Over the last two days, I’ve posted letters (here and here) from residents of Isle Madame who complain that media accounts of lobster poacher Philip Boudreau’s disappearance tell less than half the story.
They portrayed Boudreau, who had a long but mostly non-violent criminal record, as a menacing figure in Petit-de-Grat, travelling the community by night, stealing lobster from licensed fishermen, and threatening violence against any who objected. While not condoning the actions of Twin Maggies’ crewmen, they say the fishermen snapped after suffering years of abuse at Boudreau’s hands.
But Boudreau also has friends and family in Petit-de-Grat, devastated at his killing, determined to defend him. Today is their turn.
One of yesterday’s correspondents referred causticly to an ex-nun in the community who portrayed Boudreau as a martyr. Marie-Louise Sampson responds:
To one particular sarcastic person who could not find enough guts to identify himself or herself pertaining to their comments about me. Their beef is that I am an ex-nun trying to paint Philip Boudreau as a Saint.
Nothing is any further from the truth. I am simply telling you and all others that Philip was a human being, who was created and loved by God as much as you are. Maybe with greater compassion for him as he was a sick person.
Silver Donald Cameron did some research on Philip and was told that he had been diagnosed as being bi-polar. Philip was a human being who had been rejected by many people in life, however, the part that most people cannot grasp is the fact that he was not always the bad boy and whatever demonized names that some wish to give him. He was rejected by many people as he was growing up without the proper help that he should have been given.
I do not know who wrote those comments about me and to tell you the truth, I am not anxious to meet you… Your language and demeanour says it all…. I have a conscience, a heart that beats, compassion, and a lot of respect for the late Philip Boudreau. You are not a Saint, neither am I, nor Philip or anyone else on this earth….
Philip was not always what he had become. People responsible for this know who they are, many of them who ARE LOSING SLEEP AT NIGHT THROUGH GUILT TRIPS. Society has failed him, at school, he was bullied, he was a child starving for love, expecting that maybe, just maybe, someday someone would have chosen to let him know that in his “own little way”, he too was SPECIAL!
If I placed a white sheet of paper in front of you, made a line in the middle, [put] Philip’s name on the left and those responsible for the Barbaric Fate that he has met on the sea off Isle-Madame. You would get a huge surprise! Philip was very much liked by many. The greater amount of votes would go to Philip.
Why do you suppose that his Parole Officer of many years and her mother travelled all the way from New Brunswick to attend his funeral service? Why did many of his fellow prisoners attended? Someone saw the good side of Phillip. The church was filled to capacity, had he been such a devil as he is pictured by some, the church would have been empty.
Silver Donald made the same point about Philip Boudreau’s well-attended funeral in an exchange with me on Twitter. I believe this amounts to a misreading of rural funeral etiquette in Nova Scotia. Attendance at the funeral of a young resident died violently under horrendous circumstances is not necessarily a mark of affection. Going to the funeral is just what you do in such a case. It’s a time for setting aside grievances.
An admirer A cousin of Philip Boudreau writes:
I think your articles are completely misleading, you are trying to take the attention off of the real situation at hand. This was a MURDER out of cold blood, regardless of the type of man Phillip was (which by the way he was an excellent man, that is why his funeral was packed with people who love and cherish him, that is also why people had to stand up at his funeral and some even outside, no awful human being would have that much support.. he was a terrific man ). Phillip may have made many mistakes in his life but he did not deserve what happened to him. I believe you should stop with your bullshit articles that make him seem like a completely different person then he really was, the man was tortured and then they tied him to an anchor and let him drown to death. They are sick disgusting individuals. Let Phillip and his beautiful soul rest in peace!!!!
Tara Boudreau, Philip’s niece, writes:
I find if funny that people can bad talk the dead and clearly have no respect what so ever for the Boudreau family and what they had to go through and what they’re still going through, these people have written letters and are clearly cowards cause they have to be anonymous if they were telling the truth they wouldn’t have to be anonymous these cowards fail to mention how after lobster season was over James would get Phillip to poach him lobster so he would have a few feeds over the winter…
At this point, Ms. Boudreau’s letter makes a series of allegations against James Landry I have chosen not to publish. I have not heard them from any of the many Isle Madame residents who have written Contrarian about this issue, they are impossible for me to verify, and I am not inclined to believe them without evidence.
Her letter continues:
They used [Philip] to there benefit until they had no use for him anymore and I hope [Landry] rots in jail where he belongs cause he’s a monster and killed someone’s son, uncle, and brother and I hope Phillip haunts them till there heart stops beating in there chest just like Phillips stopped June 1st.
A correspondent who describes himself as “a local citizen/fishermen [who] knew both Phillip and James very well writes:
It amazes me how all these stories keep portraying Phillip as the bad guy here. James is far from an angel himself, my father was a fishermen for years and always told me stories about James.
This writer, too, makes a series of allegations against James Landry that I have chosen not to publish. I have not heard them from anyone else, they differ from Tara Boudreau’s claims, and I have no way of verifying them, nor any basis for crediting them. The anonymous writer continues:
I’m not saying Phillip was an angel which I knew he wasn’t but he was the type of guy that wouldn’t hurt anyone, his treats were just that treats about harming people. Local people knew he needed money so that’s why the stealing happened and traps cut. But as for James he brought all that on to himself.
I’m just tired of hearing everyone bashing Phillips name and people need to know the truth about both individuals just not half truths to portray one worst then the other.
Michelle Cole writes:
I should not be surprised with the back lash from what happened to Philip Boudreau but what I am surprised about is how people hide behind a letter. As someone who lived on the island I know all involved but one (Dwayne) and I will tell you this not one of these people are saints and all have a tarnish past but some were caught and have a record while the others managed to due so and get away with it!
I believe that an Island is now divided if it hadn’t been before with the verdict. I myself believe the verdict was very light for what happened to Philip but I am glad James did not walk away scot free. Now with three more trials to come it will only get worse.
You all want to point fingers and make yourself feel better by bringing up a person’s past to justify taking another persons life, this is very sad and if this is the case there should be more people lives taken cause I am sure and I know that Philip is not the only person who made life hard for people on the island.
I also keep hearing the statement ” well everyone has a breaking point” I could scream when I hear and read this! Any person knows right from wrong and we can control our emotions even if we get irate.
So to everyone I say this, you have your views and opinions and you are entitled to them but remember not one person involved here is innocent! So as you want to bash Philip about how bad he was he never took a life and that in itself I believe makes those 4 people just as bad if not worse than him.
So to all of you who still live on the island I would urge you to stop pointing fingers and stop trying to make someone better than the other cause it’s nothing but BS and try to rebuild a broken community where you see each other every day. This is just my 2 cents.
A woman who knows everyone involved in the Petit-de-Grat tragedy writes:
My son followed the same path as Philip and I pray loosing his friend thought him a lesson. I always told him “you can only cheat life so many times before it comes get you with a vengeance” as in Philip’s case.
My point isn’t about who was more right or more wrong between the tragedy. But, the system does suck. I’ve asked for help so many times and got no where’s.
This community made Philip, that includes James!!! He too paid Philip to cut traps and James did his own share too. None involved are angels, but if the law would do its job maybe this wouldn’t have happened. Cause you see, I have a Philip of my own, my son. He could have been with him, he could have been killed too. No mother should see know or hear how her son was brutally killed.
My heart is with the families especially those young kids that will know how there father’s took care of business.
Thank you for listening .
Tomorrow: On the ethics of publishing anonymous comments.