Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I believe there comes a time in everyone's life that we look beyond our own everyday normal activities and ponder as to whether there is something that we could do that would make a difference, not only in our own way of thinking, but perhaps assist someone else in the process.

I reached that crossroad some years back. As I have mentioned in the past, the Wilbert Coffin saga always held troubling moments for me. There were so many conflicting theories, so much rumour, so much idle gossip. I decided long ago that one day I was going to do what I could to help set the record straight. In April of 2006, I turned onto the crossroad. I am glad that I did.

Over the years, the same stories seemed to exist. They got bolder and bolder, comparing favourably to feeding time in shark infested waters. I was no longer interested in what those who had come before me had to say about the Wilbert Coffin case. I wanted to do a completely independent, step by step analysis based on my own work. This would be the only way that I could satisfy myself as to whether the course of true justice had been thwarted.
From the onset, it would be difficult. I knew that. Much water had gone under the bridge. Many folks were no longer with us, and those that were had to be found. My website would play an important role, and as a result, miracles began happening. Folks began reaching out to my requests for help and assistance. I was impressed, though not totally convinced that enough would come forward, however, I was determined.
Finally, this is the moment that I have been waiting for. This is the time to acknowledge and convey a special word of thanks to all those who so freely gave of their time and energies to come forth with information and assistance. It was through many folks working together as a team that made my report possible. One interesting aspect of it all, is simply the fact that even though all you folks did not personally know each other, your contributions created a true untold version of this affair. That is precisely what I was striving for.
Before I list the names of those involved, there is one light that shone above all the rest. You have witnessed me speaking of her on many occasions. She lived her younger years in Gaspe' with her family who endured personal suffering through accusations and verbal abuse as a result of this whole affair. Now living on the opposite side of the continent and many decades later, she sought me out through my website and indicated that if I was interested she was willing to come onboard. This lady's name is Lani Mitchell (Baker).

Lani, being bilingual was an absolute storehouse of knowledge. She has many connections. She has much respect. Things started to happen immediately. Between she and I we had people coming forward. We had people whom we had been told were deceased in the beginning suddenly being resurrected, and anxious to help us out. Suddenly, we were both of the opinion that when all was said and done, our report would stand out in the credibility department chiefly because I would not re-write what others had said before. Lani fully agreed with that.

Before we concluded the story a few weeks back, I took the time to peruse what we had accomplished. I noted that Lani had translated hundreds of pages of documents that we had received from various sources. Many of these documents were in French so it was necessary to make them workable. She worked tirelessly day in and day out. Occasionally there would be someone who spoke only French that needed to be interviewed for the story. Again, because of her language capabilities, Lani bailed me out. In addition, Lani put all of our collected information on disks. There was no way that a technology melt down was going to erase our efforts.
Lani and her husband Gus took a trip in late October to Australia for a holiday. Every second day of the holiday, Lani found a way to e-mail me from an internet cafe and also read the latest posting and comments. Again I reiterate, if you liked my story over the past few months, it simply would not have been possible without Lani.
To give you some idea of the amount of papers that we sorted and studied, compare what would fit into a big old steamer trunk in total, and then after studying and perusing it all, ending up with just enough to fill a shoe box. That gives you some insight into the amount of plain junk that has floated around for over fifty years in this case. Sad, but true.
The following are the folks that made my story possible. If I have missed anyone, please accept my apologies. In addition to those listed below, there are some folks who wished to remain anonymous. I respect your wishes, but at the same time, I want to ensure that I convey my thanks to you.

.Len Arsenault
.Keith Baker
.Bobbi Baker
.Jill Baker
.Marni Baker
.Gabriel Bernard
.Betty LeBoutieller
.Charlie LeBoutellier
.Canada Customs and Immigration
.Martha Costello
.Gary Coffin
.Ivan Coffin
.Jim Coffin
.Harry Cottle
.Sandra Doucette
.Henriette Doyon
.Gaspe Museum

.GoGaspe % Andy Patterson
.Dale Hayton
.Jacques H├ębert
.Dave Mathieson
.Barb Miller
.Donald Miller
.Lani Mitchell
.Gus Mitchell
.Mario Mimeault
.Ministry of External Affairs
.Frank Moore
.National Archives Canada
.New Brunswick Ministry of Resources
.Rhonda Patterson
.Diane Peter
.Miriam Preteau
.Alton Price
.Judy Reeder
.Debbie Sams
.Peter Sams
.Penny Shanahan
.Fabien Sinnett
.Wendall Stanley
.T. Connors Drilling
.Mimi Wilson
.Rick Willett
.Elsie Willett
.Marie Coffin (Stewart)
.Debbie Ferragamo


.Just a reminder to everyone. Coming up in two days is what I consider to be the most important posting of all to this story. This posting is the one that I have been constantly telling you about for the past few weeks. I am proud to be able to finally present it.
This will not be a posting that you can merely skim over. It requires your attention to detail, and may require reading it a couple of times in order that the full story emerges for you. This posting will show you exactly how the execution of Wilbert Coffin came about, why it was allowed to proceed in the final days, and who was responsible to make the decisions. The posting will name names. The posting will also showcase deceit, manipulation, and some other elements such as destruction of documents, that I personally do not think have a place in a truly democratic government. It was a tangled web that involved many threads.
Again, I invite you to read the final element to the story. This is what I have worked long and hard for. This is the stuff that I have been working on behind the scenes while writing the story of Wilbert Coffin going through the legal process. There will no doubt be some of you who will be upset with me. That is alright as well, as everything that I shall be telling you can be backed up with a document. Some of the players in this posting have since departed, however, I wish to expose the various elements and let you know that even though this may have happened over fifty years ago, it has not gone away.
Sometime back I offered this story to The Spec Newspaper on the Gaspe' coast. The editor, on two separate occasions was going to get back to me. He never did. I contacted CTV news. I have an e-mail telling me that time constraints prevented them from covering new material on the case. As citizens, you have a right to know. The news media is responsible to provide. To accept less, you are selling youself short. This story had it's roots on the Gaspe' coast, and yet for some reason, I am not aware of a single reference to my own work on the case in The Spec newspaper.
Thanks very much Canada, and wherever else from around the world that you have read my story. I sincerely hope that I have been able to assist anyone who has an interest in this event. You have been a teriffic audience. God Bless all of you.
Lew Stoddard
Posted to site February 24, 2007


Lani Baker mitchell said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, but I have to clarify something here.I understand that when someone who doesn't speak french hears another speak ' some french', they might think that person has a good command of the language...however I am far from bilingual. I read it fairly well and speak some french, but I am not bilingual.I wish I were! I'd also like your readers to know that you are a man of great intregity who is willing to work tirelessly to right this terrible wrong done to Wilbert Coffin. I like that whenever you're faced with a new challenge..with new twists and turns in seeking the are able to sort through the nonsense and stay true to the task at hand.It's a gift that very few people have, and the Coffin family should feel very honoured that you have chosen to help set the record straight!I doubt that your readers understand the many times you've pushed yourself to complete your postings..the times when you've been so sick from your chemo treatments that you could barely see the keyboard of your computer ..but you keep going... a wonderful example of what it means to be a truly good man! Since this posting of yours is for thanking people, I think we all can say a huge thank you to Lew!

Anonymous said...

Thank you and Lani and all the others who have contributed to the unfolding of this tragic story.
It is only throuh your dedication and efforts that the Canadian Parliment has agreed to reopen the file.
Let us all, every one of us, pray that this time the persons responsible will review all the facts and not just rely on the stuff that was presented at the trial.
To me it is a clear case of interferance that the Quebec Crown Proscutor rejected the coroners jury findings and demand that they change the verdict from "person or persons unknown" to naming Wilbert Coffin as the person responsible for the murders.
To me that is a glaring indication of the corruption involved in the trial
I. J. Coffin

Henriette Doyon said...

(Pasted from an email sent to me by Henriette who wanted me to post this message. Lani)

Lew and Lani,
(Sorry for my english... but it is sincere!)

From me and for my father, seargent Henri Doyon, I say you a very big "thank you" because you say now wath he wanted to say all is life. 50 years after, you are there to take the relief and you do it with success. You work very hard, you are just and honest... Congratulations!
I think we will have justice in few time for Wilbert and Henri. I am with you Lew, Lani, Mary, James and all the supporters; and I know that seargent Doyon is with you too!
Thank you for all!

Henriette Doyon

Cecile said...

i certainly would hope that all would appreciate the efforts of Lew stoddard in what he has been trying to get across.if you didnt know about this case before you should now.Hope the government pays attention.

Cecile Landau
Trois Rivieres

Barry Trent said...

Was not aware Sir of your chemotherapy. That is rough at best of times. I am pulling for you. Waiting to see this big new posting coming up. Hope it causes lots to be edgy.

Barry Trent
CFB Trenton

Geri I. Port Coquitlam, BC said...

Thank you for your excellent research and the truthful and sensitive way in which you put it all together.
I can't wait for the naming of names in the next posting. All Canadians should be concerned about any miscarriage of justice. Remember people, "the power of one". As you have shown us; one person can be instrumental in changing those things which need to be changed. Again, thank you.

Bent said...

Every time I read you, I can only wish that I had command of the written word the same way as you do! I sorely need it in my research and I just can't seem to be convincing enough.

Thanks You so much for your clear and concise writing, and for leading us through the terrible mess that he govt made in the prosecution and killing of Wilbert Coffin. Now we all have a much clearer picture of what really happened.
I can't wait for the final posting!

How is your health? I hope it is improving. You are a fighter in the best sense of the word and I know you will win your personal battle, as well as I know that you will win the battle you have fought for Mr. Coffin.

I want to tell you that I have learned a great deal for my own purpose just studying what you have done in the Wilbert Coffin case. For this, I wish to thank you sir.

With the utmost respect and admiration,

as always, anybody who wishes to email me can do so at:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Stoddard,

Like so many others who have commented here, I also want to thank you for your expose on the Wilbert Coffin case. I also grew up with this story and all the rumors and innuendo that came with it. For every person who believed Wilbert Coffin was innocent, there were at least two who reveled in dragging his name and reputation through the mud.

Mr. Stoddard, you are correct when you say that The Spec newspaper has never published anything regarding your investigation into this case. My mother, who now lives on Vancouver Island, was completely surprised when I told her about your work. In fact, she said "I didn't know that. Why hasn't anything been printed in The Spec?" She has subscribed to The Spec for all the years since she moved from the Gaspe.

I join all the other well-wishers in wishing you the very best with regards to your healt.

What a tremendous service you have done for Wilbert Coffin and his family....and for all Canadians.

P. Shanahan