RD January Letters 2018

Unapologetic apologist?
RD: In the December issue of RD, the article on Grande-Digue (“Community Day in Grande-Digue,” by Janet Wallace, pg. 40) referenced an event that happened more than 250 years ago. The implication being that the evil British unjustly treated the Acadians. That drum is still being pounded today. There never is any reference to the complicity of the Acadians in the Expulsion. A brief account of the events that led up to that event of 1755-1764 might be in order. 
    The 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, which concluded the conflict (known as the Seven Years’ War), ceded Acadia to Great Britain while allowing the Acadians to keep their lands. Over the next 45 years, however, the Acadians refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain. During the same period, they also participated in various military operations against the British, and maintained supply lines to the French fortresses of Louisbourg and Fort Beausejour. As a result, the British sought to eliminate any future military threat posed by the Acadians and to permanently cut the supply lines they provided to Louisbourg by removing them from the area.
    During this time, what is now the eastern U.S. were British colonies. Britain and France were continually fighting battles at various locations throughout eastern North America. Granted, the British did not distinguish between those Acadians who were neutral and those who continued fighting. 
    During both World Wars, the U.S. and Canadian governments treated German and Japanese citizens similarly in that they were all considered potential enemies. Today the rhetoric coming from the White House would have one believe that all Muslims are terrorists and all Mexicans are criminals. Sadly, many citizens of both Canada and the U.S. believe it. Hindsight is said to be 20-20, but in a time of war does one have the luxury of treating members of enemy people groups as individuals?
Wayne Sabine
Tilley, N.B.

(Jeez, Wayne, there was no drum being pounded in Janet’s story about a grassroots historical society in a little community on Shediac Bay. That the Acadians were deported by the British is a well-established fact. You seem to be arguing that this was justifiable, on strategic grounds. I’m not going to go there, but I hope we can agree, with the benefit of hindsight, that viewing certain ethnic communities as “enemy people groups” is a form of evil that tends to bubble up in times of conflict. Many Japanese Canadians on the West Coast had their farms and fishing boats seized and liquidated by the government during the Second World War. The internment of these people – many of them Canadian citizens by birth – is now understood to have been driven by racism and paranoia rather than legitimate security concerns, and the episode is rightly viewed as a dark mark on our history. DL)

Grapes for groundhog gripes
RD: That was a fine article by Gary Saunders on his groundhog challenge (“Winter woodchuck woes,” RD Dec. 2017, pg. 25). These critters sun themselves a few feet away, look you in the eye, and then feed on our flowers, right here in the city ... not nearly on the scale of the damage experienced by Mr. Saunders, but a nuisance, nevertheless. 
    A live trap with the recommended cantaloupe as bait was tried a few times – to no avail. Then, one day around noon, I spied him gnawing on some blooms. I grabbed the trap, made a short bait trail with what I had readily available, which happened to be apple and grapes, and placed the trap on the deck where I thought he would return. I had him within the hour. I can’t confirm what attracted the culprit, but it seems it was the grapes, as they were gone and the apple slices remained. We took a short drive to his new abode, the UNB woodlot. 
Colin Farrar
Fredericton, N.B.

Name that herring
RD: In your November RD, Dan Hogan was interested in Gaspereau (“Letters to RD – I quit,” pg. 10). Years ago there was a very lucrative Gaspereau fishery on the Gaspereau River in the Gaspereau Valley in back of Wolfville. I do not know if it still operates or not. An inquiry might provide the information. If not, some of the local people may still dip some for their own use.
    The same fishery existed on the Medway River in Greenfield in Queens County around May 24 each year. Fish there were known as kiack. 
    He might be able to dip some in the Annapolis River at the right time of the year, if he can find a large rock with a water eddy behind it where fish like to lay. The river is also known for its shad.
In the Valley they are called Gaspereau, on the South Shore kiack; for export, their proper name is alewives.
Leon M. Robertson
Dartmouth, N.S.

High and heartfelt yields
RD: Thank you for Rural Delivery all these years. I have always enjoyed it, but your recent essay “High Yields for Everyone” (by Shannon Jones, RD Nov. 2017, pg. 14) went straight to my heart. 
    Her attitude to all the other beings on this earth (even blackflies!) corresponds to my own. Only since I began to understand the true meaning of Darwin’s phrase “survival of the fittest” have I realized the great mistake humanity has made down through the ages, in trying to adapt the environment to our needs, instead of fitting ourselves into our surroundings. Over the last two centuries we have intensified that error to the point where now we find ourselves in a “ninth-inning, two down” situation, if you will excuse the baseball comparison (the World Series is on at the moment!).
    I hope that the article strikes a note to all who read it; it is the biggest concern all of us have to face in the next few decades.
    As a side note: I grew up in a small village about 20 miles south of London, U.K. I loved my environment and appreciated all the living creatures in it. One year there was an influx of a strange caterpillar – a white-black and yellow striped one, never seen before. Milkweed was not a wildflower in our part of the country, although it does grow in the southwest of England. These caterpillars attached themselves to a particular kind of wild parsley, which up until then had only been the home of a reddish insect, possibly some kind of fly or beetle. I only got to see the caterpillars – nor did I ever see a Monarch butterfly – and the next year, they were gone, never to return!
    This was in the mid-1930s. I was too young at the time to understand how peculiar the one-year influx was, so never questioned it or followed up on it at all.
    We never get Monarchs in Dartmouth, alas! I just thought you might be interested in a strange tale from a far-away land (and era!).
    With thanks for your article and all the very best wishes.
(Ms.) Obee Benjamin
Dartmouth, N.S.