Predatory Radio Practices Deflating Local Events in Cornwall Ontario From Canada Day to Lift Off – June 30, 2011

Cornwall ON – Apparently our MP, Guy Lauzon upset a radio station this week and made one happy.

Mr. Lauzon seems to be the controller of the Canada Day festivities in Cornwall and radio station manager Mike Guimond received a phone call from Mr. Lauzon personally stating that his station was not welcome to set up in the park as they did last year for this year’s festivities.

We sent emails to both Mr. Lauzon and his executive assistant asking for comment before publication.

If Mr. Lauzon or his offices wish to reply or respond to this we’re happy to publish after as well.

Mr. Guimond sent in the following for publication and we are posting it unedited and in its entirety.

Last year Mix 96.1 and 101.5 The Fox were thrilled to be invited to help celebrate Canada Day in Cornwall by Dave Runions. (Great guy!). As a service to the community, and free of charge, we promoted the Canada Day events and broadcast live on both stations from our booth near the stage in Lamoureux Park.

It was a great day filled with great local entertainment. We called Dave to do the same thing again this year…and no problem. Promos go to air, web promos up (again all free of charge).

Then I get a call from Guy Lauzon. He informs me that the Canada Day committee has signed an exclusive deal with Corus and they don’t want any competitors on site.   Sorry, maybe next year. (Sounds like CBC Ottawa…but wait…this is Cornwall.) He should have filled poor Dave Runions in on that one. Dave does so much work for this event lining up the great local entertainment (and kudos on a great job) one would think he would be privy to any exclusive vendor agreements. But we aren’t vending anything.

Just trying to promote this great community event and keep people in Cornwall. (I remember last year all the lanes of traffic heading into the US were full and backed up on to the bridge. But I digress.) I thought Canada Day was about celebrating Canada’s birthday. And the ideals of patriotism, heritage and freedom. Seems its more about exclusive agreements.

With all due respect to Corus and Mr. Lauzon, what is Corus so afraid of anyway? And why hide behind exclusive contracts for community events? If anything, perhaps last year was a wake up call for Corus. And by the way, where was Corus last year? Oh that’s right they didn’t show up to the Canada Day Celebration. Our stations are here to stay…we’re not going anywhere, and we thank our thousands of listeners and fans we have in Cornwall and SD&G for tuning in. Happy Canada Day! Be safe!

Oh, and by the way…Mix 96.1 and 101.5 The Fox will be live from Canada Day, in a safe legal spot!

This is not a unique situation apparently.   Going back to when Scott Armstrong was the head honcho of the Corus stations in Cornwall predatory practices have been the norm with several area events granting exclusivity even while in many cases still paying for advertising.

In 2010 we ourselves were sponsors of the Lift Off and this year; after founder and president Chris Savard resigned, and then his successor Rick Shaver shortly resigned thereafter, we received this answer from Candy Pollard from the Lift Off team.

Hi Jamie
as you know Corus has exclusivity
I am not involved in the sponsorship sales
you would have to discuss that with Judi Auger
who is our Chair
Candy Pollard


That being a bit of an odd response as I was especially directed to Ms Pollard by Jason Jesmer.

That’s business, that’s fine in a way; but when the events are supported by public monies with the purpose to promote our community does it make sense?    Lift Off being the perfect example.   In 2010 Lift Off received about $75,000 from the Ontario government alone; nearly as much from the City of Cornwall in kind and services as well as some of it in cash.  They received monies from the DBIA; Akwesasne, and other locations, but were in the middle of a three year exclusive contract granted by the Lift Off board which has Rob Seguin, a Corus employee on its rolls.

Lift Off is the keystone event for this city of nearly 50,000 people.  It’s a non-profit corporation.  While Lift Off’s origins were organic and it’s been a tremendous success at some point organizations grow past being able to be run on the back of a few people that throw bones to their employers and friends surely?

Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off is a not-for-profit organization and is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, consisting of 19 community leaders. Our goal is to see the festival annually break even and should there ever be any operating surpluses, these dollars will be invested into the following year’s festival.

The more dollars we raise…the higher caliber event we can deliver!  (from Lift Off website)

And surely the main goal is to attract positive attention to the city and the event and what better way to do that than have all of the area and regional media lend their special skills and talents to help promote the event and our wonderful city?

From Frank Holiday:

94.7 Hits & Wild Country 96.5 would welcome an opportunity to work as one of many radio partners with Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off. With Wild Country 96.5’s over 32,000 Canadian listeners,(over 7,600 in Cornwall) and the power and reach of 94.7 Hits, Cornwall’s #1 station for 12-17, 18-34, and 18-49 year olds…Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off could be taken to a whole new level as we invite our over 280,000 weekly listeners to come and join the festivities in our beautiful city.

Again; I’m not attacking Corus or Lift Off.   I am asking why decisions are made regarding certain aspects of how things are done at times as have many others who were interviewed for this story.    Our site draws in over 50,000 viewers per month with Ottawa being our number one city.   We’re also the only Cornwall area media that does TV quality commercials produced in house even.  Surely an export event would benefit from our support and sponsorship as well?

I spoke with the organizers of the Corn Stalk event a few years back who were told to drop one of their radio sponsors and go exclusive with Corus and still would have to pay for advertising.

Winterfest, Waterfest; again more of the same practice.

Andre Rivette was very clear about his position as the Lift Off board via city management requested and were given a $30,000 interest free and unsecured loan by the city for this years event and a special meeting of council was created where city council voted near unanimously even though the books of Lift Off were not opened or examined.   Again, would this be available to other groups that wanted to do things in Cornwall?

Elaine MacDonald explained to me that she would still vote to give Lift Off the funds because of its marketing importance to the city.   Maybe it’s simply time for the city to consider that if Lift Off is that important to Cornwall and region and if they are going to invest as much money as they do that some sort of management team be in place and perimeters be in place as well to focus on the goal of promoting the city and the event so that it draws in the most people possible in a positive manner?

Right now Lift Off seems to be an event about promoting Corus radio and its local stations in Cornwall. Again, that’s fine as long as Corus writes the cheque.   The fest only features bands that are of the same radio format as its stations?  (LIFT OFF SCHEDULE LINK ) Would not Country Music, Jazz, Blues, Hip Hop, and other formats not pull in people?    And can a festival grow with acts like Kim Mitchell and Collective Soul being paid thousands to attract people while Jazz fests go on in Montreal and Ottawa?     The Tragically Hip from Kingston play Water Town NY; why not Cornwall?   Willie Nelson plays Burlington Vermont; why not Cornwall?

Amanda Marshall?

And Lift Off is an opportunity to support local bands.   As of this writing there is no mention of any on the Lift Off Site.  There are over 12 references to Corus brands on the schedule page including this notice:

Surely if people wanted updates on Lift Off there should be a multitude of options including the Lift Off website which for the most part still hasn’t been updated with less than three weeks to go to show time?   Again, for a community that is focusing on Arts and Culture for its future and spent thousands of dollars on a report that recommends the creation of an Arts Council and Arts Centre this event would be a prime opportunity to help local bands get exposure on the backs of those that came to see  Kim Mitchell and Collective Soul?

One band sent in the following that they received from Rob Seguin of Corus radio who’s in charge of the music for Lift Off and whose own band, Rub Salt,  seems to play the event nearly every year.

Hey guys,

One of the approved acts may be backing out. This would leave a spot for one of the three bands (including yours) on our stand-by list. Here’s the deal. None of our local opening acts are being financially compensated. Each has agreed to donate their 45 minute performance to the festival. Each band member and a guest will get a weekend pass to the festival. Please let me know by Monday at noon if you’re interested. We will then determine who gets the vacant slot via ballot. Thanks. Rob.

So last year the Province kicked in $75K and we couldn’t afford to give a local band $750?

I sent in requests for comment to many city officials; but have yet not been given any comment “on the record” other than by Councilor Andre Rivette.     I also sent in requests to most of the Lift Off team.  The current Chair; Judi Auger sent in the following:

Hi Jamie,
There is a two part answer to this 2 part question. Corus DOES NOT have exclusivity to all media output. We have for many years had a relationship with Le Journal, Seaway News, the Standard Freeholder, Cogeco Cable and others from time to time and continue to do so. CKON is another media outlet who regularly broadcast news and information about the Lift-Off Festival activities and offer listeners promotional contests and prizes. The affiliated papers of the above sponsors are sent press releases so they can inform readers in all our surrounding areas regarding the bands, balloon rides and other weekend events.
Our goal is to co-operate with media to ensure Cornwall has a successful Festival and to encourage out of out of towners to visit our city and support our local hotels, restaurants and retailers. It also is a highlight for thousands of our local residents throughout S.D & G.

.

You also have been sent information about the festival and have been invited to interview Collective Soul.

.

Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off does have a partnership with Corus Entertainment who has offered unprecedented support to this festival since its inception. Over the past five years alone, Corus Entertainment has provided the festival with over a half million dollars of in-kind marketing support and thousands more in cash donations. The specific details of our agreements with any of our sponsors and community partners are strictly confidential.Secondly, Corus Radio does not receiving funding of any sort from any level of Government. On the other hand Corus Entertainment pays millions of dollars to the Government and Government regulated bodies for broadcasting licenses, SOCAN and FACTOR fees, etc.

.

Corus Entertainment does not receiving funding of any kind from the community. All revenues are generated via paid advertising. With that said, in 2010 Corus Entertainment’s Cornwall brands contributed more than $925,000.00 in charitable donations to Cornwall and area including cash donations and in-kind marketing and support services. Corus Entertainment gives back to our community.

.

Thank you for this opportunity to reply to your questions.

.

Best regards,

.

Judi AugerKinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off 2011 – Board Chair

 

There was a children’s story by Hans Christian Anderson about the Emperor not wearing any clothes.   I think it’s time; especially as we start to focus on Arts and Culture in the area that we reconsider how we do things at various levels if our goals are to help build and grow our community.     I think it’s time that those that sit on boards like Lift-Off and vote for giving exclusivity to any single company without truly being compensated maybe find something else to do with their time?

As someone that has worked in events I also would seek exclusivity for the company I worked with.  We generally had to pay a fee for this as the events had to balance the loss of broad support vs that of a single sponsor.  For the Lift Off board to go hat in hand to borrow money from the City of Cornwall; who have already given so much; means that decisions were made by its board that led to less funding and support and much of that lack of support stems from alienating people by these types of exclusive decisions.

The DBIA in Cornwall pulled its financial support of Lift Off.   I spoke with one beer company that said it’d offered more than Lift Off has currently been receiving and has been rebuffed numerous times as well.

Lift Off will survive.  It is the keystone event for this city and a tribute to the spirit that helped built it and support it.  It has hundreds of  volunteers that put in tons of hours to make it the show piece that it is.      And from what I’m hearing things are going to change and hopefully for the positive and that the people that voted to give such a contract that favored a company over the community will not be back.

Cornwall is a great city with wonderful opportunities for growth.  We just need to change our “culture” and some of the practices and start truly working together to make things even better than they are.   Hopefully next year’s Lift Off with hopefully some new blood on the board of the Non-Profit Corporation that runs it embraces that challenge and reaches new heights.

Should an event that takes public monies grant exclusivity to any media company?

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145 comments

  1. What in earth does Guy Lauzon have to do with the Canada Day/Lift Off? Does this have something to do with that extra $30K unsecured loan they were given? Hell, no-one even checked their books! I think there are enough red flags flying right now to warrant an in-depth investigation of this whole mess!

  2. Jamie
    Wow an interesting read. Some of your points seem to get lost in your passion on the subject, and it is difficult to understand what you mean.

    Can you explain what the beer company offered more of?
    “spoke with one beer company that said it’d offered more than Lift Off has currently been receiving and has been rebuffed numerous times as well.”

    What Judi states makes sense, you cannot limit your support to only local radio. They all pretty much have the same audience. We need to reach past the local radio limits to try and encourage a larger audience. That being said there is no justification for eliminating local media either.

    Local talent wow we have a lot of that, I would even pay good money to see Sledge back on stage. Not sure if Rick can carry a tune anymore but it would be good just the same. Even Adrian back on the drums woo hoo ….it would be good just the same.

    A number of year’s back a few of us looked not the old Hodgins Lumber facility as a nite club. The venue would have been great to promote local talent. It was downtown, plenty of parking and the building was pretty much set up for such a club with ease of access. But as you are finding out now…..it’s Cornwall, yes great people but very poor leadership.

    You should look up a bit of history with regards to the Bathtub races.
    It was down on the old canal where the Lameroux Park now stands. It was a weekend that attracked many many people from all Ontario, Quebec and eastern United States. It grew to incorporate the Conklin shows carnivals’ as well. As people (not much different in ethics then the current volunteer board running the Balloon fest) seen the attraction someone attributed the dollar signs to each and every person that attended and began charging absurd cover fees. Then some safety guru thought it would be better to have a park rather then upgrade the canal for use and future growth. I am not sure how much more dangerous the canal was considering the river was only a few yards further south.
    Even Mac Thompson and company (one of Cornwall’s finest engineers and former member of the Thompson Rosemount Group) seen the potential of the canal and the future it could bring to the area. His group approached a few of the local service clubs and local politicians’ preliminary design plans in hand only to be denied.

    Oh and hey I am still looking forward to seeing Kim Mitchell …yes again …my last grasps at midlife crisis perhaps.

    As for Lauzon….look up the word underachiever in the dictionary…you will see a reference which states “see Guy Lauzon”

  3. Lift- Off needs to clean house – especially the one person who’s conflict of interest has corrupted this great festival from day one – you know who you are – and your cancer is throughout this article. Lift Off is not a popularity contest, its about showcasing whats best about Cornwall and area. I think I speak for most of the community when I say that if I have to watch his band one more time I’m gonna be sick. Oops, did I say too much. Oh well, what can I say, if all you do is think about yourself, eventually someone is going to call you out on it.Get the little big man off the committee before Lift Off goes the way of Riverfest – there is sooo much more to Cornwall then Corus and Rub Salt

  4. I’ll say it for you Julie – it is absolutely absurd that Rob Seguin and his terrible COVER band Rubsalt get to open for any of the headliners on any nights for Lift-Off. We have so much local talent that deserve it more than them. It makes a mockery of our city, our council, and unfortunately what could be a much better festival.

    A total and complete joke!

  5. Well said “Julie” and “Charlie”. “Little Big Man” seems to be a perfect analogy of Rob. Since he is one that has the least talent in this community, why not find an avenue to step over everyone else who does to make himself look good! Some people need to remember where they came from or at least know when to give up!

  6. What an interesting article/story! Many stones yet unturned. Can’t wait for the final outcome and responses yet to be received. Thought provoking to say the least.

  7. Perhaps as Rob takes the stage this year a huge resounding boooooooooooo should resonate from the audience and attendees….as the band begins to play a louder and more enthusiastic booooo should arise…..only we can stop it…People all over the world are protesting for change maybe its out turn.

    Personally I do not know Rob or even what the guy looks like. I have heard of Rub Salt and the music, it is rather mediocre at best.
    The name Rub Salt, is it perhaps a bold statement as in hey its Cornwall people don’t have a clue and hey you can’t touch me ?????

  8. If Corus wants to promote local talent, why don’t they talk about all the shows that go on in the clubs each week? Ottawa radio stations do it all the time and possibly without a monitary gain.
    It’s bad enough Corus took the rock station away for a Station that plays pretty much the same mediocre music as variety 104. now they want to take other local-ish stations out of the mix at a public & free event?! What the hell happened to community spirit?
    Funny that such a Small place is Scared to Give the Community a glimpse into what is out & around town instead of the (most times) overpriced concerts at aultsville hall and the complex.
    Won’t someone Give the little guy a chance. there are some great bands out there not just the crappy ones who have ‘connections’ to the ppl who run this city.

  9. Its amazing what cons and republicans (same thing) try to get away with sometimes (not saying others aren’t guilty of similar things).. At least these people spoke up and did something about it… Too bad there aren’t more like that, especially around here in this city! Too bad our MP gets involved as well trying to pull strings for members of the old boys club here in town.. amazing, a puppet pulling the strings of other puppets..

  10. Jaime,
    This article is very interesting. You have presented both sides of the argument and are allowing you followers to make their own opinions. This is a great way to stir debate. It would be great to see everyone get along. A joint effort to promote all of Cornwall and area’s events is important to effectively bring as many people into the region as possible. It is a shame that the focus is not on the events but rather the politics behind them. In order to create a change you have to step forward and be a part of solution. My services as a promoter and as an entertainer were offered and are still available to Lift Off and Canada Day organizers at no cost( it would be great to get paid but if it helps). Hopefully, they will consider my offer to help for future events.
    On another note, it is a little unfair to get on Rub Salt’s case. It is not their fault. If you were offered a spot on the hottest ticket in town, would you play it? They are a talented bunch of guys and do not deserve to be chastised for taking that gig. Perhaps it is a perk for Rob’s hours of work on the event. What people should be saying is that it would be great to promote as many of the local artists as possible. We have a huge talent pool here and it would be great to see them all perform at Lift Off.
    Come on people, let’s get together and show the world how great Cornwall really is!
    Rodney Rivette

  11. Again, Cornwall is an extremely difficult city to business in. As for Mr. Rivette’s quote “you have to step forward and be a part of solution”, not true. When people do step up, ( I have), someone is lurking around the corner to stop you for their own personal gain.

  12. I want to add my few cents ( all they are worth, probably). Okay, a little ‘ Transparency’ on my part. I play drums for a local band ( Gypsy) who released their first CD in 2009 and we’re currently working on our second one. We have financed the previous CD and the upcoming one ourselves, with no backing or outside help. I really find it strange that a homegrown weekend music festival has no room for artists who are producing music locally. I understand the need for the ‘ headlining acts’ ; they put the bums in the seats and draw the crowds, Perfectly acceptable. However, I really have a problem when there are at least 5 – 10 independent recording artists in this area that I know of that never get the chance to show what they can do on a big stage. If , indeed , you want to support the local arts community , why does the same band open for the headliners year after year, and doing just covers? Some might call that a ‘ perk’…some might not, but that’s a side issue. My suggestion would be that , since Liftoff is a 4 day event, Thursdays to Sundays, the last day is a bit of a write off with a bare stage. Why not use that stage to focus on all of the local Independent Acts who are out there doing this and I’m sure would welcome a chance to ‘bring it’ on stage. I will attend Liftoff and pay my money to support the festival, because I know this is what this town needs. I don’t agree, however, with how much of a ‘ closed shop’ mentality has prevented local artists from promoting their music on the biggest weekend of the year, music wise, in town. I don’t know, something just seems amiss in this.

  13. Great post Jim and just today someone in local government stepped up to the plate and brought us a step closer to making a very large announcement about a new initiative we’re partnering with to help local venues, artists, and cultural organizations. This person singled out your band in particular and I fully agree with what you just posted.

    Again, there’s room for improvement; especially if people pull together and remember the goals of events like Lift Off and some of the great things happening in the area.

    Cheers and congrats on the new CD!

    Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News

  14. Here’s a scenario while I brainstorm on this stupidity in town here. Maybe some of the members of this “exclusive” community, wanted to be the agents for some of these local bands, possibly wanting to charge extortionist rates to do so.. to which of course they were refused… And maybe, just maybe that’s why these other bands other than a couple are being kept out of the loop? Just a possibility I could think of.. I agree with willie’s comment about someone lurking around the corner to stop you for their own personal gain.. It seems to me that if people aren’t sniffing the butts of certain members of this “exclusive” community, then they just don’t really make it nowhere without a major struggle doing so in this town…

  15. I have a question that perhaps may not be able to be answered. With an event this size, don’t they have books to keep? If yes, are they available to the public for scrutiny? Are we not supposed to know how much money this event makes/costs? Why are the contracts strictly confidential? Shouldn’t it be available to the people of the community who donate their money to this event? Not only the big spenders, but the regular person who pays their entrance fee. Just asking.

  16. In 2005, I was in a band who played at Lift Off. I kept seeing signs about all the financial support from banks, etc. and I was hearing about how they made it all possible to have the entertainment, yet none of the bands were paid anything. To make things even more discouraging, Guy Lauzon himself approached our band members after we came off stage with a container in his hands. He said he was collecting for ‘the entertainment’. When I questioned him on this, he changed it to ‘the fireworks’.

    We also have ‘Arts in the Park’ which is sponsored by banks and other supporters, yet where would it be without the artists? Yet, to my knowledge (and I have performed at the event) none of the artists who entertain ever get paid anything.

    We musicians / bands / entertainers are not born with the ability and equipment necessary to entertain, we have to learn our instruments, buy the equipment, and continually practice. When we give of our time, we should be compensated, even a little bit, just for the appreciation factor. We’ve invested heavily in our instruments and time. Playing for free is one thing, but a little financial token of appreciation would go a long way towards encouraging the local music scene.

    I know of much smaller town fairs in rural areas that come up with token amounts of money which is given to the entertainers, perhaps only a few dollars per musician, and they are not sponsored by anyone, it’s a take on admission to the event. I can’t see how so much money is involved in our own events, yet the local entertainment cannot be paid, at least something, for all their hard work.

    My 2 cents. Thanks for listening! 🙂

  17. That’s a good question Judy; one which I’ve asked; specifically how much has Lift Off paid to Corus in advertising? Same goes for other events and to the Chamber of Commerce. So far I’ve drawn blanks. Nobody wishes to disclose how much Corus is taking in CASH from any of these events or organizations while being given exclusivity.

  18. It is very important to have an avenue for people to express their opinions and concerns, especially when it is a community event. However, to be respected and taken seriously, personal grievances and attacks on character should not be aired over web sites and in public forums. It is true that local bands need to be a cornerstone of our community events, however many bands were offered spots on a volunteer basis and they turned them down. The entire event is volunteer based in order to hire larger acts. The festival includes some top performers, Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven, Theory of a Deadman, Chantel Kreviazuk, Collective Soul, so to say that it is the same tired performers is only saying you dislike that style or band. All the local bands who are preforming gave their time freely, and hundreds of volunteers give up their time to make the entire event happen for their community. Why do bands think their time is worth more than that of their fellow volunteers? Should we start paying the ticket sellers? The set up committees? the community organizations who get involved?

    Wether you like the people involved in this event, there is no question that they spend months working their asses off to make it happen. Perhaps some changes need to be made as far as funding or organizations who are involved in order to make paying for larger headline acts and local bands a reality, but at the end of the day attacking others and trying to pull down the structure of an event which has thus far been a success, is not only silly, its counter productive.

    For those of you proposing to booo bands, that is childish. Just dont come, the best way you can show you are unhappy is to not buy a ticket.

    And for the record, i have close ties to some of the local bands so I am aware of the time/cost/investment in being a performer.

  19. Why would Mr. Lauzon not want our neighbours from the Fox 101.5 to come and celebrate Canada’s birthday with us? There should not have been an exclusivity agreement with Corus for Canada day or any other occasion like Lift-Off. Mr. Lauzon should not have any control on the Canada Day festivities.
    I think the Lift-Off committee needs new blood.
    As for the $30,000 interest free loan that the city of Cornwall loaned Lift-Off, I think the Lift-Off committee should make public all revenues to the citizens of Cornwall.

  20. Disappointed we have a platform that offers a voice for many that wouldn’t have one. Not everyone will agree with what everyone shares. That being said I think that anyone on the Lift Off board that voted to give Corus three year exclusivity should resign and I don’t think any further tax dollars should be given to this group until they have their ducks in a row. There should be no room for cliques or cronyism by “volunteers” for any tax payer supported event.

    The sole purpose of Lift Off should be to promote our amazing city and attract people to the biggest party in Eastern Ontario. What was once a small group of “volunteers” is now a board with conflict of interest issues such as those exhibited by Mr. Seguin who should have to resign immediately, and his band certainly not play at this years event. Again; just an opinion I share with a lot of people.

    As for the performers; if Lift Off can pay thousands for Collective Soul whose music I don’t even think people illegally download much then they certainly can pay out some dollars to deserving local acts whose members aren’t in charge of choosing who gets to play.

    The good thing is that there’s lots of room for improvement and since this story has come out I’ve heard some very very positive things about the potential for next year. I think once the ship is righted and there’s some new blood that truly understand how important Lift Off is to our city and the role of the BOARD of the LIFT Off in making that happen we’ll all be happier.

  21. I have read this article and entire thread. I am not hear to take any one side or defend anybody either. In reflecting on all statements made, there is a BIG question that I can’t get out of my head and it is based on a few reasonable assumptions..According to this article and a few others I have read that the Province donates $75,000 a year and the City of Cornwall matches that number and other donations from local businesses and sponsers.. Lift Off brags that 10,000 people come through their gates daily.. A weekend pass is $30.. so that adds up to another $300,000 in revenue. Since Lift-Off is all voluntary from staff to local talent on stage.. My reasonable assumption is that all the venders for the event including the balloon providers are not paid either because they charge( let me get this right) Only $175 + HST per passenger! (Taxes included).. right from the Lift-Off website if you can figure that one out.. If the government of Ontario has provided me with a decent education, my math says that about half a million a year is generated for this event. so the question in my head is where is that kind of money going on a volunteer/non profit event going and the Lift-Off committee still needed to borrow another $30,000..???? OPEN THE BOOKS.. Outside of donations from Local businesses the Majority is all taxpayer money..

  22. Zefram the Province cut its Lift Off funding to about $25K this year shifting some to Akwesasne. The DBIA in Cornwall dropped its financial support completely.

  23. Wow – I am really sorry that I read all of these bitter, pessimistic comments.
    I’ve had the opportunity to meet Rob professionally. From talking to him and working with him, I know how hard he works at both Corus and Lift-off. To be perfectly honest, I can’t think of another person who works as hard as he does (& I have a lot of hardworking people surrounding me!).
    He is a great ambassador for our community and works very hard to bring great artists to our community and put on one of Cornwall’s best weekends each and every year.
    I’ve also had the opportunity to see his band. Rub Salt is extremely talented and puts on amazing shows.

    Before people bad mouth him on here, I think you should think: what would I do if Jamie and then his 15 loyal visitors decided to turn on me? Start posting untrue articles, and then posting 101 insane comments, fabricating all of these rumours against me? And then start petitioning that people come to my place of business (I know you probably don’t play in a band… but maybe you work at the bank? are a teacher? work in a grocery store?) and start booing at me / turning my back to me.

    Really everyone, grow up. Are the people on this page 15 or are we all adults here? I’m starting to wonder about who really visits this website….
    Be happy that Cornwall has such an amazing festival as Liftoff, and be grateful that we have hardworking people like Rob Seguin, who goes the extra 100 miles to make sure that the festival is as amazing as it is every year.

    Don’t forget, karma comes back to get you… so think before you post such ugly comments anyone from our community.

  24. DIsappointed said, “Why do bands think their time is worth more than that of their fellow volunteers? Should we start paying the ticket sellers? The set up committees? the community organizations who get involved?”

    The point I tried to make was the investment in money, time and other energy in order for a decent band to even exist. Ticket sellers do not invest thousands of hours and then thousands of dollars honing their craft. There is a cost when a band performs, things wear out, expensive equipment gets damaged, or worse yet, stolen. It is only showing respect for the hours of work put into any live act, that they should be paid at least something towards their costs. I’m not suggesting we pay them what the ‘big acts’ get paid, but a few hundred dollars would go a long way for an upcoming local band, and when we’re talking of the tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars available, it seems like an appropriate and proper thing to do. They are not simply providing a few hours of their time, their act represents hundreds of hours of rehearsal and thousands of dollars of investment, including the cost to transport their gear to and from the stage.

  25. I would suggest for everyone who is addin up all this money that lift off makes and that you claim is being squandered, that you take a look at the real cost for hiring a stage, hiring each of the bands who might reasonably command $50,000 each. For security, gear, professional sound men, printing marketing and advertising… You may think you know, but you would be surprised.

    John lister, I know exactly how much it costs and the toll it takes but those costs are what you take on to play. This is your community and therefore it does you good. the festival gives each of the volunteer bands a huge opportunity to showcase your talents in front of an audience more than 100 times the size you would ever pull on your On your own.

    Why not try to get to know the people involved and understand exactly what the situation is and who you are talking about before deciding who should stay and go.

    Teya, you are right rob works harder than anyone for this festival and he gives it his all.

  26. The sound of heads rolling over Lift-Off will be music to my ears. There are so many other corrupt, self-serving people in Cornwall who richly deserve to be outed. This story should serve as a warning to them. There’s nothing more foul than the smell of smalltown corruption, and Cornwall has been choking on it for decades. Is it any wonder why our reputation for being an insular backwater precedes us as it does? Is it any wonder why so many average citizens are so jaded and cynical about our hometown? Is it any wonder why the last municipal election only saw a 43.5% turnout? Is it any wonder why so many services, retail chains, entertainers, etc. refuse to even consider coming here? Is it any wonder why so many young people leave and never come back?

    The best thing that could happen to this city would be for all its cliques, cronies, old boys’ clubs and ladies who lunch to be publicly exposed, shamed and driven out once and for all. They need to be replaced by progressive, humble people of integrity and honour. People who have none of the “big fish in a small pond” attitude that so many of Cornwall’s power brokers are so shamelessly infected with. People who instinctively do what’s right and fair rather than what’s merely convenient. Most of all, people who reward others based on IMPARTIALITY and MERIT rather than on who’s schtupping whom, figuratively or otherwise. Only then will we ever begin to see real change for the better. Hopefully, such people do indeed exist in Cornwall and are ready to step up to the plate.

  27. Teya and Disappointed. Would any of you care to share your relationship with Corus? I know that one of you has one, but can’t do that without “outing” you and that’s unethical; but I’m sure anyone reading your comments; which you’re quite entitled to and are valid to share; would view them a tad differently if they knew that one or both of you have a working relationship with Corus.

  28. I don’t have any relationship with Corus at all…..other than I tune in to Jimmy & Sue in the morning!

    Jamie, I think you should consider renaming your website: Cornwall Free GOSSIP!

  29. Hi Everyone,

    Great article! Eludes a little to the “In” and the “Out” crowd that some like to call the “The Old Boys Club” and “The Small Guy”! I like how many people were involved and that exact examples were used!

    However, Rub Salt should have never been singled out! I am sure there are innocent members of the band and one members affilitaion shouldn’t demonize an entire group!

    All in all, great article that shows the need for change in both Cornwall’s business community and the need for politicians to remain neutral!……..but please focus on the topic of discussion and/or individuals who can make a change such as City Council, Lift-Off Organizers and Provincial/Federal Government Leaders and NOT Volunteers!

    You can’t hate a guy for trying to get his band exposure! Anyone would have done the same and if you say different you are a flat out liar! Sorry, but its true! I bet his band plays for free and only stated that there is no pay to the other bands so that they understand what the y are getting into before they commit!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  30. lol Teya lovely shot at us. Believe me if I wanted to be a gossip rag there’s no shortage that comes across my desk. And people love their gossip; it’s normal. It’s why it’s called buzz. Really; there’s some really great stuff. Amazing stuff. But we don’t ever use it. Maybe I should start another site though? You’ve given me some grist to mill on…….

    Thanks for the suggestion and keep reading The Cornwall Free News.

  31. Dear Mr. Kielec,
    My name is David Runions. I am on the Canada Day committee. I would like to set the record straight, with some actual facts for a change. Being that you used my name in a story and never verified the validity of comments being made. I am referring to the story and comments previously mentioned. 1st. “Last year… invited to help celebrate Canada Day in Cornwall by Dave Runions.” This is simply not true. These folks just arrived and I tried to be obliging, I even hung up a banner. 2nd “We called Dave to do the same thing again this year…and no problem.” This part is only half true. They did call me, but they said that my name was passed on to them by fellow committee member Guy Lauzon. This was a lie. My concerns here are that we are a small group on a small budget, trying to give our community a fun day. Everything is free, and most of the entertainers performed for free. I am astonished at how hard working Mr Lauzon is towards the Canada Day Festivities. In the last seven years, Mr Lauzon has insisted that we bring back local talent to the stage. Some of these groups have been excellent. Others have been a little rough around the edges, but all the same, we have given back the stage to our community, to local dance groups, singers, bands, and other performers. In the past, groups from out of town were brought in at great expense. I think this part is sumed up best by Marc Thompson of Kings Bishop when he stated, “Since I was nine years old, I always dreamed of performing on the Canada Day stage and this year I’m being given a chance.” The children’s tent, everything free. The inflatable castles, free. The home depot children’s workshop free. People like Guy Lauzon and Rob Seguin deserve a pat on the back. My main concern, is that I worked as a journalist with the Standard-Freeholder for over ten years. I also have worked for CBC, and other news outlets. In all that time, I have checked and verified my sources for accuracy. Your little online site here simply seems to be a platform to snipe and spread gossip. There should be more integrity on your web-page and greater effort to get your facts straight.
    If people truly want to make a change, then give us a call, and get involved.

  32. Jamie Gilcig
    Last blog was intended for Jamie Gilcig. Sorry I lose track of whos who with all of these online pages.

    Dear Mr. Gilcig,
    My name is David Runions. I am on the Canada Day committee. I would like to set the record straight, with some actual facts for a change. Being that you used my name in a story and never verified the validity of comments being made. I am referring to the story and comments previously mentioned. 1st. “Last year… invited to help celebrate Canada Day in Cornwall by Dave Runions.” This is simply not true. These folks just arrived and I tried to be obliging, I even hung up a banner. 2nd “We called Dave to do the same thing again this year…and no problem.” This part is only half true. They did call me, but they said that my name was passed on to them by fellow committee member Guy Lauzon. This was a lie. My concerns here are that we are a small group on a small budget, trying to give our community a fun day. Everything is free, and most of the entertainers performed for free. I am astonished at how hard working Mr Lauzon is towards the Canada Day Festivities. In the last seven years, Mr Lauzon has insisted that we bring back local talent to the stage. Some of these groups have been excellent. Others have been a little rough around the edges, but all the same, we have given back the stage to our community, to local dance groups, singers, bands, and other performers. In the past, groups from out of town were brought in at great expense. I think this part is sumed up best by Marc Thompson of Kings Bishop when he stated, “Since I was nine years old, I always dreamed of performing on the Canada Day stage and this year I’m being given a chance.” The children’s tent, everything free. The inflatable castles, free. The home depot children’s workshop free. People like Guy Lauzon and Rob Seguin deserve a pat on the back. My main concern, is that I worked as a journalist with the Standard-Freeholder for over ten years. I also have worked for CBC, and other news outlets. In all that time, I have checked and verified my sources for accuracy. Your little online site here simply seems to be a platform to snipe and spread gossip. There should be more integrity on your web-page and greater effort to get your facts straight.
    If people truly want to make a change, then give us a call, and get involved.

  33. As for all of the comments….
    when Jason Jesmer, a committee member of Lift-Off, was in a band, he refused to put forward the band as a potential act citing conflict of interest. Why then, has it been allowed for Rob to have his band play in the most coveted spot in this venue?
    “Limited spots available” is what Rob has told potential acts. As a true artist management person on the committee, he should have perhaps taken his band out of the equation to allow new bands to perform, or, reduce the amount of time the bands have on stage to 30 minute performances and that would have opened a few more time slots for additional bands.
    As for the bands tuning down the spots because they had to play for free, not all bands had the opportunity to turn down the offer.
    I agree that this city needs young, progressive thinkers to bring our city out of the dark ages and into the new millenium.

  34. Thought it was time for me to chime in…

    As many of you know, I am part of the “black sheep” crowd of Cornwall musicians who dared to call Rob Seguin out on his conflict of interest many years ago – actually come to think of it I may have been one of the only ones….. But, I think we can all agree, you’ve never seen my band the Trench Town Oddities on any Lift Off bill and it wasn’t because we were asking too much money as some would like to suggest. Its simply a matter of me calling a spade a spade and people not liking me because of it. As for people bashing Rub Salt, I would like to believe that that is not the case, everyone in our band (including Bix) knows Jamie & Jason and they are great players and we’ve only heard great things about the guitarist ( whom I don’t know) but as for Rob, I can honestly say I’ve never seen Rub Salt but everyone who talks of them never has anything good to say about him. But whom and I to say, like I said, I’ve never seen them. But there a few people who keep chiming in about the facts, so lets get down to it and state the facts…

    (1) – No one can deny that Rob puts in alot of time towards Lift Off – so for that I applauded him…

    (2) – In the same breath no one can deny that there is a huge conflict of interest with him doing whatever he does at Corus and having his band have the best slot for local bands every year that he manages to keep his band together, while being the entertainment co-ordinator of Lift Off is not cool.. Its true that his band has not always played Lift-Off, and the simple reason is because he didn’t have a band those years. But wait, didn’t his brother get the slot the one year Rub Salt didn’t play? But I don’t have a beef with him, they really did deserve to be in that slot… truthfully

    (3) – O.k. so let’s say that, like a few people mentioned, that for all his hard work that he deserves to play Lift Off every year, I don’t think anyone would disagree. But there are a ton of bands that play all over, write their own music and are truly what you would call working musicians that truthfully deserve that primo spot way more then Rub Salt – no offense to the 3 other members. I think what everone is saying, and has been saying, is that we should be showcase truly the best of what Cornwall has to offer, and although Rub Salt is good, I would think that even Rob himself would agree that there are bands and individuals who truly deserve the spot more then him.

    (4) – Someone mention that anyone in Rob place would do the same thing and that we’d be lying if we said any different. Well, when I was in the band Ritual and were asked to play Lift Off many years ago, we were offered a slot a 2pm in the afternoon and Graham Greer would play at 3p – Rub Salt was slated for 8pm, as you guessed it, right before the big act. A couple things transpired that year, one being that I’d offer up my services to the Lift Off committee earlier in the year and was never taken up on it, I even went so far as to offer to take my own band off the bill any years I volunteered my services as I felt that it wouldn’t be fair to all the other bands in town (I have the email still to this day). So nothing came of that. When I got the call for Rob asking if we’d play at 2pm, I said I’d think about it and get back to him. I then found out that Graham would be the one after us and Rob would be on at 8pm. This was something like the 3rd year in a row that Rob had pulled this so after hearing a ton of grumbling from the rest of the musicians in the community I sent am email to Rob & Chris Savard stating that I didn’t think what Rob was doing was fair to the rest of the musicians in the city and that if he’d be willing to switch his spot with Graham (meaning put Graham on at 8pm and Rub Salt on at 3pm) then Ritual would play the 2pm slot. Needless to say, Ritual never played- Graham played at 3pm and Rub Salt played at 8pm. So, believe it or not, there are some of us out there who would do the right thing and remove our bands from the bill….

    (5) As far as the grumbling’s of this years bill, lets be honest, the truly on decent night is the night Collective Soul are playing – the other nights are kinda, been there done that. By the way, does anyone know who’s opening for Collective Soul’s opener?

    (6) As far as “stepping forward and being part of the solution”, if you read this post, you’ll clearly see if not as simple as throw your name in the hat and offering to help

    (7) …and really, a backdoor deal to get more money from the city to get better acts and Platinum Blonde is what we get? Kim Mitchell? ????? I’m not sure that I believe they need to show that their books are balanced but I will say that if you are going to the city to get money, the city should have asked to see them. Bad call Cornwall city council. What have if, god forbid, the whole weekend rains, no one goes because they don’t want to sit out in the rain watching bands they’ve seen years before and Lift Off is a bust. Who pays for the loan then?

    Let me end with a few parting words – I know my rep in the music community is such that people either love me or hate me, and that’s ok but no one can argue with my results. And if you ask the guys in my band, I’m really not a bad guy, I’m just intensely passionate about what I do, Ask the guys in Rub Salt what they think of Rob, maybe they love him too. What I can say is the only person I’ve had to replace was a bass player the 2nd month into the band because the guy was moving away – how many different people have been in Rub Salt. But I digress,… Unfortunately, 90% of the people (I actually thought it was 100% until I read this thread) you hear talking about Rob – musicians who’ve played with, his co-workers, Lift-Off volunteers, the other local musicians, no one has anything good thing to say about him. Strange how that works…

    and for those asking, yes indeed, those are the facts

    Goodnight Cornwall, we love you!

    Sean Harley

  35. Would a court order succeed in forcing open Lift-Off’s books for the public to view?

  36. Hi David Runions. Did Mix 96.1 and 101.5 The Fox ask for advertising dollars or were they promoting the event for free? If they were promoting the event for free, why couldn`t they broadcast on-site from Canada Day? Is it true Corus got exclusive rights to Canada Day? If this is true, does your committee have the authority to do that? I thought Canada Day was for everyone, and that all media would have equal opportunity to document and broadcast at a free event, especially one at a public park. Since you are on the committee, and since you listed all your media experience, I am sure you can easily explain all this or clear up any misunderstandings I may have. I think it is great that you will welcome volunteers and fresh blood. Will you be sending out press releases to announce publicly your committees upcoming meetings. Personally, I think that would be a great idea, it creates a sense of openness and transparency. Thank you in advance for answering all my questions.

  37. Dear Devils Advocate,
    First off, I am using my real name. Why can’t you? I have done a great amount of research on this subject in the last 24 hrs., and I have come to realize that many groups have single media sponsors. I go to the Upper Canada Playhouse every year. At the beginning of each show, they state who their media sponsor is. All the same, all the local papers ran free promotional spots without any questions being asked, or lies being told. The Massena radio station, Mix 96.1 and 101.5 The Fox, were politely asked not to show up for Canada Day, and given the reason already explained. And lets remember something here. These folks used deception. When they called me they said my name was passed on to them by our chair, and this was untrue. Not a great way to start off a relationship. Cornwall’s Corus was our sponsor. They approached us months in advance and the arrangements were made. We were prepared for their arrival on Canada Day. The most important fact during Canada Day, is an issue of safety. We only have so much room for vehicles and vendors. If we have people showing up unannounced that our committee and our security and local police are unaware of, someone is going to get hurt. The other simple fact is this issue will be on our table at our next meeting. A vote will be taken, and a decision will be made ( the Canadian way). Now getting back to fresh blood and getting involved. If you would like to get involved in the Canada Day festivities, give me a call. One of our committee members had the glamourous job of moving picnic tables from one side of the park to the other, making ice runs, setting up tents, running rows of chairs from one end of the park to the other, carting water, coordinating our perfect safety record with security, and countless other tasks, and that was the chair of our committee. Pretty glamourous stuff. So here it is, you my nameless friend want to get involved. Give me a call. It also should be noted, I announced over 5 times on the PA that we were looking for people willing to get involved. So 613 – 932-3510. Thank you, David Runions

  38. Mr. Runions, Jamie Gilcig here; the person you accused of not checking facts. The key difference being that we quoted someone making a statement the same way you just made a statement.

    You just burbled out a lot of hooey. You did not send us nor too many other media offers to sponsor or support Canada Day in Lamoureux Park. Your statement “I have come to realize that many groups have single media sponsors. ” is why we ran this story; that one area media outlet in particular is practicing predatory media coverage of public events.

    You sir should resign. Not tomorrow, but today. You should have nothing to do with Canada Day events in Cornwall next year other than to come to the park and wave a flag.

    Canada Day belongs to all Canadians. If the city of Cornwall allows a group to use Lamoureux Park it should not be monopolized by one politician and a few of his supporters including one media outlet. I went to the park. I have a hunch that if you and your committee contacted all of the area media seeking support there would probably be a lot more people there as it was a good time. The fireworks in particular this year were better than expected and the Trench Town Oddities were excellent. Even your daughter’s performance on the stage was fine.

    See; we can’t run everything just with our friends. Sometimes we have to work with others. Sometimes we have to reach out to them. The comment you complained about for example came from a gentleman who I personally have an issue with. Did I not allow his comment because of that? Nope. People need to be more professional and if they take the responsibility of participating in a group like you have need to focus on the goal of the group instead of advertising their Acting school with a sign near the stage.

    Other question? Did you pay for that sign to be posted? Were other companies and activities offered to put their signs up?

    Can you see why some might not be too happy with conflict of interest issues?

  39. Oh, the nepotism and incestuousness of life in Cornwall! What a sorry lot of control freaks we are!

  40. To me the most intriguing question is as follows: How much money came in and how much money was paid out and to whom? Openness, truth and transparency.

  41. PJA this isn’t a Cornwall exclusive. Cornwall’s a great town! We just need to get some of it’s more talented and more altruistic folks involved in some of these events, and take the toys away from the naughty kids that don’t play as nice with others 🙂

  42. This whole situation is so typical of the “I’ve got mine, screw you Jack.” attitude of the political and social cliques in Cornwall. I am so sick of it.

    Personally, I’m not going to Lift Off simply because I won’t condone the actions of a priviledged few with my attendance or money.

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