Should Cornwall Ontario Kick in $50K for the Benson University Project? – CFN Says Nay – January 26, 2013

jg2CFN – A group of esteemed local citizens will be appearing before Cornwall Ontario city council, hat in hand, asking for the City to kick in $50,000 to help research the concept of having a University in Cornwall Ontario on Monday night.

I hope that our council, especially during this budget phase, and in times when they are being asked to not raise taxes while talking about a raise from 3-5% reject this group soundly.

Universities are fine things and Cornwall does need more University educated citizens.  Heck we need more college and high school educated citizens; but surely we need fiscal restraint over vanity projects for those that have made their fortunes off of the backs of the residents of this community?

Roy Perkins & Gerry Benson
Sandy Cameron & Gerry Benson

If Mr. Gerry Benson needs a legacy project surely the he or the  Benson organization can scratch a cheque even with the lay offs that they’ve had and are coming, no?

There’s some murkiness too as there’s a group behind this; but if some of those people are also elected officials it gets fuzzy no?   And surely this group which includes the Kanebs can afford the $50K seed money?   And how do you participate in the Cornwall Action Group or whatever Mr. Benson and friends are calling it that calls for a zero tax increase to our already over taxed residents and businesses, and then show up at council asking for cash?

Distance learning is the buzz word now.   We don’t really need stone walls and desks.  We need affordable internet and some financial support for people to be able to access some of the organizations offering University online.   And of course we need the jobs locally that those grads can fill otherwise all we’d be is a feeder system to other cities.

Sometimes the ideas of yesterday really don’t fit into today’s reality.  Ask any blacksmith you happen to see (nothing against Smithies).

I can understand as Mr. Benson and some of his clique enter their twilight years that they want to create legacies.  It’s a noble thing  and not unique,  but let these fine people do so on their own coin and leave the poor taxpayers of Cornwall Ontario and the Counties off the hook.

It also should be interesting how many of council step back and do not vote for this proposal.  While the ultra precise definition of Conflict of Interest targets pecuniary interest I think the optics of current employees or those with relationships with groups of members of the presenting group would surely preclude a council member from voting.

If they create something noble I’m sure the public will support it.

Jamie Gilcig – Editor –  CFN

What do you think?  Should the City be writing cheques to float this concept?  You can post your comment below.

(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.)

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  1. I believe thats Sandy cameron in the picture not Roy Perkins.But again Jamie your article hits the nail right on the head.This is a very smart group of people,once they get the city on board with a little bit of seed money then thell keep asking for more and more.
    Just how much money does our city really have.Seems to me the city cries poor year after year but we get all these big projects. Something just doesn,t add up.

  2. Author

    luckyred it seems to me that some of them will keep pushing those projects until they get their hands on the Progress Fund. I think the city should have a mandate to actually add to it each year and grow it so that it can help take care of us long into the future.

  3. The Kanebs already have a legacy in Cornwall, a harbourfront poisoned by oiltanks that they never have to clean up. This after their brother Nick gave them a sweetheart deal as mayor decades ago. Esteemed, not in my books. If Benson’s yellow building and trucks are not enough of a legacy for his spoiled rotted kids, he should take a big morning dump high up on the top slopes of Big Ben and build an Inukshuk over it. Or if he is in truly dire straights maybe he can call Lecky or Latour and get some money out of the Max Keeping Foundation (Cornwall) account. Son.
    Why did I move back here again?

  4. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Benson and certainly Sandy Cameron in your picture here, just as I do for Mr. Roy Perkins. These fine men have been involved so much nor only in giving of their time with efforts in charities and corporate boards free gratis. These are fine and giving men, as too are many, many other of our citizens.

    I know we are thankful for their participation in all the ways they do, well over and above providing many value added jobs to so many of our citizens.

    We recall recently the request by Mr. Perkins for a $500,000 stipend from the city towards the purchase of the hospital MRI, went sour for him/them. Only after this loss of funds was it realized that an inheritance bequeathed to the hospital was now due and, low and behold, it was just enough to cover said expense.

    Tough times and concerns over ‘methodology’ used have given the community and through them now, the city council (finally) jurisprudence over the expenditure of taxpayers funds. It is as if we can’t go to the people (because they too are having hard times) so let’s slide in through the back door and take from them that way.

    We all well realize the desire for a University would uplift many facets of our city, including a higher reputable insight of us from outsiders……’Hey, did you know Cornwall has a University now, WOW’. Its the wow factor that helps to up lift us as a go to city, not a go from place.

    We have just read in this online paper, the plight of ‘Donna’ and now so many others who have experiences with hard time more than most of us have ever known. Education is part and parcel with jobs, but jobs here now elsewhere and a University surely will go a long way to draw in incidentally other employers. Bravo to these fine people with their drive to get a University going here. It would be a fine legacy for all of us.

    I do have personal issues with city hall giving the house away. Each and every attempt is by people just as these who have strong beliefs in THEIR drives and causes, yet I believe as in what happened AFTER the hospital attempt can also come about fir a University too.

    Kind personal regards to these fine men whom I have a deal of respect for despite or regardless of past issues….those will in time be dealt with one way or another. Let’s work with the issues of the moment.

  5. What ever happened to ONLINE UNIVERSITY?
    Is someone pushing for a university in/on the NAV site?
    If your looking for a site that would be a great site. Perhaps Mr. Guindon can get involved and wave his federal flag and it would not cost the city to much. Oh! Oh! That means the boys club in the city hall including Mr.Mayor did not get on the band wagon!
    Or have they already.
    Oh. well, such is life.

  6. I am afraid the group behind the idea of Cornwall university has a cookie-cutter scheme of turning it into a French-only university favoring Quebeckers. This happened to Moncton University. Leonard Jones, the late mayor of Moncton and Independent Member of Parliament for Moncton, N.B., had this to say about it:

    “…things changed in the City of Moncton with the setting up of a University there. Of course, there were the usual changes which accompany such a development but there was more than that, too…

    The people of Moncton were delighted at the fact that we would eventually be getting an educational institution which would benefit all Monctonians. Previous to this, persons wishing to study at the post-secondary level had to leave the city. And so for the first few years, the graduates of the Home school were welcomed and praised within the city. The funds for the building of the University were collected from the citizens of Moncton and the people gave freely to what was supposed to be a bilingual college. So you might deduce that at this time in the history of our area, we were an excellent example of Bilingualism, in all fairness, in progress.

    But after the funds for the university were collected, and the college built, the attitude toward the city people changed. The school was no longer for persons of English-speaking origin. The school had almost overnight become a totally French-speaking institution. You can well imagine that these developments made the people of Moncton very angry.

    As is often the case with relatively new universities, the standards for admission were rather low at first, or so they said. But why did this mean that persons from Moncton area were being turned down over and above the Quebecois?

  7. I had misplaced my thoughts for a bit until I read “concerned”.
    Perhaps we should set aside the “university” till the language and the hospital issue is over.
    If anymore “issues” develop in Cornwall and cannot be solved, we might a well close the book on progression for Cornwall.
    Have a nice day.

  8. Wow= Nick Kaneb Former Mayor was an uncle to the Kanebs that I believe your referring to . IT was George Kaneb brother to Nick that arranged the oil tanks on the water front (Universal Terminals )
    To City Council
    Keep Your Cotton Picking Hands Out Of the progress fund .

  9. “$50,000 to help research the concept of having a University”

    What kind of research? Where’s their proposal?

  10. @ Wow, you hit the nail right on the head, you forgot to mention however that when you lie and cheat you get a street named after you. Maybe if we get this University, Latour will finish up with his grade 12 and become an (MODERATED) photo opp (MODERATED)? (MODERATED)

  11. Boy of BOY, when you see the big craps, in a photo start singing halleuagh, the end is near. Something is up. Man of man it look like there is a big deal coming down. Watch out folks, it’s the calm before the storm. Aybody want to make a deal? Shares? Put your money there. If these big wheeler are on the nose, grab it. Something big is coming down, at least in Cornwall.
    Hey, Mr. Mayor and your Cronies, I guess you missed out on the deal, HEH?
    Love your friends.
    Trust amongst friends?HEH!

  12. Funny how CCH comes up with 500,000 when the city says no. Funny how the city continually misspends our money and raises taxes!

    ABSOLUTELY NOT to this university project and DO NOT TOUCH PROGRESS FUND!!!!!

  13. Lets build on the assets we already have. The St. Lawrence College and the Rivers Institute. A unniversity you say? Thats “pie in the sky”.

  14. Cornwall university? Does it mean Cornwall French-only speaking university? Does it mean Cornwall and Ontario taxpayers paying for education of students from Quebec? Does it mean persons from Cornwall area being turned down over and above the Quebecois? That’s what happened to people of Moncton. Persons from Moncton area were being turned down over and above the Quebecois.

  15. Gerry Benson, Sandy Cameron, Roy Perkinss are the leaders for the Cornwall Community Action Group which wants lower taxes. Would this venture increase taxes,

  16. Yep, a university here would ONLY mean French….to draw in more Quebecers! We are already swamped already.

    I agree with Tammy Hart 100%! Now is NOT the time for this. Yes, by all means focus on the great college that we have and the River Institute!!!!!

    The city is broke and are bleeding it’s citizens dry. Lots of big projects but not a lot of smart spending on behalf of council.

  17. The Nav Centre (aka NC-TI and TC-TI) no longer fits with Nav Canada’s plans, and is FOR SALE… if only someone would make an offer.

    Nav Canada’s plans for the site are incoherent at best. It passed on housing the RCMP detachment, it passed on the Service Canada call centre, it priced itself out of the market with Corrections Canada, the ballyhooed data centre is a no show, and as reported by CFN, even the Canadian Forces are leaving.

    What to do with this shell?

    Maybe the old boys of Cornwall are looking at the Nav Canada site and see a !FIRE SALE! price, with a quick flip to whoever gets stuck funding this “university” — They’re already trying to get US to pay for their feasibility scheme.

    The building’s in fair shape mind you, (except for a roof and skylight leaks), and gets updated carpets, paint, and plumbing from time to time. It has a vintage 34 year old heating and cooling system — the building holds, or at least held, the record for number of heat pumps in one building in North America.

    With hopes of it paying for itself and maybe being marketable, there have been some attempts to dress the place up.

    The Activity and Health Centre,… started the makeover largely benefiting a firm related (through marriage?) to one of the head honchesses. But now there is no whirlpool, the gymnasium is often unavailable due to other customers, the service/sign-in/locker system is a step backward, and of course there’s the $$$.

    A Spa has set up there,… but with prices beyond exclusive, it’s not going to be there very long.

    The makeover of the food service area,… changed from a cafeteria with a convenient load up, pay, eat and be on your way for a reasonable price model, to a wait to be seated, wait for beverages, get your own food, wait for a bill (that has more than doubled), line up at the cash,and pony up a tip as well — in short it’s pretty much the same deal as Jack Lee’s at triple the price, twice the drive and half the fun.

    The pub is one of the finest around, albeit awkward to drive, park and walk to. And the prices! …Ho-ho-hold onto your wallet.

    But back to …a university for Cornwall?

    Cornwall can’t even host a proper college. More on that later if anyone wants to differ.

    Further to the editor’s observations; The “largesse” of Cornwall’s so-called benefactors and philanthropists comes at the expense of folks a bit further down the food chain (eg. the Cornwall Hospital accepted tens of thousands of dollars, thanks to criminal activities attributed to William Wise and company)

  18. Does that “group of esteemed local citizens” live in Canada? I doubt it. Locals know that Canada produces too many graduates with useless university degrees who become underemployed or unemployed. We have trades gap. We need more workers in skilled trades.

  19. And what will they name this University? Lapeben U
    Latour, Peters, Benson U. Sort of has a French ring to it, so in this town it could fly. And think of the great photo opp Bob, you could have your kid front cover on this one too.

  20. We already have a French University section by correspondence at or near La Citadele and/or St. Croix. This would be an expanse to that with professors.

    But that is no difference than us having the same for the English via St. Lawerence College or from anyone doing it from home.

    The English do hot trust the new suggested phase without assurance that they will not be overrun as in all other areas of town by a French University takeover.

    This is why clarity in advance is vitally important.

    So good luck Tom and Jerry.
    It is well known that St. Croix offers French courses for only $30.00/12 weeks…………unheard of for an English course at the same subsidized cost………..NON EXISTENT so the French can learn English.

    So you see the anxieties building up here………good luck on your University without specific clarity in advance…………YOU WILL NO LONGER RECEIVE DIRECT ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM THE ENGLISH COMMUNITY WITHOUT IT.


  21. Until the mentality of the citizens of this city changes……we will never grow. Plain and simple.

    Many are favoring distance learning these days. The pro side is one can earn while they learn but on the other hand the work involved is greater.

    Going back 5-10 years ago, the college was in dire financial straights, that being said, I can’t see the point of having a university in Cornwall….especially when we are closing elementary schools. Besides this city is not big enough to warrant a university. The thought may be nice but realistically it is not feasible.

  22. Universities receive their primary funding from you and me, taxpayers that is . The decision for location is done at the provincial level ( I have never heard otherwise ) therefore the taxpayer already funds the necessary studies to facilitate this process . Should the business owners within our community that would profit the most wish to step up and fund their own feasibility study thereby duplicating the process at their own expense who are we to interfer ? However I take exception to being played as the idiot taxpayer whose pockets are continuing to deepen as if expanding into a bottomless abyss . Should we not represent ourselves and our community as a changing , progressive and forward looking city, absolutely ! Team Cornwall is presented with a great opportunity to represent our communities into the future now way of thinking by breaking into action ! Go Team Cornwall !

  23. In regards to the concept that the PROGRESS FUND could actually GROW/INCREASE . Ginormous idea ! Simply pass a motion not to withdraw any more than 90% of the interest accrued in any given fiscal year . Same idea could be applied to increases in taxation, not more than the actual rate of inflation in the preceding year . Pass a motion, other Canadian communities have . A growing Progress Fund would bode well for this city given the loss of our exemption terminating our ability to purchase electrical power ( cheaply ) from our provincial neighbor to the east in late 2019 . Fortis by law will have no choice but to enter into an agreement with Hydro One upon the completion of the existing contract . Don’t take my word, checking this out is real easy for anyone to discover for themselves .

  24. Considering these two gentlemen have a family history of holding back post secondary education, I believe Kaneb should be responsible solely for what his Uncle had created in Cornwall. A city of mill workers kept in the closet to expand the family wealth and not provide the chance for higher post secondary education. It would have been an opportune time to open such schools with the industry we had at the time. You want tax payers money …I think not.

    I wish you would have replied to a post made last year relating to how Long Sault is managed. Suffice it to say we will be moving to Central Ontario and turning our Long Sault home to an income property.
    I find it typical of your post to eliminate growth. If anyone wishes to view a preverbal waste of resources see what Tammy and associates have done in Long Sault. Look into the Brie (Business Retention and Expansion Program). How much did that cost tax payers? Why was the business input only provided by a select group?
    What about the funding provided by credit unions and which credit union does one of your Task Force members, Cindy Woods work for?
    Businesses helping businesses, people such as you stagnate growth….
    You have not created an Economic Development business plan since 2006.

    I think you should tend to your own garden before commenting on anyone else

  25. Dukers1, you are naive thinking that “clarity in advance” would guarantee the outcome. Read again what Leonard Jones, the late mayor of Moncton and Independent Member of Parliament for Moncton, N.B., had to say about what happened to the University of Moncton that was supposed to be a bilingual college:

    “But after the funds for the university were collected, and the college built, the attitude toward the city people changed. The school was no longer for persons of English-speaking origin. The school had almost overnight become a totally French-speaking institution. You can well imagine that these developments made the people of Moncton very angry.

    As is often the case with relatively new universities, the standards for admission were rather low at first, or so they said. But why did this mean that persons from Moncton area were being turned down over and above the Quebecois? “

  26. Helga – January 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I well appreciate your comment Helga and admit that my reason for the ‘clarity’ was in fact because I read the same article you refer to.

    YES..frightful isn’t it.

    Listen, the entire idea of a university is sound, appropriate and would be meaningful to the city of Cornwall, however, we are all in shock DUE TO THE EXCESSIVENESS of french at the Cornwall Community Hospital.

    The ranckor over that nonsense they put the English nursing candidates through was with total disregard the true NEED.

    That alone should wake up the neighborhood.

    Yes to, I as MOST others am NOT ati-french. I am totally in favor of jobs by the merit and language NEED.

    I have many franco friends who agree with the heavyhandedness the hospital admin place on its own city citizens in favor of those who were/are franco/quebec first.

    Are we a refugee community for heavens sake? Was that the reason we were screwed here and would well be so by Quebec professors wanting to abandon their quaebec jobs to take over a french university?

    A lot of unanswered questions here.

    The article Helga refers to did say that the New Brunskwick Univerity was to be a bi-lingual one……..the lie may also perpetuate here.

  27. I concur much of what Dukers1 and so many others have said here. Much of it is ’emotional’ while still much is factual, historical.

    We are all well aware of the Universities offering courses of study online. Fabulous. We are also aware that many Universities today in order to stay alive, are ammalgamating ;their fields of study and professorships.

    I believe this comity is also keenly aware of these facts.

    Here though is another one, we have the bricks and morter in place. We have such a low cost of living and a communicating city like no other. These two factors are vedry ‘inviting’ for any professor types to do financially well here without breaking the bank.

    Another issue but related to recent, or perhaps ongoing, is the continuing doctor shortage and difficulty the;y have with our administrative methodology related to the hospital. More again are leaving town for other cities. Perhaps we could transend this by offering teaching opportunities for them right here.

    This way they can become valuable General Practitioners as well as University Professors….or further, become the University doctor on site.

    YES, we do need a University, wrinkles and all. Cornwall MUST stand behind this comity, politics and all….because no other support group would ever be as close to closing this deal.

    Personally, I am far from one of the elite group, but anyone with any common sense can see through the fog of it.

    Thank you.

  28. Author

    Dave you can’t stand behind this committee until they come clean with what they really are trying to accomplish, no? Do we need another River Institute? Universities can be different things. I’d like to know why this committee has not shared its vision and why they are not writing the first cheque.

    Answer those questions clearly and then let’s talk.

  29. admin January 30, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Salient points Jamie. My take has been that all need to know that at least a measure of support would be behind their efforts before they put up or shut up.

    Being philanthropistsof the past and perhaps on going year to year {example bursaries for our high schools) I have faith in their desires to participate in major ways besides speechees and paper.

    Yes, admin. your questions are justified yet no one weould come up with their own money for a non participative ‘city’ commited venture kof this magnitude.

    We here as a majority English do much prefer that for those from quebec, they come with the need in mind to complete their ENGLSI studies in English.

    We are also keenly aware of the ‘trilogy’ of french surrounding our capital region, especially in parliament, with their drive via use of monies from taxation of all Canadians to frenchify the rest of Canada (ROC).

    Lots of questions for sure.

  30. Author

    Dave what also bothers me is the names on that list will get the credit if this moves forward, but it’s the every day resident of Cornwall that gets the bill.

    Sometimes I think our politicians and bureaucrats forget that. It’s very easy to “look” generous when you’re spending other people’s money.

    And when you spend other people’s money sometimes it’s a fine thing to consult with them and gosh, even occasionally ask them for feedback.

  31. Again Admin., your point is understood. Yet I say that if we grieved every Tom, Dick and Harry that had warts, we would never have survived this long. Cornwall would have been a forest ofd grass’s n trees n’ stuff.

    Difficult as it is for us, and I include myself in this. If we continue to badger, condemn and not condon, to demand and to prolong, we’ll be dead before we aquiese to progress.

    It purpuses us not to wonder whose name is on a plaque. You see here and their donners separate from initiators often are gifted a plaque of Titanium, Gold, Silver or even Bronze, if not simply equally inscribed on a larger plate of recognition. For heavens sakes, lets get the thing forward before running it down already.
    Said with respect and without predjudice.

  32. The steering committee chose a consultant in June, with a goal of 3 months for a report. It has been 3 months, where is the report?

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