The week of December 5, 2016, was a difficult one for the fishing community in Atlantic Canada due to the tragic passing of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU) Executive Secretary Christian Brun at the age of 46.

Christian Brun, head of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union in New Brunswick, died in December. CBC photo.

Christian was a passionate supporter of owner-operator and fleet separation policies in Canada. These are the policies that keep our owner-operator fleets independent and vibrant in their coastal communities. Christian, with the support of numerous other fishing organizations in Atlantic Canada, continued to lobby hard to have these policies formally adopted as law. This campaign will continue to be carried on with the passion that Christian brought to this issue.

Christian was a formidable debater on local organizational issues. The past few years brought forth a number of galvanizing issues as various fisheries started to rebound after years of low harvester returns. More recently the PEIFA and MFU collaborated on a number of items that benefited the harvesters of our collective regions. Christian was proud of his Acadian heritage and was a strong advocate for French being spoken and translated at any industry meetings.

I attended the celebration of Christian’s life on Friday, December 9, in the small community where he lived. A church of 450 people was filled to capacity with local residents, fishing community members, dignitaries, artists and musicians. Although Christian was formally trained as a lawyer, this diverse mix of people reflected the other side of Christian’s life which included writing poetry, painting, participation on volunteer boards and a love of the arts. This dimension Christian kept very separate and private from his sometimes rough-and tumble life in the fishery. There were a number of moving tributes by colleagues and family members, classical and folk music interludes and a special drumming tribute provided by members of the Mi’kmaq First Nation.

One would be hard pressed to recall a service that featured so much diversity in both content and sprit. After the service, many reflected on the void that will exist with Christian’s passing. Although this void will be real, it will also be important to remember the man and his accomplishments in both the fishing and the artistic communities.

Christian Brun – a man of passion and balance. He will be missed.