2 a.m. St. Peters Drug Store Ltd. Don Stone, Ph. C., Proprietor Open 6 Days a Week Mon. to Thur. open until 8 p.m. Fri. until 9 p.m. Sat. until 5 p.m. 535-2203 St.F'ters,N.S. Tourist Brochures & Colour Printing A Specialty PRINTERS 180 TOWNSEND STREET, SYDNEY. N. S. TELEPHONE (902) 564-8245
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