Cornwall Ontario City Council Defers Vote on Anonymous Comments Ban For Media Sites they Advertise on – November 15, 2011

CFN –  Interesting evening at City Council last night.   Alright, maybe not interesting, but some ground was covered.   The real story is simmering under the eye of the public.  It wasn’t discussed at the meeting which had a full compliment of city managers.

John Towndrow of Transition Cornwall + made a presentation to council about the work his group has been doing and requested that they be given more access to city staff so that they could work together with Cornwall.


Bob Peters of Economic Develpment then had his report to council deferred.     It was  a hastily put together report that some have called a “Witch Hunt” against the Cornwall Free News.  The report targets Media that have anonymous comments.

It suggests to council that the city pass a policy that it would not advertise on sites that do so and singled out locally The Standard Free Holder and ourselves.   Oddly we are the number one ranked Online news site and the Free Holder number two.   Banning advertising with us I’m not sure would accomplish much, but the fact that this report was issued and comments from some of the councilors like Syd (not the kid) Gardiner and Elaine MacDonald show a complete lack of understanding and knowledge of the subject.  Councilor Thibault I think understood this best and asked the very relative question as to why it was simply online sites and not any corporations?  IE if the Free Holder allowed the comments it does why advertise with them in print if what you truly are caring about is branding?

It shows how sensitive and thin skinned some people are.     There are pros and cons to anonymous comments.   Cornwall is very sensitive to that right now because of the Diane Shay whistle blowing case, but this is exactly why anonymous comments are of  value as I’m sure any city employee  who’s wanted to whistle blow can attest to.

Councilor Clement made some very strong points.  It really doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and in the end you can’t change how people think or feel unless you change how you do things.   Silencing voices in a heavy handed manner such as what Mr. Peters did yesterday on the cities facebook page only in the end gives more credence to those points made that are deleted.

Cornwall like many areas is evolving into today’s technical age.  The report was deferred.  Hopefully calmer, saner,  and less heavy handed minds prevail.

Personally it’s always a bit odd covering a story you’re a part of.   Watching this unfold and listening to comments made on a report that was grossly inaccurate  (at least regarding CFN) was odd to watch.  Not being allowed to repudiate the report was frustrating.     Having the City of Cornwall state that we are essentially an  unmoderated home of profanity and viscous personal attacks is something that if I  was as thin skinned as some of the councilors would be quite upsetting.

Here is the video of that segment of council.


Here is the a link to our story with the entire report to council unedited.   LINK

So do you think Anonymous comments should be allowed on sites or is it that whether anonymous or not sites should moderate, as we have always done,  so that certain types of conversation not be inflicted on the public?   You can post your comments below.

Eight Zero Zero


  1. It would appear witch hunt is appropriate in this instance. Rather than discredit the comments and the sites posting them, why do they not address the issues presented. It seems like more of a bullying tactic. I would hope we have learned from what happened in the Middle East recently. You can only lie without accountability for so long before the masses push back.

    I am sure they all mean well but just look at these old grey-haired fXXXs. So many of them are XXXXX and with the past and lack insight and the ability to reason that they really cannot see the forest for the trees. (that is talking from experience)
    Show me one of which has any sort of credibility outside of the city and what their accomplishments are.
    I have spoken to a few of them and it is an unfortunate scenario. We are left wanting. CFN or the Freeholder should approach council and or the Economic development department and ask what the 5 year plan is, or what is our path forward? Trust me it will be enlightening.

    it doesn’t exist….they are flying by the seat of our pants

    If any of the people on council or economic development thinks I am wrong, I await your rebuttal on the CFN (this post has been moderated)

  2. I personally have had people pretend to be others on various web-sites while using slander. They would make untrue statements and then log-in as another user on another computer and defend themselves.

    Talk about split personalities! Also, I truly believe that if you use your real name you will be more apt to act intelligently and not less on “stirring the pot” or slander!

    Its hard to argue with why people don’t want to support the rumour mill! Jamie does a good job editing the statements made and defending the truth but I can definitely see why some people would doubt who writes some of the comments and whether some of these people even exist or whether some users have multiple identities/personalities.

    I think it would be a major upgrade if this site (although I like the new registration format) would require people to use their real names but then again it would lose some enterainmnet value.

    In the end, if I was to create and on-line blog discussing politics and our community I would request, actual, persoanl information or list the comments as all generic comments with the same name such and limit the size of their comments to just a few sentences encouraging users to register with thier real names.

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  3. Sorry….that last phrases was a little unclear!

    In the end, if I was to create and on-line blog discussing politics and our community I would request, actual, personal information or list all unregistered users comments with the same name such as “from the crowd”and limit the size of their comments to just a few sentences encouraging users to register with their real names.

  4. yep and edited…

  5. Author

    Hi MIke. There’s the gut level response to the issue and then there’s the reality. The reality is that you can’t really prove who typed something; at least legally. Does it really matter the name in front of the statement or the statement? I think it comes down to the moderation policy and I think CFN overall does a stunning job of moderation; but then I’m bias 🙂

  6. Nice to see you back smee ….lol!

  7. I can only speak from my own personal experience but I find you extremely easy to do business with and you have always moderated very well Jamie!

    I think some people just don’t like your opnion pieces and this is their way of lashing back in an extremely tasteless manner!

    The Cornwall Free News isn’t for everyone but I can honestly say I truly believe that “You can only please some of the people; some of the time!” I love Cornwall and I am proud to call it home but there is only 1% of the population that controls this city! However, I don’t blame the 1% for being active instead I ask WHERE IS THE 99%? Those are the people that need to get moving and get active.

    Barrak Obama never said ” Yes, I can!” he said “Yes, WE can!” and until Cornwall learns that it will have to fight the 1% to improve and move forward then we will always remain a city with great potentail! Do you know what potential is? It’s something you never accomplished or have yet to do!

    A good start would be to stop trying to come up with NEW ideas and focus on BETTER implimenting the ideas we already have!

    On a personal note: I have learned, the hard way, that you don’t have to be bigger then anyone else to succeeed but simply better! Cornwall doesn’t need to focus on growth so much as becoming BETTER! It doesn’t matter what anyone else does, we should simply want to be the best and ensure our quality of life is second to none! I wish our politicians would stop trying to make everything sound like “we are doing great” no matter the economic climate! Take it from me! Beleiving certain problems don’t exist without investigating is just plain ignorant and every complaint must be taken extremely seriously! The good never overshadows the bad! All good things must be praised but all bad things must be rectified or addressed immediately!

    Sorry for the long rant…just some ideas!

Leave a Reply