Cornwall Ontario – It’s been an odd week. Cold meds, Cornwall, a ton of introspection and thoughts about life during my 49th year. A day when every single insecurity and neurosis I have exploded.
It also included being so very grateful for my friends and family. My critters, the incredibly large amount of viewers that CFN has.
When I was in 12 Step there was this saying that God only gives us what we can handle.
During the past two years I’ve endured a lot. I’ve learned a lot too. This was the two years break up period after the end of my marriage to my delightful ex-wife Lea Anne.
Lea was a BC girl. She hated Cornwall. Hated PJ’s being worn at Wal-Mart. Hated the culture of this city. She mostly hated what traps I kept falling into, and how we were treated.
My first job in Cornwall was as Marketing Director for the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. It being a charity meant that my position was heavily weighted for bonus based on my success. Two months before our wedding; and just after my first successful quarter we had an emergency meeting as we were about to be audited by Habitat Canada.
At that point Habitat had not built a home in nearly six years, had missing trust fund monies, and was a train wreck. I worked double time rejigging it. At that meeting I suggested we sell the building in Bonville, move into rented facilities in Cornwall and take those proceeds and build a home and fix the bottom line.
I was suspended the next day and terminated after one week. It turned out that during the week our current MP and his cronies and wife took over the charity.
Can you imagine having to go home and explain that to your wife? It nearly delayed or cancelled the wedding which was back in her lovely home of Vancouver, BC.
I actually went to visit one of my mentors, and at the time Deputy Minister for Issue management who advised me as a friend that my days in Cornwall were over and to leave. My monster film lawyer refused to allow me to issue suit as he said straight up that I’d not get a fair trial in that region considering who was involved. He didn’t even bill me for that one. Sander is the best 🙂
The local Federal Conservatives have refused to grant interviews to CFN journalists including myself. We are also cut off from accessing services or information via Mr. Lauzon’s offices as he has forbidden us under threat of even appearing.
My decision was to eventually create this newspaper. It’s been a near five year adventure. It included my flirtation with politics. I was asked to run for the Greens in the last Federal election against Mr. Lauzon. The first thing that happened was the coming to the forefront of the ugly rumor spread that my termination from Habitat was based on theft. “That something had to be done.”
There was theft there; which I exposed. One of the board members, Judy David, sent an email to the board that she was taking goods and funds in exchange for her time spent at the facility. The irony is that you can still see Judy occasionally at the affiliate.
It took the former chair of the board to publicly state that I had not misused or taken anything from Habitat during my time there. If you click the video above you will see our MP threaten me with the Minister of Justice at the time for a non-governmental issue.
Starting CFN in 2009 was a huge learning curve. I had to face very tough competition, and I also had to face the lies that had been spread about me as thief from a charity! When we started we sold 100 banners, like the one at the bottom of the page. We charged $25 for 100 banners. You’d be amazed how many businesses refused us in the day.
But a lot didn’t. CFN made a lot of head way in our first two years. We had some of the biggest local businesses sign up early and stay; Leon Sabourin and his delightful wife Kim who own Laura’s, Cornwall Lighting, Laurier Electric, and Schnitzels.
As a matter of fact Leon gave us our first testimonial.
It was actually three times the traffic; but Mr.Sabourin wanted to keep it modest. His former monkey Joey Gault, who wrote on facebook that advertising didn’t work actually phoned me one day asking what we did to cause a spike in their web traffic for about a week and I had to explain to the diminutive Mr. Gault that there was this BIG FIRE that caused huge traffic for CFN and that because Schnitzels had high exposure they befitted from it. Mr. Gault at the time was working with a firm that would tell clients that advertising wasn’t great, but that they should pay the firm he was with to use free social media instead. Of course paying them in some cases would cost more than good value advertising. Mr. Gault is very special.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we still bring them the most web traffic from old archived ads. That’s how powerful CFN is. In 2012 for example we sent the City of Cornwall more web traffic from old archived stories while they were and are boycotting us than those that were spending $271,000 of taxpayer monies on. In 2011 they spent $4,800 with us. Now that’s value for the dollar.
The Aultsville Theatre refuses to advertise with CFN yet a recent promoter cut a deal with us which led to his own testimonial after a rare sell out at the near 700 seat theatre. Even though we have a great record of promoting events certain local venues support the city boycott. For example Shantero Productions has never even returned our emails or phone calls in five years.
A big thank you to the Cornwall Free News for supporting the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Benefit Show The Legends of Rock and Country Music on Saturday November 9th at Aultsville theatre.
The show was a complete sell out due in part to the generous advertisng of our show from the Cornwall Free News. Once again thank you to the Cornwall Free News and the Citizens of Cornwall for supporting the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services.
Celsk Benefit Promotions
After the election we became a Canadian anomaly and something that the entire community should have been proud of; which is we became number one in our market. A little Indie, near one man show, beating out the Sun owned daily Standard Freeholder, the Trans Con weekly Seaway News, and Corus owned local radio stations.
We scored as low as 1,971 on the Alexa.com Canadian rankings and that was without manipulating the system or using call centres in India to play with traffic.
First there was the Chris Savard scandal and treachery. He had been our tech guy but was waiting in the wings to eventually release Our Home Town which was supposed to take CFN down because of the Conservatives via the Lauzon mess hating CFN.
That didn’t quite work as Mr. Savard’s issues with the Kinsmen sponsored Lift Off hit the fan. 2010 Lift Off, which CFN sponsored was their greatest year yet. For some reason Mr. Savard left the event that he founded and the board had to beg council for an unsecured emergency load of $30K.
To this date the cover up has not been fully investigated and Mr. Savard fled Cornwall with his new wife and family in tow leaving behind his old family. Rumors suggest that the Lift Off situation were some how connected to the break up of Mr. Savard (who lost for the PC’s against former Liberal MPP Jim Brownell)
Cornwall being a town where over $50M of taxpayer money was spent to cover up a pedophile ring; a cover up that some of suggested was tasked to former MP Bob Kilger by the McGuinty government at the time meant that things had to not be in the press.
The Freeholder, whom had a key member of their team during those dark days recently convicted of child molestation, laid down on this as they have recently with the Swastikas in CCVS story and others.
The City of Cornwall under Mayor Kilger via Paul Fitzpatrick and Bob Peters had never been supportive of CFN. At first they didn’t know how to react. Gentle pressure led to some ads. For example we had to threaten to get a note from the Minister at Queen Park to get the City Bulletin (Mr. Peters refused to consider us a newspaper; Mayor Kilger still refers to CFN as a blog) which we charged less than 1/12th of what they were giving the Free Holder.
After the City cut off all advertising from CFN and spreading the word for connected agencies to do likewise( The library, musuem, art gallery, business development office, Seaway Tourism all boycott CFN) some of the behind the scenes drama started to come out into the open. Certain elements at City Hall could not do everything in the dark.
That led to that strange and dark moment in Cornwall’s history when the mayor abused his power, broke the law, and embarrassed our local law enforcement by hitting the panic button for a situation where someone he knew, who clearly had no criminal record and was seated in a chair simply stood up for his charter rights to wear whatever t shirt he wished. As anyone can see above there is nothing on that t shirt remotely offensive to a reasonable person.
The irony is that I have returned to council wearing that shirt with no issue.
When I ran for the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce I was thanked after and told I did not win. I asked for a vote count and was told that they don’t give out that information. I know. Insanity. Two members of the board however died that term and the Chamber was forced to add me to the roster for the remainder of that term.
Steps were made to ensure that it could not happen again and I resigned from the Chamber and Team Cornwall until those groups cleaned house and made things right. To date they are the same messed up organizations.
I have to admit there are days when I’ve had enough of this city. In some ways it really is hopeless. Then I realize that there’s a concerted effort by a small clique to make me feel that way exactly.
CFN has struggled but made it to this point. We really could not have without the public’s support; especially our subscribers and advertisers some of whom have endured immense pressure to drop us.
It’s sad that people like Paul Lefebvre of the Best Western here in Cornwall would not step up and tell the truth when they had the chance. Mr. Lefebvre dropped his ad with us after being threatened to lose the Kinsmen meetings and banquet meetings. It was sad the day we spoke. If he had simply told the truth most of this community negativity would have ended that day.
Likewise a local restaurant that had to pull its ads with us down to ensure that it got its patio license.
This is not how you build a community. I get the fear that Paul and others have had. They are not alone.
Yet with all this cult of nasty and petty ignorance CFN has survived and built up an incredible audience. In many ways CFN has achieved far more than I’d ever hoped for and again for that I’m grateful.
In life we can dwell on the negative or embrace the positive. The glass should always be half full and not half negative.
But I’m also about to turn 50 in July. CFN turns 5 on February 9, 2014.
In the past 18 months I have had two offers to edit newspapers in the West and I’m not really on the Market! The thought of not working nearly 24/7 is enticing. The thought of not having to be running a business without enough help or resources is totally sexy.
CFN has also had four requests for meetings to discuss it being purchased; from one of our competitors that would take it from last to first in this market to a group that is fearful that Cornwall will lose its truly only local independent voice as was clearly shown by our coverage of the swastikas at CCVS this past month while the other media lay down.
One of the consultants we work with said that the problem is that CFN has a very wide market. Cornwall is only about 35% of our traffic, Ottawa is number two, Montreal three, and Toronto four. Yet the Cornwall brand scares off out of town advertisers.
Yet we have the boycott locally. It’s why Cornwall doesn’t have a local online TV station as we hadto put on ice plans to bring Seaway TV online.
The boycott has cost not only CFN; but it’s cost the community as most of our dollars are recycled back into the region and used to help some very talented people make a living.
I do know that there will be a change coming up for 2014. We may sell CFN to a group that will work with us to help grow. We may sell outright. We simply change the name of our newspaper to Northern Beacon or Seaway Today?
Life is far too short to live in the negative or dwell in darkness. And time is far too precious to waste on petty evil people. Like naughty children the best thing that can be done is take away their toys.
There are far more people that support CFN locally than don’t. If you look at the clique here that’s caused so much damage to our local economy it’s not rocket science. The only question is if the community at large is ready to step up and force change.
I and CFN will be here in some form. The degree of that involvement is up to the area. It really is. It’s time for the community to stop thinking that supporting CFN is a dirty secret. It’s time more people wore our pins to show support and stopped being afraid of the bad guys.
I am not the villain. And if I sold CFN tomorrow the stories and issues that we have reported; over 7,500 by the time February rolls around, will still be there. They may not be reported on; but isn’t that a key reason why Cornwall has not grown its population in nearly half a century? If you don’t fix a problem it will still be there.
For the record CFN has never been sued. We had one threatening letter from the City of Cornwall which we published. We have had to issue 6 lawsuits which have resulted in four victories with two before the courts right now.
It’s time for people to work together and really show the world the potential and promise that people like me see in it.
Thank you for your time if you’re still reading this and thank you for clicking on CFN ; your number one source for News, Views, and Reviews 24/7 from Cornwall Ontario
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