Cornwall Ontario – Our fair city can be a simple and complex creature on any given day. The glass can be half full or empty depending which bar you’re sitting at.
Being a long time Mill Town certain political zeitgiests were entrenched. For example for years a certain politician had say over whether someone got a job with the government or not locally at just about any level. If your loyalty wasn’t clear there was no job. Same at Domtar and other factories.
The clannish-ness was thick. It still is in many ways here in Cornwall; but its power and influence have been waning as the economy has locally.
Gone are the Domtar’s with their good wages for those that never graduated high school. Gone even are the Star Tek’s where anyone and virtually everyone could be guaranteed a job as long as they could breathe, sit, and talk on a phone while occasionally hitting a button or two.
Ed Lumley and his heart stents still carry weight and power in Cornwall; just look at our Waterfront Development public meetings a few years ago for an example.
With the Waterfront being the sole hope of bringing prosperity to our downtown core and Le Village this tragedy in the making will set back Cornwall’s growth even more. Our population has hovered for over half a century at just under 50,000 with our economy just a quarter of nearby Brockville which has half our population.
Brockville had problems itself as it grew, but that city seemed more focus on pulling together like a family.
For example here in Cornwall when the news of the tanks broke The Chamber of Commerce took the lead; however that lead included not sending a release out to all media. In fact they forgot the most read and largest; certainly not a recipe for success generally.
We created a petition with a very simple question; asking the Feds to stop the construction of the tanks. After all there has been no public consultation or safety questions answered to date. Apparently not even with the city of Cornwall itself if you believe Mayor Kilger.
Likewise if you view the signature list missing are the current councilors; missing are anyone on the Chamber of Commerce board or staff and even Chuck Charlebois himself! Nor do you see the President of Team Cornwall, Gilles Latour.
Nor do you see such clique rah rah people as Chris Munro, Andre Pommier, Bob Peters, Gerry Benson, Roy Perkins, Michel Dubuc, Guy Menard, Joey Gault, Denis Merkely, anyone from Seaway Tourism, Jeanette Despatie, Graham Greer, Todd Bennett, anyone from Remax Realty who make so much money off of city and waterfront construction transactions, or many other noses in the trough types, or people from other media (as if there’s a rule that media cannot come together for the better of the city in crisis), or Rick Shaver or anyone that appeared in the Cornwall Living magazine, Ettiene St. Aubin, Diane Poirier, Claude Poirier, Phil Poirier, Alyssa Blais, John Earle, Carilyne Hebert, Brian Lynch, Elaine Kennedy, John Towndrow, Pat Finucan, .. .
Nor do you see anyone from the Waterfront Acquisition Committee of Cornwall nor the Waterfront Development Committee either.
Pretty bewildering indeed as the story itself we published has been read nearly 10,000 times in two days?
At times of crisis should be the time that people put their petty silliness aside and pull together like a good family. It’s what good people do.
I myself will be attending the rally in front of the construction site tomorrow at 1 PM. I could sit and grumble and say screw Lezlie Strasser for being such a wine addled ignoramus that shouldn’t be in charge of catching mice; but my community comes first. Cornwall cannot afford Chemical tanks on its waterfront now or probably ever.
It’s not about what’s legal or not. It’s about back door deals done in the dark and it’s about politicians caught telling porkies to those that pay their salaries. It’s about them knowing weeks in advance and then trying to act surprised and concerned when they most likely consulted and gave their crooked thumbs up.
Monday is a chance for all of us to pull together. The petition is too. My goal was a reasonable 1,000 people signing by Monday, and we are a long way from doing that which is sad for our community.
I guess some people just don’t care or some care more about their petty hate of CFN than working together to stop this disaster in the making.
Hope to see you Monday at the site from noon until 1 PM and Wednesday night at the Civic Complex and hope that more of you show your Pride and Love of Cornwall by signing our petition and showing the world that you are not just about self interest and grubby clique politics.