Yes, the CFN Boycott is an Election Issue in the 2014 Cornwall Ontario Election by Jamie Gilcig

Yes, the CFN Boycott is an Election Issue in the 2014 Cornwall Ontario Election by Jamie Gilcig

cfn panic 180x150CORNWALL Ontario – Since December 2011 The City of Cornwall, and in particular Mayor Kilger, has led a boycott that has impacted CFN.  It was borne of a lie and has spread its tentacles wide and deep not only hurting our news outlet; but hurting the community and economy of our city.

CFN is an anomaly.   It’s not normal in a city of our size for a small independent newspaper (yes, CFN is an online newspaper; not a “Blog” as certain haters like to label us) to have the largest market share.

The fact that we tackle stories traditional media refuse to makes us controversial.   The fact that we have exposed some sacred cows has caused backlashes towards myself and those that have worked with CFN from our contractors to even those that supplied us to with services.

Heck one of our team is sworn me to secrecy for fear of losing their day job and they are not being paranoid.

Where did this boycott start?   It started with a comment left that was removed that allegedly hurt the feelings of Ed Lumley, Bob Kilger, and Paul Fitzpatrick.  It started from Gilles Latour losing his biscuit at Jim Brownell’s retirement engagement when he showed up late with John Earle to video tape the event and being stuck at the back of the room and screamed after that my “FAT ASS” blocked their shooting, when in fact I’d given up my seat to Mrs. Brownell and the Brownell family.

It spread one lie at a time including the statement in a city document that CFN and the Free Holder are filled with personal attacks and profanity.    And when I; unlike so many others, stood up to the attacks; some would say too successfully; led to charges that somehow I was a bully.

One by one our clients with ties to the city were bulled down; all with the usual story of fear to say “who” did the bullying and regrets.  Some of those are no longer in business.   One was essentially bribed away with a bunch of work; but after a year the work dried up and they were left on the outside again.

The Chamber of Commerce joined in too with one former President telling a city councilor that our radio station was a pirate and that they’d do something about it.  They left in scandal to Winnipeg.   Team Cornwall’s former President and Mayor Kilger’s bagman in the last election, Gilles Latour, was arrested for fraud.     He also uncannily,  and a bit drunkenly, told me our last election poll before the 2010 election was crap and then gave me the exact list of  winners in sequence…..two days before the election.

During this time of the boycott though our audience grew, and grew….and grew.    There was a tragic irony that while our audience grew our revenues shrunk to the point where we literally are hanging on from month to month financially.

We finally had to ad google ads to CFN; something I was very proud not to have done when we started because I didn’t want local businesses competing with google ads.  Now the irony is that local businesses using google ads that have historically boycotted CFN now grace our home page.

While the extremes of this situation are not common the theme is; that if media do their jobs they will pay a price in the loss of advertising revenue.

That this happens from tax payer dollars is wrong at every possible level.    The purpose of any government agency advertising is to inform the public and the same conditions should apply as any other tender process; ie the best value for the rate payer with a consideration for local support.   There have been issues with Mayor Kilger trashing CFN at a service club meeting; with Councilor Gardiner telling Seaway Tourism that the city boycotts us, and we won’t even start about the antics of Councilor Thibault.

In CFN’s case we have the largest audience in Cornwall and cost less to market or inform than either the Seaway News, Standard Freeholder, or Corus Radio.   There simply is no mathematical or business argument to support the use of tax payer dollars to advertise in those outlets and boycott CFN.

Our MPP for example had refused to advertise on CFN because he said he doesn’t believe in online advertising (maybe that’s why Mr. Hudak lost?) but he also has refused to advertise with South Stormont News, the other newspaper I own which is non gonzo and traditional.

In 2011 the city confirmed that we sent the Choosecornwall.ca website more traffic than all the other media while only being #7 on their money list.

In 2012 we still were number one from old archived ads during the first year of the boycott.  IE we sent the city more traffic while they refused to buy an ad from us than those that they were paying!

In 2013 we spent a year trying to get numbers from Maureen Adams from the City regarding the near $300K spent on advertising.  A city councilor even tried to help.  After numerous emails, phone calls, and chats at council I was emailed a freedom of information request by Ms Adams.

As we enter the 2014 municipal election this is definitely an issue.   It’s not at the top of the list; but it’s on the list.  Modesty prevents me from listing our many achievements and the list of issues that the people of Cornwall would not know about if not for CFN.

Those long time viewers know what we have accomplished; but a question that should be asked of anyone running for office this year is whether they would still support a boycott of CFN and frankly if that answer is yes they clearly are not putting the community first, and should not be elected to office.

What happened since 2011 should not happen in any community; especially to a local business.   While I am a firm believer in a free marketplace those decisions should be made freely and not at the threat of punishment by corrupt groups or elected officials.

One business was too frightened for us to write a profile about them because they were worried about losing a city contract.

The list of shame is long, and I may just publish it one day; but voters do have a choice once every four years and it’s a chance to fix old mistakes and hopefully steer the city to a better future.

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.

(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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Darcy Neal
Member

Government power always seems to be corrupted everywhere from the municipal level to the United Nations. The best way to reduce government corruption is to reduce governments and government responsibilities.

Hugger1
Guest

CFN is definitely different than traditional media. Gonzo journalism is still not readily accepted as valid journalism.

“Hater” is a rather strong word and I find overused nowadays. I dislike a few things, bur do not consider myself a hater.

Whether the city boycott of CFN is an election issue is still yet to be determined. CFN may see it as an election issue. But if other candidates don’t see it as an issue is it an issue? Or does it just become a concern for CFN.

Hugger1
Guest

To me the chemical tanks are a dead issue. They’re there now. What the issue now is the divestiture of the harbour lands. If Cornwall / MCA can gain control things will be better. But I think this is an issue with a blank cheque attached to it, meaning we don’t know how much this is going to cost us now or how much it’ll cost us down the line. If I were the city I’d be looking for some legal eagles to go over those contracts with a fine tooth comb.

One Who Cares
Guest

Exactly the point Admin. It appears to be one issue after the other where we are left to ask why, why, why and yet, very seldom do the people involved answer us/reply with the truth and the facts to support their claims of innocence. You mentioned something previously in another column I believe about the culture of the city. People complain yet there appears to be apathy and denial when we really get down to the nitty gritty of a bad or corrupt issue. Some wash it under the table and or try to ignore it till it fades into… Read more »

Hugger1
Guest

Agreed that we know what happened. My saying it was a dead issue is in regard to the tanks being in the ground and operational. That will not change.

William E Beattie
Guest

Admin! My understanding is that City Council came up with a By-Law specifically aimed at CFN and you Jamie is that not correct? Please explain and Print if such a By-Law exists. Our waterfront certainly should be at the top of the list re this Election. When the 2011 Water Front Committee took charge a Water Front Plan was there, which they should have followed yet decided against ( they knew better ) Yet 3 and 1/2 yrs. later nothing positive has happened on our Water Front. A Public Meeting was to have taken place early in 2011 to finalize… Read more »

Hugger1
Guest

Like I’ve said many times before I don’t always agree with Admin / Jaime. This is another case. I think if anyone believes these tanks could have been stopped they are dreaming. Whenever secrecy and / or the federal gov’t is involved the public does not truly have a say what happens.

One Who Cares
Guest

Out of curiosity…does the EOHU boycott CFN also? Not everyone reads the Freeholder, yet PSAs and other articles that involve the entire Cornwall public, their health and well being only appear in one paper. Should Dr. Paul from the EOHU not take into consideration that his PSA and many different articles would also be read by the readers of Cornwall Free News? How could someone totally ignore a paper that takes into consideration the many issues that go on in our community and leave out one of the most important, our health? Is there a contract that exists only with… Read more »

Own Who Cares
Guest

Admin, thank you for the reply. This is another disgraceful example of what is going on in our community and the boycott of CFN. Is the mandate of the Health Unit not to protect our health? Then it should only stand to reason in a community with a newspaper such as CFN and the vast readership that any PSAs and Alerts should be sent to CFN without any delay or hesitation. Has this issued been addressed at the level of the Premier’s Office and by the office of the EOHU as to why they are not sending these updates and… Read more »

jules
Guest

Like I said before that Bare Ass had things run in Cornwall as a dictatorship and people are held hostage. The only way to get rid of this dictator is to toss him out on his keester and toss him mighty far away. Bare Ass has been nothing but trouble to everyone since he was re-elected by the brainless turkeys out there.

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin, In other words if the EOHU has and continues to boycott CFN then my health and the health of other community residents is being placed in jeopardy due to the fact we are not being updated/alerted or given the same public health information that is being presented to others via another media outlet such as a local paper. This boycott by the EOHU then is risking the health of many community residents by denying us our right to know and freedom to the same educational material as others receive. So only some in Cornwall are being informed about issues… Read more »

Hugger1
Guest

Admin said:And yes Hugger, if the people of Cornwall had taken action early enough, BEFORE A LEASE WAS SIGNED, then we would not have tanks in the ground.

I agree. However, as I said earlier….Whenever secrecy and / or the federal gov’t is involved the public does not truly have a say in what happens.

Geoff Stephenson
Guest

I find this whole game by council rather tasteless & childish. I agree that now, the tanks are here to be an eyesore for a very long time. What a nice view of the waterfront……not! Whereas, we may not always agree on everything Admin, I completely respect your right to your opinions & would not even think of a personal attack on anyone as long as they are being logical & reasonable. I can only hope for a day when our differences will be debated like adults & consensus will be arrived at for what is best for everyone. Does… Read more »

David Oldham
Guest

If the good citizens,mayor and city councilors want to support the separatist owned and controlled Standard Freeholder that it their prerogative. It isn’t my idea of a smart Canadian, but that is my opinion.

Hugger1
Guest

Admin….I call that secrecy. It was kept from the taxpaying public by someone, thus secrecy. Potatoes…potatows.

David Oldham
Guest

Suppressed, yes, because few like to face or admit that they dropped the ball so obviously.

This whole situation could have so easily been averted by city council/staff requesting a right of first refusal on the federal property to protect the communities desire to reinvent the former waterfront industrial area of town. This legal option would likely have had no upfront costs other than administrative time. The clincher is that you have to have competent and knowledgeable people on the payroll.

David Oldham
Guest

True enough.

Hugger1
Guest

And the wheel goes round and round.

jules
Guest

Jamie you saw my many posts where I said that the administration in Cornwall has to be all taken out and hire new people because the stink comes from the head of the fish and goes down to the tail. The head of the fish has to be cut out to know where all the corruption is coming from. Oh yes Bare Ass sure does stink but it is coming from the top and believe me from what I know it is there where the cuts have to come from in order to get rid of the corruption. There are… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

One again the issue of the CFN Boycott surfaces regarding a recent story in the other paper. This time it involves a community issue and a story about health/food safety and a shutdown that all community residents should have been alerted about, but it was only featured in one paper. The front page story was “Health Unit Shuts Down Chip Stand”, closed by the EOHU CMO of Health, Dr. Paul Roumeliotis. This obviously was/is community news that people should know (or else it would not have appeared in the paper) and CFN should have been notified of this issue. A… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin, Thank you. Since this boycott involves the many readers of CFN, then this will be a story everyone should be interested to read. I agree with your words ” by refusing to do so they are not allowing for a fair and democratic election” There is nothing fair, decent or good for a community when a boycott such as this is supported by other community residents/business/City Hall, EOHU and others. There can’t be!! There is no freedom for one and all when news /adds/updates are being withheld and or restricted. In the long run, everyone is impacted one way… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin, Today in the other paper another PSA from the EOHU appeared regarding (Starting high school Helping Teens Adjust). Another excellent article from Dr. Paul Roumeliotis. Again due to this CFN boycott by the EOHU many of the teens parents/family are being denied access to this PSA from Dr. Paul, what a shame since everyone teen and family in this community deserves the same right to information as another. No one should be forced to go to another news media source when we have CFN willing to present the same health news to the viewing public if no boycott existed.… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin, Again we face another serious issue with the upcoming flu season and the PSAs that will be made available to the public from the EOHU. Yes they will appear, but unfortunately not on CFN unless this boycott is ended and soon. This must mean that only people who are reading the other paper will become properly informed/updated about flu clinics and the readers of CFN will continue to be left in the dark. Does the EOHU think that only readers of the other paper should be protected from the flu? Shouldn’t the necessary community information ( press release) be… Read more »

jules
Guest

That is what happens when you have a dictator threatening people if they go with one source then they will be persecuted. Well you all voted this turkey in and I see that some people want to vote him back in again and the next time that he gets back in he will be a great deal worse than what he is just now. I warned all of you and this will be the last warning because he will do a great deal more harm sooner than you think. Cornwall’s reputation has blackened since he came in. That doctor Ramiuliotis… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

Jules, please do not assume that (all) people voted in the present mayor.

As for Dr. Roumeliotis, he has been a very good CMO of Health and has provided this community with excellent PSAs and other important updates, what Dr. Roumeliotis has not done is recognize the fact that a boycott regarding a well known and read newspaper such as CFN is unfair to all community residents.

Greg Reynolds
Guest

Perhaps CFN fans can write to the good Doctor and let him know how unfair the boycott is. http://www.eohu.ca/contact/index_e.php

One Who Cares
Guest

@Greg Reynolds That is a very good idea but don’t hold your breath for a reply or any decision, I am still waiting a reply from Dr. Paul regarding another community issue (mailed recently) no reply back yet. I am still waiting for a reply about the same issue from a previous meeting with Dr. Paul in 2012 then another meeting in 2013 at the office of the EOHU. Having recently contacted the Premier and receiving almost instant response that directed my request to another part of government, I received swift replies back from that/those contacts also. That information was… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin stated that the CCPS acknowledges CFN as a newspaper and they provide him with important messages regarding our community, then should it not stand to reason that if CCPS take such action recognizing the importance of CFN in our community that our CMO of Health should do likewise? Your suggestion Mr. Reynolds warrants serious consideration and perhaps Admin might have some ideas that would further encourage others to get on board and demand that CFN receive all Public Health PSAs and other important articles that pertain to our community. Hopefully Admin will add some further input along with your… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin, I absolutely agree with you. If CFN is not available to the Cornwall public, then we have lost the core truth of issues that are and should be important to everyone who lives here and those who don’t. If it had not been for CFN many issues would have remained hushed up under a veil of silence and secrecy. We have not always had that truth in this city and at best only certain times and then limited to bits and pieces, not the whole issue. CFN has opened many eyes, minds and attitudes. When people hide in the… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

Once again (September 2nd) the Eastern Ontario Health Unit has (due to this boycott of CFN) left the majority of readers out of the loop when it comes to health safety and education issues. In the other paper Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, EOHU, has a letter appearing today re: Inspection signs due in 2015. Has Dr. Paul failed to realize that not everyone happens to read the other paper and why is this letter appearing in only one paper when we have CFN making daily news available to the public? Could Dr. Paul at least explain to the viewing public on… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

That’s disgraceful, not professional, not caring or concerned then about all residents in this community, Dr. Paul should know better.

I can’t help wonder about the professional oath he took when he became a Doctor.

jules
Guest

What professional oath are you talking about? The medical profession did away with the hypocratic oath some time ago and is no longer used. The only oath that doctors abide by today is the oath of money making and they don’t care at all about the patient. This is the real life and not something out of the movie theatres. Doctors pump all kinds of drugs in patients and get them all hooked and they don’t care if the patient dies or whatever as long as they make money. Doctors make money off of every prescription that they write and… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin,

Respectfully, then I see this as a form of discrimination from the EOHU.

It means if I don’t read the other paper then I and others are being denied our right to the same information that others receive due to the choice of paper they read.

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin,

YEs, we can read information on the EOHU website but that still means the other paper has access to all the PSAs and other information and CFN does not.

We, the readers of CFN do not have the same newspaper access due to this decision made by Dr. Paul/EOHU and who else? If there is someone else?

Why would anyone withhold public information that benefits everyone in the community regarding our health and important issues that involve our health?

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin, I hope you will be able to follow up on this issue because it most certainly is a very serious issue that all people should be concerned about. I believe you can report or take this to an even higher source than the Premier’s office. You do after all represent the voice of the people and you do provide residents daily with news that is important in our community and other areas. All Public Health information should be part of our daily reading when it is updated and made available to the media from the EOHU. If something as… Read more »

One Who Cares
Guest

Admin,

I most certainly can do that but I continue waiting for a reply to mail sent to Dr. Paul that went out around the same time it went to city council members and the Mayor.

I doubt if Dr. Paul would reply to my concern regarding this issue.

It appears to be that when the word goes out not to contact (some people), I guess it must go out across the board.

One would think that a sincere/honest question deserves a decent reply back (at the very least).