Tuesday, February 27, 2007

.As soon as the federal government became involved in the Wilbert Coffin affair, it ceased being a case of probable unfair and unjust principles that were levelled against a defendant. It would fast become a political football between the province of Quebec, and the federal government of Canada, with the United States of America standing by ready to gobble up the spoils of what remained. This statement can now be easily proven. Documented proof still exists to this day that substantiates that claim.
It is no longer a secret that premier Maurice Duplessis of Quebec hated The Right Honourable Louis St. Laurent, the prime minister of Canada. It is also no secret that St. Laurent carried a hatred just as large for Duplessis. The American administration in Washington DC knew this, and they would use these facts behind the scenes to foster their own agenda with reference to Canada. They would do it smoothly, they would do it diligently, all the while making it appear that it was Ottawa who had smoothed out the edges. If the boys in Ottawa could be manipulated into a situation where they looked good to themselves, the electorate in Canada would hopefully look favourable at them again as election time was looming.
Prime Minister St. Laurent, and his band of loyals known as the federal cabinet must at all costs appear unified. It was paramount, affairs must be carried out accordingly. It was imperative. If the liberal government under St. Laurent was to have a chance of another term in Ottawa, the electors in Quebec must be kept onside, with or without the personal support of Duplessis.
One must consider here, this period of Canadian history and the way that it was put together would stand out as the very catalyst in the drafting of an accord affecting the two largest trading partners on the planet. The United States Of America was not about to sit with their engines in idle. Let's face it. They had the most to lose.
Canada had what the USA needed most, that was resources. This was post Second War, and the half way point of the century. There was an even bigger fish to fry. In 1954, Canada and The United States had embarked upon a joint venture known as The St. Lawrence Seaway. This would open both countries to vast untold fortunes in both importing and exporting. As is hoped with any vast venture such as this project, both partners would hopefully emerge as winners, except it was Canada who gave up the most to achieve the goal. This was another reason that the USA would tread carefully in her quest to control. Canadian authorities must feel that the American administration was bowing to them.
You may be wondering what all of this has to do with the Wilbert Coffin affair. That is a fair question. From this point forward, you are going to be introduced to a new cast of characters with reference to the Wilbert Coffin affair. You will see how the above ties in directly with
Regina Vs Coffin. It will appear to be a tangled web of deceit, manipulation, and corruption. Trust me, it is all of those. I also caution you. There will be parts of this that will require an indepth reading and discovery by yourselves, but if you take the time, you will see the true picture emerge. If you are not prepared to do this, then you may be wasting your time. You must remember, this was not put together fifty plus years ago in such a way that generations down the road could easily figure it out. Clearly, it was meant to deceive. Here is my documented report, although a nastier more cynical person than myself might have titled the proceeding "The United States Of America and Regina Vs Coffin" instead of simply Regina Vs Coffin. It is now necessary that we go back into time and work forward.
Having failed to gain a new trial for Wilbert Coffin, his defense lawyers, Francois Gravel, and Arthur Maloney had made the decision to petition the federal cabinet to review the case and render a decision based on that review. The date was September, 1955. Other than a motion to approve a pay raise for themselves, politicians are not known to be expedient. The Coffin affair would be no exception. They did not know a lot about it, and anyway, it was something that had taken place down in eastern Quebec in Duplessis country. True, they wanted to look good to the people, but no matter which way they leaned, there would be a force against them. They would avoid the wrath of Duplessis if at all possible, as otherwise, they would be in a double jeopardy situation, and not a nice position to be in.
This is where it begins to get a bit complicated. Up until now most Canadians familiar with the Wilbert Coffin case had heard of the displeasure expressed by the United States of America for three of its citizens being murdered in Quebec. True, they were upset, and of course had good reason to be. The United States Ambassador to Canada, the Honourable John Foster Dulles had touted the theory to Duplessis and to St. Laurent that the affair would have grave consequences on the tourist business, especially, from the Federation of American Sportsmen. It would have that effect to be certain, however, it went much deeper. It went much deeper with St. Laurent and the cabinet, however, Duplessis would not be made aware of the hidden implications. He was left right where all wanted him to be, thinking that the Americans were putting pressure on him with reference to the tourist trade.
The following is the first thread of the web. It involves legal wranglings between Canada and the United States over the extradition of two individuals, W. H. Link and H. M. Green to face charges in the United States on securities fraud. The problem stemmed from December 1954 when Chief Justice W. B. Scott of the Quebec Superior Court refused to extradite these individuals to face justice in the USA. The United States administration replied by making application to the Supreme Court Of Canada to appeal this decision. The Supreme Court refused the appeal on the grounds that it had no jurisdiction in extradiction matters. The following exerpts from a confidential memo are self explanatory in this matter.

The following is a memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs to Secretary of State for External Affairs
Ottawa, October 24th, 1955
1. Scope of Memorandum
The Minister of Justice is presenting to the Cabinet, at this week's Cabinet meeting, a draft submission to the Governor in Council, recommending that two questions be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada for hearing and consideration in regard to the Scott Judgment in the Link and Green extradition case. The Minister of Justice's draft submission to the Governor in Council will explain the legal position. The purpose of this memorandum is to set out the political reasons that make this action necessary.
In December, 1954 Associate Chief Justice W.B. Scott of the Superior Court of Quebec, Montreal District, refused the application of the United States Government for the extradition of W.H. Link and H.M. Green on charges involving fraudulent dealings with securities under the Extradition Act, pursuant to the 1951 Supplementary Extradition Convention. The United States Government applied to the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to appeal the decision. The Supreme Court refused the application. The Court did not pass on the substance of the judgment, as it considered that it did not have jurisdiction to hear appeals in extradition cases.
Views of the Minister of Justice
The Minister of Justice is of the opinion that it is important to the administration of the Extradition Treaty between Canada and the United States that this reference should be made to the Supreme Court of Canada.
By making this reference to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Canadian Government will be taking the measures open to it to meet the problem of fraudulent securities offerings across the border. Should the Canadian Government, on the other hand, decide not to make this reference to the Supreme Court of Canada, an awkward situation would be likely to develop. The United States Government would be frustrated in its efforts to solve the fraudulent securities problem and it would be in a position to place the blame on the Canadian Government. Such a situation clearly must be avoided if at all possible.
For these reasons the Department of External Affairs supports the recommendation of the Minister of Justice that the Scott Judgment be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada.
It was necessary to show you this because it will form the basis of subsequent parts which will involve Regina Vs Coffin. The name above, J. Leger, refers to the under secretary of the Minister Of State for External Affairs. The Minister of External Affairs during this period was Lester B Pearson, who of course is no stranger to Canadian politics. He would go on to win a Nobel Peace prize, and become Prime Minister of Canada.
As you can see, the Americans were mad at Ottawa. Justice Scott had muddied the waters when as a Quebec Superior Justice, he refused to extradite two fugitives whom Washington wanted, and then Ottawa snubbed the US Administration when the Supreme Court Of Canada refused to grant their appeal. The bottom line here of course is that Washington couldn't have cared less about Duplessis in Quebec, nor,about the Canadian federal government in Ottawa. It was a situation that needed to be straightened out, and it would require calm heads to do it. This is where the plot begins to thicken. . .
From here it is necessary that we make a quick stop in Washington D C. The U S Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Brownell, is planning a trip to Canada. He is not going to Ottawa. He is going to Toronto to address The Canadian Club. He has been advised to maximize this trip to include business other than his speech to The Canadian Club. The following "Confidential" memo from the Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Mr. A. D. P. Heeney sums up the content of business to be conducted on the trip.

Memorandum by Ambassador in United States
[Washington], November 8th, 1955
It had been arranged through the Embassy that advantage should be taken of the presence of the United States Attorney General in Toronto on November 7th, for a private and informal discussion of this subject with the Minister of Justice, who was to be there for Mr. Brownell's speech to the Canadian Club. It had also been agreed that the United States Ambassador and I should be present. This had first been suggested at the meeting on September [26th], in Ottawa, of the Canada-United States Committee on Economic Affairs, when the Secretary of State had referred to the United States Government's concern.137
The conversation took place in Mr. Brownell's suite at the Royal York Hotel on the afternoon of November 7th. It was agreed by all present that it would be entirely informal and private - a frank exchange of information and views.
The Minister, after referring to the suggestion that a "reference" be made to the Supreme Court of Canada on the points of law arising out of the judgement of Associate Chief Justice Scott of the Quebec Superior Court and describing briefly the law and procedure which govern such references, went on to explain to the Attorney General the position of a current reference to the Supreme Court in Regina v. Coffin.
This (Coffin) reference raised difficult and delicate issues for the Federal Government in regard to the administration of justice in the Province of Quebec, since the Supreme Court would appear to be reviewing the verdict of a Quebec Court after the unanimous refusal of an appeal by the Provincial appellate court. The Government, nevertheless, had felt bound to proceed with this reference (for reasons which Mr. Garson had explained) and the hearing would take place in December.
For the Government, the Minister went on, to make now a second reference to the Supreme Court which would reflect on the Quebec Courts (since it would at least indirectly impugn the finding of Chief Justice Scott in the Link and Green case) would exacerbate an already complicated and delicate situation. In the opinion of the Federal authorities the Scott judgement was bad law and had the effect of frustrating the purposes of the Extradition Treaty of 1952 between Canada and the United States. The Canadian authorities, like those of the United States, were anxious to rectify the position and restore the régime which the Treaty had intended.
In due course, Mr. Garson felt, it should be possible for a reference to be made which would achieve this purpose. The Government would wish to have this done just as soon as possible.
The Minister said that Canadian authorities had read with interest a proposal put forward by the General Counsel for the United States Securities Exchange Commission that the Extradition Treaty should be amended to provide for an appellate procedure. The Canadian Department of Justice would be interested in exploring this possibility (which from the Government's point of view would provide, at least prima facie, a politically easier course than a reference to the Supreme Court), but before doing so wished to know whether the United States Department of Justice had considered fully the implications of such an innovation in extradition procedures. Having regard to the fact that it would seem to be politically impossible to provide an appeal for the state without similar provision for the accused, Mr. Garson was inclined to think that the delays in litigation caused by such appeals might make them unworkable.
The Attorney General said that Mr. Timbers' proposal had not been examined fully by his Department and was not now being put forward as a suggestion to the Canadian Government. He personally was inclined to think that it would be a doubtful expedient; as Mr. Garson had observed, the delays involved would probably be intolerable.
If, Mr. Brownell continued, the situation could be restored to the pre-Link and Green position by a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada, this would be preferable from the United States point of view, provided that the lapse of time before a judgement were obtained were not too great. United States authorities were already subject to very considerable pressures and these would build up seriously when Congress got under way in January. What length of time did the Minister foresee before the Canadian Government would be willing to refer the question to the Supreme Court?
Mr. Garson replied that unfortunately it was not possible to be precise on the timing of a reference. If his colleagues agreed to a reference (and he was awaiting the return of the Secretary of State for External Affairs before taking the matter up in Cabinet) the timing would be affected by the course of the Coffin reference and hearing. The Canadian authorities were also anxious to clear up the present unsatisfactory situation with regard to extradition for security frauds, but had obviously to take account of the considerations which he had set forth.
I suggested, in attempting to sum up, that the two Governments had the same objective, namely to establish as promptly as possible the régime contemplated when the Treaty was negotiated. The baleful effect of the Scott judgement should be got rid of as soon as could be. The problem was one of method and timing - not objective. To this all present agreed.
The Canadian position, I continued, had been frankly explained to the Attorney General but he would be unable to make this explanation to those in Washington who were pressing him for action. It seemed to me important, before any statement were made by the United States authorities, that agreement should be reached on the form of such statement. To this, too, there was agreement.
Mr. Brownell expressed his appreciation of the full and candid explanation which Mr. Garson had made and it was agreed that the Minister and the Attorney General would keep in close touch with one another, through me.
It was agreed that, in the circumstances, no purpose would be served by further suggestions from Canadian Counsel for the United States Department of Justice or others, with regard to any references that might be made to the Supreme Court or other procedures in this matter.
On the following day, returning to Washington, I mentioned to Mr. Brownell the importance, if any reference was to be made to the Supreme Court, of avoiding any impression that this procedure was being taken under pressure from United States authorities. He readily understood this and agreed to caution his officials. When the time came that something had to be said, the two Governments would agree on the form of statement.
Here is a note at the bottom of the Ambassador's letter. I find this troubling in a democratic society.
"The version of the memorandum reprinted here was amended in late November to take into account Garson's comments on Heeney's original draft which was removed from the files and destroyed."
Just to make things clear, the name Garson refers to Canadian Minister Of Justice, The Honourable Stuart Sinclair Garson. I find it very troubling to see a federal Minister Of Justice having files removed and destroyed.
As you read this, you can perhaps see how Canada had dug a hole for herself in her relations with the United States. This all stemmed from the court decision in Quebec Superior Court by Chief Justice Scott in his refusal to order extradition proceedings against Link and Green. Equally stupid though was the refusal of The Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal of the process. Throughout it all, Wilbert Coffin was being used as a pawn. He was the sacrificial lamb in all these proceedings.
In their quest to crawl back into the fold with the United States, the federal cabinet in Ottawa pulled out all the stops. There was more butt kissing at the diplomatic level in Ottawa in the final three months of 1955 than there had been in the decade since the war concluded. It is prudent to show you an example of that fact before we move on. Here is an exerpt from a memo sent by The Honourable Lester Pearson to the American Ambassador, John Foster Dulles, at a joint meeting between the two countries. You will note that the minutes of this meeting are designated as "Secret."
Summary Record of Meeting of Joint Canada-United States Committee
Ottawa, September 26, 1955
Mr. Pearson as Chairman expressed the sympathy of the Canadian side with President Eisenhower in his illness.127 It was to be hoped that he would soon be restored to his full health and vigour. Not only the Canadian members but all of Canada appreciated the President's attitude towards trade matters and the efforts which he was making to improve international relations generally. As the leader of the Allied Forces during the war and during the early period of NATO's history, President Eisenhower had come to belong to Canada and the other North Atlantic countries as well as to the United States.
As you can see, The United States could do no wrong. You will note the highest praise extended to then President Eisenhower. One would think that he single handedly won the war, even though the war in Europe was practically concluded when the United States decided to enter it. Pearson obviously forgot about the thousands of Canadians who paid the ultimate sacrifice on the battlefields by his praise of the American president. The bottom line here is simply that the federal government was willing to go to the outer limits to make the United States happy during this period.
Here are some exerpts from a letter written by Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Heeney. It is written to The Honourable Lester Pearson. If you really digest the contents of this letter, it says it all.
Ambassador in United States to Secretary of State for External Affairs
Dear Mr. Pearson,
On November 9th I wrote you a personal letter? reporting upon the conversation in Toronto between your colleague, the Minister of Justice, and the United States Attorney General concerning extradition in relation to security frauds.
In speaking to me yesterday, Mr. Garson said that he would expect you to bring up this subject in Cabinet shortly. When you did so he would be willing to agree to a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada which would rectify the present unsatisfactory situation. In this connection he mentioned again the desirability of having the question put to the Supreme Court in such a way as to avoid explicit reference to the judgement of Associate Chief Justice Scott, whence our difficulties arise. On the timing of the reference to the Court, Mr. Garson would be guided largely by the views of your Quebec colleagues, but he himself would have no objection to the reference being made reasonably soon.
In raising the matter in Cabinet as one involving our relations with the United States, you would certainly be justified in saying to your colleagues that the present situation is one which has caused, and continues to cause, difficulties between us. Furthermore, the pressure upon the Administration to take action of some kind within the competence of the United States executive and legislature may be expected to increase sharply once Congress reassembles after Christmas.
As you will note from my memorandum of November 8th, Mr. Brownell has agreed to consult us when he feels it necessary to make some public statement on this subject. I would hope that by that time we will be in a position to announce the reference to the Supreme Court along the lines now favoured by your colleague, the Minister of Justice.
One final consideration - from the point of view of External Affairs, the sooner the reference is made and announced the better; from the point of view of the Government in Ottawa too I should think it is highly desirable that the reference should be made before the clamour in this country increases and the Government are put in the position of acting in response to public pressure from the United States.
Yours sincerely,
.As the wheels turn, the federal government is becoming mired deeper and deeper. They are faced with straightening out some bad law from Quebec. If they don't fix the decision by Chief Justice Scott from the Quebec Superior Court, the Americans will be all over them for evermore. Canada could also become a haven for criminals from the American side of the border, as the court decision did not force them to be extradited. Maurice Duplessis will be furious.
On the other hand the federal cabinet has been asked to review the Wilbert Coffin affair. The appeal had been rejected by the Supreme Court of Canada, so any meddling on this case would again upset Duplessis. The decision now necessary for cabinet to decide was, did they really want to review The Coffin affair and get the government of Duplessis mad again? Wilbert Coffin through his lawyers was asking for a full review and an order for a new trial, based on the fact that he did not receive a fair trial and process from the beginning.
In a following memo to the Attorney General of the United States through Ambassador Heeney, Canadian Minister of Justice, the Honourable Stuart Garson would announce that a solution had been found that should bring the matter to conclusion. As a result, the decision by Chief Justice Scott would be reversed. As well, the federal government would be free and clear of a ruling on the Regina Vs Coffin affair. Ottawa would come out not looking like they had bent to pressure from the American administration. The following extract designated "Top Secret" are from cabinet conclusions pertaining to the decision affecting the Coffin affair.

Extract from Cabinet Conclusions
"Top Secret"
Circumstances had made it appear desirable to make a rather unusual reference to the Supreme Court in the recent Coffin murder case.135r It would seem undesirable to take unorthodox action with regard to this extradition difficulty so soon after the Coffin incident. It might, perhaps, be preferable to wait until such time as another judgment similar to the Scott judgment of December 17th, 1954, was rendered before taking any such action

On the other hand, unless some action were taken, the government of Canada would likely be blamed for doing nothing to prevent the fraudulent use of the mails by unscrupulous brokers

The Cabinet noted the report of the Minister of Justice and deferred decision on a proposed reference to the Supreme Court with regard to difficulties which had recently been encountered in the administration of the Extradition Treaty between Canada and the United States, pending further consideration at a subsequent meeting when the Secretary of State for External Affairs could be present

On October 14, 1955 Cabinet asked the Supreme Court of Canada to review the conviction in Quebec courts of Wilbert Coffin for the 1953 murder of Richard Lindsay after suggestions were made that Coffin had not received a fair trial. Cabinet asked the court to answer the following question: "If the application made by Wilbert Coffin for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada had been granted on any of the grounds alleged on the said application, what disposition of the appeal would now be made by the court?"
It is the last paragraph above that tossed Wilbert Coffin into the wind. His lawyers had asked the federal cabinet to review the case. This would have taken it from day one. It would have reviewed the inquest jury process, it would have reviewed the jury selection process, it would have reviewed suppressed evidence, and it would have reviewed the judges charge to the jury. None of this was ever done of course. The cabinet simply sent the case back to the Supreme Court with the above question. In reality the cabinet knew what the decision of the Supreme Court would be. They were the ones who had made the decision in the first place. In a round about way the government was asking the Supreme Court to re-rule and make a decision on their original ruling. One does not have to be smart to figure that a Supreme Court of Canada Justice is not about to rule against his own ruling.
Unfortunately the government of Canada was willing to throw out and sacrifice one man's last chance for justice in this country. It could have easily been avoided. It required nothing more than an order in council to further delay the hanging of Wilbert Coffin until such time that a full and proper conclusion be reached with respect to the capital punishment being carried out.
Fifty-one years later the federal government is once again being asked to investigate this case as a miscarriage of justice. It is a miscarriage of justice because the government allowed it to be that way.
I am firmly of the opinion that a complete review of this case should take place. Simply asking that a review be done based on the same criteria that was done over fifty years ago is not enough. A complete review must include the admission of new evidence, meaning both evidence that was suppressed and omitted, and evidence that has surfaced since the original proceeding. There are witnesses still alive who gave statements prior to the original trial. It is imperative that these people be heard because it was their intention to give evidence. There was evidence concerning Jeeps and vehicles that was never brought forward. Again, this evidence must be presented, because originally it was intended to be part of the process.
It is important to note that I have raised very serious concerns with reference to autopsy reports on the crime victims. A murder weapon was never found, no spent cartridges cases or bullets, no broken bones and yet the victims were declared to have died of gunshot wounds. Perforations in clothing clearly indicate they are much too large for any calibre of bullet available. There were marks on one bone, and the medical examiner stated in court the marks could have been made by a forest animal.
In order that a full and impartial review be made of this case, it is necessary that all these things must be looked at and considered. Several of these elements made up the scope of what the federal government was being asked to do in 1955. Sadly, they chose to not do that. If they had done what was asked of them, Wilbert Coffin would not have hanged on February 10, 1956. By displaying themselves as a spineless bunch of creatures, they were able to uphold themselves as weak and inept and afraid of Duplessis, and at the same time, display their loyalty to the United States Of America as puppets on a string.
Lew Stoddard
Posted to site February 28, 2007


Malcolm Reid said...

I can certainly understand that people may be confused by all of this. Some of it yes I had heard about but never close to the extent to which you have documented it. You fill in many gaps.

It is true they wanted this to be hard to comprehend, but as you said if you read it deeply the picture appears. I hope you are successful in what you have planned Sir.

Malcolm Reid
Richmond Hill

Bart M said...

Finally someone is willing to get to the root of this thing. Give it Hell Sir. You are on right track now.

Bart M
Barrie, Ontario

Ruth Demers said...

I have waited for this but it is all Greek to me. I do not understand it at all but I know it is good by the first comments. I will try again but I may have to come back for clarifying. No no I am not blond either.

Ruth Demers
Winnipeg, manitoba

E Sanford said...

Ironic isn't it? Back to the same people who created the mess, the government, to now declare that they were wrong and overturn their forefathers. Good luc Lew, you will need it this time.

E. Sanford

D Meyers said...

Confusing it may be but I was able to figure it out. Easy to see when someone is getting the shaft and Wilbert Coffin got the shaft.

I just hope that the government is willing to own up to their mistakes and sort it out now for the Coffin family.

Donald Meyers
Trenton, Ontario

Tony H said...

This is your best written piece on this story yet. It gets to the roots of it all. It gets to the government which is where it all began. That is also where it has to finish. Are you listening Ottawa?

Tony H

Garth Simpson said...

I always felt that there was more involved than just Duplessis and his boys. This is terrible when you consider here is the highest authority in our land and we see an example such as you portary here. This is the federal governing body of our land. If it can be peoven that Wilbert Coffin was not guilty, then these people are responsible for his death. Someone has to pay for that. I encourage you Mr. Stoddard to do what you have to do to expose all this. You have my full support and I hope that many others will throw the same support your way on here.

Garth Simpson
Edmonton, Alberta

Ken W said...

There is no doubt about it when I read all those memos. The federal government knew what was happening here. They did nothing to help. They added to the problem by stacking the deck even deeper.

Ken W
Victoria, B C

Tara M said...

Good luck Coffin family on all this and Good Luck to you Lew stoddard. The Coffins are very lucky to have you on their side.

Tara M
Edmundston, N B

Anonymous said...

Everyone should cut and paste your last posting and send it to their federal member of parliament. It is afterall referring to the same work place. Important that the people let them know that they work for us, not to push their own agendas.

Cathy Reubens

Morgan Williams said...

Lew I know that you have worked very long hours and days and weeks on this story.

Just want to let everyone know publicly that you have had your very heart and soul into this, and much of it during very stressful times for yourself with your current health condition.

Hopefully the people of Canada and across the world who read your web page appreciate all that you have done. From me Lew, a giant Thank you.

Morgan Williams
Vancouver, British Columbia

Cecile Boudreau said...

I agree this is the sort of stuff that will encourage the government to take a look at this case. Too bad the media would not take the same approach and do some investigating. It is pathetic the stuff they do. Copy the old stuff, do a little interview for the sensationalism, then pack it all away till the next time around.

Cecile Boudreau
Riviere du Loup

Jack Adams said...

I agree with Cecile. Time that someone lit a fire under the arse of the media. Guess the names are not important enough or something.

Jack Adams

Wendy Lacne said...

There is a mighty big story here for any national media. Where the hell have they been for the past fifty years?

Wendy Lacne
New Westminster, B C

Gene McFayden said...

You write a bold story Sir. I like how you back everything up with paper. That is good. There is no disputing it then. You must have lots of energy. I know that this stuff is not always easy to come by after all these years.

Good luck to you Sir.

Gene McFayden
Burnaby, B C

C cairns said...

This is a very informative part of your story. It was involved but I was able to understand what was going on. It is startling. Hope it can be turned around.

C Cairns
Nanaimo, B C

C Chenier said...

We are originally from the gaspe region as well. I wonder why The Spec never carries news of your site. I will find out though. I have a right to know. We pay them a subscription.

C Chenier

Wilf Hebert said...

Several months back I commented on this site. It is amazing the ground that you have covered with this event, and the different directions that you have taken it, especially considering that a half century has passed.

When I commented several months back, I never would have thought that you would have come so far in your research that you have.

The family of Wilbert Coffin should be very thankful I am sure. From reading extensively on this case I do not know of any other who has come close to this.

Wilf Hebert
Burlington, Ontario

Sandra Doucette said...

It is upsetting that a local news publication such as "The Spec" on the Gaspe coast would not have been interested in this story, especially in view of the fact that you have gone to great pains in documenting your information. It is also a story that took place in their own backyard, and affected hundreds of the local readers of the paper.

I do not think that it is right for a news outlet, big or small to dictate to the people what they need and want to learn about. This is not a good precedent to be setting.

Sandra Doucette
Mission, British Columbia

Shorty said...

I think that the media coverages of this story has stunk right from 50 years ago right up to the present. You only have to look at the same old storys written on it over the years to see that. So many of these so called reports were nothing more than that stuff that comes from the rear end of the bull.

Shorty the long Haul Driver On the Prairie

Geof Hoffmann said...

Just a message of Good Luck to the Coffin family. Good to see notes on here from James Coffin who I am sure will like this last posting to your story. At least one can see now why the government acted as it did. Again James good luck to you and Lew thanks for providing your page so that we can learn about this case.

G Hoffmann
Toronto, Ontario

Georgina said...

Perhaps I am blind but I still dont see how these two guys to be extradited tied in with the Wilbert coffin affair. Would somwone be kind enough to put a short message on here explaining it. I know there is a connection but

i dont see where it is and i really want to understand all about this because it looks important.

Georgina in Thunder Bay

lise Cote said...

It seems very strange that a murder case from eastern quebec would ever be discussed at the head of a country level and ambassador level in any country. are you sure of your facts here?

i want to believe you but this is beyound touch when you write these things but then again I looked back and you show letters from government people so seems to be right but it doesnt seem proper but all these people did exist i remember them and why cant things be easy to see and understand and i get worked up because i want to believe everything and you just cant now days so whats a person to do.

Lise Cote
Montreal quebec

Lew Stoddard said...

Just a note to help clarify the last posting of the Wilbert Coffin story.

There appears to be some confusion with reference to the two gentlemen, Link and Green who were facing deportation to the United States and how they tie into this story.

It is important to note that they tie in only because their case was being dealt with simultaneous to the case of Regina vs Coffin.

As stated in the posting, these gentlemen had been freed by Chief Justice Scott of the Quebec Superior Court, freed in such a way that they were not going to be extradited to the USA to face the music for their alleged crimes for security fraud.

Understandably, this was a bad ruling on the part of the court, making it a haven in Canada for offshore criminals. The United States immediately appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. They refused to hear the appeal, stating they had no jurisdiction. The United States government now petitioned the government of Canada for relief from the rulings of both the Superior court of Quebec, and Canada's Supreme Court.

The federal government knew that it would rile the waters of the government of Quebec, headed up by Maurice Duplessis. The federal government also knew that it was a decision that had to be reversed, in spite of what Duplessis might hurl at them. They made the decision to proceed.

At the same time the federal government had been petitioned by lawyers Gravel and Maloney to study the case of Regina vs Coffin. Time was of the essence as Wilbert Coffin was due to hang on February 10, 1956. If Duplessis was going to be upset with the Link and Green and Justice Scott decision, he would surely blow a head gasket if his case against Wilbert Coffin was reversed at this late date.

The Federal Liberals needed to keep Quebec onside for upcoming elections. They made a decision, and it was meant to deceive. It achieved that goal. They kept the Coffin affair alive until the last moments and instead of doing the review of the case at cabinet level to which they had been requested to do, their decision was to send it back to the Supreme Court of Canada as a reference.

The bottom line of couse was the fact that it was the Supreme Court of Canada, who in a mixed decision had voted against a new trial in the first place that created the application to the federal cabinet. In effect, the Federal Government was now asking the Supreme Court to re-rule on their own ruling.

The population of Canada were of course in the dark on the whole affair. They thought that their government had taken a proper stand on the issue by reviewing the case. Again, it was nothing more than window dressing by the Federal Government, because in reality they did nothing, other than protect their own butts against an onslaught of criticism from Duplessis. This way they would only have to settle the score with Duplessis on the Scott decision. They knew what the outcome of the decision by the Supreme Court would be on the Regina vs Coffin case.

The reality of the situation for Duplessis and the Quebec gang would be that if Wilbert Coffin hanged, then the Americans would no longer be on his back with reference to tourism. For St. Laurent and the federal band, it would get the Americans off their backs on the extradition of criminals. The bottom line of course, one Protestant, English speaking man in the heart of French Quebec didn't stand a chance.

I hope this helps sort it out for everyone

Lew Stoddard

Anonymous said...

It's all so unbelievable. So much behind the scenes cloak and dagger at such a high level. Take one victory away from Maurice Duplessis but allow him to keep another. Will you be letting us know who you actually believe committed the murders?

Gwen Myers said...

The unfortunate picture from all of this, I believe that the true killer or killers were able to walk away and go untouched for all their lives. That alone makes it very very touching when you consider that Wilbert Coffin probably died needlessly.

Gwen Myers

Greta St. Cyr said...

Yours is a bold story that you write Sir on the Coffin case. I like your style and approach. You do not accept less than the true version of events. This is good. I think overall people like that. Good to be able to depend on the news we are reading on affairs.

Greta St. Cyr
Cabano, Quebec

Don Pine said...

Finally I now see the connection with the recent posting to your story. You have done a lot of work on this.

Coffins are fortunate that they have someone who has a good nose for sniffing this stuff out from under cover.

Don Pine

Cyril McPhee said...

No doubt about it, Wilbert coffin was a victim of government manipulation. We have to find a way to nail them down on this. You are the one who can do it. I urge everyone to get behind you and help in whatever way that they can.

Cyril McPhee
Nanaimo, B C

Janice harding said...

A message to James Coffin and Marie Stewart Coffin.

Good to see family involvement in all this. This site proves the obvious, there is a ton of support for your cause across our country.

This web site proves that there is strength in numbers. Everyone should get after their Mp regarding this case.

Janice Harding
Red Deer, Alberta

Ms. H. Wright said...

I have read many of your writings in the past few years Mr. Stoddard and you follow a similar theme, that being that you are always picking on and blaming governments for everything. You deliver a new meaning to the word complain.

I believe that some things you shouild just leave at rest, right where they are. This case being one of them. Face the facts here, you carry on and on, but I fail to see where you have delivered a new guilty party to these crimes. Does that not say something?

I hate to dote on you, I am sure you mean well, but as a student of journalism, I am not certain that you cover the five "W's" very well.

Ms. H. Wright
Barrie, Ontario

pat Brechin said...

i don't mean to be picky either but i tend to agree with miss Wright that you are a complainer. i find that your writings on this all the way since start have been pretty negative and by that i mean againest authoriteies. why is that anyway. good luck to all but this will not go anywhere after this much years has past.

pat Brechin
Niagara falls

Corrine said...

You appear to be mostly alone in your thoughts that the government looks as bad as what you say in all this.

I would hope that my provincial government or my federal government would not carry on in the manner that you suggest. It does make for a good story though.

I guess this is what a freedom of the press ia all about. Have fun Sir! The sky is not falling in just yet.

Corrine Lemaitre

Gus Mitchell said...

Mrs Wright said, to Lew
"as a student of journalism, I am not certain that you cover the five "W's" very well"

As a student of journalism you probably know that the 5 W's to which you refer are actually 5 W's and an H.
* who?
* what?
* where?
* when?
* why?
* how?
Lew has covered them all admirably.The "who" and the "why" will probably never be answered definitively, but that was not the intent.

You seem to forget, or perhaps not realize, that the purpose of this exercise is to get the name of Wilburt Coffin cleared, and to that end a very compelling case has been presented.

Why would you say " I believe that some things you shouild just leave at rest, right where they are. This case being one of them."

I certainly hope that is not the attitude to which the new students of journalism are subscribing.

xvkcu said...

I want to see this thing turn around as much as anyone. I want everyone to realize that the way that I see it is that Lew cannot do this by himself so everyone has to stick behind him including the Coffin family. I hope everyons sees that. sometimes it looks like the support from family seems to be less on here. Listen to me please, This is the final chance that you are going to get. Make the most of it. There will never be another review of this case. Show your support while you have an opportunity to do so.

Hannah Vandermeulen, University Student

Lani Baker Mitchell said...

Corrine said
" You appear to be mostly alone in your thoughts that the government looks as bad as what you say in all this.." So I quickly made a short list of some other Canadians who felt the same way..Pierre Trudeau, Jacques Hébert, Henri Doyon, François Gravel, Arthur Maloney, Reverend Timothy Matthews, etc., etc., etc...

Laura McLure said...

Right or wrong, governments have to make decisions sometimes that the people do not like. They do this for the good of everyone. It is not an easy job. You have to learn that.

I think that when the cards are all on the table in this case, the government will come out looking alright. You most definitely are a bit too harsh on our law makers. That is not the way to get things done.

In the case of the Coffin affair, why didn't Mr. Coffin speak up if he felt justice was passing him by. He had his chance just like everyone else who is charged with a crime in this country. I am not saying he was guilty, nor am I saying that he wasn't. I simply do not know.

The one thing that I do know is, why should we have to rant and rave about it fifty years after the fact. If they could not prove or disprove it back then, how do you ever expect that they will now?

We have debated this in law class, and we end every time the same. One person charged and convicted of killing three people in Quebec. No more, no less. Nothing proven, nothing disproven.

Laura McLure
Saint John, N B

Dave Kierstead said...

Message for Laura McLure

I notice that you are a law student. In the middle ages courts employed the services of a"court jester". You would have qualified perfectly for the position by your comments.

Dave Kierstead

H York said...

This whole thing gets nuttier as the days go on. Lets be sane and curb the mud slinging which will lead no where.

If this thing is handled properly and the lawyers present it professionally and chronologically, there is reason to call fo a new trial. It will be done by calm heads though, rather than by the sea of stupidity starting to unravel here by some comments that I am reading.

H York

N Braithwaite said...

Just a note of thanks to Lew Stoddard for coming on and brightening your last episode a bit. I did understand it the first time, but is much clearer from your comment. You have worked long and hard. It shows by your dedication. This is very detailed. I also sent you an e-mail of something that you might want to consider. No strings attached of course, purely for your thoughts and consideration.

Norm Braithwaite
South Surrey, B C

Anonymous said...

One person was NOT charged and convicted of murdering THREE people.Read the postings carefully.

Anonymous said...

Good day and this message is for Laura. I hope you are a little more insightful in defending your future clients. First you dont have your facts straight as mentioned earlier he was convicted of 1 murder charge not three. And not only is that wrong but Wilbert Coffin did try speaking up but no one would listen. Are you in politics by any chance inccredible opinions you have.

Sara D said...

Embarassing and disgusting, that is all one can say. This is the federal government of Canada lashing out against someone who cannot fight back because of an illegal and crooked system that put the person in that position in the first place.

Third world countries do much better than that.

Sara Dennett
North Bay, Ontario

Dianne said...

Why didn't they just take Wilbert Coffin out and hang him from a tree on the day he was charged. Sounds brutal doesn't it? But then again, would it have been any more brutal than to let a crooked system torture he and his family for three years, then hang him anyway under very suspicious means. You be the judge!

Dianne Franks

Jan Eberts said...

I just finished reading your last three postings Mr. Stoddard. You are very much too graphic. You do not need to be that way to get your point across, and yet you are alweays lashing out at others saying they are after sensationalism.

You Sir are wallowing waist deep in hypocrisy. The way that you carry on, people should not be subjected to the likes.

I have commented here months ago, and I must say it has changed, as it has got worse.

Jan Eberts
Port Credit

K Gregoire said...

If all those elements were there in these proceedings, then why should it be such a tussle to get the case reviewed favourably. Obviously the opportunity for a fair hearing and justice would have been compromised.

If it were the other way around, the government would spend millions of taxpayer dollars to prove their point. The same opportunity must exist for the defendant as well. One should not have to fight for what is right from their government. The government should be there to ensure fair play for her citizens. That is what fair play and justice is about in a democratic society.

K Gregoire
Winnipeg, Man

Patricia Enns said...

I agree totally with K Gregoire from Winnipeg. Justice and fair play are fundamentals in any democratic society. Canada has always set herself atop as a model in the free world. Lets show it now from the top.

Let us show the family of Wilbert Coffin that there is compassion when the government goes wrong.

Patricia Enns
Whitehorse, Yukon

Lew Stoddard said...

Message From Lew Stoddard

WOW! I never realized that I was such a popular person, until I read the comments from some of you.

Fortunately, I am a man of very few words, therefore, I shall take but a few moments of your time.

In life there are two types of people.
(1) Firstly, there are those who for one reason or another choose to criticize others who may be trying to change and make a corrupt system better. These people never have a suggestion themselves, just the ability to make noise, and be very self-centered.

(2) Secondly, there are those who work tirelessly from the beginning to the end to improve and make better a system for all of us. These people are generally self taught, don't depend on the world for anything, and are satisfied only when there is no more dirt to shovel out of the hole.

Excuse me if I have left anyone out here, but I have a question before I go for Ms. Wright, P. Brechin, Corrine, L. McLure, J. Eberts, et al. . .
Are you folks Number 1, or are you Number 2?

Lew Stoddard
Host of Stoddard Online

P. S. . . .
Thanks for commenting on my site. As terrible as you brand me, I feel so good to have been able to provide a venue for you to exercise your right to "Free Speech."

Keith said...

I will reiterate what has been said before. You dance with the words very well Mr. Stoddard. I agree with what you have said. Most of those who bitch all the time have never faced the realities of the big bad world. Keep up the good work. I read your site each week. I would be disappointed without it. Ypou have done wonders with the Coffin story. I hope they are proud of you. There are many across this country who would have never known about this case if it were not for your writings.

Keith Macklin

Carolyn G said...

I am hopeful that when you present everything to the government investigative body with respect to this case, they will look very seriously at your work. It needs to be done. Definitely it shows what can be accomplished when one is determined to see things through.

Carolyn G
Powell River, B C

Nephew Rick said...

Hello everyone; As a member of the Coffin family I must say that Lew has again shown that facts, backed up with documentation, show the real reasons for Uncle Bill being executed. There is still more information out there and we beg people to bring it forward. Contact Lew or Aidwyc. Thanks for your help and comments. The family has put approximately 150 comments on Lew's blog and support him as always.

Bill McKeen said...

It is quite clear that it was the intervention of government that made it easy to hang Wilbert Coffin. If there are those who cannot see that then they are blind.

He was not selected because his name was Wilbert Coffin, he was selected because it was convenient to choose him. That should tell everyone something, that being that it could have happened to any one of you.

We should all get behind any movement to expose this stuff. This is not how I would want to be remembered by my kids. They deserve more more. So does your family.

Bill McKeen
Thunder Bay, Ontario

Doreen M said...

I agree with Mr. McKeen. I look back at what various people have had to say. Some of you are so shallow minded.

You appear to get so uptight because someone gets their toes stepped on, and you know what? Given the same set of circumstances, and put any one of them in the victims shoes, and you would hear them moaning and crying for help from coast to coast.

Amazing what fifteen seconds of fame will do!

Doreen M

Nephew Rick said...

In May 06 a J. Tremblay stated, "If you and your coherts can pull off a public or judicial review of this case after such a lapse of time, then you should join the magicians union." in June 06 a G. McLure stated, "If people have not come forward in the past, why would they come forward over 50 years later? You are a dreamer."
Lew has proven time after time that seeking the truth for the right reasons will always be successful. Yes the battle is not over but there is light at the end. Please keep information coming and talk to friends and relatives for any tid bits they may have. Thanks Lew & Lani.

Anonymous said...

To Laura Mclure,

Very interesting that you would comment on a case that I can clearly see you know nothing about…
I agree that the governments make decisions sometimes that we, the people don’t like...
Although it makes us a tad angry at times, we are still alive to discuss about it….
Mrs. Mclure, you are still here aren’t you? Mr. Coffin is not… one of their little decisions NOT to have all the evidence presented in his case left him dead….
Maybe if people had been a little bit harsher on the lawmakers in 1954, Mr. Coffin would be around to defend him self today…since he wasn’t given the chance in 1954,
It is up to all of us to do it for him, right? The governments need to become accountable for the hanging of an innocent man… after all, isn’t that what Mr. Harper promised, accountability? If you would like to study this case in law class Mrs. Mclure, take all the evidence….then tell me your opinion…Hey… stand on the outside of the window and look in that court room…. Then tell me it was a fair trial….
I do not believe that anyone is asking you to rant or rave about anything…. You would have fit in perfect with the government, and law force of Gaspe in 1954 Mrs. Mclure…
You did not listen too well in law class, or you would know that Mr. Coffin was charged with one murder… not three ….