Letter to the Editor – Tammie Grant on the Cornwall Ontario Community Hospital Bilingual Nurse Protest – April 8, 2012

First of all, let me thank the local news papers for caring enough to report about what’s going on at the Cornwall Community Hospital.  I got involved in the hospital issue not because I work there, not because there is anything in it for me,  I got involved because I care for our City of Cornwall and everyone who lives in it, be it French, English or whatever race they may be or language they speak.


For the city council to sit back and say this has nothing to do with them cannot be further from the truth.  City council: this is your hospital, your people who elected you and your tax payers who are leaving your city.  So why do most young people leave our area?


1.  To look for higher paying jobs and 2. to look for jobs where French isn’t mandatory.


Dr. Tombler’s letter shed light on an already existing problem in Cornwall and across Ontario.  The French Language Services Act (FLSA) was put into place so that people who were French would be able to get served in French.  Now everyone agrees this is a nice idea.  Nobody at all is disputing that including the people who are protesting at the Cornwall Community Hospital.  This is NOT a, “them against us” issue.   Most protesters have one French parent including Mayor McGillis and myself.  The problem lies with the way that the hospital board is interpreting the FLSA.


Mayor Bryan McGillis spoke to the Minister of Francophone Affairs, Madeleine Meilleur at the end of February and got the opportunity to ask her specifically what percentage of French employees would be required to run our hospital.  Minister Meilleur said that it is up to each hospital to mandate itself.  Obviously cities like Hawksbury need more French employees to service the greater number of French speaking people in that area.  The Cornwall Community Hospital has to figure out its own needs.  The Mayor thanked her for clarifying this issue.


Personally, I don’t have a problem understanding what she meant by that.  For some reason the hospital board does.  Hospital officials have been asked direct questions about their hiring practice–sometimes they chose to answer and sometimes they didn’t.  Why is that?  Is it right that our nursing students graduating in Cornwall do not have a chance for employment in this city?  Is it right that the only job an honour roll Anglophone can get at our hospital is housekeeping?


For the last 40 years there have always been nurses available to serve people in French at our hospital, long before the French Language Services Act came into existence.  The French and English speaking  people of Cornwall have always gotten along well with each other.  This is how we got our reputation as being “The Friendly City. “


It would be nice if the hospital could contact the Ministry of Francophone affairs and get clarity on the requirements for their hiring practices.   This way there would be fairness for all candidates looking for a job and that would help keep our young people in Cornwall.


Tammie (Brazeau) Grant

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Cornwall Free News


  1. Well spoken Tammy and dead on, as a “French speaking Canadian” I could not agree more. Cornwall is populated more by the english. I even have a problem with our French Clinic in this town. I am sure Mr. Davidson will have an answer for that also. Truth be know Tammy, you know the right people in this town i.e. THE MAYOR, your in. Heck with his pull you could be a plumber and get a top nursing job.

  2. And another thing. I was a hockey player, why am I not a fireman in this city now??

  3. It’s hard to understand why Cornwall City Council, our elected representatives, have done a “Pontius Pilate” and washed their hands of the whole affair. With their air of je-ne-sais-quoi these people are NOT representing us. Why? Perhaps it’s because there’s nothing in it for them!

  4. Thank you, Tammie, for keeping the hospital board’s feet to the fire. This is a community hospital and it must respond to the community’s on the ground reality. Instead, the arrogant people in charge are playing dirty linguistic games and keeping the community in contempt. The hospital bureaucrats should be held accountable of why they deny local people to earn a living in a chosen profession that is in demand in their home town. If the “rolling eyes” refuses to cooperate, DEMAND her resignation.

  5. Excellent letter Tammie!

  6. Thanks Tammy -I would like to make this clear that on 2 occasions I did not get the full-time position .I had at that point 7 years of acute care in that field as well as certification (4 hr exam) related to that field .I lost that opportunity to someone who spoke better french but had NO experience in that field .But to add insult to injury the CCH had to send those 2 people to train in that field at a cost of MINIMUM of $12000.00 and yet they would still have no experience .
    The hospital did have a candidate that required no training and had in fact over and above the skills required for the job .
    Tell me was this in the best interest of the patients or the political enviroment?
    Equality for All

  7. Author

    Christopher if that’s true, and I’m not calling you a liar, but there of course is the burden of proof; but if proven to be true someone should be fired for making that decision.

  8. Well hello Jamie ,thanks to you and your paper for being independent : As for your note above that is why I wish the government to send in independent assessors to evaluate the situation hence the petition.If the hospital wishes for me to “GO AWAY” we need this evaluation to happen.
    If neither wish to address this issue – I will go to the next step and retain a lawyer.
    Furthermore ,I PROMISE to be out there next election and McGuinty will pay the price one way or another
    with his avoidance of the issue .My wife will attest I am a extremely
    stubborn individual particularly when it comes to discrimination of any form.

  9. Right behind you Chris! Bye bye McGuinty! Lots of people are behind you. CCH has been extremely unfair, discriminatiing and wasting taxpayer’s money left and right. The public knows very little about what is happening inside that place. SHAME on them big time!

  10. The one who may be responsible for all this mess use to be nick named ‘smiley’. The comments were he would smile at you while going by then stab you in the back by divide and conquer techniques just to show who was boss. These people no more care for individuals than, and certainly not their family needs, through their work than the man in the moon. Then that individual would put his feet up playing video games at an office desk the rest of the day……..smiling of course. Now this untimely french fiasco was possibly created by the same person.

  11. Christopher, contact Hugh Adami of Ottawa Citizen at thepubliccitizen@ottawacitizen.com with your story, which is outrageous, in my opinion. Recently, Hugh Adami wrote a story about a unilingual Anglo commissioner in a NRC building , who was booted from his job because of a franco complaint that he does not speak French. It generated so much public outrage, the feds ignored the silly bilingualism Regulations and applied common sense by quickly reinstating the commissioner.



  12. Maybe should check out a career with the City of Cornwall.
    Their requirements for an RNs is such that Bilingualism is “only” considered an asset…

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