Open Mike! With Mike Bedard – Has Cornwall Hit “Rock Bottom”? March 25, 2012

CFN – After being placed near last in the CFIB’s Economies in Boom report and now ranking 167th in MoneySense’s Top Places in Canada to live, you have to ask yourself:  “Has Cornwall Hit Rock Bottom?”

As a young aspiring politician I find it hard to stand behind some of our local leaders such as Rick Shaver and Bob Kilger because they do not raise any valid points or accept any of the statistics which are not really in question!   You cannot deny all of the results or ignore the ratings due to a personal belief, and then publicly make comments that cannot be backed by FACTS!

The reason why I have become so discouraged by the comments made by some local leaders is because I admire both Rick Shaver and Bob Kilger and use to take their comments for gospel.  Both of these men are great community leaders and although I am thankful that we have so many people who are willing to defend our city to the tooth and nail, I would much rather see a different type of leadership stance taken against negative publications.

Facts & Statistics

Economic Development, Mayor Kilger and Rick Shaver have all stated that they believe our unemployment rate is about half of the 12% posted in the MoneySense!   I believe they are right but are missing one critical and extremely important number statistic…..Our Ontario Works Recipients!

Since 2008, our Ontario Works cases have increased by over 5% per year and over 16% over the last three years!  If our current EI rate is approximately 7% and our Ontario Works rate is approximately 5% then we are at the 12%.  This number is hard to nail down to exact number because many people use Ontario Works as a bridge or to get them by until they get their first EI cheque.

In 2010, I wrote an article defending the statistics and stating we should be working towards change.  I was adamant that although we were improving so too were other communities and too many people in Cornwall were not aware of the world outside of our City limits.

Here are some facts that are not good but need to be looked at if we are to discuss what must be done in the future to change our results:

  • In 2006, MoneySense ranked Cornwall 19th.
  • In 2011, MoneySense ranked Cornwall 167th.
  • CFIB Economies in Boom position in 2010 – Cornwall Ranked 100th out 100 cities.
  • The number of Ontario Works Cases has increased by over 16% from 2008 to 2011.

Everything isn’t BAD but everything isn’t ROSY either!

We are a great place to live and I personally love living, working and raising my daughter in Cornwall!  However, that doesn’t mean that I think everything is perfect!   I choose to accept the imperfections evident in Cornwall’s community and the main difference between myself and, far too many other members of our community, is although I accept the fact that we are not perfect I still strive to improve.

Our community has settled into a “GOOD ENOUGH” mentality that is slowing and in many areas stopping progression!  I am a huge believer in the motto that “The minute you settle for less then you deserve, you get even less then you settled for!”


So where do we go from here?  Let’s have a look at the Good and the Bad and agree that we need to maintain the Good and Improve the Bad!  Simple but something not currently being discussed in an open forum!   Here’s the LINK


Here are the top 3 areas were Cornwall ranked on the list:

  • Affordable Housing – Ranked 38th
  • Weather – Ranked 62nd
  • Walk/ Bike to Work – Ranked 70th

Optimistic Viewpoint:  Extremely Affordable Housing, Good Weather and Good Bike Path’s, Roadways accessibility to amenities are attractive and important factors to both young and old people considering moving to a new community.


Pessimistic Viewpoint: This is what would be expected in a poor community.  We cannot control weather and our affordable housing is reflective of our community’s low income.


Here are the bottom 3 areas were Cornwall ranked on the list:

  • Jobless Rate – Ranked 180th
  • Household Income– Ranked 176th
  • Doctor’s per 1000 – Ranked 156th

Optimistic Viewpoint:  Even though our Jobless Rae is high we do have many jobs on the horizon.  Our low household income is reflective of our low cost of living.  The improvement being made at the CCH should attract more doctors.


Pessimistic Viewpoint:  The lack jobs factors into our stagnant population.  Our low household income makes business growth tough and decreases the city’s number of entrepreneurs;  due to the lack of disposable income.

Doctor’s per 1000 ranked amongst the lowest in Canada!

Now here is a topic worth discussing!  Dr. Baitz asked Council Candidate’s if they would support building a Practitioner’s Clinic at civic expense to help recruit Doctor’s to Cornwall!  Almost all of whom said yes, including myself, but Council has still not discussed the topic and due to its difficulties keeping costs down I cannot see the current council bringing the topic to the fore front any time soon!


What do you think Cornwall is a Practitioner’s Clinic worth community involvement or movement?  Would you have preferred to see our leader’s address this item instead of blaming the system?


I would have rather seen our community leaders take this report and use it to move forward rather than deny its credibility!  This is a clear example of why the “current” mentality and methods being used by our local politicians are being viewed as “OLD” and “Compliant” instead of the growing popularity for the use of more “Challenging” tactics!


Thank You,
Mike Bedard

Platinum Pools


  1. I don’t know if we can go much lower but in this city the old dinosaurs need to be replaced by a new guard. A new guard to take us into the future and not hold us back like they are doing presently. Lets face it, neanderthal times are over!

  2. Incomes can be huge if you don’t rely only on what is in the city limits. Other cities don’t. Lot’s of good doctors if you look. I have three. House prices are determined by income in that the closer you live to the area of the city where there is multi-generational and immigrant welfare abuse and crime, unless you buy one of those scam lofts the Kanebs and taxpayers built, the cheaper housing is. Too many generalizations in this article. People do move to, or back to Cornwall with money you know.

  3. Nostalgia for Cornwall’s golden age

    Cornwall is getting a little uglier every day, carved up by building sites that are as mammoth as they are meaningless. But some parts of the town have retained their charm, and it wouldn’t take much to give the city a human face.
    Cornwall has unwittingly gained a reputation as a city unloved by its inhabitants. But how can one love a city? And can the Cornwall of today, scarred by two decades of totalitarian urban planning and real estate speculation, still be loved?
    The first step in the affair would be to try to understand what vision of Cornwall it is that summons up the longing and the languor we feel when we pore over old pictures of “Little Pitt Street”. Certainly, the easiest response would be to evoke the inherent romance conjured up by a sepia image of Cornwall as it used to be. The smallness of that city, between the a few decades, is another feature we find just as appealing. From the detailing of roadway pavements to the virtuosity of wrought-iron fences and the aesthetics of the street lighting, the city is permeated with “common sense” architecture.
    With facades that are certainly “precious”, the architecture also contributes, yet without laying it on thick through excessive decorations or sheer size. Even the United Counties Building and the Cornwall Civic Complex (the principal concert hall of the city) are built to the human scale. I dare say that the charm of “Little House” is owed not only to the influence of French architecture from the late nineteenth century, but to its human dimension as well, and to the warmth that contrasts so favorably with the opulence of the “Grand House” of Cornwall Square Mall, which intimidates the visitor with its monumental buildings and grand, marching boulevards. If we can understand what the word “small” is worth, we can more easily recognize the mistakes we have made over the past half century.
    Can a major European city be built by thinking “small”? This concept seems difficult to accept for Canadian society, even if does happen to be the current and most significant European model. We remain slaves of the “biggest”: the tallest building, the largest cathedral, and the largest suspension bridge. But in the vocabulary of modern urbanism, “small” translates into a design on the human scale, into a functionality grafted onto the emotional. That was how it was done between the wars, in the era in which “Little City” flourished.
    Can we still go back there? Yes, surely – but with the tools of 2011. This is not an appeal to put the old town of Cornwall together again, stone by stone – that would be impossible – but we must begin by reconsidering the importance of that heritage we still love. This way we can rediscover what is still of value in the Cornwall of today.
    The street plan of the city between the a few decades, which has since grown outwards organically, is one of the key elements for rediscovering our cultural memory. The “snags” in this organic matrix created by the new boulevards, the wider streets and excessive demolition, must be “patched” up using innovative urban design tools. The boulevards have become ugly due to the traffic, but we can still enjoy strolling through the smaller streets, especially on weekends.
    The eclecticism of the city requires places with an identity and well-defined roles. Roles that come down from traditions accepted by the inhabitants, not from ad hoc political decisions taken in moments of festive opportunism. The restoration of an urban network shaped by modern principles – by which pedestrians, cyclists and public transport will take priority over cars – will bring with it an astonishing economic and cultural effervescence.
    Valuable examples of architecture on a human scale do still exist in Cornwall. We just have to look at them differently. The Cornwall Public Library is an example of an intelligent intervention that can transform the three sites into a new public space with a high added value.
    The same holds true for the rediscovery of Pitt str. and the link between the Water and Fourth str.
    The Cornwall Farmers Market, the Cotton Industry and the Old Town Hall are waiting to be rediscovered and brought back into the heart of the city. Logan’s Art Gallery, with its unique industrial architecture, the Capitol Theatre Mural and the St. John’s Presbyterian Church … All these landmarks are the guardians of the vital energy of our urban redemption. Or, in simpler terms, places to love.

  4. Did Cornwall fall to 167th or did other communities rise in numbers? What are some of the things these other communities change to increase the number, and I assume, create a better life for citizens?

  5. Well written Ludwig

    You have a grand perception and good ideas. You do lack one important factor in building, be it the catherdral, United Counties Building and the Cornwall Civic Complex or even the little house.

    We need a good foundation. A foundation that can only be made from the very people this idea is aimed to serve. There we are left wanting

  6. Ludwik has an interesting style of writing about the city and I wish I had some of what he’s been smoking.

  7. Re: Wow!,

    1) Your Comment: Lot’s of good doctors if you look.

    Fact: We have less doctors per 1000 citizens then 155 other cities in Canada. We along with many other communities in Canada are having a hard time finding practitioners. Many in Cornwall can not even find a nurse practitioner to see them.

    2) Your Comment: House prices are determined by income in that the closer you live to the area of the city where there is multi-generational and immigrant welfare abuse and crime, unless you buy one of those scam lofts the Kanebs and taxpayers built, the cheaper housing is.

    Fact: Prices are determined and set based on what the market will bear! If the average income of a community increases then new construction and renovations increase. Hence, higher prices for homes, higher assessment and a lower tax rate (not to be confused with tax burden).

    P.S. – Did you have seisure in the middle of that ramble…! It is very unclear as to what the heck you were trying to say!

    3) Your Comment: Too many generalizations in this article. People do move to, or back to Cornwall with money you know.

    Fact: The number of Ontario Works cases has increased by 16% over the last 3 years! Can you provide any proof or statistics to bakc you claims of people moving to Cornwall with money and how do they compare to those leaving! I can name two who just left Chris Savard and John Bolton!

    What did I generalize? Please be specific…I am very interested in how you think I generalized!

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  8. Mike…….^Calm down dude. You suggest that you are game to be a young politician. You need people like me to push your buttons to get you amped up and ready for the real crap. It worked. I’ll piss on your next article too! I’m glad the CAO has entered into the mysterious medical leave. More stuff for Jamie to look into! Freeholder better have this covered for Wednesday or close down losing all credibility.

  9. I will be happy to respond!

    Where did I generalize?

  10. Great article Mike….many excellent points. I have been trying to find a new doctor for years, mine is in his seventies and soon to retire. My mother-in-law who is 87 years young has been without a doctor for over five years when her physician left for greener pastures, leaving her patients high and dry. Now mom goes to a Walk-in clinic for her yearly check-up and prescription renewals for blood pressure and such. Many of my friends go to doctors in Winchester or Ottawa. Regarding the Practitioner’s Clinic request from Dr. Baitz, who himself is due to retire, perhaps the same sort of citizens’ group that put so much time and effort into the Benson Centre could raise awareness and money for such a medical facility. Perhaps even offering some form of share, not necessarily monetary but pride based, to donors, contributors, and sponsors would be appropriate. Federal and provincial funding could be sought, service clubs could be canvassed, and possibly city and surrounding town councils could possibly front money to be paid back over time to start such a project. It just takes the right people to attack the problem…What do you think?

  11. This city is the definition of a downward spiral….I would leave, but my home has so little value, I could sell it and barely make a down payment on something half the size in a real city….Oh well, I’m gonna go for a bike ride (the weather is great! [better than 61 cities in Canada!]), picking up all the empty bottles of booze I can find….maybe my kids can eat this week!

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