It’s up to you Cornwall. If the Cornwall Ontario Boycott Isn’t Cleaned Up by February 9th I Will be Selling Out by Jamie Gilcig

jg2CFN – Yesterday for the first time since CFN started in 2009 I truly felt like selling and moving on.

The bad guys aren’t so much winning as I’m a little discouraged at how the good guys react to bad guys, and those that stand up to them.

Covering Whistleblowers like Deputy Fire Chief Rob Hickley, Diane Shay, and a few others locally  sometimes is like looking in a mirror.

I see their stress and the toll it’s taken on them and it gives me pause to look at the immense beating myself and CFN have endured for over one year now, if not since our inception in 2009.

What bothers me most isn’t the bad guys; the Mayor Kilger’s of the World, or the Rob Ford’s;  the Bernadette Clement’s and David Murphy’s.   What bothers me most are the “Good People.”

The ones that will come up and thank you for what you sacrifice and then do nothing.   No letters or emails.  No protests.   No support really.    I don’t mean to sound ungrateful as I do appreciate the many gestures from the public….in private; but at the end of the day how do you fight injustice without resources?  How do you fight without funds against evil sleazy monkeys who use tax dollars to obfusticate their dirty deeds?  Does that make sense to anyone?  Is it any wonder why so few people are held accountable when our system simply is gamed for the bad guys?

When I started CFN I was told I was crazy.  An online newspaper in Cornwall Ontario; one of the least literate cities in Canada.  Cornwall is also one of the most difficult environments in Canada to start a small business with almost zero support unless you’re part of  the clique from any agencies locally.

Thibault WFFor example you had Denis Thibault, a councilor who also is director of the Eastern Ontario Training board, help get funding for Dream Builder Studios which was owned and run by Mark Owen; who was former Liberal MPP Jim Brownell’s campaign co manager.  The running gag was that Dream Builder was only fulfilling dreams as long as the grant money held out.  One of the staff (related to another city councilor) came to us looking for work bob-peters1because she was over 30 now and didn’t qualify for their funding.

Mr. Owen also benefitted from his friendship with Economic Development’s Bob Peters who pimped (at city expense) Dream Builder which now is much less of a dream with most of their facility rented out to non-arts related business.

Our first two years were a miracle.  Our numbers were dramatic.  We had some of the biggest businesses locally on board as sponsors.  It was and still is an amazing story to see a small near one man shop leap to number one in a market of over 45,000 people while competing with Quebecor, Transcontinental, and Corus.

Thomas Mulcair, in his office on one of my visits on the Hill couldn’t believe CFN was such a tiny outfit; yet we were and still are.

CFN was and is an anomaly.     I personally have written over 6,700 pieces in four years.   There have been over 30,000 comments by our users approved of manually.    There are over 1,300 videos on our You Tube channel that I’ve shot and over 10,000 images loaded used in those stories that I’ve loaded.

In May over 50,000 unique visitors hung out at CFN.  Our bounce rate according to our Google Analyticator over the last 30 days is only 3.87 percent which is INSANE.

We have stories that pull in over 30,000 page views in a day or two.

Yet our piggy bank has swine flu because of a conspiratorial boycott that stems from the Mayor out.     Ask Connie Vardy how she got her job at the Hospital Foundation?  Ask if the Mayor played a role?  Ask Roy Perkins, President of the Hospital Foundation about his actions for example, or if his business benefitted from the construction work on the Hospital project (at least in the first year) Could that be why after CFN landed a premium beer sponsor for the foundations  largest fundraising event of the year we were banned from attending?   This is the kind of insanity we have endured.  Free beer for 500 and then a banning?

I personally have been blocked from being on any city committees.   Who are on the Lay Committee that makes these decisions? People like Councilor Denis Thibault who may or may not have used his budget and connections with his day job to get another media reporter who covered the Kilger council scandal laid off.

We at CFN made an early choice not to have internet advertising on CFN.  We felt that if a local business bought a banner ad there should not be some big box competitor paying pennies to compete against them in a local newspaper no matter how wide our appeal.

That decision was a sacrifice we made to support our local market and something that was appreciated until the artificial impact of the boycott.  With our current traffic those types of ads would probably generate more funds than our local advertising.  But that’s not how you build a community.  A good community newspaper can help build local business and that’s important.  Local people supporting local people.  It’s immense.

We now are at a crossroads where CFN truly has to make decisions based on this artificial boycott and attempted strangulation.

I personally will not change our business model.  CFN has to survive on its merits.   If the good people and businesses of Cornwall want to run me out of town after what we’ve created here in Cornwall that’s what will happen.

It’s not about competing with other media.  If the Freeholder would rather put hatchet  jobs of me on their front page rather than real hard news that happens; that’s their choice.  If Tycho Manson at Quebecor refuses to have the Freeholder apologize when Claude McIntosh states outright lies that’s their choice.

February 9th is our 5th Anniversary.   If by that time things have not changed then my ownership position in CFN will be put up for sale.

At the end of the day if that happens it won’t be because of corrupt politicians like Bob Kilger and Bernadette Clement.  It will be because the “Good people” of Cornwall will have decided that they prefer corruption, bullying, lies, and the utter abuse of tax dollars to cover up scandal over scandal, and repeated conflict of interest  over transparency and accountability.

It will truly mean that Cornwall is toxic and darned happy about it too!

It’s that simple.  It’s up to the business community and people of Cornwall to decide what type of city the they want.

I’m listening Cornwall and so is the World based on the over 2,000,000 page views per month we’ve had all of 2013.

The days of fear have to come to an end or frankly they will get worse.  We have people that provide us with services for example who ask that we not share that they do for fear of getting fired or losing other work.

It’s time to push back and push back hard.

We have a list of agencies in this city that refuse to advertise on CFN for clearly non business reasons connected to the boycott as well.

After all, why would you want to pay more to advertise on venues with much less traffic?  Does that make sense?

For those businesses ready to move  forward feel free to call our line at 613 361 1755

We have a super special Summer offer as well.

And for those in the public that wish to support CFN via subscription

all you have to do is click the banner below and Paypal will do the rest.

It’s up to you Cornwall.  It’s your call whether I stay or go.

It’s your call what you want Cornwall Ontario to be.

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Please support all of our amazing local sponsors who deserve all of our support

for not only being smart businesses, but community leaders!


  1. Jamie you are our only source for getting at the truth behind all the corruption here in Cornwall,here is hoping that people open up their eyes & wallets to see what is happening.I have pledged my financial support to CFN but others must also before it,s too late,either donate cash or buy advertizing even boycott the business that have pulled away from CFN as I have.Pay now or have no say!!!

  2. It would be easy for viewers, when paying for an item to ask that retailer if they advertise on CFN. If the store hears it enough, well, who knows what can happen.

  3. Perhaps a list of companies that have pulled away from CFN or refuse to do business with CFN might be in order so that citizens can make their own choices on which businesses they wish to frequent.

  4. Author

    I agree Eric. Cornwall advertisers need that feedback from the public. It’s one of the things that they can do to help. Share our stories too on social media and make more people aware of this farcical and conspiratorial boycott of a local business by the city. Businesses should be able to choose where they advertise without fear of retribution over patio permits and such things…

  5. Author

    Stan I thought about that, but I think that could hurt local businesses that are suffering enough. Some have dropped business for real fear of losing large contracts like the Best Western that hosts many events connected to the city and Kinsmen.

  6. Jamie,

    The amount of traffic this website generates could easily earn CFN a nice chunk of change if you implemented Google Adsense or similar services.

    I know you mentioned you do not want to go that route, because of your focus on building the community and want to support local businesses by providing them the opportunity to advertise.

    But… why Jamie… why would you not use a hybrid model. Taking advantage of the residual ad revenue you would get from services like Google and couple it with still allowing local ads to be displayed.

    This hybrid model would provide you great cash flow via Google Adsense ( leaving you free to focus on stories, and diving deeper into the mysterious world of cliques and back door deals here in the city), thus building this community.

    Don’t feel that you are doing anything less then building the community by shifting your revenue model. By exposing the truth of what is going on in our city and shedding light on the dark characters involved, you ARE building the community — whether by support from local ads or not… that is great enough in an of itself.


  7. Author

    What you say is dead on Jason. It’s something I’m already being pushed into doing. And yes at one point I could revert to just local ads, but there’s more to this than just our ads and survival.

    It’s about community and the community that I live in. I’m not an exec sitting in Toronto and Montreal and doesn’t give a crap about our city. I live here, right in Downtown Cornwall.

    I want my community to care enough about itself to not sit in fear of a few bullies.

    Is that wrong? Maybe on certain scales, but it’s time for some of our community leaders to stand up and show which side they’re on.

  8. …perhaps it is time for you to run for office, and start changing it from the inside out.

  9. Author

    Jason I have been urged to do that for over three years now. I’ve even had people offer to start an election fund or donate (which I’ve refused) I’m not sure if that’s the best application and I’m not sure I’d want to make the sacrifice of serving if the community doesn’t care about itself. You are in politics to either help your community or help yourself. There’s no middle ground. I would have to see some real public desire and action to clean house. The only way I’d consider running is if there were a slate of candidates that wanted to change the status quo. Accountability, transparency; the public being allowed to ask questions at council meetings. I don’t want to be part of something that isn’t progressive and positive. I’m would not be there to do back door waterfront deals as our mayor seems to be and now is on the Waterfront Committee.

  10. the truth is something Cornwall resident’s don’t want to read about. People of Cornwall just don’t give a dam who loses their job, People in Cornwall just don’t give a dam if a 10 year old manufactures their products. People in Cornwall just don’t seem to have the intelligence to understand the economic pressures on small business in this city. I hope everyone who shops outside Cornwall looses their job, then, it will be too late to care.

  11. “ The darkest places in hell
    Are reserved for those
    Who maintain their neutrality
    In times of moral crisis.” – Dante Alighieri

  12. First off, insulting the people of Cornwall by stating they are illiterate is not a way to receive their votes. If you state it tell us fact, who said it or don’t print it! Second, Don’t go on and on, facts and to the point makes a story more interesting and intriguing. Next, involve the public, make them feel the story is affecting them in some way. Going to print with the matters of the city I bet you could push the standard out altogether! The standard sucks, poor grammar and spelling. As well it prints only what they want not what matters to the general public and also how many jobs they took when they left Cornwall to print in another province. That was disrespectful to the citizens of this city. The standard will not print any mis-steps of the police nor city council nor the city workers or any subject in those regards.
    Do something to make yourself matter!

  13. Author

    Sharon I am not seeking the people of Cornwall’s votes. CFN already has their eyes which in some cases have finally opened to some of the strange and bizarre antics going on.

    Thank you for your comment though.

  14. Good bye. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

  15. Here’s a story you can print and even have proof…Find out how the Hospital was allowed to build a smoking hut on the property in the back but still on hospital property yet no one has told them they are breaking the law…Smoking on hospital property is against the law. You as an individual I dare you to stand on hospital property then fight the fine you will receive! Where is our law enforcement. I do credit the nurses and some of the other employees who don’t smoke on the property but sorry that building needs to be removed.
    Another story is the Big Ben ski hill…Why hasn’t that been removed…It’s a garbage dump full of methane Gas and pollutants. I’ve written to everyone who should be concerned yet no one prints it. This ski hill is killing people and no one cares. I hate if that methane builds so bad that the crap underneath catches on fire or blows. Are the people of cornwall gonna do something or sit on it till something happens? I certainly want answers and want people to take action! Print these stories!

  16. I was trying to make a point with the insult of “the people of cornwall are iliterate”! A statement like that can turn the people away that you already have in your corner and this is why I mentioned you should state who said it so people don’t make an assumption.
    What I hate is the people who put 45000 plus citizens in the same category.

  17. Author

    Sharon Cornwall does have low literacy rates. It was a mill town; not Oxford. It isn’t a personal slight or name calling. It’s the stats and luckily there are many who are working hard to improve those numbers. Cornwall recently was called the crotch of Canada on CBC radio. CFN has been trying to work to improve the image of Cornwall. I even offered the city to produce two promo videos for the city but was rebuffed by Mr. Peters and Boileau. As someone who’s work was nominated for an Oscar that’s not a shabby thing; but they were busy spending over $2M trying to cover up scandals and run me out of town…. We have to work together to improve not only the image of Cornwall; but the reality. People see what’s happening to CFN from outside of our city and just shake their head. Many of our subscribers come from outside of Cornwall and frankly their subscriptions help keep the lights on some months thanks to this bizarre boycott of a locally grown business.

  18. Jamie,

    Am writing in to show you my support and to thank you for all the up hard work you do, each and every day!

    You are appreciated:)

  19. I think that the people of Cornwall have to live in a very big metropolitan city in order to change and it would shock all of you where it isn’t as safe as what you have in Cornwall day or night. You have to be shocked and put in these tiny bird cages of apartments where you don’t have a yard or anything and the cost is astronomical in order to appreciate what you have and fight to keep it. You are lazy as can be and you want to stick your heads in the sand and don’t care as long as you get your beer and your welfare cheques. Well life is not at all about any of that – you have to work hard to get somewhere and that kind of life is useless. Jamie you are the best and if you leave I won’t read one thing what is going on in Fossoli and I give you my word and I always keep my word.

  20. Good riddance. You caused your own problems with ads. Real journalists do not create or involve themseleves in stories. It’s clear from the beginning you have no intention of doing anything to help Cornwall. You’re no different than the woes-is-me population of Cornwall who complains but does nothing. Any personal failures are blamed on other people rather than being accountable to yourself.

  21. I do not think you should give up Jamie as I believe this city needs your reporting more than ever. A quick question, if you do sell or close up shop what about the people that paid for a year..they are left with no paper after giving money to you? Also with people paying does not that make the word “Free” in Cornwall Free News kind of mis-leading. As it would not be free for all? Just wondering…

  22. Author

    Ebm CFN will not be closing. That is not on the table or in the cards. We had three inquiries alone in the last two months including one yesterday asking if we’d sell. When you have an audience as large as CFN’s it’s not something you ever disrespect or throw away and we value each and every one of our subscribers more than you would imagine.

    Like the story says; if the Boycott BS isn’t over by February 9, our 5th Anniversary, I will be selling my shares/interest in CFN. I think that’s more than enough time for this community to truly decide if they want my efforts to continue. I have no interest in being a martyr or playing the lead in a remake of High Noon. The community of Cornwall will decide if I’m the next Perry Dunlop or not. February 9th will have been five years of toil and labour trying to fill a void that many felt was needed in our community.

  23. And exactly what have you done Jessica to make Cornwall a better place; a better community?

    I write this in support of Jamie who has exposed many of Cornwall’s skeletons in the closet. He (Jamie) has covered many, many countless stories that would have never seen the light of day had it not been for his and Don’s coverage.

    For Jessica, if you cannot see the real good that Jamie and others have done in Cornwall through CFN’s coverage than you truly do deserve to drown in the cesspool that has become of this city by the river.

  24. Jamie after 2 businesses and 24 years in Cornwall i finally have left this infected city hopefully never to return , i have watched them destroy the east end,kill off whatever culture that we had , to be made into a giant instiution to service all of eastern ontario .
    I know countless people who have moved here and are very dissapointed in this city, was not there expectations, and a few have moved out .
    I don’t want to bore you with a long conversation so i will tell you what a business women in Montreal describe Cornwall as community that strives on poverty, and when your a bottom feeder
    they never want you to make it to the top.

  25. “silentfrancoamerican” I am with you all the way and more. I lost my life living in Cornwall and it was a nightmare to live there. I am in heaven here in Ottawa compared to Cornwall and will never ever again live in such a place. If I want a small town I will look elsewhere but never in that nightmare place ever again.

  26. We won’t do business in Cornwall, nor mention it in any productions….it is blacklisted from major productions. Any filming is referred to as “Seaway Valley!” You lose Cornwall!!!

  27. Not cool Jamie. Perhaps instead of referring to the good citizens of Cornwall as illiterate, uncaring, ignorant and naïve you may find a more positive response if you published some of the good things that also happen in Cornwall.

    Did you know that volunteer service awards were bestowed upon hundreds of individuals from Cornwall and surrounding area just last week at a ceremony at the Best Western? In the room, the volunteers being honored had contributed 2,217 volunteer years to the community…correct me if I missed it but I looked for it on your page…didn’t find it. I thought that was front page worthy.

    Did you know there is an animal therapy program on the go at some of the seniors homes in the city? Caring people and their pets go through a training program and then visit the homes on a regular basis to provide some enjoyment and happiness to seniors.

    Have you interviewed any of the heroes at the Royal Canadian Legion to ask why they love living in Cornwall and being Canadian? They have a lifetime of experience in fighting for the right, standing tall and proud shoulder to shoulder. Their stories and experience could shine a ray of hope on some of these current issues.

    You can’t blame the citizens of Cornwall because you chose a business model that won’t support itself. If you truly want to bring the news to the city, bring all of it. If you truly want to be in business past February 2014, then change your business model to support itself.

  28. Author

    Fred I didn’t refer to anyone as you just suggested. It’s in statscan numbers. We do have a lower literacy rate in this town.

    And we have a high rate of people that get their pants in a bind over the truth which also isn’t good.

    Did you know Fred that if some of these groups don’t send us a notice of an event we do not know of it to cover it?

    Do you also know that many of the charities in Cornwall sadly are run by people who simply are an extension of a particular city hall click?

    Did you know that the first two years of CFN’s history we’d cover a charity event and sometimes be the only media that showed up while some of these same charities would buy ads on the media that didn’t?

    Did you know that when it simply was pointed out that if they liked our efforts, which they shared that they did, that they consider sharing their tiny budgets with all media that many of them were incensed and that as tiny as some of their budgets were and are that some of their board members own larger companies with bigger ad budgets?

    I don’t blame the citizens of Cornwall of anything. I do hold some particular citizens and groups accountable for their actions and nasty antics which judging by our viewership and the vast majority of feedback we receive is most supportive.

    Did you also know that I work over 100 hours per week? I’m not looking for sympathy or even empathy; but I can tell you that any editor has to pick and choose the stories they publish based on time and resources.

    And finally Fred did you know that we have a counter on every single story and page on CFN and sadly the ones that the most viewership have the very least to do with some of the fine efforts you mentioned above?

    Here is our MISSION STATEMENT. I would suggest that if you read that see if any other media outlet in this city is more committed to the community? But it’s a two way street and if individuals prefer to support a boycott out of fear or other reasons that is their choice. That is our community. That is Cornwall.

    What are you going to do to change it?

  29. Jamie ,

    Sadly for Cornwall most of its citizens talk ,but very little actions beyond that .

    To promote a better community one must get off the couch stop watching those apparent reality TV shows and be proactive.
    I truly admire those citizens that commit their leisure time to volunteerism and community involvement .

    I would like to thank your own Don Smith for as he commits so much of his time for his community. Thanks Don.

    We are a generation that has the most leisure time in history ,yet commit very little time to community involvement,and yet some wonder why there is so many societal problems.

    Step away from your TV ,your Social Media and get community involved!

    An hour to volunteerism may be a little of your leisure time ,but may have a big impact for your community.
    Perhaps get involved in city meetings to get a better understanding of your community .
    Join a protest to at city hall to promote community awareness of local political functioning.
    These are but a few of many ways you can promote and improve our community ,never say you cannot make a difference ,for those little acts often have unforeseen benefits.

    I contribute my time and passion when I can to promote positive change in my community through activism .
    You as citizens can find your own passion to serve and promote your community.

    Take care my fellow citizens.

  30. Fred for all your negative statements here pointing out the numerous events that we didn’t cover, you seem to have approved of our coverage and interview of Diane Shay.

    Did you send comments to the other media asking them why they didn’t cover the story? Did you ask them why they are silent on the other whistle blower issues? Why they didn’t report on the waterfront issues until after they read it here? Why they don’t report or even acknowledge the protesters outside city hall? The other media have quite a few staff reporters to cover these stories but they don’t. We have a full time Jamie.

  31. Jamie when I was a teenager I volunteered at both the General Hospital and the Hotel Dieu Hospital and my picture and name was put in the “toilet paper of record – SF”. I did this work for 5 years and put in long hours so as to help others. Other groups in other volunteer circles were more honored than what we were and we were at risk of diseases. I had to fight with my family to do this kind of work since they did not approve. When it came time to get work in Cornwall we did not get any paid work but only those who had people pull them in. I left Cornwall after graduating from high school and my parents said no more and no more it was for me to do something for nothing. I would have liked to help out but Cornwall’s mentality is way too far behind for me. I have to be in a city where people’s minds are up to date. I agree 100% and more with you and I sure do know that the people of Cornwall deserve the kind of government that they get because they are way too lazy to change and are stuck in front of “satan vision” aka TV.

  32. Look uh…I can see that you are surrounded, out numbered, out gunned and under attack. The problem is, that you are right. No need to surrender. Don’t look to friends and family to help you. Strangers are your only aid. History constantly tells us that, one man can make a difference. Meanwhile you are on your own. Welcome to the club. It’s going to get much worse. Fascism is way more popular than freedom. Intellectual frauds have found firm footing in the city. The people of Cornwall are getting shafted every day. They feel helpless. Tough.

    The Mayor’s salary is ridiculous. Move it to 35 K and I’ll come back and take the job.

  33. Sometimes It’s not about the pot of gold. It’s about beating the leprechaun!!!!!!

    Please send me boycott list.

  34. One thing about Cornwall Jamie is that it is like digging into a mystery novel and finding out plenty of skeletons to unearth. For such a tiny town it has plenty that is hidden and yes people hate to hear the truth even in the big towns. The difference is that in big cities people don’t know one another and you might be shocked or surprised to see someone say hi to you and right away you know that they are usually from somewhere else.

    There is a good quote by Antoine de Saint Exupery an author from France and it is a well known quote and I wrote down plenty of them but this one really rings out.

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

    People have to look beyond what they see or have and make a better place to live and work and it takes everyone’s effort. You cannot rely one a few people to do things for you and you must do it yourself as well as to teach others about responsibility and give them a good education so as they can utilize what they have learned.

    Jamie would put Bare Ass to shame and Bare Ass would not come out to debate Jamie since he would lose and be a laughing stock in front of everyone and he knows that.

    Keep up the good work Jamie maybe a miracle will come around for people to really wake up – who knows I am not holding my breath. Things have been going on for way too long and the people have been trampled on and they just let the politicians and others walk all over them.

    Cornwall along with Hawkesbury have the lowest literacy and the lowest incomes. I blame the system for keeping people down. The education system sucks since it isn’t the real education and the really good education is what the “elites” are taught in the most exclusive schools. Not only Cornwall has to change but the entire world.

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