There is a scene worth a movie script, or a stage play, in Arcand’s 1957 Memorandum and Request Re: Claims of Canadian Nationalists Against the Government of Canada for Unjust Internments:
“In 1943* Mrs. A. Arcand obtained a special permit to visit her husband in Fredericton internment camp. The only purpose of that visit was to notify him to get prepared to come out, for it had been arranged with a personal friend and … a minister of the Crown that Arcand’s release would be ordered within a fortnight for a sum of $10,000.00. The repulsive deal was ‘killed’ in the camp.”
Imagine poor Yvonne arriving hopefully at the camp with the money to bring her husband home, and he refused to let her buy his freedom.
An Attempted Murder
Why did Yvonne try to free her husband at this precise time? A colossal amount of $10,000 had been advanced by a friend to release him. Speculation: according to Jean Côté (1994), Une grande figure de notre temps, page 181, an attempt on Arcand’s life was made by poisoning while Arcand was in the camps. It would be interesting to know whether the poisoning preceded Yvonne Giguère’s effort to free him.
Traité pour une tentative d’empoisonnement au camp de Petawawa — une affaire louche que ses intimes n’avaient pu élucider, malgré des soupçons — le chef du PNSC se sentait languissant.
— Je ne suis plus le même, confiait-il à Gérard Lemieux. Un ressort s’est brisé en moi.
Que se passait-il?
Gérard Lemieux n’en sut pas davantage, car peu geignard, le chef, comme tout le monde l’appelait, ne confiait ses malaises à personne et refusait d’être plaint.
Treated for an attempted poisoning at Petawawa camp – a suspicious affair that his intimates could not elucidate, despite suspicions — the NSCP leader felt drained.
— I’m not the same, he confided to Gérard Lemieux. A spring has broken in me.
What had happened?
Gérard Lemieux knew no more about it, for the Chief, as everyone called him, confided his troubles to no one and refused to complain.
Côté was unable to get any details on the poisoning, but maybe there are camp medical records in the archives at Ottawa, at least to establish the date of that event.
* It will also be necessary to clarify the date when Yvonne brought the $10,000 to the camp, because a typographical error in the original draft Memorandum says it was 1953, but it would have to be the early 1940s.