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> Issue 69 > Page 5 - Wilfred Creighton & the Expropriations: Clearing Land for the National Park, 1936

Page 5 - Wilfred Creighton & the Expropriations: Clearing Land for the National Park, 1936

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1995/8/1 (301 reads)

had nothing, and he didn't have any prop? erty and his son was living in a house built with driftwood. Oh, it was something scandalous. There may be a picture. I sus? pect there's a picture. I can remember the old man--T. C. LeBlanc was talking to him and the old man couldn't speak English but he gave T. C. quite a harangue and then said, "Pas d'argent. Pas rien. Je suis fi- ni." ("No money. Never. I am finished.") He had no property that he owned outright and I had a hard job. I got a few hundred dollars to pay him. I was dealing with lawyers in Halifax and he had no land, he owned nothing.... (Do you think these people were better off as a result of being expropriated?) No. They were in a foreign environment. They had a way of life there. No, it was cruel moving people. If they had given them life tenancy, some would have left immediately and as they left (others) gradually would have gone. They wouldn't be much worse off. (Ken: I noticed from the photographs that some don't have curtains on the house.) Oh no, oh no. It was poverty-stricken. (Would they have had a little garden as well?) I don't think they did.... There are characteristics about the Acadi? ans that I admire. Generation after gener? ation, a man died and left a dozen chil? dren and they divided his property up by word of mouth. A great many of the men that were in the park were fishermen. They had a little wharf down in the water. They had a house lot. They had a little piece of meadowland, and they had a little piece of woodland. Very few of them had a de? scription that a surveyor could follow, but they would say, "Everybody knows where that land is." And everybody did know. And there never was a case with the Acadians trying to claim land that anybody else owned. Land ownership with them was sacred and if a man told you that was his land, all his neighbours agreed that it was. It just worried me to see people put off their land. That bothered me no end.... (Who would be making the final decision?) Well, the Attorney General was Minister of Lands and Forests, I had to report to him. I couldn't make a final settlement. That had to be approved in Halifax. That was one of the problems.... If I had been there with actual cash I really could have cheated the people. But you talk about a nebulous cheque that would come from Halifax and that slowed up negotiations quite a bit.... Those people weren't used to money. I re? member one old man from Cap Rouge, he got his cheque and he went to the bank and he cashed the cheque and got the actual mon? ey. He took it home in his hands and showed it to his wife. Then having showed
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