The savage attack on a small fishing boat by the much larger Twin Maggies near the mouth of Petit de Grat harbour in Cape Breton on June 1, 2013 left a small town horrified and scared. Four people have been charged in relation to the incident that resulted in the death of 43-year-old lobsterman Phillip Boudreau.
I grew up in a small fishing outport where fisherman cautiously guarded their intellectual property. The information they had accumulated after years of fishing on the same grounds in Fortune Bay. There was never any outright competition but everyone watched everyone else. They watched to see how low in the water boats were, how many car-pots were tied up at the wharf and where other fisherman were fishing.
They were always a few rules that everyone understood. You did not rob from one of your own and you respected other fishermen's claim to traditional births, marks and berths. Occasionally, you would hear grumbling that someone was hauling some one elses pots, which was sure to warrant retribution. Nothing said you had to like a fella, but only the lowest of the low would break these rules. Neighbors counted on neighbors, there was always a code of respect.
Small towns are more likely to have residents whose families have lived there for generations and often have rocky histories. If something happened a long time ago to spread bad blood between the two, the current population may well continue the fighting, especially if it's over something still relevant such as land or property.
So the story of the incident Petit de Grat harbour was of great interest to me. What would drive these lobstermen to take the life of another? Was it jealousy, greed or for the love of another women or a man?
It turns out that the code might have been broke, The first of four people to go to trial for murder was Joseph James Landry, 67. He was found guilty of manslaughter yesterday after pleading innocent to Second Degree Murder.
He admitted to his role, telling police during his interrogations that he had been taunted by Boudreau for years. " I wanted to destroy him...I was seeing black. I was so mad.” he stated. He claimed Boudreau had been cutting his lines and gear.
On June 1st, the Twin Maggies rammed Boudreau's boat three times until it capsized. Landry admits to firing four shots from a rifle at the man, one of which hit him in the leg. The Twin Maggies towed the smaller vessel out to sea and Boudreau's body was never found.
One man is dead, four others will serve time in jail. The impact on the community and the families of all involved will never be the same. What an incredible, and preventable tragedy.
I am reminded of a story from the folklore of Fortune Bay about a schooner from St. Jacques. The story of the Marion is told through a song by Simani. The banking schooner set sail from St. Jacques, for St. Pierre on June 10, 1915. The vessel and crew were never seen again
The ships Captain Ike Jones had a feud going with a French Captain Pierre Maurice. Many have speculated that the French captain had made good on his threat to end the life of Captain Ike Jones, but it was never proven.
It is amazing that within these fairly quaint, rural towns full of nice loving people - there lurks hot button issues that can lead to cold blooded murder.