Alyssa Blais of the Agape Centre in Cornwall Ontario to ask Council for Over $50K in Cash!

CFN –  The problem when politics mix into hiring of people is that the remedies are rarely ever the right ones.    Alyssa Blais is a smart and lovely woman.  I worked with her while she was at the Cornwall Business Development Centre and she really shined there.

Then before you could say “Holy Gilles Latour” she was lunching with City Hall’s favorite son at Moons and taking over the well paid gig running our city’s largest food bank.

How and why did she get that gig?  We’ll never know for sure; but at the end of the day a food bank needs the good will of the public to survive.

Ms Blais emailed me yesterday demanding to see the video above and saying that she should have approval.  We have released this unedited and raw and uncut.

Cornwall is a very giving city.  It cares; but its people also have acute senses of smell; maybe from the generations of pulp mills; and while many live in fear of the city hall cliques of power; most don’t, and can smell and see what goes on.


Here’s how it works.  You take a humble person and give them a job that’s probably over their heads.   They owe a debt to those that put them there artificially.  That debt is paid for by unwavering support to those that gave them the gig.   It becomes some strange Stepford Wives bee hive  with nothing really verbalized or put in writing; but again if you defy your master you lose your gig.

Its amazing to count out potentially how many of these Stepford Workers there are across charities and agencies in Cornwall and the impact they have supporting the city hall cliques.

Ms Blais confirmed that she’s going to be asking the city for over $50K as a cash grant.  The last time Agape went to City Hall they pulled in about $200K from taxpayers.

Food banks are terribly important, but are they something that should be run in this manner?  Maybe if someone more qualified for this position was hired there might not be a need for this cash infusion?

Maybe instead of having Mr. Latour or Mr. Peters friend at A Channel send in the cameras for Alyssa and company a more qualified director could outreach deeper and more broadly into a very giving and caring community?  I know of at least one other media outlet that complained that they were never contacted about Agape’s needs in spite of seeing the report on Ottawa television and one insider at Agape said straight out they went to Ottawa because they knew they’d get more results….

Maybe it’s time for City Hall to stop using NGO’s as tentacles to their web of control over the community?

In Cornwall if you’re a city worker; even a cleaner at Glen Stor Dun Lodge, you cannot hold elected office.   Maybe it’s time to say that if you’re part of an agency that does business with the city or gets city funding that you can’t hold office as well?

Does it make sense to have Denis Carr have his gig at Heart of the City and then vote on sensitive issues that could be related to  HOC matters?   Or have Elaine MacDonald be president of the local Labour Council and then be part of a committee to replace the CAO?

Ms Blais seems focused on using her position at the Agape to enter the world of politics with a run for council.   Seeing how she’s changed since taking over Agape will she be her own person; her own woman, or simply be serving her masters?   Is that the message we want to send out to the women of our community?

We do need more women to be involved in politics and become candidates.   The big question is why so few do in Cornwall?

And if we truly want equality then we have to hold women to the same terms of accountability as men.

And we need a total clean up of the Agape centre from board to staff so that most of the money spent there goes into those that need it instead of friends of Gilles Latour and City Hall.    Do food banks really need to hire event coordinators?  I mean it almost makes sense to sell the Agape building and take those proceeds plus those of the staff costs and create a fund to up those that need it most in the communities fixed incomes with food vouchers from local stores?

We need a well run Agape centre to help those in our community that need it most.  Not to be a stepping stone for political dreaming sycophants.  And we need agencies that get their funding from the community to be totally transparent and accountable.

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.)




  1. Maybe if the Roman Catholic church did not have to pay out all the sexual abuse money, the Agape could be supported by non- tax payer money! Giving first begins at home!

  2. PTN Maybe if the Catholic church wasn’t such a sick and insular institution, they would not have attracted pedophiles, who then horrificaly abused thousands of children all over the world, for several decades. And just where, Pastor Tom, do you think the Catholic churches riches come from, the heavens perhaps? No from “God fearing” parishioners, essentialy hoping to buy their place in the hereafter, otherwise refered to as “taxpayers”. Tom, are you really as ignorant as you seem?

  3. Dear Tommy boy:
    just look at your own flock before mocking the have so many sinners its hard to count..for a man of god…their really is not god by the way…your a very HATEFUL..MAN

  4. Oh-oh. Here we go again.

  5. Now back on subject before the pastor highjacks another story…how much is a good paying job…ie agape head…that would be useful info…can’t be too much..if she’s gonna run for council and take a beating before the public…

  6. For any of us who don’t know the people, the pay, the path to this so-called “good gig,” or (much more importantly) the challenges of the mandate, what experience or characteristics would the ideal leader for Agape have…other than being a “lovely woman” who knows who to have lunch with.

    Also, don’t all people who have political aspirations use these sort of stepping stone opportunities? And aren’t millions of the wrong people holders of the right jobs? SORRY…now I’m getting into philosophy.

  7. BTW would the real Pastor Tom please stand up.

    We have posts from Pastor Tom Newton and Pastor_Tom

    …it’s a little confusing

  8. Author

    Well Soc perhaps you can offer your opinion? What qualities do you think should go into a well paid for Cornwall position of a food back with a public mandate to serve those that need assistance?

  9. I know and helped one man in particular with food, housing, medical who was one one the victims of “Project Truth”. After lawyers, taxes, etc, He will receive ruffly $64,000. Now I am not saying he does not deserve it or not, I am just saying if the Roman Catholic Church had dealt with this sexual abuse cases properly from the beginning, then maybe today the Agape would not have to use tax payers money, and would be able to be supported by her own “parishioners”. A religious organization that needs “government” money to survive should look else where for it’s funds, or close down.

  10. In what way is the Roman Catholic Church connected with The Agape Centre? On their web site, it says “With the help of St. John Bosco Parish, Agapè opened its doors at 818 York St. on October 19, 1977.”
    There’s no other indication of any church involvement.

  11. Oops, I missed this..
    “Weekend Soup Kitchen Co-sponsors: Community groups provide volunteers to prepare and serve meals on weekends in the Soup Kitchen. Groups include Blessed Sacrament Church, MacDonnell Family, Knights of Columbus, Carriers of the Cross, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Sunrise Rotary Club of Cornwall, St Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Knox St. Paul Church, St. Therese De Lisieux Church, Kinette Club of Cornwall and the Baptist Church.”
    Looks like a few churches support their Weekend Soup Kitchen. I assume that the Baptist church mentioned isn’t the outfit run by Mr. Newton.

  12. I am the TRUE Paster so don’t get confused Sock
    is that the Left or Right sock??
    I’m as confused as Queens University Psychology major…aka
    But I dygress…the real issue seems to be..why do most cornwall jobs go to friends of friends…not the most qualified
    My suggestion to Alyssa…don’t go on camera in a public place then expect to be in charge of the finished product
    Any pro photojournalist would never go for this…unless..your doing a Vanity Fair piece on USA president and u give him veto power over your book…sad sad…
    Glad you held firm jamie

  13. This site is turning into a mad-house.

  14. Lots of colorful comments here lol… I’m no fan of the catholic cult, but what does this have to do with pedophiles and draconian policies?? $ 50000 is a reasonable request in my opinion as a citizen of this area. Look around you.. The money is for people of all faiths and non faiths. We have brothers and sisters who are hurting.. Lets so some compassion.. Could we not have raffles for agape??

  15. Author

    Nonbeliever I think the issue isn’t the Agape, but how it’s being run. I think many feel if it were being run well there wouldn’t be a need for such a public appeal and that perhaps they’re spending too much on salaries for a food bank; IE right now they are looking to hire an events coordinator.

    All these salaries cost money and Food Banks are not there to make money. Now that they are not able to raise enough funds to do their mandated work it seems they want City Hall; ie, we the tax payer; to bail them out.

    The food bank isn’t the issue. It’s how its being run that is.

  16. @ Pastor Tom.. Your comment about government money for any church to survive. I don’t normally agree with you on most subjects, but I agree with you a 100% on this one.. I respect all faith as long as I don’t have to pay for it.. So its fair to say I have NO RESPECT for the catholic cult. Pastor Tom; You surprised me…. Peace be with you and your flock brother.

  17. Admin…. I guess I missed the point and got a bit off topic lol… I can see where this is coming from. Have a great day Nonbeliever

  18. Terrible sins are committed by all kinds of religious organizations, but we should be reminded of Catholic Priest, Emmett Johns, founder of Dan La Rue (Montreal) and Member of the Order of Canada.

    He feeds the poor and has the help well over 100 volunteers.

    All this to say, selfless leadership – at a grass roots level – is undoubtedly the most important qualification for raising awareness and motivating a community to feed its hungry.

  19. Author

    Well said Soc. Sadly the bad apples always seem to ruin things for those that mean and do well..

  20. Again it seems like the poor and unfortunate are being used for some hidden agenda. This saddens me 🙁

  21. I hope the “perhaps they’re spending too much on salaries for a food bank”, is not directed towards the front line worker’s. I.E. Sorting department, Dock Hands, Cashiers, who are trying there best to provide for their families on 20 hours a week at a salary of $10.25 an hour. The way I see it is the community has been showing a huge amount of support for the center and “BIG BUSINESS” could learn a thing or two from the everyday citizens of Cornwall who are extending their hands. I read and hear comments from people that”I just gave a bag of food to the Agape last week”, How could they be low on food? I do agree that the center should have programs in place to empower their clients to empower themselves and their families. This would take away the need of the same clients month after month, year after year etc. I believe this is a great agency for people who have encountered a bump in the road in life and need a “one-two” time need of support for their families. This I believe is where the main focus should be. Empower the clients to empower themselves.

  22. Wanted to address the point made in this article about women taking positions of leadership in this community. Definitely, I think that women are an essential part of the fabric of community and are needed in positions of leadership. Definitely they must be held accountable for their actions and decisions in the same way as men are. Problem seems to be that there is no real accountability mechanism in this city, right? And what women there are, seems from observation, are like something out of the Handmaid’s Tale, very scary- holding up the old school clique mentality, making these guys in positions where they abuse power look good.

    Same as what is going on in the States with the Republicans:
    These are the same kind of women that are plastic- they don’t think for themselves, they don’t question the status quo, they just go along like “sheeple”. They may be very well-meaning, but it was well-meaning women who made the eugenics program function in Alberta- that is scary ndeed! (

    So, women really need to hold each other accountable. Allysa- you cannot run a not-for-profit and offer yourself for Council- that shows me you are in collusion with those who abuse power and we don’t need any more of youse in this city.

  23. Author

    Great post Chris. Stink always starts at the top. We haven’t even posted about some alleged cases from front line workers against management….

  24. Food banks, in and of themselves, are not a solution to anything, they are like putting a band-aid on an infection, at some point the affected part is going to get gangrene unless the proper treatment is put in place. Running a food bank like it’s an employment scheme for a few people who belong to a select group is like hitting the band-aided infected part- what you have now is an infection that is about to go through the entire body. People die of infections , it’s not something you can neglect.

    Food banks and homelessness came into our society on the heels of cutback from 1996. I know that I fought those changes tooth and nail, as did many women’s groups and equality seeking organizations across Canada during those years. This punish the poor attitude is wrong on every level. We need to take power back into our own hands and take care of people and ask that they do as much as humanly possible to care for themselves. What we need to do is to redistribute wealth so that everyone is taken care of at a minimum agreed upon standard. Yes, that does mean taxes, and yes, that does mean capping City salaries and no more big pay-outs for the self-aggrandizers.

  25. @ Admin re: Events Coordinator, Agape

    I read the posting.

    It amuses and underwhelms.

    First, it goes on forever. And Instead of defining what “success” is envisioned as, the ad (without realizing it) actually asks for the least qualified person.

    In short: Bilingual, pleasant persona, (that one really kills me), though computer
    skills are A MUST (funnily enough, not until the 9th bullet point).

    Here’s how the ad might read:

    Agape has a challenge: STATE CHALLENGE i.e.) We’re failing the hungry of Cornwall. In fact,
    we’ve recently had to ask taxpayers to give us $50K because….

    To avoid having to have to put this on the taxpayer’s back, Agape is conducting a search
    for person who can help us achieve: STATE LIST. Examples:) formulate, lead and execute projects –
    including but not limited to press conferences and public events; grow the current volunteer base by X percent

    Call to action: If you’ve had past success(es) in motivating people around a passionate cause Agape wants to hear about it.

  26. I’m still curious about what connection The Catholic Church has with The Agape Centre.

  27. Author

    Soc it is quite odd. Most of what this position would require should be the duties of the director? Again, those dollars could probably be better utilized on serving those that need it. Adding to labour costs when the facility is crying out for funds seems kinda…

    Again, maybe it’s time for a clean up of the entire facility from top and working its way down if necessary.

    The director needs to reach out to the entire community; not just the people she bought her car from or who take her to lunch. The Agape has to make it positive to support them no matter who it is that wants to support them.

    Playing politics and clique games gets the status quo.

  28. @Admin…it occurred to me too that the responsibilities described in the ad could be the director’s role. But shouldn’t the Board be asking themselves the questions you’re asking? I assume they’re volunteers and must have some numbers savvy

  29. Author

    Soc that’s the problems with boards that are filled with cronies or clique members instead of people fit to do the job that are focused on the mandate….

  30. I understand the need & fully support a food bank for persons who are indeed in need & those persons who have encountered a bump
    in their lives & need a hand . What I’am having a problem comming
    to grips with are those persons ( so called clients ) who really aren’t
    trying to help themselves & are supporting a cell phone to constantly talk on & those who also have animals to look after.

  31. There are many prejudices held against the disadvantaged and the hungry. Dispelling those myths should be a major focus for Agape…using local media such as CFN. Remember too, with sudden job losses and/or issues with the working poor (who may indeed have cell phones and/or pets) they can suddenly find themselves in crisis. The SPCA alone can probably talk about multiple of examples of families who surrender pets because they can no longer afford to care for them.

  32. Adherents of “The Common Sense Revolution” would say that people should have to eat all their pets before qualifying for free food handouts.

  33. Oh Ed, that’s just nasty. Do you think Mike Harris would eat his own dog?

  34. Reg, Nasty but true. I hope he doesn’t have a dog. No animal should have to endure that.

  35. A dark bit of humour about the eating of pets. But do you not think people have done that – and worse – in times of war or famine? Life can change on a dime, and we’d be best to remember that at all times.

  36. You are right Soc. When Harris cut social assistance payments by 22% and got of rent control at the same time, thousands of people suddenly had to choose between eating or living on the streets. Lots of people ended up on the streets, and lots of people who managed to keep their housing had to do without food. We were told by David Tsubouchi (Minister of Community and Social Services) that welfare recipients who had their funding reduced should haggle down the price of dented cans of tuna.

  37. edit “got rid of rent control”

  38. I fully understand the need for help when tough times require it and many in this City would give their left arm to do whatever they can to help out.

    My issue with the food bank is the free handouts to the abusers, the ones who will not get off their lazy ass to find a job, the ones who have nothing better to do then to meet the local pill popper and give up their welfare for prescription drugs, the ones who sit on a deck in crapville east end all day and drink, smoke, smoke up their welfare away. The ones who have kids but don’t give a crap about their well being but have kids because it equals more month end dollars.

    These are my issues and as a tax payer I have serious problems with giving anymore of my heart earned money out to this abuse.

  39. @Ed

    Yes, I remember that well, and the bruhaha that followed. We are all vulnerable. I wish you a good and comfortable night.

  40. I am truly disgusted with our society, you people are talking about eating your pets…..

    How about getting rid of the sacred cow of bilingualism!!!

    I thought WE Canadians were better then this, disappointed to say the least!!!!

    At least we had a little good news, McGuinty is GONE!!!!

  41. Well McGuinty has cut back on many social programs ,from welfare to various disability programs but the sacred cow bilingualism that $624,000,000 was not touched …WHY?

    So it is better to support bilingual signs then it is to feed to disadvantaged .
    So many people living without when the government priorities lie with signs .
    Sad to say that those individuals have less priorities then those pushing for more rights then others … should be more important on the table then a language on a piece of paper.

  42. Hilarious! Yup, bilingualism is the cause of every problem known to humanity.

  43. cityBS October 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    I fully understand the need for help when tough times require it and many in this City would give their left arm to do whatever they can to help out.

    My issue with the food bank is the free handouts to the abusers, the ones who will not get off their lazy ass to find a job, the ones who have nothing better to do then to meet the local pill popper and give up their welfare for prescription drugs, the ones who sit on a deck in crapville east end all day and drink, smoke, smoke up their welfare away. The ones who have kids but don’t give a crap about their well being but have kids because it equals more month end dollars.

    These are my issues and as a tax payer I have serious problems with giving anymore of my heart earned money out to this abuse.

    i approve that Message..

  44. Agreed, there is a welfare culture in Cornwall. I grew up on the fringe of it and would have been in the middle of it if not for the pride and help of my grandparents.

    However, there are people who are physically or mentally incapable of holding a job and need the help of institutions like Agapé Centre. There are people who are unlucky or have hit a rough spot in their life who need a temporary helping hand.

    Just because there is a visible minority who abuse the social safety system doesn’t mean it isn’t working. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water.

  45. I volunteer at agape and i just want to mention something.
    The “event coordinator” position is actually the Volunteer/Event coordinator position. You would know this if you read the posting. Their Coordinator, Carrie, has left for another career. I know how busy this young girl was and how needed this position is.

  46. piper…take a break man. Now the Agape center is hurting because of the money spent on signs……OMG how ridiculous.

  47. Stella, it’s clear that Agape’s financial problem are caused by: 1) The misbehavior of Catholic priests and the subsequent costs. and 2) Official Bilingualism. Get rid of these two things, and everyone will have plenty to eat and decent housing etc.

  48. Agape’s slogan “Local people helping local people”. Including the “hired” people, it seems to me!
    Agape’s slogan should read “put me out of a job”.
    Unfortunately Agape is a political entity.
    We need a clean slate in Cornwall. The Agape should be a central food system, not a “hand out place”.People should come there to learn to eat properly, learn how to cook, learn how to garden, learn how to care for themselves.
    The person running the place should probably have a degree in food economics, be a dietician, or nutritionist, and not be someone always in the public eye looking for money.
    Why are there so many people working at the Agape? What are there salaries? Is it public knowledge? Is it just another organization that is a make work project for some who do not want to lose their jobs?
    So far from what I see the head of Agape would make a politician all right, just like all the others that are in it for themselves. We do not need “women” politicians. We need “honest” politicians regardless of their sex.

  49. I worked at the Agape for almost six years.I have seen a lot in my time there.I was qualified for my position as i have a college degree .When i started in 2008 i made just over 9 dollars an hour.I left in August 2013 and i was making 11.70 per hour.The people that actually work at the center earn their pay now the executive director and the operations manager make well over 100,000 dollars with 60000 of it just for one person and they are never around and when they are it’s because there is a camera around.They get staff,volunteers to do all the work then show up just in time to stand in front of the hard workers that make it happen everyday.Yes,there is a need for the Agape but they need an overhaul on board members(now that they are all hand-picked by the ex-director)and the operations manager,give me a break she worked at wal-mart and has absolutely no idea what she’s doing .I could sit here all night and tell you stories but the fact remains that they need to get rid of the bad apples so they can help the city.

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