Good Deeds at Budget Time & How Cornwall Failed by Jamie Gilcig FEB 1, 2015

Good Deeds at Budget Time & How Cornwall Failed by Jamie Gilcig FEB 1, 2015

jg2CORNWALL Ontario –  The biggest news story this week here in Cornwall has been the tale of police officers, while making a domestic call, discovering an elderly couple in distress with no food in their house.

Upon further examination the story evolves that the couple, married 54 years, had ended up destitute to the point that the husband felt forced to sell his wedding band to a local “consignment shop” and that our CCPS members took up a collection and not only bought the ring back, but delivered a load of food.  Cue media adoration including major media outlets like CTV and the Toronto Star.   Cue the police chief for some cutaway shots and sound bites lamenting the larger role that society forces on police.

We have some great people in this town and some of those are in fact members of the CCPS.    But a lot of chatter has come of this story.

Generally in a media story of this nature there’s a photo of the person or people involved.   This was not the case.  The identity of the couple was not disclosed nor that of the store.

Breaking down the story is frightening if you think about it and puts Cornwall in a light that is far darker than the generous actions of some of our police service force, who happen to be looking for a near 2% increase as it’s budget time.

The person who broke the story was councilor Andre Rivette who was on the Police Service Board.    He did so at a live Council meeting.   It was not the Standard Freeholder or CFN that ran the story after, but the Seaway News.   The Free Holder only ran the story after other media from outside Cornwall highlighted it with that being the focus of the headline.

CFN would not run such a story unless we factually could state that what happened happened and we were not provided with details or facts.

The big question was why this story was essentially “leaked” to the public?

Some of Chief Dan Parkinson’s quotes.

This was not a police call, and it shouldn’t have been a police call,” said Parkinson. “We have become a social service of choice and availability…the role of police in a community has evolved to include dealing with situations we never used to see.

“The bigger story here is you have a couple in distress in the midst of our community and it’s the police that have to go. It’s not a police matter but it turns into one because there’s no other services out there on a Saturday or a Sunday,” he said.

“It really has caused us to become the social service of choice — we’re here 24/7, 365 days a year. If there’s anything that happens that requires assistance, it seems to roll to us. We don’t oppose intervening, because someone needs to, but our officers are called upon to deal with these things and ensure people are referred on to the proper help.”

“They felt this was nothing out of the ordinary,” Parkinson added. “We see these kinds of things more often than you would think.”

More and more people are falling through the cracks of the health-care system, said Parkinson, and the police are often the only service able to respond.

“The tragedy behind this story is the growth of dementia and the problems associated with it. It shouldn’t have been a police matter, but we’re evolving in our role as 24-hour first responders,” he said.
Again, all of this took place the very week that budgets are being deliberated by council.   One could see how cynics might suggest that this story essentially was a well crafted attempt to gain public favor for the police service and nudge council into being less resistant to eyeing the bottom dollar.     Heck, I could nod my head while being pitched this angle.
The police see far worse cases and frankly I’ve heard of our officers going above and beyond the duty many times which is nice as we have so many on the Sunshine list that they can afford to help those less fortunate.
No, what this story does is force us to ask some questions about our society, but more importantly it highlights the failure of a community when appointments to critical services are based on cronyism at times which far too often results in epic failure.
A couple on a minimum pension with supplements in Ontario is looking at about $1800 per month.   Being married for 54 years one could safely assume that this couple is both over 65.      If they are not with a unit in Cornwall housing in our city reasonable accommodation could be rented for between $800-$1000 per month.    There are couples living in substandard housing in Cornwall for less than $500 per month.
What the story doesn’t mention is whether these are people that are from Cornwall or not?  Are they recent immigrants?  Did they just move to Cornwall from another city.   The wife was said to be suffering from Dementia/Alzheimer disease; was she under treatment.
How do you end up with no food in your home in 2015 in any Ontario city?  Honestly?   Requests for more information were met with a blank wall.
Assuming that the man in question didn’t know about the Alzheimer Society here in Cornwall or any other agency should he still have ended up with no food in their home without there being some other cause?
We live in a city where people are charged and arrested for stealing a case of beer or candy bars.   The amounts of money spent in our courts prosecuting cases that have no business being prosecuted eats up millions of dollars each year of tax money.
The police used discretion in this alleged case, but they really should not be expanding services to include social assistance.
And sadly what this tale has done is highlighted the potential fail of our social net in Cornwall.   Not a popular thought or something to be proud of.     We should be proud of the police officers that took action, but more importantly we all should take more action to see that situations like this don’t happen in our City.
What are your thoughts dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.

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17 Comments on "Good Deeds at Budget Time & How Cornwall Failed by Jamie Gilcig FEB 1, 2015"

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Hugger1
Guest

Without knowing all the couple’s details (how they ended up with no food in the cupboards, what they pay for rent / mortgage, etc) it is too hard to know what truly happened in this situation.

But how do we take more action to see that situations like this don’t happen in our city? Do we require everyone to register their personal info, etc with a central agency? I can see that being received real well. Can you say Big Brother? It’s a fine line we walk.

Hugger1
Guest
Admin said: “Hugger while many Seniors face tough times I just can’t see things being that tough for our 65+ in Cornwall unless they are either hanging out at the Casino’s or have major spending issues? I’m not suggesting that of whomever this story was about. We don’t have anything to go on other than second hand information which doesn’t really add up. Either things really are horrible and there’s no real safety net, or this particular couple had some really bad luck and don’t know the net that exists, or there is some other mysterious explanation to this feel… Read more »
Jane Doe
Guest
These are elderly people. The lady had Alzheimer’s and was not connected with the Alzheimer’s society, and taking are of a spouse with that disease is very trying, tiring etc. I have taken care of a dear friend with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and also was incontinent too. I knew about the support out there and I got it and the respite hours,but it appears this couple was very quiet about it which many are and tried to hide it. I think what the police did was an act of goodwill. I do not want to read negativity into something that I… Read more »
Wow!
Guest

This storey may become a Snopes.

cheryl
Guest

http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/5296682-the-spectator-s-view-this-happens-when-the-social-safety-net-fails/

Comment policy reminder

CFN has a new comment policy. You must use your real first and last name. As well if your email bounces we will terminate your posting privileges.

We value all input from our amazing CFN viewers and are always trying to improve the viewer experience which includes making this a safe, informative, and entertaining platform.

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Jimmy Olsen
Guest

The original story in the Seaway says police were called to a house where a couple was having an argument.

The police respond to domestic violence calls all the time, don’t they, so why would the chief say this call was not a police matter?

David Oldham
Guest

Lets just give the Police Services more money and have them do our grocery shopping, lawn cutting, snow shoveling etc.
In fact why not give the government all our money and become a socialist/communist society? We are, after all, well on our way as a result of our incessant demands and nods to special interest groups. We could then just stay at home watching reality t.v. and drink vodka, tasteless or flavoured.

Hugger1
Guest

Oh David you silly man!!

Brandon
Guest

Comment policy reminder

CFN has a new comment policy. You must use your real first and last name. As well if your email bounces we will terminate your posting privileges.

We value all input from our amazing CFN viewers and are always trying to improve the viewer experience which includes making this a safe, informative, and entertaining platform.

If you have any questions please email info@cornwallfreenews.com

Melman
Guest

The Cornwall Police Chief 2010 during budget talks. Small sample of his letters he wrote to his officers.Not words or thoughts I would write about anybody!!

Handful of gossips and rumormongers who inhabit coffee shops barber shops and other DARK AND SLIMEY PLACES around the city

Jamie had the whole letter on this site

Marc L
Guest

Could be a family member or friend is swindling these old folks out of there money.I also can not believe they do not have enought money to get by from month to month.Hopefully they get the help they need.

Hugger1
Guest

I somehow doubt we will ever know the whole story about what happened.

Stan
Member

And until the time that we know positively what happened, let us just thank the members of the Cornwall Police who were involved. You are a credit to the Force.

pierre marcotte
Guest
Jamie, would love to comment from time to time but would first appreciate some clarification on your policy. I would prefer to use a pseudonym instead of my name but I have no problem with you having my full name, address and Email on file (Cornwall). Please advise how to proceed. I could not find this info on your website. Thanks, Pierre Marcotte. Comment policy reminder CFN has a new comment policy. You must use your real first and last name. As well if your email bounces we will terminate your posting privileges. We value all input from our amazing… Read more »
Jean Beasceau
Guest
I think it’s great that Cornwall finally made the news in a positive light. Sure there may be some nefarious reasons as to why or how the story was leaked. Regardless, the contents of the story itself are very positive. As to some of the cynical comments in this article about the couple not having their names released or what kind of income, social assistance has been made available to them: would you want your name published if you fell on such hard times (for whatever reason) that you felt compelled to sell your wedding ring to make ends meet.… Read more »
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