Open Mike! by Mike Bedard – Time for more Ethical practices in Politics! – March 11, 2012

CFN – Business and journalism schools teach ethics courses and it’s time for political science departments and party campaign schools to do the same! Says Preston Manning!


After experiencing and seeing Cornwall’s current Political stances.   I can honestly say there are some clear unethical practices taking place.  Some at City Hall are forgetting to practice the two simplest of ethical practices:

  • To be fair at all times
  • Always give honest opinions, etc.

The old idea was that employees or political practitioners’ could learn on the job. But in this modern age of immediate demands and instant communications, learning on the job is no longer sufficient.

A list of current unethical practices has begun to pile up and now not only is doubt in the air but the need for change has begun to move from a cloudy storm on the horizon to a full blown Tsunami hitting the front door!


Here is a short list of just a few unethical practices currently being talked about in Cornwall, Ontario:

City of Cornwall Administration

CAO Paul Fitzpatrick

Is under fire for the short-comings of several basic business operations gone badly and the target of many rumours!  His Human Resources manager has cost the tax payers at least $1,000,000 dollars and counting and according to a well respected lawyer, Fay Brunning, the city has shown little remorse or compassion for proven mistreatments of city employees.

Lawyer Fay Brunning States:

“The three retaliating managers and municipal councilors have offered no apologies to Shay or to the other employees of the lodge for violating the whistleblower protections under both the legislation and the City’s own policies. There was no apology to the public, or to the residents of the lodge.”  

This is the first time Ontario’s Ministry of Health has prosecuted an operator of a long-term care home.

If Paul Fitzpatrick is an ethical CAO, why would he not apologize after being proven guilty?  Despite being convicted, the City of Cornwall showed no remorse for having violated the law. In fact, it claimed in its first press release to the public that it pleaded guilty to save taxpayers the legal costs of a trial, inferring it was not really guilty. However, the court had found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the city was guilty as charged on an agreed statement of facts. In November, Shay asked Ontario’s Ministry of Health to appoint an external monitor to provide ongoing whistleblower protection because the City’s chief administrative officer, one of the retaliating managers, misled the public and the media when he was quoted in print as stating that resident abuse had not been found. In addition to Lodge management again not recognizing the resident abuse, that statement also inferred that Shay stirred up a fuss about nothing.


The CAO had to retract his statement because the ministry confirmed to Shay and to the media that its investigation of the incident confirmed resident abuse.


So why such unethical practices by such a highly regarded CAO?  I think the latest rumour says it all!  He has been the target of all sorts of rumors and all are extremely unethical.  They include accusations of personal relations with former Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge Manager Donna Derouchie and that her settlement includes a pay-out to keep the relationship secret.  Lately he was spotted using city property, equipment and employees for personal reasons.

City Clerk Denise Labelle-Gelinas

Denise Labelle – Gelinas forgot to publicly announce several in-camera (private from the public) meetings.  This is unusual for someone ready to retire this year after years of outstanding service. She has also caused former Councillor and Mayoral Candidate Mark MacDonald to lodge an official complaint.  Her publicly posted support of Bob Kilger during the 2010 election has drawn scrutiny. She was supposed to be impartial as an election official but had publicly supported a candidate.  This is a clear abuse of position and unethical action by any means.  Also, using her position to see her son in law acquire a position within the city has been brought to light but that fact the relationship has played into the hiring has yet to be proven.

City Council

Voters have a right to ask where the ethical, legal, and social units are attached to political organizations and campaigns to safeguard against the abuses of political power.  What’s important is that challenging ideas get expressed and debated, because in the long run, ideas are the life blood of real democratic discourse.


Parties that become afraid of ideas – or that only entertain ideas hammered on their own anvil and forged in their own furnace – are already suffering from a hardening of the political arteries which someday, will lead to a stroke.


On-line Advertising Policy

An extremely unjust and disgusting display forged from personal opinion and beliefs without any professional direction or ethical consideration!  The hidden agenda to try and run the Cornwall Free News out of Cornwall, due to the fact that they continuously challenge the ideas and seek to safeguard Cornwall from potential corruption and abuse.


The attacks have involved friends of current administration and political allies who have actively contacted the Cornwall Free News advertisers on administration, and certain councilors, behalf and pressured them to cut advertising in the effort to close or stop the Cornwall Free News from stop publicly highlighting the City’s indiscretions.

Council passed a policy stating it would not advertise with any on-line media or web-site that allowed anonymous postings!  Almost 2- months later realizing that it allowed anonymous comments on its own facebook page!  The most unethical part is that the City spends more money with the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder than any other media outlet and it only moderates its posting after they have been posted.  The Cornwall Free News pre-screens its comments.

The policy was created to provide a reason for not advertising with the Cornwall Free News!  City Administration and Council could not claim it was not an effective form of advertising (because social media has become the number one source of advertising) and could not choose any other company over the Cornwall Free News because the CFN has more “local” visitors to its site than any other site hands down!  The only reason for this policy  to be created was that because the City didn’t want to advertise on the CFN because people could publicly disagree or bring accusations of abuse and corruption to light!  Also, the city did not want to hide from the controversy!


This is completely the opposite of my opening paragraph:

” Voters have a right to ask where the ethical, legal, and social units are attached to political organizations and campaigns to safeguard against the abuses of political power.  What’s important is that challenging ideas get expressed and debated, because in the long run, ideas are the life blood of real democratic discourse.”

Andre Rivette Bullying Complaint

Councillor Andre Rivette claims councillors took turns discussing their displeasure for his personal opinion posted on the Cornwall Free News.  Andre Rivette was the most ethical person in this case who gave his honest opinion while trying to remain fair!  Council responded by calling an in-camera meeting because his interview mentioned Paul Fitzpatrick.  The fact that the Mayor and other Councilors even thought that it was ethical to voice their displeasure behind closed doors, and in mass, was not fair and there was no need for a “hidden” confrontation which was cowardly and lacked transparency.

Ethically I believe anyone who disagreed with Mr. Rivette should have spoken to him personally (one on one) or publicly showed their support of the CAO.  Ganging up on Mr. Rivette was unethical due to the simple fact that it was not the most thoughtful nor professional approach.  It did not defend the CAO or disagree with Mr. Rivette publicly.  The only thing accomplished was further distrust from the community and there was nothing accomplished as a group, in private, that could not have been done individually and more professionally/ethically on a one-to-one basis!

How to prevent such unethical tactics and technologies from being employed in the first place?


Doing so requires better training for political candidates, city managers, volunteers and other operatives including instruction on ethical campaigning.  The immediate halt to the normally used nepotism practices and a new found promotion of unity and trust!
Specifically, training is needed in ethical politics and the ethical use of new political technologies, such as social media.
The lack of awareness possessed by certain age groups; regarding today’s social trends has caused major misunderstandings about the way generation Y does business and socializes.  This has caused certain deficiencies to come to our attention because the City of Cornwall has one of the weakest connections to social media and has isolated itself from the modern world!  A “non-response” is seen as a sign of guilt; if the party knows of the accusation!

City Administration as a whole has efficient and competent managers but they are not infallible and are human.  My comments are not meant to harm or smear any individual or organization but rather were created in the hopes that discussing them in a different manner or topic may shine a light on why something deemed so negative should merit action or more importantly changes!  A huge push to improve the ethical practices of politicians and public organizations was started by Preston Manning this week and it is something the entire country will come under scrutiny for…… why not get ahead of the curve and begin discussing some progressive changes NOW?


The City of Cornwall (Administration and Council) would make a huge step towards enhancing its ethical status by being more transparent and re-engage itself with the community by promoting and working with the most frequently viewed on-line media rather than attempt to force its closure!

Thank You,
Mike Bedard

Platinum Pools


  1. Wow! Is a hard “Wake UP Cornwall” backhand ethical? Too many people in powerful business and political positions have fell asleep at the wheel! Unfortunately they will only wake up after the crash despite violent shaking from friends!

  2. We (the citizens) should get rid of all people concerned. It’s a shame that they still won’t understand that they represent and work for John Q. Public. They consider themselves immune from critique!

  3. Cornwall eats outsiders and protects insiders.

  4. Author

    If that’s true it’s hard to attract investment and people to move here…

  5. I think Mike Bedard should run for the next municipal election. I purposefully and honestly believe he is the main guy to get the doldrums out of our city fathers butts. Seems any more than two and certainly three terms rather warps ones belief in omnipotence, if it wasn’t rather narcissistic to begin with. We can all name a few we would like to see ‘removed’ from office. Seems it is a management trait to skirt the law and bully the pulpit. Time to rise above that nonsense as the community sees right through it. Bravo for this publication for not plying the ‘yes sir/cow tow’ lingo. Keep up with the game plan Mike. You have gained a lot of respect from your readers for your Open Mike reporting. Not to forget Andre Rivette……you are a shoe in for next term should you chose to run Andre. You do not deserve the abuse you get for your transparency. I would support anyone who was as open as you.
    Mike, your advertisers would be wise to stay in the fold and not denigrate there good name by pulling out. It would show connectivity’s that should not exist.

    Dave Windsor

  6. This is going to sound weird but despite the article I must say I have personally spoken to Paul Fitzpatrick several times and he was always polite and professional; but the fact is decisions should be made impartially!

    Business is business!

    I have just received news that Paul Fitzpatrick’s car, that was stuck in the snow, was parked close to Donna Derouchie’s home! His defence of being on bsiness should be looked into and if proven false then he should be immediatley fired!

    Who should do this? The mayor and council should be pushing the issue!

    Is it not reasonable to say that, if there is nothing happening between the two, Paul & Donna, that they would not need to meet? Also, why would they not meet in Paul’s office if everything is being conducted “professionally”?

    The loss of ethical pride has caused a loss of respect from far too many!

  7. Does it really make any difference as to who he’s poking?

  8. Cornwall Harry it does! Especially if her settlement was inflenced by Fitzpatrick’s input! It is a clear abuse of power and extremely unethical.

  9. hey dave windsor…your right mike would make a great politician….they have all been stereotyped to lie cheat and steal….and be severely UNETHICAL… get what they want……he would be a perfect fit ……

  10. Re: potcallingkettle,

    You are proof of the fact that some people and their “children” will do and say anything to personally gain through slander or “stealing” from others!

    I have personally experienced this and your comments again add to my case that there are severely unethical businesses in Cornwall and more importantly people! One such company happens to be my “new” competitor and some of their “children”!

    Would you like to state your real name or lie and state that you are not related or have any connection to a new swimming pool and spa store that has recently opened and that continues to try and gain ground with direct and indirect actions such as yours?

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

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