YOU BE THE JUDGE.
As I have stated numerous times in the past I do not occupy my time in getting caught up in most of the junk that has floated around and haunted the Coffin case for the past half century. As long as there are people out there in society who thrive on sensationalism, there will be those who in my opinion, are ready to answer the call. These are the ones who traditionally occupy the "wannabe a best seller" shelf in the local book store.
Again this is my opinion, but I do know that it is an opinion shared by others who have an interest in this case. Occasionally, someone will send me an e-mail pointing out something that they have read and want clarification on what someone is writing. Such is the case of things being written and published with reference to a particular gentleman named Jacques Hebert.
I was pointed to the site of Clement Fortin. You will no doubt recall Mr. Fortin. It was his site that routinely "borrowed" information and comments from my site and published it as his own correspondence from his readers. You will also recall that it was necessary that I issue a cease and desist order to Mr. Fortin to curb this practise. You will also recall that I set up a fictious character and sent myself an e-mail from this fictious character and I then published it on my web page. Lo and behold, the very next day this fictious character that I named Reg suddenly began to breathe life and somehow was able to send Mr. Fortin the same letter for his comment page. I took this approach to prove that this type of activity that I describe was actually taking place. You may also recall that Mr. Fortin established a direct link to his page from mine without my permission, which again, forced me to advise him to remove it. I do not bring up these things again as a means of throwing salt into an already open wound, but merely as an avenue to display to you, the readers of this site, some of the credentials of the author who takes many cheap shots against Jacques Hebert and others.
It was suggested by a couple of readers that I take a look at what has been said about Jacques Hebert on Mr. Fortin's site. I have to say that I am much disappointed with Mr. Fortin. In my view, he comes just short of labelling Mr. Hebert a liar. It is real easy to knock a dead man. If Mr. Fortin had these things to say, why did he not make the statements directly to Mr. Hebert, whilst Mr. Hebert was still with us, as it was only last December that he departed.
I do not know how much you may or may not know about Jacques Hebert. I know that Jacques Hebert was a man of distinction. I know that he was respected by thousands and that he had many friends and aquaintances the world over. I had the honour, and I do class it as an honour to have spoken with Mr. Hebert on many occasions. He kept appointments and he answered my questions with class and dignity. Mr. Hebert believed in the innocence of Wilbert Coffin. He was really the only one, other than Jean Beliveau who had the courage to stand up and be counted on the matter.
You must remember the Brossard Inquiry was brought about as a result of Jacques Hebert. It was not convened because the judiciary cared anything about the people. It was a vain attempt to prove Jacques Hebert wrong in his sayings and writings. It was nothing more than the police and judiciary investigating themselves and shovelling it down the throats of the people. It did nothing to prove or dis-prove the case against Wilbert Coffin as when the inquiry took place he had been executed nine years before.
The following are some brief notes extracted from the official biography of Jacques Hebert.
Jacques Hebert received his early education in the maritime provinces. Mr. Hebert later received an honourary Doctoral degree from Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto.
From 1951 - 1953 Mr. Hebert worked for Le Devoir newspaper.
From 1962 - 1970 Mr. Hebert worked as a host and writer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
From 1965 - 1972 Mr. Hebert was president of the Association of Canadian Publishers.
In 1963 Mr. Hebert, with Pierre Elliot Trudeau founded the Civil Liberties Union.
During his career, Mr. Hebert founded two publishing houses, Editions L'Homme and Editions du jour.
Jacques Hebert wrote and published many books, including the 1963 publication titled J'accuse les Assassins de Coffin which he steadfastly defended until his death.
Jacques Hebert travelled to more than 130 countries of the world promoting peace and harmony.
Jacques Hebert was the founder of Katimavik in Canada which promoted the involvement of youth, while promoting cultural diversity.
Jacques Hebert was nominated in 2002 to receive The Nobel Peace Prize.
When one peruses the above credentials of an individual such as Jacques Hebert, one has to be very cautious in accepting the cheap shots fired in his direction by someone such as Clement Fortin. One must remember, it is Mr. Fortin who constantly states that he is a lawyer. One must also remember that it is the same Mr. Fortin who evades the question when asked as to where he was engaged in private practise. He states that he taught law. What kind of law? Was it criminal or civil litigation? Down deep, I couldn't care less as to what the answers are to these questions. I do care a lot though when an individual can hide under a veil of secrecy and publicly try to influence the public to accept a doctrine for which there is no basis.
Equally disturbing is the fact that Mr. Fortin has embarked upon a course of action to discredit the late Sgt. Henri Doyon and the late Lewis Sinnett. These two officers were two of the very few on the Gaspe' coast who worked tirelessly on this case from day one. It would appear that because their opinions did not entirely parallel those of the thugs who were appointed to steer this investigation, Mr. Fortin has chosen to take passages out of context and label them as liars and drunks. Most of Mr. Fortin's passages are from the Brossard inquiry, which took place some eight or nine years after the trial at Perce. It is to also be noted that this enquiry was not to establish innocence or guilt, but was an attempt to convince the public that the judiciary of Quebec made no mistakes during the investigation and trial. It was an attempt that failed miserably. That is precisely why this case is still being studied more than fifty years later.