VOCL 011 – Lobsters and Leadership in the Acadian Peninsula


Written By chris

On June 9, 2013

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Show Summary: The NB Study Group’s 6th day on the road as part of the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.  Places visited in the Acadian Peninsula included Caraquet, Tracadie-Sheila, and Shippagan.


Hi there!  Welcome to the 11th episode of the Voices of Canadian Leadership podcast.  Charlotte wanted to mention 3 hands – full attribution goes to her.

  • Minor backend tweaking of the website.
  • Canadian Bacon Cookhouse – awesome

Summary of GGCLC so far:

  • A broad range of speakers from academia, labour, business, and non-profit.
  • Already started touring NB, speaking with non-profit, businesses and political figures (including the Premier and Lt Gov.)

We will now look at the main topic of the show – the New Brunswick Study Group’s 6th day on the road as part of the 2012 GGCLC.

Let’s go back in time!

NB – Day 6 – A Tour of the Acadian Peninsula Culminating With A Kitchen Party to Remember

The weekend started off with a luxurious 8 AM start. We were introduced to our new bus driver, Gilles. His bus appears to be in great shape and well suited to allow us to finish our New Brunswick journey. Having been on so many different buses, we hope we don’t “break” this one as well.

After a five minute drive, we arrived at our first stop of the day. Eating breakfast at the Boulangerie Grains de folie, located in a building that is over 100 years old, we enjoyed casserole omelet dishes, fresh fruit, and ever-present coffee. We also had the opportunity to listen to several influential locals.

Boulangerie Grains de folie

Boulangerie Grains de folie

Our first speaker, Louise Blanchard (Councillor), commenced with her vision that the Acadian Peninsula is nationally recognized as the cultural capital of Canada. Not only does it have great artists, but there are lots of fine dining centres. It is the home to the only French-language newspaper in NB.  The area is the largest homogenous population of Acadians and sees itself as a key driver of Acadian culture. 

Andre Gauzeau, the Mayor’s Council Representative (14 mayors of places with 500-4,000 people), described how they collectively rule by consensus.  Although achieving unanimity can slow down the process, the final result creates a strong united front. Interestingly, the Mayor of Maisonette is 19 years old; the youngest mayor in Canada.  He then went into some more complexities of their arrangement. Some services are shared across the municipalities, others aren’t. Finally, in the spirit of initiative, they are looking at amalgamating smaller regions with the larger towns – trying to be proactive instead of having a solution imposed upon them by the provincial government.

Lorraine Hache & Claude Bergeron, the owners of the restaurant, moved back here from Moncton.  They see much potential in the region.  They were both guidance councilors who knew nothing about the restaurant business, but saw that there was a need in the community and decided to take positive action – the core essence of an entrepreneur.  Their journey has been complicated, so Lorraine gave us the “high five” principles that she used when speaking with youth. 1. Always remember that change is constant – consistently adapt since the future is not predictable.  2.  Follow your heart.  3. Focus on the journey.  4. Stay learning.  5. Be an ally (don’t just identify your allies).

We then proceeded to the Caraquet Industrial Park. Located in what was once a textile plant, three levels of government funding and commercial investment raised the $6m capital necessary to transform the building. It is now a facility that hosts offices and industrial bays. Although it sounds like many industrial parks, what we found made this one special is that the luncheon room is a common facility – this facilitates informal discussions amongst the various businesses and creates an environment ripe for collaboration and innovation. We were shown offices, an ice-carving business, and a large storage tank manufacturing bay.

Caraquet Industrial Park - Ice Carving

Caraquet Industrial Park – Ice Carving

We were then brought into another office in the complex to meet Claire (of Paquetville) and hear about the Collectivitie Ingenieuse de la Peninsula Acadienne (CIPA), a non-profit that uses technology to strengthen community development.  Her focus is on e-health, including programs for the prevention of family violence.  Although there was not much time, she gave us great insight into the value of resource pooling amongst service providers.

Right next door, Philip Cormier (President of Corbo Engineering), talked about his business that has 17 employees.  He creates geodesic domes and developed the Ovation seating sys m.  He also provides engineering services to energy companies in the West. He finds that it’s not too hard to recruit the necessary people; they all seem to want to come back.  There appears to be a synergy being generated into the area – exciting times!

We got back on the bus to head to Tracadie-Sheila (T-S). There, we went to the Restaurant Etoile de la Mer. Many chose to have lobster club sandwiches as we listened to presentations about the region. Mayor Aldeoda Losier describes it as a nice area of the peninsula; they are blessed to be here.

Marcel Brideau, the regional Economic Director, ensures that he (and the community) welcomes businesses and people to the area.  The downtown area has approximately 5,000 people, but through amalgamation, the community is looking to grow to 16,000 this year. In terms of retaining/attracting youth, they are seeking to ameliorate the local nightlife.

Building on Marcel’s introduction of amalgamation, Nadine Robichaud described the political and administrative nature of the region. New Brunswick is only one of two provinces that has Local Service Districts (LSD) – similar to a municipality except that there is no legal status, and they require extra administration efforts from the province. This area is looking at taking the 18 LSD and fusing with the existing T-S municipality. The vote, to be completed through Elections NB, is scheduled for the end of this year. Assuming success, there are already discussions underway on coming up with a post-amalgamation name (notionally Grande Tracadie-Sheila). This will not be a rubber stamp exercise, however; opponents are now starting to “come out of the woodwork”.

Nadine Robichaud

Nadine Robichaud

We then went on a tour of the Cine Atlantik movie studio, hosted by Daniel Gaudreault. Six years ago the studio was built inside a former steel mill.  Being High Definition equipped, they are looking at several avenues for expansion. They want to develop more live-to-tape shows, building on their ability to host 3,000 people inside the studio. They are also looking at furthering their partnerships with the town, the Community College, and the province. Although they were not filming when we got there, “Now and Again” was filmed here last week.  

We then went back on the bus to get a driving tour of the local industrial park. They have prepared streets for lots of expansion, and there are preparing another 200 acres of land. 

Staying on the bus, we proceeded to our next port of call, Shippagan.

Shippagan wharf

Shippagan wharf

We had the opportunity to tour the Jean-Denis Martin, a new crab fishing vessel. Co-owned by brothers Martin and Jean-Dennis Noel, it is 65′ long, is 108 tons, and is designed for trips of three to five days duration. A good day can result in 200-300 crabs getting into the “pots” that are 7′ in diameter, and that have been “soaked” for 12-24 hours. Bait tends to be herring, mackerel, or squid depending on what is most economical at the time. They discussed sustainability issues since there are minimum dimensions allowed for a catch (95mm) and that they throw back the soft-shelled crabs since they are “next year’s crabs”. The fishing season starts mid-April and lasts 12 weeks. They assess, however, that as of today 98% of all fishermen have already fished to their quota. Martin recalled that last year the season lasted only 3 weeks since the fishing was good – it’s very interesting to have a boat, costing over $1,000,000, only in use for 6% of the year.

Crab Fishing Vessel - Jean-Denis Martin

Crab Fishing Vessel – Jean-Denis Martin

Tiny spaces onboard the fishing vessel

Tiny spaces onboard the fishing vessel

Our next stop was at the Shippagan Campus of the University of Moncton (U of M). The presentations kicked off with Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau (U of M) mentioning that her campus is the smallest of the group, yet employs 97 employees and has a budget of $11m. Granting degrees since 1960, their current focus is on information management and coastal zones. It has an international French-language centre (only school in Atlantic Canada certified by Languages Canada.) In cooperation with national and international partners, they are investing in infrastructure and new research facilities. She believes that students realizing that there are no jobs in the traditional (resource-based) fields, so there is greater interest in post-secondary education. 

Universite de Moncton - Shippegan Campus

Universite de Moncton – Shippegan Campus

Michel Doucet of the New Brunswick Community College gave us his vision of post-secondary education. In cooperation with U of M, he is looking at fusing products to maximize offerings and synergies. They have a 5-step program (30 years in the making) to merge the university and college to one organization – this project would be similar to the one we had seen in Edmunston 2 days ago.

Around the corner from the university is the Coastal Zones Research Institute, the largest of its kind in the province. Under the guidance of Gastien Godin, it is a private non-profit institution affiliated with U of M, and is oriented towards the viable development of coastal zones and their development. One focus area is that of nutritional analysis. Many companies either want confirmation of nutritional value for labeling, others want to ensure that minimum quality standards are set, others require confirmation for cross-border shipping. With a lab in the local area, it is much easier for local businesses to get a turnaround in 2-3 days, instead of the 7+ days (and increased cost) that could be experienced if shipped out of province. They are looking at numerous technologies to advance extraction of key nutrients – one example we saw was that of sea cucumbers being used in the creation of trap bait. Our guides were very passionate about their research facility and how it contributes to the community at large.

Continuing to take advantage of stretching our legs, we went for a quick walk to the New Brunswick Aquarium and Marine Centre. This facility, under the shadow of a nineteenth-century lighthouse, has over 100 species of fish and invertebrates in 31 tanks, it was a great opportunity to see what comprises the resources for the Gulf of Saint Lawrence area. There was a “petting tank” with sea cucumbers and even a blue crab! For many, the highlight of the visit was the introduction of the harbour seals – they seemed to be having lots of fun rolling around in the water and on the deck.

NB Aquarium and Marine Centre

NB Aquarium and Marine Centre

Our evening was capped by supper at “La Trappe a Homard”. Owned by Shelley Robichaud, whom we had met the night before, it is a house where the main floor has been reserved for “kitchen parties”. This was an interesting concept because the family actually lives in the building, but on the top floor and the basement. The meal consisted of shrimp salad, mussels, lobster (how there can be any lobster left in the region after we have come through will be a mystery), and cheesecake. We were then introduced to the owner’s daughter and her friends, who proceed with a wide variety of music. With the guitar, bass, piano, violin, and even the spoons playing up-tempo songs, we were very quickly kicking up our heels in merriment. We are really enjoying down-home hospitality!

La Trappe a Homard

La Trappe a Homard

All too soon the evening came to a close, but not without memories that will last a very long time.

One response to the blog

EricPrud’Homme says: Great photos of our tour done by a local photographer, Pat Gauvin: http://www.flickr.com/photos/boscomedias/

Breakfast – Grains de Folie

  • http://www.grainsdefolie.ca/
  • Louise Blanchard, Councillor for Quartier no 3, Caraquet
    • Newspaper – l’Acadie Nouvelle
    • The cultural capital of Canada in 2003 and 2009
    • Festival Acadien de Caraquet, started in 1963, stepping stone for the arts.  Celebrating the 50th anniversary this year – 1 to 15 August 2013.  Think about it – these people know how to throw a party!!!
    • Many international movies are screened here.
    • A fisherman’s town.
  • Andre Gauzeau, Mayors’ Council Representative
  • Lorraine Haché & Claude Bergeron
    • Points raised in the blog

Greater Caraquet Industrial Complex

Daniel Landry

  • Business can only rent (don’t own), with funds going to the city.
  • Has many different businesses in the building – happy when people move on since it indicates that the business has grown sufficiently.
  • Fees – in the front (office) different from the rear (industrial), whether they want “turn-key” or establish their own space.
  • In the last census, Caraquet has grown by 13 people – first time in a long time that the population hasn’t decreased.
  • The tax base is $300m, grew tax base by 32%.

Caraquet Industrial Park

Caraquet Industrial Park

Collectivitie Ingenieuse Peninsule Acadienne (CIPA)

  • Claire Leblanc
  • 2002 budget was $175K, now have revenue of $7M – 400 partners across the country.
  • Villagesante.ca website recognizes where you are coming from (my landing page was NS.

Corbo Genie Conseil

  • Philip Cormier (President)
  • “Crow engineering” in English
  • Ovation seating (mobile bleachers)
  • Not many people from Fredericton come past Miramichi.
  • Culture and language appear to be the greatest divide.


Lunch at L’Etoile de la Mer

  • Mayor – Aldeoda Losier
    • Called “Tracadiens” when joined 20 years ago – hard to find new name
  • Economic Director – Marcel Brideau
    • Businesses are retail, IT tourism and summer programs.
  • Nadine Robichaud (Robichaud Brokerage and Consulting)
    • The mayor is the minister in Fredericton, 250 municipalities (Local Service Districts) in NB, 18 in the area surrounding T-S, that don’t have a legal entity.
    • Starting to work on the amalgamation project.
    • Looking at a big municipality divided into 2 urban and 6 rural sectors (8 total).
    • By ensuring that every municipality has a say on the council, there will be a push to ensure that every area received services.  60% from the rural area, 40% from “old city”.
    • Will be a legal vote done through Elections NB (50% +1).
    • LSDs are very expensive for NB.  Province will save lots of money (don’t know how much).
    • 48% have never gone beyond grade 9 (older people in the community; younger people (fully educated) have moved away).

Cine Atlantik Studios

  • Daniel Gaudreault
  • Is a television-cinema multi-functional studio.  At 12,000 square feet, it’s the only HD film studio east of Montreal.
  • Want to develop commercials.
  • Have green or blue screen.
  • Looking at adapting to be hosted inside but making it look like it was held outside.

Cine Atlantik movie studio

Cine Atlantik movie studio


Tour of “Jean-Denis Martin” fishing boat

The Jean-Denis Martin's Galley

The Jean-Denis Martin’s Galley

Soy Capitan, Soy Capitan - Gouled Hassan Action Shot

Soy Capitan, Soy Capitan – Gouled Hassan Action Shot

Ovatek liferaft

Ovatek liferaft

University and CCNB

  • Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau (U of M) – http://www.umoncton.ca/umcs
    • Small campus doing specific high-level research (young professors) – growing almost exponential.
    • No problems getting professors and researchers – they feel they can have a good quality of life.
    • Challenge is attracting students into the region – 60% international, more from Quebec than local.
    • Proximity can be a driver for creating first-generation university students.
  • Michel Doucet (CCNB)
    • Merging university and CCNB – Edmunston has two campuses joined by common facilities; Shippagan would be one overall campus, but with separate programs.
    • The project is not only for the peninsula but for the entire northeast.  Campbellton, Bathurst and the Acadian Peninsula (Three CC with a focus on one University).
    • Acadians have a much-focused vision – if they want it, they will make it happen.

Coastal Zones Research Institute

  • Guides were Nadia Tchoukanova (lab) and Dr. Jacques Gagnon (scientific director)
  • “The Institute encourages a multidisciplinary approach that focuses on three main areas of research: aquaculture, fishery and marine products, and peat and peatlands. A fourth research orientation relating to the sustainable development of coastal zones is currently taking shape.”

Nadia Tchoukanova

Nadia Tchoukanova

NB Aquarium and Marine Centre

  • Interesting knot-tying demonstration.

Supper at La Trappe a Homard

  • These two latter floors are not “barred off” so it truly feels like a home.
  • Lobster (un-cracked)
  • Entertainment was the owner’s daughter and her friends – the band’s name is “La Trappe a Homard”.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Trappe-à-Homard/134929643226070
  • The restaurant has liquor license for unusual business model (weren’t going to issue initially)

La Trappe a Homard - Interior

La Trappe a Homard – Interior

La Trappe a Homard - The Band

La Trappe a Homard – The Band

La Trappe a Homard - The Band 2

La Trappe a Homard – The Band 2

Leadership Articles

This week – articles focussing on leadership and youth

“Restoring Faith in Leadership” by Lynda Gratton at Forbes.com

Why some business school students lack trust in the leadership of large corporations. Main issues surrounded the lack of decision-making transparency, inadequate engagement of stakeholders (ethics and trust), and leaders not “doing as they say.”


“Leadership through the eyes of a teenager” by AJ Oosthuizen at News24

An open letter to the current leadership in South Africa.  “I believe that these four pillars, Harmony, Truth, Faith, and Hope, should be our and our leaders’ guidelines when fixing our crumbling society.”

The original article link is no longer available

“Collaboration and cultural awareness essential in next generation of leaders” by Richard Boggis-Rolfe at The Guardian

Handing over the leadership reigns to the next generations.  “There are two fundamental ways in which leadership will have to change. It will need to become more collaborative, and it will need to be more culturally aware.  When asked which three qualities they looked for when identifying future leaders, most executives said emotional intelligence, followed closely by flexibility and people skills.”


I’m Chris Hache, asking you to be VOCL for a better Canada


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