South Stormont Council Unanimously Votes to Threaten Dollars to Cornwall Ontario Community Hospital over Bilingual Nurse Hiring Practice – February 7, 2012

CFN –   Mayor Bryan McGillis and council of South Stormont Ontario threw down the gauntlet to the Cornwall Community Hospital today at a regularly scheduled non-secret open council meeting.

South Stormont is reacting to the lightning story started by a letter to the editor by esteemed local surgeon Dr. Dany Tombler of Cornwall Ontario.   LINK

South Stormont  passed the following motion and is hoping that the United Counties of SD&G and City of Cornwall follow suit to create fairer employment for area Nurses and hospital staff.

 Whereas council has become aware of the Cornwall Community Hospital’s employment policy requirement for seeking registered nurses for full- time, part-time and casual positions to be bilingual (English/French) .

And whereas it appears that members of our local communities have been denied an opportunity to apply for this professional position ( s) due to this particular requirement only, and whereas council is of the opinion that factors such as skill, ability, qualifications, and experience, etc. are also essentials to nursing care.
Now therefore council of the Township of South Stormont urges the Cornwall Community Hospital to review its policy and provide reassurance to the region that this is not the case.
Therefore, until such time that council receives this reassurance, South Stormont withhold’s all donations to the hospital.
And furthermore this motion be circulated to the lower tier municipalities of SD&G, United Counties of SD&G, and the City of Cornwall for their support.
Motion carried  – unanimous –  All council present

Video Interview with Mayor McGillis
It also should be noted that the Eastern Ontario Health Unit has a similar language policy.
Cornwall Free News


  1. Unfortunately it is not just about nurses, it is happening to all front line medical staff…nurses are not the only health care workers.

  2. Unfortunately it is not just about nurses, this language unfairness is happening to all front line medical staff as well as even house keeping and kitchen staff…nurses are not the only health care workers.

  3. It would be different if we did not have services for the very few French only speakers already. Ontario is very accomodating though with hundreds of millions of dollars per year already towards French services.

    Very few are asking for an end to providing services, more are just asking for fairness.
    Thank you South Stormont.

  4. ^ I’m scratching my head too over that story Eric.

  5. Author

    I think it comes down to that there are idiots being paid an awful lot of money to do jobs they aren’t any good at….

  6. These are prejudice opinions! I some one use the term in the original article and looked up the definition of the ill advised:


    Prejudice (or foredeeming) is making a judgment or assumption about someone or something before having enough knowledge to be able to do so with guaranteed accuracy, or “judging a book by its cover”.

    The people commenting on Dr.Tombler’s letter to the editor are assuming way too much and the politicians in Long Sault are acting out without public support and are making some of use discussed to say where we live!

    Does anyone here really think people like Galganov are professional or trustworthy! Why are we not speaking to the MP, MPP and Janet Despatie the hospitals CEO?

    Not about to jump on the band wagon heading over the cliff, sorry! but seriously considering move back to Cornwall!

  7. Gossip City, outside of a few enclaves, there is very much support to advance this cause of fairness. People often try to put a lable on things to justify a preconcieved notion. However, we should not try to belittle people who have an opinion and passion about a subject. Please, try to educate us with facts so we can understand your opinion or at least debate the issues.

    Talking to a politician or the hospital board will do nothing unless you have support of others and of course, stopping the money flow gets attention.

    Mr. Galganov & Mr Brisson have been spending time, money and risking reputations apperantly, to further the cause of fairness for all.

  8. I’m not certain I understand the point here….are people suggesting that the supposed “very few” French speaking only people in our area don’t have the right to be fully and completely understood by their Health care Professionals? Seriously?

  9. Author

    Destructo I have not read a single person suggest that. What I’m reading and hearing is that having to pass a difficult level of bilingualism to gain employment is not practical or productive in a lot of people’s opinions.

  10. A prerequisite for full time employment as a nurse should not be official bilingualism. There is no need for all full time nurses to be bilingual especially considering there is such a small portion of the population who declare themselves as uni-lingual Francophone. Yes there should be someone available to translate or deliver care in French, but not all nurses.

    Do we want the best patient care possible or the best patient care in French only.

  11. Admin said “Destructo I have not read a single person suggest that. What I’m reading and hearing is that having to pass a difficult level of bilingualism to gain employment is not practical or productive in a lot of people’s opinions”. What about the Mohawks? Do they outnumber the French people in the Cornwall area? This debate could go on forever! Does an injection needle speak any language? No! But you can understand what it’s doing, which is the most important thing I believe.

  12. Hi Everyone,

    After speaking with many people in the community I found that the Fire Department and Police Department don’t have this policy in place but don’t seem to have any problems because there seems to be always someone who can speak french on staff! Many people have indicated they beleive it is because of the large enough french population.

    As a Bilingual advocate, I share the same passion to promote the language but I agree with Dr. Tombler’s opinion that being fluently bilingual should listed as an “asset” and not a “must”! After all, we are the largest city sitting close to the Quebec border!

    However, with holding donations is non-productive and unprofessional! We need to ensure that everyone is cared for and all funds are precious!

    We should find a way to offer both equal employment opportunities and french services and should help the hospital meet its funding requirements and make progressive change! If the French Language Act prevents this than I am all for lobbying against it……….but not against the Hospital itself!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  13. The census language numbers will not be ready til later in the year for Cornwall. The 2006 list has 935 French only speakers and 160 that speak neither English or French. How do the 160 get by?

  14. Hi Eric,

    The Cornwall Community Hospital is the largest hospital in S.D. & G. and serves all the counties including Cornwall; hence the South Stormont weighing in on the debate!

    The Stats for S.D. &G. show that, out of the 108,585 people that lived in S.D. & G., 24,065 of them spoke French Only! Quite a difference from the assumption that only 2% of the population are francophone when in reality it is 22%.

    Again, I agree and I am not defending the job posting itself rather then the general undertone that French is “not really needed”!

    The fact is that although anglophones are the largest population there is still a large enough population of francophones to warrant a need for bilingual candidates!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  15. It would seem that the hospital’s only motivation is money so threatening to withhold it would be the most effective means of affecting change.

  16. Hi Reg,

    I completely disagree with your statement and normaly I agree with the vast majority of your opinions. I honestly don’t think that putting patient care at risk would be effective! The hospital needs donations for equipment and many other important items that help SAVE LIVES!

    This reaction appears to be more media driven and less publicly driven then anything else! Just remember a few don’t make a majority and elected officials should remember that they represent their entire community but need to make decision based on merit! Certain decisions like choosing to not support the local college and now hospital is great ammunition for anyone looking to unseat any politician!

    Giving an equal opportunity to Anglophones in an Anglophone based community makes sense! I believe some people are directly holding the hospital administration responsible for the decision but they are following direction from a higher source: Our Governement! They are not the entire problem!

    I hope that the hospitals administration changes the policy but still ensures we can serve all of those need be it Anglophones, Francophones or Mohawks! We all deserve better and unfortunatley we are walking a fine line between an improvement and a diminished capability to serve almost 25% of the population!

    Holding back money is a threat and we need to approach the subject in a professional and diplomatic way to ensure we work with administration to change the criteria to “bilingualism is an asset”, ensure the francophone community is served fairly (just like what we are trying to do for the anglophones) and lastly demand changes be made to the French Language Services Act!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  17. Very few want to get rid of bilingual applicants, only have more fairness in the, and during hiring. After 42 years of our federal Official Languages Act, it would be helpful for a tweeking of it. For example, I would suggest getting a true number of French only and English only speakers for that geographic area. ( I say English & French because that is what the OFA deals with) Then a bilingual quota, for lack of a better word, is established. Because healthcare is more and more provincial, the federal government should force each province to maintain a certain standard. Sound fair?

    It sounds fair, not easy though as you have pockets ( 25 designated zones in Ontario, 1 big one in Quebec) that would need some sewing. For non government, stay the hell of it, a business should be able to do whatever it wants inline with safety and other legalities.

    Money is always the hook. I have seen a local area city document offering money to an organization with a caveat of providing bilingual signs. You want the money, put up the signs. Not a large deal, but the amount of money from all taxpayers being given to all levels of government to then disperse it for non core services can make your head spin.

    Anyway, the only story I have read about not getting service was a lady trying to see her Doctor at the French clinic in Cornwall.But a major issue for many, is how a Francophone will move or drive somewhere and demand services. This needs to be worked on since the money machine can not afford the electricty to run anymore.

  18. Hi Eric,

    Do you think maybe that there is a need for a Francophone clinic because the Hospitals service isn’t currently “Fully Bilingual” and do you honestly think reducing the requirements for Bilingual Nurses is going to help this problem! It would make it worse and create further segregation which is not what anyone wants!

    Look at this way! There are approximately 6 High Scools in Cornwall: St. Joe’s, Holy Trinity, St. Lawrence, CCVS, La Citadelle and Heritage! 2 of which are French Only and atleast 3 others offer French Immersion Programs or 50/50 – Bilingual options! Why is that if we are not a bilingual society?

    Also, on the stats can report they ask which language is spoken at home? My mother is anglophone and would consistently write “English Only”; although my father is Francophone and I am bilingual! This would make your statistics look like 5 people are english speaking only! Also, the reverse for the Francophones I am sure!

    I personally love the fact that we live one hour from Montreal and Ottawa! Our children can experience the french and english cultures all while living in one community! I don’t think our goal should be to exhile the french community rather than grow the entire community!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  19. Let’s not get started on the colossal waist of money in having multiple school boards.

  20. Author

    No let’s Reg! 🙂 Why do we need four school boards again?

  21. I am so proud of South Stormont Council for taking a stand for English rights! Nobody is suggesting that French people don’t desrve to have French serivces, but that doesn’t mean that everyone hired needs to speak French leaving Anglophones with little to no job opportunities. There’s a simple solution: As long as every shift has the approproiate number of bilingual speakers to handle the small percent of Francophones, the rest of the staff can be English to handle the larger percentage of Anglophones. Everyone will be treated in the language of their choice and the hiring practices can reflect the proper proportion of English and French employees.

    I have three degrees, one with honours. After five years of not being able to find a decent full-time position in Ottawa that didn’t require French, and not being able to afford western Canada, my husband and I packed up our family and moved to the US. Please note that I had successful interviews and people wanted to hire me, but felt they had to hire someone who could speak both languages. There was no point in remaining as I couldn’t work full time and our bright (one gifted) teens would face the same challenges. Despite the bad economy, I was offered a good position down here based on my education and skills. We live in the south and have a large Mexican population. In an effort to offer Spanish to thier Mexican customers, stores around here have large whiteboard charts that list the names of the Spanish speaking employees for each shift. The system is simple yet very effective.

    Our hope is that this is the beginning of a movement that will sweep through Ontario so Ontario hiring policies will become hospitable to its majority, Anglophones. It’s well past time to enforce the “where numbers warrant” clause of the Official Bilingualism Act. Maybe then, this Anglophone family and many like us can return and enjoy decent job opportunites and promotions.

  22. 50 years of spin, lies…thats what we have got. They are changing the names of towns, streets, counties, bodies of water, riding names…and I’m not taking about kebec any longer. It’s now going on all over the country; it’s a mess in Ottawa where they name things after anti-English language bigots and racists all the time. They are slowly wiping out our English, Scottish, Irish, United empire loyalists history. Just like they’ve been doing in Quebec for the last 5 decades (bills 22, 178, 101…)…This is one of the main reasons we are not teaching any history from 1760 to 1982 in our schools any longer. These racist people control government, the curriculum, our money…we get a daily dose of spin, lies and propaganda.

    Wake up… They run everything in Ottawa, they funnel the money where they want, spin, lies, propaganda, revisionist BS … Proof – In that there is constant pressure to rewrite our history – to pacify the cranky Province of Quebec and the “french “outside Quebec – the reason we lost the Red Ensign in the first place – we must do what we can to protect and preserve our history. A history that is under constant attack. Very few Canadians are aware that we now have portraits in our parliament of French Kings – who had nothing to do with the building of Canada- the statue of General James Wolfe no longer overlooks the Plains of Abraham, the only statue in Quebec City is of the losing General, Montcalm. There are statues of three French generals but no statues of the victorious generals at the Valiant’s memorial in Ottawa. That’s right, no General Wolfe, no General Amherst, No Gen Murray… This historical revisionism is going on right under the noses of the Governments we elect – and they remain silent!

    The simple facts are as more francophone’s get hired for all government positions less and less English speakers are working for their own governments across the country. Don’t believe me; Go check the stats for yourself. Francophone’s are over-represented in all levels of government including hospitals, law, policing…etc. No fairness, no representation by population. They call it bilingualism, yet the term is never defined on purpose and believe me it doesn’t mean fluency in 2 languages in Canada, at least to the French it doesn’t. No political party will speak for the English speaking majority in this province and country. Practical bilingualism, where numbers warrant… is never defined on purpose. In Ontario, NB it now means segregation. The French (they are actually metis, a mixed race, not french) are demanding French only facilities all over the province, not bilingual, French only. $ Bilingualism is really nothing more then a hiring quota for francophone’s and that is a fact…just ask yourself, why are francophone’s over-represented in all government jobs and how come more and more positions are being designated bilingual all the time? And just as important, how come they are NOT fluently bilingual? Some can barely speak English!

    See whats really going on here?

    So while Quebec bans the English language (bill 22, bill 178, bill 101…), wipes out its real BNA, UEL history, while ethnic language cleansing is going on in Quebec, the rest of the country is forced to fund whatever the French (metis) demand. This is going on in every province. Go check.

    “First Quebec, then we take over the rest of the country, one step at a time…through bilingualism…” PT, “How to take over a country through bilingualism…” SD. How ? First comes the right to communicate with gov’t in a minority language (ie French),then comes bilingualism, then comes the right to work in the language of choice(ie French), then comes a bilingual boss,(ie French) then comes a exclusively French department and on it goes until its all French. Its happening all over the country, Ontario, New Brunswick…That’s what’s really going on.

    Go learn our proud, real BNA and UEL history. These were the builders of our country since 1763. Not this phony, revisionist lie, this bilingual, multicultural, 2 founding nations, linguistic duality lie, propaganda, spin that we’ve been living with since Trudeau, and kebec forced this upon the nation. We’ve been part of the British Empire since 1763 and officially an English speaking country for over 200 years…just a fact.

    NO English speaking politician is telling you the truth, is exposing what is really going on.Not one politician, party has the decency, the honesty to expose the truth, to speak the truth,how pathetic. Poor Canada, what a mess. Please spread the word.The truth about Trudeau would be nice for a change. The man was a racist, an anti-English language, anti BNS bigot. Go read his writings; he despised our real BNA, UEL history.

    Until the charter and all the bs (bilingual, multicultural, phony rights…crap) connected to it gets repealed, we will continue to self destruct as we have for the last 5 decades.

  23. I am a nurse in Ottawa and I have to applaud the Mayor for his courage. The hiring practises of the Ottawa Hospital are no different and are in fact very discriminatory against unilingual Anglophone nurses! If only we had someone in Ottawa with the same logical thinking and strong conviction that it is about the care you provide, not the language!

  24. Mike Bedard, I appreciate your input. Many on here are speaking out about the sympton, hiring bilingual over unilingual, but that is just a cause of the greater issue. The Offical Languages Act definition has been expanded! What started out providing services for French speakers only, ballooned to providing services to fully or partially bilingual speakers and now to allow employees to work and be managed in the language of their choice.

    During such a time of high debt and deficit in Ontario, has anyone questioned the expense versus need for French language government departments and services? At first glance, we see 25 people involved with Francophone Affairs and another 6 with the French Language Services Commissioners office. Salary alone would be in the 2 million per year range for these 31, however other positions like reception or shipping may be possible and not listed on the government website.

    There are broad references to other costs, the committee of 12 put in place to provide input in the planning and development of French language services for example. Of course areas like the French TV channel, Intergovernmental Affairs responsible for Francophone affairs, administration for 25 designated zones, are constantly expanding and costing us. Why? Because the mission of the Francophone Affairs office is to, “strongly encourage government ministries and agencies to proactively design policies and programs that are adapted to their Francophone clientele”.
    Which sounds good, but it is expensive and only helps a few.

    This has gone beyond simply providing services to a few. and people are noticing.

Leave a Reply