The Price of Bullying or Why Ryan Gosling Doesn’t Have a Lot of Nice Things to Say About Cornwall Ontario by Jamie Gilcig

hate imageCornwall Ontario – Today was wear pink shirt day about anti-bullying.    I think by now gosling cwallafter a day of talking about anti bullying most of you reading this know about bullying.  And yes, my pic on the left was on a site that is attempting to bully me into silence by stirring up a lot of wild and crazy stuff.

What I’d like to do is talk about the culture of bullying in Cornwall Ontario.   It’s systemic.   In the ten years I’ve lived in this town I’ve seen the deepest, ugliest and darkest sides and impacts of it.

While I can give you some of my experiences I won’t.  I’m going to talk for a bit about Ryan Gosling.  Ryan of course has become a major star in Hollywood.  He still comes “home” to Cornwall; usually around the holidays to visit his family.

There are a lot of people with Ryan Gosling stories.  Ryan was a bright sensitive precocious kid.  He had artistic sensitivities even as a child running to Montreal to do auditions, and eventually leaving Cornwall and making it big.  I get that, and although having done it in reverse, we both are probably the only Cornwallites who’ve ever had our work nominated for Oscars and yet….

Ryan was bullied.  I’ve actually met people here in Cornwall that smile and talk about themselves or family members “putting the beats on the little ………”   I won’t finish the quote but I’m sure many of you can figure it out.

There are some here in Cornwall that complain that Ryan doesn’t talk about Cornwall much publicly; but can you blame him?  Imagine if you lived in a city as a child and you suffered name calling and abuse.

From what people have told me they did or witnessed, I can only imagine what the happy faced boy in the video above must have felt.

Cornwall isn’t a city that cherishes its history much.  Many of our old buildings are long gone; just images on postcards.   There’s a nasty flavor and social caste that really isn’t productive.   For years the political movers and shakers, connected to the mills kept other businesses out of Cornwall or made it really hard; some say they still do; especially if you want to open a small business with some Restaurants taking 12-18 months to open while having to pay their rent or mortgages.  There are over 20 empty stores in Cornwall and there aren’t that many to start with which in itself should be a warning sign for our community.

What I’ve discovered most in my years living here is that the bullies and powers that be hate it when you stand up to them; but what’s weirder than that is when you stand up to them and knock them down harder than they knocked you,  they resort to lies, and some of those lies lead to people getting hurt.  False criminal charges, statements patently untrue that become grist for facebook and gossip, friendships break up from stresses put on the friends of targets like what happened to me this very day.

Where does that leave a community at the end of the day?   People should be judged by their deeds and actions.   They should be judged on the merits of what they can do, and do in fact do.  Not because they’re someone’s cousin or donated to a politician’s bag man.

For Cornwall to move forward we need to change the culture of our city from hate and bullying.   We need to stop punishing the victims for speaking out like what happened in Project Truth which was nothing more than a $50M cover up or with the three whistleblowing cases in the last few years.

We need kids like Ryan Gosling to grow up and want to say nice things about Cornwall Ontario.  We need to celebrate people like Ryan and make them want to come back for those celebrations.  I mean why isn’t November 12th Ryan Gosling Day in Cornwall?

And we if we’re going to fight over an issue we have to call a spade a spade and realize that some of our friends and family may not be perfect, and sometimes have to be called out for their crimes and yes, bullying.

The voices silenced are always worth far more than the ones remaining.

The choice of course is all of ours.  We can keep the status quo and chase more good people away like the half dozen or so that I know of in my tiny social circle here in Cornwall that are leaving, or we can choose to become a more inclusive, inviting, and a fair society and culture.   Believe me word spreads and frankly our rep can use some improvement.

That change starts with each of you who reads this.   And if you look deep in your hearts and minds, if you have either of those, you’ll know the answers and you’ll know what to do.

Nobody should go through what Ryan Gosling did, or I have, or a few others this weekend who tried to stand up to a small group of bullies on social media.

It’s time for change Cornwall.

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 River Kings


  1. You have captured exactly what is wrong with Cornwall,no vision,no possibilities for growth,Bullying starting at the top,how can we teach children not to bully when you they see so called adults doing it openly,shame on our Cornwall clique we can do better!! You can,t fix stupid but you can vote it out!!! Best of luck Jamie turning this town around to all it can be

  2. I don’t know where or from who(m) I heard about lobster syndrome, but it is fitting in many cases, not just small towns.
    If you watch lobsters in a bucket, a few seem to be fighting to get out, but usually are clawed and snapped at by other lobsters, bringing them back to the lower level.
    Be positive, hang around with others who are positive, but mainly, don’t share your goals with those who are not helpful or supportive.

  3. I think another good analogy is the human body. Mammals,including humans, generally have a class of pathogenic bacteria called enterobacteriaceae that live naturally in their body and are kept in check by our immune system. When the population of pathogens get too large then the body gets sick and possibly dies if corrective action is not taken. A city can be viewed as a living body with the municipal services reflecting the different internal systems that keep the body alive. The city needs pathogenic personalities to keep its ability react to economically and culturally challenges (immune system) functioning properly but too many of these pathogens and, well, we can see the results.

  4. Reg
    Interesting analogy!!! I LIKE IT

    What do you consider yourself? and who determines the difference between a social enterobacteriaceae and a pathogenic personality?

    If the body works in balance or society is with harmony is it wise to change one or the other or best to co habitat with in the system?

  5. Personally I would associate myself more with probiotic bacteria. I like to keep things healthy and moving even if it means stirring up a little fecal matter.

  6. I have never seen so much corruption in Cornwall’s politics as I see nowadays and bullying in schools is everywhere. Yesterday my daughter and I went out for a while and we came across her old elementary school here in Ottawa and she was talking about the bullying that she received from a few of the students as well as in Cornwall. Adults act like children a lot of the times and no wonder kids act out when they see their parents not mature nor do any discipline.

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