How can we accept that the Université de Moncton bears the name of the persecutor of the Acadians?

How can we accept that the University of Moncton bears the name of the persecutor Acadians?


The Université de Moncton, the largest French-language university in Canada outside of Quebec, will consider requests from those who want it to change its name. More than 1,000 Acadians have signed a petition to this effect. Robert Moncton (also spelled Monckton) was the main executor of the deportation of the Acadians.

In June 1755, Colonel Moncton began the destruction of Acadia by seizing the French forts Beauséjour and Gaspareau, in contravention of the peace treaties signed with France. On August 8, 1755, he received instructions from General Charles Lawrence to speed up the final solution to the Acadian question:

“…as it may be very difficult to seize the inhabitants, you You must as much as possible destroy all the villages on the north and north-west coasts of the isthmus located around Fort Beauséjour, and make every effort to reduce to starvation those who try to hide in the woods.”*< /p>The deportation of the Acadians is a dark period in our history. From 1755 to 1763, approximately 10,000 Acadians were deported. The village pictured here, Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, is now a National Historic Site.

“Ethnic cleansing”

To force the men who had taken refuge in the woods to turn themselves into prisoners, the English executed, in Nazi-style retaliation, their parents: “ Give the absentees 2 days to surrender, otherwise their next of kin will be militarily executed.” 

During “ethnic cleansing” operations that he led, Moncton deported more than 2,100 Acadian men, women and children from the Beaubassin region, Beauséjour and the Chignecto Isthmus. He confiscated their lands and goods, burned their homes, barns and outbuildings, and seized their cattle. 

The efficiency of Moncton earned him the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia in December 1755. In this capacity, he was also responsible for the deportation to England, in 1758, of more than 3,000 other Acadians who had taken refuge in the 'Isle Saint-Jean, now Prince Edward Island. 

Artist's rendering of the burning of an Acadian village in 1758.

Moncton’s heinous abuses constitute what is now called genocide. According to the UN definition, it is “murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation and any other inhumane act committed against any civilian population, before or during war or persecution, for political, racial or religious motives”. 

During the seven years that the destruction of French Acadia lasted, its population fell from 15,000 in 1755 to about 2,500 in 1762. More than a third of 5,000 to 6,000 of them died there. 

We need an “Acadian Avenue” in Quebec City!

The Université de Moncton is not the only one to glorify the memory of this heinous war criminal. In Quebec, an avenue bears his name. It goes from Chemin Sainte-Foy to the Plains of Abraham. Moncton was second in command to James Wolfe. 

Moncton Avenue ends at Grande-Allée, on the Plains of Abraham where Moncton distinguished itself alongside Wolfe.

This is particularly infamous when you consider that 150 Acadian deportees fought to defend New France in 1759. On orders from Wolfe, Moncton devastated the south shore of Quebec, burning all the houses and barns as well than crops between Beaumont and the Chaudière River. 

In 1999, a citizen, Richard Gervais, proposed to the mayor of Quebec to put an end to this ignominy: “I hereby request that the current avenue Moncton be renamed “avenue des Acadiens”. Nothing was done.

Quebec and Acadia are among the few places in the world where this kind of situation is accepted. It's a simple matter of honor, dignity and self-respect! The Acadians finally seem resolved to remove from the university which trains their youth the name of the executioner of their ancestors. For how long will the odonym Moncton taint our nation's capital?

* Baby, François, “Fallait-il salvage le soldier Monckton de l'oubli?”, L'Action national, August 1999.

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