Page 6 - With Alex John Boudreau, Cheticamp Island
ISSUE : Issue 32
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1982/8/1
before the '30s. There was no job for any? body. The young people had to move out. There was no starvation, because the peo? ple were all little farmers and little fishermen. They had plenty to eat. They had their eggs and they had their meat and they had their potatoes and they had their fish, and it didn't cost them anything, practically. But you don't live only with meat and fish and potatoes. All the other necessities of life--they couldn't even buy. That's why, when they talked of pover? ty, they always mentioned flour and molas? ses, because that's something they did not have. They needed kerosene to give them light. They required money, which they didn't have, or they needed a merchant who would furnish them during the winter with kerosene oil, provided they signed their next summer's catch of fish. During the de? pression there was no work, no money, and the farm products were not selling. I re? member encouraging a group of farmers in this area to produce chicken, because I Safety ami Siaiulliy Generators standby Generators are being widely used by businesses, industries, farmers and home-owners to provide electricity for the operation of their equipment during a power interruption. A generator is a definite asset when properly installed...BUT... it can create hazards for our linemen when improperly connected. Installation by a qualified electrician, plus inspection by the Power Corporation will ensure the safety of our employees and the protection of your equipment. If you already have a standby generator installed, the Power Corporation will gladly check the connections. New installations of course, require wiring permits and inspection. Call you local Power Corporation representative or write: Chief Electrical Inspector Nova Scotia Power Corporation Box 910, Halifax B3J 2W5 nova scotia power corporation knew that I could sell chicken in Halifax and Sydney from this area. And some of them were fairly good farmers to raise chicken. In the fall, two weeks before Christmas, they were slaughtering them. And I sold them. For a Grade A, the best quality chicken that I've ever seen--4 cents a pound! A 6-pound chicken, 24 cents. I saw the fishermen fishing lobsters for 2 cents a pound, in the '30s. Codfish, $1.25 for a hundred pounds--a cent and a quarter. That was rock bottom. And in some cases, it hardly paid their expenses. They still had to buy their gasoline to go out fish? ing. Which they bought from the merchants. And their catch of fish, especially the smaller boats, was very small. So there was very little revenue. And it was during that period that we were stupid enough to organize a credit union! It was a necessity. These people need a few dollars. We knew, if we were going to have a fishermen's cooperative, if we were ever to have a consumers' cooperative, a cooperative store, that those people, during certain periods of the year, would need some cash to prepare their fishing season or to prepare their farming season. So we needed an organiza? tion that would supply them with the necessary cash for a few months. And that organization must not be the merchants. It must be something that belongs to them. Otherwise, they would lose their identity, they would lose their control over themselves, over their lives. That was the whole idea, that was the whole philosophy which we preached. If you want to get the best out of your farming ,products, the best price, and the best price for your fish, you must have your organiza? tions . If you want your organiza? tions, you've got to get rid of the merchants. You don't want to depend on the merchants for the credit which you need to buy your fishing needs, your fishing gear, and your farm implements, and your fertiliz? er, that kind of stuff. So, we did. A credit union was founded. But it wasn't done over? night. During one full winter we had study clubs, little groups, 6, 7, 8 people getting together and studying. And we had pamphlets on credit unions and on the economy of the fisheries and on farm problems and all sorts of things, which we distributed, (You say we, but was it really just you?) No, no, no, we were quite a group. I supplied the literature and I organized the meet? ings. But there were a lot of people interested. (For the credit union idea, did you have very much resistance among the average person, the average farmer?) No, not at all. I don't think we
Cape Breton's Magazine