Anti Bullying Day 2012 – Bullying Alive and Well in Cornwall Ontario – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig

CFN –  Today is Anti-Bullying Day across Canada.  We’re asked to wear pink, and as you can see we’re showing ours by our background on CFN.

I know a bit about bullying as I myself have been bullied.  I know.  I’m not a wee person; but Bullying comes in many shapes or sizes.

As a child my family moved around a lot.  It seemed I was always the new kid.

Bullies thrive only when they have the support of those around them.   You don’t see too many successful lone wolf bullies.   They need a pack of friends around them; some actively helping or others silently allowing the behavior and just hoping that they aren’t next.

All are guilty.   Sometimes even the victims are guilty too.

What I do know is that the only way to change society is from the top.  Can we ask a child to not be a bully when their parents or grand-parents are bullies themselves?   Kids aren’t stupid.   They know BS when they see it.  And that’s where our world is today.

When we see our leaders bully their way through life; from our Prime Minister to your boss at work; and right across society those are the messages we send.

Since moving to Cornwall I have never seen such staggeringly systemic bullying.      My first experience job wise was with our MP having me wrongfully terminated from my job at Habitat for Humanity.  When I stood up for myself and fought the result was a cowardly leak that I’d stolen on the job and had to be let go.   When I was completely cleared of that rumor publicly our MP threatened me with the Minister of Justice of Canada.

Now that’s bad enough.  What was worse was the silence of those around him once they knew the truth.  It was after all a Conservative and one of those that supported him that cleared me.

When I started the Cornwall Free News what I experienced most was bullying.    First from certain rival media, and then from certain Chamber of Commerce honchos.

You see my paternal grand-father was a Pro boxer.   My dad was a wrestler and Jr. Aloutette.   I was taught at a very young age that when someone bullies you that you have to identify the leader and smack them as hard as you can because bullies are cowards.

They really are.   And they tend to prey on the weak.   On New Years there was a hold up at a local convenience store.   The scum bag waited until the two men that work there left and then preyed on the teen age daughter.   That’s how bullies work.

They also love to work in the shadows.   Since CFN gained traction I’ve seen countless emails to my clients telling them that they’d be boycotted if they continued to advertise on The Cornwall Free News.    Only one up until recently ever succumbed to those threats.

Of course there were others that didn’t advertise with us because of similar sentiments spread by the two major cliques in Cornwall.

Last week one of my favorite sponsors and someone I consider a friend pulled their ads with me.  When I asked why he stated Economic Development and the Kinsmen of Cornwall.    I told him I would have to go public with this even if it meant further injury to our relationship and he understood.

Those are grave charges and I have initiated a conversation with the City to resolve this.   Of course when intimidation like this occurs it doesn’t arrive on City Hall stationery.   But its ugly to see a gentleman of this caliber not only be told where to advertise; but to capitulate.    The bottom line is that in this financial time nobody can afford to artificially lose large amounts of money.

The thing about my business; news; is that I see so much more than I can report on.    We do report more than most media; but we pay a heavy price.  I personally pay a heavy price.   My former wife to be would actually voice her fears about something happening to me or our home because of the way some people are in this town.

Is it unique to Cornwall?    I would like to think not; but the concentration and the culture of bullying is horrific and needs to be addressed.

Yesterday another journalist and myself interviewed another victim of City Hall Management.      She’s 38 and is devastated.  Her crime  seems to simply have been hurt on the job.    Not being allowed to heal and then harassed and cheated.  For someone that young to feel desperate and that her life is over is a sin.

This isn’t the first case.  Diane Shay, Mary Anne Pilon, a city staffer currently going through arbitration, and now this new case, and a few others.

Patterns can clearly be seen, and it’s a toxic combination of bullying and lack of empathy for staff combined with Unions completely dropping the ball.  As I said to one of the victims CUPE is Poopie.  Heck even this current issue with Bilingual Nursing at the Community Hospital reeks of fear of retribution.

Frankly the bad guys seem to always win.   They keep getting their paychecks and golden parachutes.

I myself was ready to pack it in last week.   There are easier ways to make money.    It’d be so easy to put the Cornwall Free News up for sale and do just about anything else.  That’s how beaten up and at times demoralized it can be working with and having to deal with this corruption and bullying.

But then I get that one email.  That one cry for help.    I get in my car and listen to someone that nobody will listen to and know that I can help, and like Popeye eating his can of Spinach I’m back and ready to tangle with these godless blood suckers that are bleeding tax payers dry.

Isn’t it time; especially on a day like this for us to speak up and say no to the bullies?   Isn’t it time that they pay for their actions.    Should they continue to get golden hand shakes when they finally get turfed after hurting countless people.

And isn’t it time that we live our lives so that when we look at children in the eye that what they see in ours is as innocent as theirs?

I really don’t know the future for The Cornwall Free News.   I can’t do this alone.   We can’t run this paper without sponsors and funding.   And I’m human.  Either I’ll burn out or have a heart attack at some point.

But for today I’m here and willing to continue to mirror to the world the issues that matter.

For today we are INTENSELY LOCAL.

If you can do one thing today if you really care about anti-bullying it’s to stand up for someone that you know is being bullied.   Give them a hug.  Talk to them.  Let them know they aren’t alone.    Because one day it might be you surrounded by howling slathering, corrupt hyenas.

Jamie Gilcig – Editor –  The Cornwall Free News

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)



Best Western Cornwall



  1. Keep on eating your spinach popeye. I want to continue reading CFN for a long time.

  2. Well said!

  3. Outstanding editorial, Jamie. Well done.

    Bullying starts at the top, you say. Absolutely. You describe our government in Ottawa and its shameless leader to a T. Such a government breeds a culture of bullying, and everyone who sits back and lets it happen is complicit. Exactly what happened in Germany in the 1920s and ’30s. Exactly what’s happening in Canada today.

    I am very sorry to read that you have been subject to bullying. That’s awful. Bullies are cowards, you write, and work in the shadows. Dead on.

    Your reaction is admirable and absolutely right: push back twice as hard, and expose bullies for what they are. Bravo.

    Martin Luther King, jr. again:

    “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

  4. I would be prepared to offer a membership fee for this media to continue, if it comes to that. We all (really) need another view and a chance to voice an opinion.

  5. We all have ups and downs but eventually everything works out for the best! If you still enjoy what you are doing then keep on doing but if you truely and I mean truely are starting to have regrets or hate your job some days then stop!

    I thought I loved my old business until I started my new one and I can honestly say that it was one of the best, although by far the hardest, decisions I have ever made! I consider closing my old business the largest failure in my entire life but I love the new store and hope that the extra time I now have for my family and myself will prove to be the best thing I have ever done!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  6. The real problem in Cornwall is complacency and apathy. The long time residents simply expect to be bullied because it has been happening for as long as they can remember. They shrug their shoulders and say “Oh well, that’s just the way it is. There’s nothing we can do.”

    There is one thing they can do and that is remember. Think about all the tax hikes and extra expenses you have and will have to pay because of city mismanagement. Think about the broken promises and inequalities in the community and make those responsible pay in the next election.

    Hopefully we will still be around to remind everyone but the residents of Cornwall should be talking about how their tax dollars are being used or misused everyday. Make those responsible for managing the city aware that you expect better fiscal management and more ethical management every day, not just when it comes close to election time.

  7. Author

    Thank you everyone. The emails and phone have been busy this morning. I think CFN does have a lot of support inside and outside of the community and I will do my best to keep things afloat.

    I think though our sponsors need some moral support. I think it’s horrible that they are being treated this way simply because they feel CFN offers them value and strength to help market their brands and business.

    They need our support as much as CFN does.


  8. Well said, Eric.

  9. I think your statement “What I do know is that the only way to change society is from the top” is a little agressive.
    You are right though it alll lays in the hands of the those we empower.

    I think the best way to tumble a monster such a bullying would be to nip away slowly and consistently taking away the pedestal it stands on.

    Reg Coffey

    You make a very valid point , but if we consider Mark’s Mayoral campaign which was for seniors and people TRULY needing help and support it didn’t work out to well for him nor his supporters. There numbers are many in Cornwall but Mark was left wanting as the support he so badly neede let him down.

    It is an apathetic population.

  10. Very touching piece today Jamie! As someone who’s also been on the receiving end of bullying, I understand how it can leave people feel. Don’t give up Jamie! As Mr. Samler rightly said on top, keep on eating your spinach Popeye because the lot of us want to continue reading the CFN now and well into the future!

  11. Don’t Worry – I’ll Help
    I will support you
    when days do seem dark,
    when you feel that you can’t
    stop the pain in your heart.
    I will be there for you
    and I’ll hold your hand,
    together we’ll make it
    out of this Shadowland.

    Never forget that I
    think of you often
    wondering how you are
    and if you’ve forgotten;
    or if you are crying
    alone with your pain,
    thinking it’s hopeless
    and that you are to blame.

    I hope that you aren’t
    because it isn’t your fault,
    you’ve just become victim
    to the bad side of love.
    It happens to most people
    some time in their life
    and it hurts a great deal,
    worse than a knife.

    But I will console you
    and help you to see
    that although things seem awful,
    one day you’ll be free;
    free from the heartache
    to go on with your life,
    and I’ll be there to see it,
    and secretly smile.

  12. It is very heartening to note that a certain “Christian” hate-monger is no longer posting on this site. Bullying has to be fought at all levels… from school yards, and work places, and politics, and religion. We have a long way to go, but we should be encouraged by the fact that lots of folks are discussing the issue.
    Good on you admin.

  13. admin, you and CFN are in excellent company. Have you seen Nicholas D. Kristof’s op-ed “Born to Not Get Bullied” in the NY Times – from an interview with Lady Gaga at Harvard? Well worth reading. Lady Gaga, bullied relentlessly as an A student at school, is using her mega-star quality and her charitable foundation to create a culture of tolerance and social justice among the young. (And their elders and so-called betters.)

    Here’s the link:

  14. Author

    Hi PJR,

    That’s our society. Bullying has become so systemic that it impacts all facets of our lives. If there is no accountability then we’re doomed. If we in the media have to not cover news for fear that political entities will intimidate our clients then Democracy is dead in Canada.

  15. PJR. As an older fart, I’m not a fan of Lady Gaga, or her music.
    I do admire her big-time for getting behind this issue.
    Nothing wrong with using ones fame to promote good causes.

  16. Pete Dick, With respect one can never be too old to get fired up by the energy and passion of the young, especially when they are on the side of the angels.

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