CFN – It’s interesting how spin plays. Sometimes spin is truth and sometimes spin is total fabrication. That’s why spin can be an effective tool or someone’s downfall and should always be used, if necessary, in measured doses.
A review of local news websites show that only two allow anonymous posts: the Standard-Freeholderand the Cornwall Free News. Both sites have some moderation of comments, but a review of activity over the past several months have led staff to concur with the generalized assessment of the practice by the American Journalism Review: “Comment sections are often packed with profanity, and vicious personal attacks.”
That is the handy work of Bob Peters who as you can see appears to be trying to develop our local economy by attacking one of the rare success stories in the city whose taxpayers pay for his salary.
If you were one of the many thousands that read the Cornwall Free News in October giving us our second highest page view count of over 1.3 million then you most certainly know that we are not filled with profanity nor vicious personal attacks.
That was taking spin to new levels of bizarre as this was an except from a city report tabled and accepted in City Council that led to fist shaking from such uber brains as Elaine MacDonald and Syd Gardiner whose rants about sluts is still talked about.
This excerpt was also picked up by the CBC regionally and used to slur an independent local business.
Are we looking for sympathy? No. We requested to speak to council but were refused three times now. The CFIB wrote two letters to Mayor Kilger likewise requesting that we correct this utter falsehood and again were rebuffed both times.
The city to date has spent more money on legal fees having us monitored by their high priced Ottawa firm than they actually paid to CFN to help promote them prior to the 2012 boycott by the city and its leaning on its network of cronies that owe their positions on boards and area agencies to the Kilger regime.
As a matter of fact we confirmed that for the first six months of 2012 CFN sent the Choose Cornwall website more traffic from old archived banners than the media that Mr. Peters was giving tax dollars too. Is that crazy?
Some background: Mr. Peters worked under the $1.4 Million dollar CAO Paul Fitzpatrick in the 90’s. Mr. Fitzpatrick was in charge of Economic Development, a position currently being filled by Mark Boileau who we like to call “The Silent Man”.
Apparently around 1997 Mr. Peters ended his employment with the city under a cloud of stink related to a trip he took to Europe. One that resulted in not only documents going poof, but an entire file disappearing! It’s been alleged that Mr. Peters abused his P or credit card.
Cornwall Ontario is an amazing place. It has a lot going for it. It could have a lot more going for it if people like Mr. Peters and those that he’s aligned with were held accountable for their actions and choices.
His office has become a defacto propaganda office more than of economic development. As a matter of fact the new distribution centres will barely cover the job losses from call centre closings. And both of those areas, while good to have in a community, are not the type of jobs that lead to strong growth. People on minimum wage or above don’t have the disposable wealth to spend that helps grow local businesses.
Cheap land; cheap power, amazing location; you’d think business would be flocking to Cornwall? What is keeping that from happening?
Could it be a closed shop mentality? Could it be permit offices that harass new business owners like two that were held up from opening for nearly 18 months?
The remnants of Old Boy cliques and the days of Ed Lumley still echo and linger like scenes from the The Shining. The descendants and sycophants still walk the halls of power attacking new comers or those that might make them look bad.
We have a Chamber of Commerce, led by Seaway News former owner Rick Shaver, that instead of realizing the plight of small business in Cornwall who are struggling mightily right now are busy having breakfast parties and losing board members who don’t want to be there for when they have to sell their building after decades of relying on income from their license bureau profits which have dried up.
The problem with corruption and cronyism as we are seeing in Montreal and Quebec is that it lowers the bar. Instead of rewarding hard work and excellence position after position is filled with friends, family, and cronies who owe their jobs not so much to their accomplishments, but to their masters. And in Cornwall if you blink the wrong way you’re out creating an environment of fear.
That could be why CFN has the highest viewership, but lowest ad sales in Cornwall as many simply have been bullied into leaving us or work with us.
And that brings us back to spin.
Mr. Peters issued a press release:
Cornwall Featured in Ontario Construction Report
Development activity in Cornwall is profiled in a 16-page feature in the November issue of the Ontario Construction Report and Ottawa Construction News.
“There is a lot of interest in Cornwall and the amount of construction activity in the City over the past few years,” said Bob Peters, Senior Development Officer. “The Ontario Construction Report is read by many of the province’s developers, architects and engineers and this report may generate interest that leads to future investment in the City.”
Construction activity continues at a record pace in Cornwall, highlighted by major projects such as the recent completion of a 1.3 million sq.ft. distribution centre for Target, the $79 million construction of a new bridge across the St. Lawrence River and a $55 million expansion of the Cornwall Wastewater Treatment Plant. Residential development activity is also strong, with new condos breaking ground at the Historic Cotton Mills and the recent opening of the 95-unit Riverdale Terrace retirement residence.
One of the key articles in the November feature focuses on recent work at the NAV CENTRE, which included renovations to the interior of the large conference centre, a new fitness centre, spa and restaurant.
“We’re pleased that the editors have highlighted the good work that has been performed here at the NAV CENTRE, much of it by local contractors such as Bourgon Construction, Perras Distefano Construction and Genivar,” said Kim Coe-Turner, General Manager of NAV CENTRE. “The investment in this property will help us attract new business and clients.”
The 16-page feature comes only a few weeks since the $120 million redevelopment of the Cornwall Community Hospital was featured in a 4-page article in the September edition of the Ontario Construction Report.
“We think our readers will find the stories compelling,” said Tim Lawlor, Coordinating Publisher – Ontario Construction Report. “Construction activity is just as high in Cornwall as it was when we covered the City in a two-part report in early 2011, which is unusual compared to the average Ontario city.”
The Ontario Construction Report is published monthly by the Construction News Group. The newspaper serves the Ontario construction market and is distributed to thousands of businesses, including contractors, architects, building owners, government officials and developers throughout the Province. The online edition of the report is read by almost 75,000 people.
Copies of the November edition of the Ontario Construction Report are available at Cornwall Economic Development, Suite 104, 100 Water Street East (Civic Complex). The report can also be viewed online at www.ontarioconstructionreport.
The only thing is after an initial CFN investigation it turns out that Mr. Peters not only spent $5,000 of tax payer dollars supporting this article, but also contributed content via press releases and photos created by himself and Kevin Lajoie; the city information officer.
Now there’s nothing wrong with placing content and creating stories, but if you read the press release above it certainly doesn’t sound like something connected to payment of any sort?
Sometimes these kinds of stories are called advertorials even.
From Mr. Peters in response to our questions:
Bob who wrote the story?
There are several stories over the 16 pages. Much of the content specifically relating to Cornwall was pulled from City or local-company media releases, and therefore a good portion was originally written by City staff. Some content was pulled from interviews. I would imagine some was also pulled from the web. I cannot speak to the source of the NAV CENTRE or SDG stories. I am aware that OCR had a staff writer assigned to the project, as well as a publisher and an editor.What were the total financial contribution by your office and the city for this edition of the magazine.
As I mentioned in my previous email, our advertising costs were approximately $5000.
Cornwall has a lot to be proud of. Does it really have to pay to get noticed in this manner? Does Mr. Peters and his cohorts need to practice deception on the public? If Ontario Construction report wanted to run a 16 page spread on the successes of Cornwall why did the city have to cough up $5K? And while nothing wrong with that why issue a release like the one above?
Oddly enough within hours of our emails to Mr. Peters a story appeared on this exact subject in the Standard Free Holder LINK
If you read the story you’ll see that essentially the press release above has been rehashed element by element. Furthering the deception? It seems like Mr. Peters has an odd grasp on the difference between spin and the truth and that odd grasp is being sanctioned by the Kilger regime at a cost to taxpayers?
Again, let’s praise and be praised for what we’re worthy of. We should never have to spend tax payer dollars in this manner and it leads to the question of how much exactly is Mr. Peters and his troops spending on this sort of messaging and why deceive the public in any manner? How many more hack journalists will he be hiring to fabricate an illusion of what spin he wishes for his version of Cornwall Ontario?
There are a ton of positives that we should be advertising and promoting. No development charges , cheap industrial land, cheap hydro, talented people many of whom are bilingual, great location and environment and proximity to major centres and traffic arteries. Tons of success stories locally too; from this very newspaper becoming number one in its market as an independent in less than three years to that of countless other endeavors and achievements by my fellow Cornwallites. Cornwall rocks and has a very very bright future especially once we as a community decide how we wish our amazing waterfront to develop.
Why is Mr. Boileau & Peters failing to land the big fish? What are the hurdles that are preventing growth in industries that will create higher paying long term jobs for Cornwall and the area? Maybe it’s time to rejig the team and get some new blood in there? Maybe it’s time to clean house like Montreal and Laval will be doing?
But then there’s history…. a dark history with murky clouds that go back before 1997….
Is this just another thread in a ball of yarn that the Ontario Ombudsman needs to unravel in the mysteries of how the Kilger regime is run and its impact on our proud city?
More to come! And you can post your non-profane and comments below.
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