VOCL 012 – Our First Day in Moncton, New Brunswick – Canada’s Most Polite and Honest City

Twitter Show Summary: The NB Study Group’s 7th day on the road as part of the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.  Places visited included Neguac, Kouchibouguac, and Moncton. Intro Hi there!  Welcome to the 12th episode of the Voices of Canadian Leadership podcast. New logo – Website, FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, iTunes & […]

Written By chris

On June 16, 2013

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Show Summary: The NB Study Group’s 7th day on the road as part of the 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.  Places visited included Neguac, Kouchibouguac, and Moncton.


Hi there!  Welcome to the 12th episode of the Voices of Canadian Leadership podcast.

  • New logo – Website, FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, iTunes & Stitcher
  • PDFs for all episodes
  • App – submitted for Apple, Android next

VOCL Main Feature

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 7th day on the road as part of the 2012 GGCLC.  Let’s go back in time!

NB – Day 7 – 10 June 2012 – Moving On To Our Final City 

An overcast and gusty morning was the first thing that we saw that day, but it could not dampen our enthusiasm as we remembered the events of the previous evening. A kitchen will now be a staple of our entertaining repertoire. I believe that we spent most of the time on the road to Neguac (45 minutes away) talking about the great weekend.

For breakfast, it was back to business. We had a great primer on Acadian history from Léo-Paul Pinet. It was helpful to hear how the Acadian people (with a specific focus on New Brunswick) have come to where they are today. He also offered some cautionary advice that people need to start looking at the bigger picture and to look further into the future.

Getting to pick from delicious brunch offerings, we quickly shifted focus to have panel discussions with folks that we had been meeting over the past few days. We also had the opportunity to meet with members of the young leaders of the Acadian Peninsula. Getting split up into four groups, each table allowed the conversation to focus on the specific topics of interest. They were very interested to hear our perceptions of what we had seen – it’s sometimes helpful to have an outsider’s perspective. They are also using the experience over the past few days as a “dry run” for the upcoming “Les États Généraux”, a convention for young leaders.

We finally said goodbye to Suzanne, Keith, and Francesca. Perhaps due to the format of our visit (they stayed with us on the ground and on the bus the entire time), it felt like we were losing part of the family. We see much potential in the area and the people and have recommended to a few folks that they apply for the 2016 GGCLC.

Our penultimate location for the trip was a short stopover in Kouchibouguac National Park. Although the name was a mouthful for some, it proved to be a very informative trip about the area. We were expertly guided through one of the two national parks in New Brunswick by Camilla Vautour, a Parks Canada interpretive guide. She provided the history of the community and the conduct/impact of the expropriation of 228 households from their land to make the park. We then had a nice 1.2km walk (a welcome relief after much sitting) across the dunes to Kelly’s beach. We got to hear about the effects of the changing coastline and how nature is adapting. We finally went back inside to see a brand-new 20-minute video about the area – what a great family site for biking, hiking, canoeing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing (it’s open year round) and learning about nature. Although very picturesque, it does not appear that the park has a viable “business model” – revenues from visitors are only 25% of the cost of running the park.

Kouchibouguac National Park

Kouchibouguac National Park

After just over an hour of travel, we arrived at our final lodging area in New Brunswick – the University of Moncton. We had a little time before supper, so some chose to go out shopping. Others decided to have a little nap – probably a wise choice. We now understand why so many GGCLC alumni have stated that the experience is “intense” – although not physically demanding, there has been much information to hear, absorb, and reflect over the past week.

Our final event of the day was dinner with the Mayor of Moncton, George LeBlanc. After a pre-dinner wine and cheese (serenaded by two flutists) George provided numerous occasions on why Moncton was a world-class city. He even referred to Moncton being called North America’s most honest city – an article that can be found at Reader’s Digest can be examined for further details.

After a wonderful garden salad and tasty bowl of seafood chowder, several of the guests went up to the front to have a panel discussion on cultural leadership. The specific theme was the conjoined variables of Moncton and bilingualism vis-a-vis the arts. The panel included notable members Mark Chouinard, Dawn Arnold, Louise Imbeault, and Marshall Button. You know that you will receive some interesting perspectives when you have one person with the Order of Canada, two with the Order of New Brunswick, and another having a very successful career with Radio Canada and co-chairing the cultural council.

We got to hear of the challenges that Moncton faced when both Eaton’s and CN closed in the mid-80s, and how a tacit agreement between Anglophone and Francophone communities was formed to try to get out from under the tremendous burden of losing up to 6,000 jobs. Even today, the communities are always working on balance, compromise, and resolving conflict. When selecting plays for theaters, variable such as play types and languages are examined to ensure balance. Moncton also hosts cultural events where 30 world-renowned authors from both official languages can meet, discuss and interact with each other – these types of events help Moncton grow under both multilingualism and multiculturalism. There are still some gaps, however – an example was given where one of the panelists stated that they didn’t know there were rock stars in the other language.

Overall, bilingualism has been good for Moncton. Advancements have been noted in work, quality of life, salaries, schools and health. We did hear that there is still a problem with maintaining the French culture – when traveling to the western provinces, the rate of assimilation (Francophones self-identifying as Anglophones) can be as high as 50%. Although the figure used for Moncton was 5-10%, this is very troubling for the 250,000-strong Francophone population of New Brunswick.

It was a very interesting evening in the heart of bilingual New Brunswick. Everyone in our group speaks English, some are bilingual, and a few are multilingual. We are already seeing the cultural and linguistic effects of the province on our group – please, thank-you, hello, goodbye and “that’s so tasty!” are readily coming out in both official languages…


Breakfast at Chez Raymond

  • http://chezraymond.ca/
  • Leo-Paul Pinet (Director of the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation)
    • Similar to John F. Kennedy speech, people need to stop thinking about “me”, and start looking at the bigger picture.
    • Youth need to look at the next 20 years, not only for their demographic but for the peninsula as a whole.
    • Different areas have gained “garnish” due to differing politicians over the years.
    • 1967 “Equal Opportunity” program to ensure equal services provided across the province regardless of area “wealth” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Brunswick_Equal_Opportunity_program) – children in the south were allotted $342, north were allotted $154
  • Panel Discussion
    • Les États Généraux – full title is “États généraux des arts et de la culture dans la société acadienne du Nouveau-Brunswick” ( or Convention on arts and culture in New Brunswick’s Acadian society) –  more info can be found at the “Association acadienne des artistes professionnelle.s du Nouveau-Brunswick” (my translation is the New Brunswick Association of Professional Acadian Artists) – http://www.aaapnb.ca/english/AGlobalStrategy.pdf
    • Blog said 2016 GGCLC, now moved ahead to 2015 – www.leadershipcanada.ca

Kouchibouguac National Park

Kouchibouguac National Park Seating Area(Camilla Vautour in Green Jacket)

Kouchibouguac National Park Seating Area(Camilla Vautour in Green Jacket)

  • Camilla Vautour
    • One of the two national parks in NB (Fundy National Park is the other one)
    • Means “River of the Long Tides”.  Kouchibouguacsis means “Little Sister of the River of the Long Tides”.
    • Mi’kmaq tried to find the answer for why water tasted salty – the area is a floodplain for the Northumberland Strait.
    • The highest point is 30m tall – very flat park.
    • 60km of bike trails.
    • In addition to the expropriation of 228 households (1,000+ people), 10 villages also disappeared.  As of 2011, families who were expropriated have free access to the park.  (Link to the original article has been deleted.)
Sunil Johal and the Kouchibouguac Boardwalk

Sunil Johal and the Kouchibouguac Boardwalk

The Edge of New Brunswick

The Edge of New Brunswick


Université de Moncton

Dinner with the mayor, George Leblanc

  • Society “punches above the weight class”.
  • Many concerts choose this area ( the focal point of Maritimes), CFL games come here (I’m going to Montreal Alouettes vs Hamilton Tiger-Cats on 21 September – last day of summer).
  • World junior track & field championships, figure skating, and curling championships.
  • The best place to do business in North America.
  • Found to be North America’s most polite and honest city – as found by Reader’s Digest in 2008.
Catherine Dallaire (white jacket) at the Moncton Cultural Panel

Catherine Dallaire (white jacket) at the Moncton Cultural Panel

Cultural Panel Discussion

  • Past of not welcoming Francophones in the community, now Moncton officially (and effectively) a bilingual city.
  • Mark Chouinard (GM of Capitol Theatre, ECMA chairman, Order of Canada) (Link to the original article has been deleted.)
    • Always been bilingual.
    • Points raised in blog
  • Dawn Arnold – (councilor-at-large, chair of Frye Festival, a bilingual international literary festival, Order of NB)
    • Festival is bilingual – 30 authors from around the world, all prize winners (Pulitzer, Nobel).
    • Learned French in Grade 7.
  • Marshall Button – (Theatre artist “Lucien – New Brunswick’s Blue-Collar Philosopher” and running Capitol Theatre, Order of NB)
    • Discussed “Young Voyageur Program” program by Trudeau, went to Saskatchewan.
    • Jokes were made about Newfoundlanders and French Canadians.
    • Tuition cost $16k – when he went to school it cost $1500.
    • President of HubCap Comedy Festival (bilingual) – http://hubcapcomedyfestival.ca/
    • Interesting shift where French kids can’t speak English but the English kids can translate for them.
  • Louise Imbeault (Background in Radio-Canada, co-chair of Moncton Cultural Board)
    • 28k Francophones, 42k Anglophones in Moncton (VOCL note – stats on languages in Canada can be found on the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages – http://www.officiallanguages.gc.ca/html/stats_e.php).
    • Lived separately in church, school depending on birth language, but work was only in English.
    • Larger culture events made it possible for Moncton to evolve.
    • Did not happen overnight, but was driven by a passion for change.
  • Q&A

Resources and articles

  • Focussing on leadership and volunteering.  Interestingly, Google returns on searches featured a significant number of religious links.

Leadership: Working With Volunteers by Gary Nelson at the Gazza’s Corner blog

A great blog article regarding volunteer leadership considerations.  Remember, they’re not doing it for money!

“Rules of Engagement for Volunteers

There are a few key things we need to keep in mind regarding volunteers:

We need them! The world revolves around volunteer efforts.

They don’t have to be here.  They want to be here. At least, unless you drive them away.

They want to make a difference. This is why we volunteer.

They need to be respected and valued. We all do!

They need to be given something useful to do. Don’t give them idle work.

They are buying into the Vision. They will give heart and soul when they do.”


Volunteer Canada Website

Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement (2012 Edition) – PDF document.  Gives a great background introduction, and dives into guiding principles and organizational standards.  Finally, it provides advice on adopting and implementing the code (including checklists) within your organization.  Outstanding resource!

Original link has been deleted.

Articles on Volunteer Recruitment by EnergizeINC

Tagline: Especially for leaders of volunteers.  A meta site with hundreds of volunteer/leadership related articles, links, ebooks, etc.  Interestingly, their front page when I viewed it featured four books – one was titled “Model Volunteer Book”, another was “Handling Problem Volunteers”.  Another section is specifically focussed on a starter set of books for volunteer managers – funny enough, you can buy them all on their website!


If you have any suggestions for the resources and articles section, please let me know.

  • “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.  Australian Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, created a YouTube video regarding civilian police and Defence investigations into alleged sexual misconduct within the ADF.  A clear and unambiguous message if I’ve ever heard one – well said.  Think about it – what standards are YOU accepting

  • Resources and articles theme selected – I’m now the Coaching Coordinator for NCRA, should not significantly affect output.
  • Much time spent on front end as I’m going along (why wait), getting sufficiently mature so start switching to interviews phase (VOCL010)
  • Backlog of leadership articles – may focus on a resources and articles episode.
  • Happy Fathers’ Day!

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


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