Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements

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New Brunswick Experiences the Depression Beginnings

Father Jean-Joseph-Auguste Allard
A native of Pokemouche, Goucester County, Jean-Joseph-Auguste Allard was born 6 June 1884, the son of Marie Arseneault and Ovide Allard. He obtained his early education there before attending Le Collége du Sacré-Coeur de Caraquet, which had been founded by his uncle, Mgr. J. Théophile Allard, in the 1890s. Joseph-Auguste studied theology at Holy Heart of Mary Seminary, Halifax, and was ordained priest in February 1914. He served at Balmoral, Kedgwick, St-Quentin, Rogersville, and Val-d'Amours, before becoming parish priest of East Bathurst in 1922. For the next 25 years, he was a major force in the Bathurst area, working to establish L'Académie Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, Le Sanatorium Notre-Dame de Lourdes, la paroisse du Christ-Roi, and the settlement that bears his name.
For Father Allard and many of his fellow curés, the necessity of finding homes for thousands of people in northern New Brunswick was a civil and religious duty. "The people have a natural right to settle and live in their own country," he maintained, and returning to the land was "the best means...of solving the problem." On the other hand, young homeless people without work could become "wanderers in the way of success and salvation," and the crowding of several families in a single-family dwelling was "against sound morals" which concerned the Church. Father Allard also believed that people deserved to live with dignity and to have adequate shelter, food, and clothing. Conditions were such in Gloucester County that many were being denied these moral rights.