Is it time to End Small Town Cronyism in Cornwall Ontario? An Editor at the Cross Roads by Jamie Gilcig

Is it time to End Small Town Cronyism in Cornwall Ontario?   An Editor at the Cross Roads by Jamie Gilcig

CFN – My apologies to those of you who have asked why I’ve commented so little these past two weeks.

Things are nuts here at CFN.   There are not enough hours in the day.  We are busy working on getting Seaway TV going and getting our Christmas print issue ready to roll!

It’s been an interesting and educational summer.    We’ve hit some high points and endured some low points.

As some of you know here in Cornwall CFN is under fire.   The City, Chamber of Commerce, & a certain clique are not only boycotting us; but have intimidated some of our clients.

At one point as we’d lost 80% of our revenue in a six week period.  Luckily with a lot of hard work and support from this amazing community we have fought back.  We now have had over 1,000,000 page views per month for over 5 months which may be more actual content read than all the media competition in our market combined.

Why the boycott?   Well maybe some of those people can answer that question better than I can.   We’ve yet in over 5,500 stories published had to ever print a single retraction or been sued.  For that matter we’ve only ever had one letter of complaint and that we published which is where that ended.

When you do a lot of opinion; whether it be my own, one of our contributors, or you our amazing viewers who have posted over 20,000 comments in three years you’re bound to step on a few toes.  Some toes are more sensitive than others and sadly some instead of dealing with reality make up lies and try and run people out of town…  For example I don’t steal from charities and never have.   I have no hidden 666 tattoos on my scalp, CFN is not OFTEN filled with profanity and vicious personal attacks ….

This Summer I’ve seen two friends come down with very harsh cases of Cancer.  It’s really given me pause to think and look at life.   At 48 I have my own life decisions to make.

As I’ve shared with some of my friends who have marveled at CFN’s endurance and ability to survive the incredible attacks we’ve had and still be the number one ranked media in our market; I’d never change things because of the bad guys (and they know who they are) but would because of the apathy of good guys.

I’m proud of the impact we’ve had on Cornwall.  I’m proud of all that we’ve accomplished and helped change in this community even if it’s seen more by outsiders than the cliquey elite ruling class of Cornwall.  I’m blown away that even though the big three media outlets all rejected hiring me that little independent CFN has dramatically changed media in this city.

And I’m blown away by the support we get from greetings on the street to phone calls and emails, and of course the local response to our Intensely local program.

But we are at a cross roads as we enter the last quarter of 2012.

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is that the “Cornwall” brand is complicated.  Our traffic is National.   While Cornwall is our biggest market it’s only about 28-30% of our traffic followed closely by Ottawa.   Yet when we pitch CFN in Ottawa it’s a challenge because of the name Cornwall Free News.

Locally when we approach a prospective client like MacDonell Motors, a local VW dealership, and they tell my rep they won’t advertise with the number one ranked media, even though we offer them a $1 ad, because it’s “A Small Town” I find it shocking.

Cornwall is a city of nearly 50,000 people.  A business of course can choose to do what it wishes, but this sentiment is not how you grow a community.   I mean our staff, readers, and people we bump into are not inspired by that sort of response.

Likewise when a hotel tells us they were pressured by a service club and city officials to terminate their advertising with us.  Again this is not how you grow a community.

And ultimately life is about growing communities; bringing people together and sharing in mutual success.

Any business or organization has the right to run itself anyway it chooses, but what are the messages that CAS, JobZone, CCH,  St. Lawrence College, Bensons, all of the city connected institutions like the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, Seaway Tourism, Aultsville Theatre, CRAG, The Woodhouse Museum, Heart of the City, the Cornwall DBIA, Le Village, and so many others are stating by boycotting CFN?  Same with many local events.   Is it just small town cronyism?  Is it the same people on the same boards with too much power and control?  Again what actual business reason would any business not want to be on the number one ranked media outlet in its city? Could that be why Pitt Street has so many empty spaces and Cornwall finishes at the Bottom of the Communities in Boom report like they did last year?

Are certain people here so insecure that they just lash out and try and kill something that has been successful in so many ways?   I mean Bizfest lost nearly $10K last year.  It was a colossal failure with Joey Gault of the chamber forgetting to put in the single largest line item in his budget.

The Chamber’s solution is to have Joey go for another round while the chamber itself runs in the red?  And they think somehow CFN which runs with no external debt is a villain?

Again, I ask why bother with Cornwall?  Why not simply move the paper to another community?  I had a venture capitalist try and lure me to Ottawa and refused.    I have roots in this community and love living here.   I have friendships and frankly there are literally thousands of people that would be quite upset if CFN stopped or drastically changed.  And they are the ones that truly have built CFN.  It’s been their support that have made it number one.   I think Cornwall Ontario has massive potential and a huge future.  So did some very corrupt people that tried to sneak 2,000 waterfront condos on the public which we outed.

I could sell CFN so that it would stay local or sell it outright.   I can change the name and focus too.

But in the end would it be best for this community?  Maybe it’d be better if those that simply can’t play by the rules; who can’t succeed honestly were the ones to change or be run out of town?   What makes a community successful is success.  You want to attract people to your city create an environment where they can succeed.

We need to retain and attract young people.   That won’t happen unless things change in Cornwall.   Just like many small towns and cities that are losing their futures to greener pastures out West or in bigger cities like Ottawa and Toronto.   Low paying distribution jobs are not the solution.   Neither is running things like an old boys club.   Neither is not having an intercity bus terminal not in the city or playing games with the waterfront.

It’s going to be an interesting Fall and Winter here in Cornwall.

I’m not going anywhere.  CFN is not leaving.   But maybe it’s time for some of the bad guys and gals to be publicly confronted…..

It’s time for change and we’re going to be a part of it.

Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

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gerry
Member
gerry

Me thinks this media (CFN) may be just the tool to start Cornwall finally on the road to change and progress.. We have endured all we can take from the people who supposedly have our best interests at heart…Lets put city council out to pasture and elect people into office who give a dam about the city and people who live here…. We need change now and our elected officials to run under a banner of complete transparency.. The people of Cornwall need to stand up and make that change and CFN may just be the catalyst to wake us… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

Jamie Cornwall has always been the way you see it but only worse than before. People’s minds are very small and they are like sheep being led to the slaughter. I live here in Ottawa and I am from Cornwall and leaving in your case isn’t always the best solution. We left because of my children and so many people have left Cornwall during my day and I am a woman of 61 years old and even before my day since there was nothing in Cornwall. I read lately about a certain small city smaller than Cornwall that lost its… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

Jamie I am glad to hear that. My husband who is from a big city overseas likes a small city and not living in this rat race. I have good wishes for you and for your future. The MacDonell Motor Sales is all part of Cornwall’s mentality and I have heard that before as well. There is no loss there. You take care of yourself and your paper is the only one I am reading. Keep up the good work.

THE BIG FLUSH
Guest
THE BIG FLUSH

Holy Mother Teresa, did you ever, ever, ever nail it, (Mr.Fedup) congradulations on an excellent letter. The “BIG FLUSH MOVEMENT” hopes you consider our platform in the upcomming municipal election ? We propose voting for anyone other , than an incumbant member of Council ? Once again , great comments. FEDUP August 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm Me thinks this media (CFN) may be just the tool to start Cornwall finally on the road to change and progress.. We have endured all we can take from the people who supposedly have our best interests at heart…Lets put city council out… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

I am completely with you “Fedup” and I said it before on Jamie’s CFN paper – Cornwall needs a complete cleanup indeed. Leaving Cornwall is not the answer. Cornwall is very pretty indeed and quiet but what keeps Cornwall down is the so called “elite” of the town. These so called “elites” run the town and they barge in to places and push their weight around. I know it because I dealt with some and I won’t way who. I remember a woman telling us that she is one of the people who run the town and all 4 of… Read more »

Lolochuck
Guest
Lolochuck

I agree with Jamie 100%! It is FreeNews that has finally been the one to expose the corruption that goes on in this city. The clique with the $$$ that controls everything and has made a mess of it all!!!! People now know what is really going on in this town……it happens everywhere, but it is oh much worse in this city!!!!! Thanks to FreeNews we know what is going on at CCH(job discrimination), at city council(oh the corruption and bullying), just to name a few. Thanks to FreeNews things can ONLY get better as we clean house at the… Read more »

Christopher Cameron
Guest
Christopher Cameron

Wow Jamie let it all Out. At least we know where you stand ,of which almost all would not make a stand ,for it would be far easier to leave then to stay! Cornwall needs independent news media and will thrive for it. The more news media, particularly independents, brings another voice representing the people . When considering in this country with approx 60% of media is under control of several holdings ,then independent voice is TRULY LOCAL. Media plays a large part in Democracy, as it allows the voice of the people to be heard . Thank you Jamie… Read more »

Tyler
Guest
Tyler

I am so glad I was turned on to the CFN. I am a former Cornwall resident currently living in Calgary and I liek following the issues facing Cornwallites. Most of my family still lives in Cornwall and I return every year for vacation. I was fed up with the Standard Freeholder. I talk about the issues with my family and yet I could never seem to find any good articles or discussions on the Standard Freeholder website. I enjoy your coverage of the EOHU protests and the CCH hiring practices. I am also interested in waterfront issues (Hint: STOP… Read more »

Half in the Bag
Guest
Half in the Bag

“It’s time for change…”, Jamie writes. Our mayor lives in Ottawa, and the outgoing CAO lives out of town. Our fire department has a competition for new firefighters with about 140 applicants for one vacant position, and the mayor’s son who is a hockey player wins.
O brother it’s time for change in Cornwall. Bravo Jamie!

Reg Coffey
Member

There will always be small minded control freaks in every community. It’s up to the rest of us to not allow them to much influence.

There will always be those so called community leaders who put their private agendas ahead of the community. It’s up to the media to keep them honest.

Believe ME
Guest
Believe ME

Jamie : I’ll say this about you Man you’ve got Guts. The big problem here is INTEGRITY or lack thereof as shown by the anything but classy bunch the ( cliquety up to now town runners ) who have been putting their personal interest or the interest of their friends ahead of the public interest & that is the disgusting fact of how it is in our town . Until we know who these low lifes really are & I mean all or most of them are hands are tied in trying to help . One thing you can count… Read more »

bigfellow
Guest

I read these articles, referring to the acts of the few in cornwall who turn thier nose up at CFN .
Did you know that when Hitler took power in germany he disposed of ALL the newspaper and radio stations before the world war 2 and declared his newspaper & radio station is the only one allowed.
This is a form of Genocide.
Are we travelling along the same path, here in Cornwall?
For info only.
Have a nice day.

Ed
Member
Ed

Comparing Cornwall’s ruling “clique” to Hitler, and calling their actions genocide is a bit over the top.

Elizabeth R
Guest
Elizabeth R

Your “paper” seeks to publicly slander and bully people in this town. You rarely publish comments from people who do not support your opinions. I know a good many people who have valid email addresses that don’t get their comments made live because they challenge your stories. Good for your advertisers for pulling out. (MODERATED DUE TO BEING A FALSE STATEMENT) A true journalist would never do such a thing. I wouldn’t want to be associated with an organization that continually makes unproven claims. If you have proof of such corruption, then go to the police, otherwise stop harassing people… Read more »

stellabystarlight
Guest
stellabystarlight

OMG Elizabeth……you are one brave woman. I would have loved to comment on this subject, but held back because of the reasons you brought forth.

Ed
Member
Ed

This is a privately owned web site. The owner can and does choose what gets posted or not. Quite a few of my comments have been blocked as well. That’s OK because this is not a public forum where all opinions are allowed. The owner has every right to choose what appears on his site for legal or personal reasons.

Ed
Member
Ed

It’s not really an issue with me, admin, but my comment re the Truffles restaurant add was blocked. And one or two of my responses to Pastor Newton were blocked as well. That’s OK with me. This is your site and you have every right to moderate as you see fit. Carry on. You are doing an excellent job, and we are fortunate to have CFN poking the bear.

stellabystarlight
Guest
stellabystarlight

Jamie, yes I have and I want to thank you for that, however, this is a sensitive issue for you and I didn’t dare comment because of the possible consequences.

jules
Guest
jules

Some of my posts were not put through and I am not angry at all at Jamie and feel that the man can post what he wants since it is his newspaper. Jamie has a right to sensor because of liability. This person Elizabeth sounds like a firecracker here full of anger. Well Elizabeth take it out on me because I am a former Cornwallite and can say plenty about the corruption down in Cornwall. We moved out of your town because of no employment unless you had a certain family name to get hired. We live in Ottawa and… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

Chris Cameron I just posted on an article written by someone about bilingualism being pushed throughout Ontario and even out in BC as someone posted. I am shocked that it has gone this far with at least 22 municipalities. I know that here in Ottawa it is a demand. I am shocked and appaled when someone said that mayor Kilger is living here in Ottawa. How can a mayor or council live in a different municipality and hold office. Oh don’t tell me that they will come up with something saying that they own property in Cornwall and can do… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

Tyler I too would like to see waterfront businesses in Cornwall and someone came up with a good idea of a fish market and maybe a vegetable market and it sounds good but people in Cornwall are not really ready for that. You and I know very well that people shop for the cheapest that they can get and those markets are very expensive and geared more to the very high incomes. I myself do not go to the market here in Ottawa and it is the very high incomes who shop there the most. People in Rockliffe Park send… Read more »

Believe Me
Guest
Believe Me

Elizabeth R = My oh My = Did someone pee in your Cornflakes Flakes to get you all riled up ? Even though I respect your right to free speech you really appear to be one nasty piece of cake . Could it be that you are really speaking on behalf of one of those currently in power here or one of those doing the dirty work for others ? If that be so you should be ashamed of yourself . Check your Corn Flakes tomorrow carefully it might improve your outlook.

Ed
Member
Ed

Premeditated contamination of cornflakes should be punishable by death.

Ed
Member
Ed

Admin, maybe it’s a good idea to post some of the particularly weird or nasty comments you get. You could have a weekly “We Get Letters” column.

Harry Valentine
Guest
Harry Valentine

Cornwall’s economy has changed drastically over the past few decades. The City’s future lies with privately owned and funded, free-enterprise companies that make a profit. Many years ago, Cornwall citizens endured the broken promises made by companies that had business plans that depended on government funding . . . most of them either closed down or left town. Over the long term, the government-funded companies did nothing for Cornwall’s economy or for the city’s residents. Government funding has a downside in that it breeds an exclusive clique crony mentality. Except that the world economy is such that governments will have… Read more »

bigfellow
Guest

Ed
If you feel that I am saying that this “clique” is equal to “hitler” methods,that is NOT what I am referring to.
Sounds like you were not around at that time of the war. There will never be a “hitler” method of free enterprises by ONE ever again.NEVER,EVER.

Harry Valentine
Guest
Harry Valentine

With regard to which business choose to advertise with CFN and support the news service, it is the choice of each business owner. There are people in Cornwall who are uncomfortable with certain political viewpoints, or at criticism levelled at their friends. We have journalists who who have written glowing testimonials that attest to the fine character of some public figures . . . . they learned their journalism lessons well from Prof. Josef Goebbels. A neutral and unbiased independent news media that is free from political favour is a sign of a politically and economically healthy community. Excess praise… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

I don’t think that Ed really meant Cornwall’s clique to go as far as “Hitler” but I think that he is referring more to their dictatorship but in a milder way. LOL LOL. I think that I would describe it as a mild fascism. If you do not belong to this clique then you cannot get employed and believe me that clique is big enough and I remember some of the people that I went to school with (I went to 3 different high schools to know them) and they had the family name to get somewhere. The regular people… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

When VIA rail and the Voyageur Bus company is no longer in Cornwall that is going to affect the town greatly. When people go to plan out a town they have to vision things of what the future may be. In the case of Cornwall and many small towns these towns will be more for seniors. Young people will be moving on from Cornwall and only a certain few will be left behind.

Harry Valentine
Guest
Harry Valentine

Agreed Jamie. I’ve known several business owners who’ve started new businesses in Cornwall over the years. They told of the red tape they’ve had to go through. There is definitely a need to curtail the red tape. We’ve had kids galore in the high schools getting their introduction to the business fundamentals of buying low and selling high and paying their bills to their suppliers. And they don’t even teach business fundamentals in the high schools . . . they’re learning their business skills through extra-curricula activities. Yep, we’ve got high school kids competing with the corner stores when it… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

Jamie and Harry you both said some interesting things here. When my husband and I along with our kids went back to Cornwall to live some people told us that it is next to impossible to make a business in Cornwall. Some years later we saw a man from Ottawa who made a business in Cornwall but the only way he could do that was that he knew the owners of a corporation from Toronto who let him have a space in their building. If this man had to deal with the mayor and council and all the rest of… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

My husband’s older brother lives in Sydney Australia. When he was in Lebanon he drove trucks for a living. In 1967 he immigrated to Australia and worked for General Motors and worked himself up as supervisor. One day he said that he wanted to make his own business. Tony saw a shop where they repaired shoes, made shoes, purses, luggage and other leather goods. One day he went into the shop and wanted to learn the trade and it was a Russian emigre who taught him the trade. Tony bought the business, went back home and got married and both… Read more »

bigfellow
Guest

Jules, you are so true in your writing I could not have said it better. To all others, if you have a dream, go for it.
I had a job and lost it ( one of those american compnies deal) by closure.
One day I had a dream and put it to use, three years later my little enterprise netted me $3000.00 for 10 hrs. of work.
I’m retired now and the person who I gave my enterprise to, is do well.
Dream on and put it to use.
Have a nice day.

jules
Guest
jules

Folks you have to start at the bottom. Don’t forget Walt Disney started out in the garage of his house to make cartoons, etc. Women as well as men can do baking and cooking that can lead to catering. Don’t forget that Martha Stewart started at the bottom as well and so did many others. People can do cake decorating, sewing and alterations and so many things and you start at the bottom and sometimes from home. You would be surprised how your company can grow and most of it is by word of mouth. That is how I fell… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

One more thing I wanted to mention. There was a Canadian lady on a Canadian forum one time who took sewingcourses here in Ottawa and she moved to Halifax Nova Scotia with her husband and children. She worked from home selling high end material and she also did sewing for people. This lady used the internet as well to help sell her goods. An American lady was decorating cakes of all kinds including wedding cakes and all from home. When I say that you live in a land of plenty believe it. You don’t know how the other people around… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

My husband’s BIL George back in Lebanon (now deceised) started out learning how to be an electrician at age 14. He lost his parents and helped to raise his brothers and sisters. George had such a talent and made a great deal of money as an electrician and became a contractor. One time the government was having the airport wired and something happened and the engineer that they had couldn’t figure out what was wrong. They called other contractors and still they couldn’t find the problem. Then they called George and he figured it out and wired the airport with… Read more »

Harry Valentine
Guest
Harry Valentine

Its always good to hear of people who start small businesses from their homes. Many years ago, I was a member of a sports club, along with a member of the Katz family. Mrs Audrey Katz started a little business from the family home at 505 Guy Street . . . the business outgrew the basement and moved to a location neat McConnell Ave and Miontreal Road. Then Mrs Katz and her husband Ed built the big building on the south side of 8th Street, between Pitt and Augustus. Before the era of government grants, Cornwall had a version of… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

I think that my parents knew the Katz family – yes they did I remember hearing that name mentioned before when I was a child back in the good old 50’s era. Boy how time flies. Here in Ottawa the people who come from other countries usually start out being an employee and learning English and then they go and open businesses. I remember when we lived here in Ottawa in the past the place where we get our specialty foods (Lebanese) opperated from a small store like the size of a grocery store of times gone by in Cornwall… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

There is this man from Iraq who came over during the terrible war and endured so much under Sadam’s reign. His young nephew came after him and the uncle is a very good barber. The young boy would go to the place of where his uncle worked and swept the hair on the floor (he was only 9 years old at the time) and all the hell this young boy saw just broke my heart. He was put into the school system here in Ottawa and teachers and children were amazed at how he got along and was able to… Read more »

fedup
Member
fedup

Perhaps the truth hurts……..it’s obvious that the Cornwall clique is now exposed and doesn’t like the exposure of truth. When the clique doesn’t like someone or something and or cannot control or convert, they fire them, replace them, chase them out of town and or make it so difficult times, in hopes that they go away. The Cornwall Clique individuals, are in service clubs, has had media exposure, and have done all they could to market themselves only….not what can I do for my City but what can my City do for me. Most of the clique members are liars,… Read more »

Harry Valentine
Guest
Harry Valentine

I have come to know many Cornwall business families over many years. The Katz kids (Glen and Anne) attended St Lawrence . . . their parents’ business was known as Glenan Distributors. I knew the Miller family, the Nicholsons, Carl McLaughlin, Gaetan Morin and many other Cornwall business owners who started their own businesses on their own business savvy and private financing. I knew the private sector individual who made it possible for SCM to open their warehouse at Cornwall, At the time, businesses could get their permits from the Harris Government of Ontario, at Toronto. City staff only had… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

Harry why does Cornwall need 10 councellors when they are a very small town. Long Sault, Ingleside and all the other communities outside the town have their own reeves, etc. It would have been another thing if you were amalgamated but Cornwall is way too small and are draining the pockets of people especially those who can least afford it. Like I said in many posts you all have to get rid of them all (YES ALL) and start from scratch and not the same bozos in there at all. This is when trouble starts. Kaneb was bad enough but… Read more »

jules
Guest
jules

Yes there are plenty of layoffs here in Ottawa and many houses up for sale and for rent. Many know that the market is mighty slow and will eventually die off. I have read the other day that home ownership can be a thing of the past. I saw this same thing again today.

We see less cars on the road than before since many have been let go of their jobs.

jules
Guest
jules

The big spender Dalton McGuinty is now seeing that he can no longer keep Ontario afloat unless he cuts the fat. Teachers are now on the chopping block and a great deal of these people are not needed at all. I remember as a child in a French school where one teacher taught two grades in one classroom. Ask a teacher to do that today and you would see the fir fly. These people are the lazyest bunch besides the politicians. Doctors have to cut their salaries as well and it isn’t going to hurt them since they earn big… Read more »

Harry Valentine
Guest
Harry Valentine

Ontario teachers are paying for Dalton McGuinty’s fiscal escapades in the energy sector. Within a few miles of Cornwall, there are solar electric installations earning about 10-times the market rate for electric power. If Eastern Ontario really needed additional electric power (we don’t), Queen’s Park could have allowed municipalities along the Ottawa River to buy electric power directly from Hydro Quebec . . . except they won’t allow for that. One area councillor advised me that Dalton McGuinty’s government has stripped municipal governments of some of their power and handed it over to provincial bureaucrats. Its a system that literally… Read more »