‘The Killing of Phillip Boudreau’ now available on CBC Gem

Isle Madame is depicted in the documentary as a cluster of postcard-perfect Acadian fishing villages off the coast of Cape Breton.

HALIFAX: The producers of The Killing of Phillip Boudreau have confirmed that the documentary is available for free on the CBC Gem streaming service.

“The entire filmmaking community has been impacted by the pandemic – projects were delayed or cancelled before they even got off the ground,” writer, director Megan Wennberg said. “We feel so lucky this documentary is coming to your screens and we thank CBC for being so adaptable to make this happen. We are all navigating a complex world that can feel more divided than ever. Our sense of community has been overturned, and we are building new pathways to empathy and understanding. The stories in this film feel even more important and powerful to share now because of the complexities of this moment; a silver lining to our premiere being delayed.”

The documentary chronicles the story of the death of Phillip Boudreau, a local man known for poaching lobsters, who was killed by fishermen in a crime the non-local media dubbed “Murder for Lobster,” which made international headlines seven-years-ago.

On the morning of June 1, 2013, Boudreau’s small red and white fiberglass speedboat, Midnight Slider was found battered and adrift off Petit de Grat Harbour off an uninhabited stretch of shoreline known as Mackerel Cove and Boudreau was nowhere to be seen.

While rumours swept the area, the RCMP was following up on a tip that the crew of a local fishing vessel called the Twin Maggies were believed to be carrying a rifle or shotgun. Red and black marks and scuffs could be seen on the boat’s starboard side. The next day, the RCMP questioned the three-man crew: Dwayne Samson, James Landry and Craig Landry. By June 8, they had all been charged with second degree murder.

In January 2015, James Landry was sentenced to 14 years in prison for manslaughter in the death of Phillip Boudreau. Later that year, Dwayne Samson pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Craig Landry pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and received two-years of probation.

James Landry and Dwayne Samson each served fewer than five-years before being released back into a community that is still reckoning with their crime.

While “Murder for Lobster” made a clickable headline, the documentary asserts that it ignored the bigger picture, and worse, caused hurt that is still felt throughout the community.

Wennberg unpacked a complicated and tangled web of blame in The Killing of Phillip Boudreau. The film looks at Boudreau himself, the challenges of policing this area and the role the community played as a whole; everyone knew there was a problem, but no one did anything before it was too late.

The 44-minute documentary sheds new light on this misunderstood case. It asks: What happens when members of a tight-knit community kill one of their own? Where do the lines between good and bad and right and wrong blur? And who is at fault when everyone bears some responsibility?