The Divisive Nature of Boycotts and How they Destruct a Community by Jamie Gilcig

Image of my vintage Lexus.

CFN – So I was chatting with a local car dealer today.   I think if it wasn’t for the BS of the Mayor’s near three year boycott of CFN, and all of the tentacles connected to it that we’d be friends.  We chat frequently and today I tortured the poor man.

I offered him a $1,000 banner ad for one month for $1.   We both laughed as he knows I do this every once in awhile to out those that participate in the boycott.     He’s also after my vintage and very very rare 1993 Lexus 400SC, and we’ve talked about swapping for a good used car as my ex wife’s work vehicle was serviced at his dealership and I know the quality of their work.

He voiced the words that he was worried that he might lose a few clients if he took that $1 ad.    I have to admit that he might, but I think he’d gain more.   He might even gain more customers than he might lose; but what he’d actually gain is showing others that he’s an actual bright independent business person who doesn’t follow the pack, but makes decisions based on facts, and numbers.  That he’s his own person who shows leadership in the community and won’t cow tow to some petty schnooks….

His head space is more common in small towns; but Cornwall isn’t a small town.  It’s a city of nearly 50,000 people.

Same thing with my bank.  CFN is the only locally owned media corporation.   We bank locally at a Credit Union that tries to brag about being local and how important it is to keep money local.  Yet they refuse to purchase an ad with us.  I questioned the CEO last Friday and he tried to spin some numbers, but I asked him point blank that don’t banks work with numbers and go by hard evidence?  And that  forgetting that CFN and my own personal account are members, shouldn’t the fact that we have a higher rate of viewership; offer more value, and better reach be reason enough to warrant some of the Credit Union’s business?

He didn’t have a professional answer for that because frankly there is none.   But I did check the Board of Directors and there were two gentleman from Agencies that either have hates on for  CFN or boycott us.   Are their personal issues with myself and CFN having them choose non business reasons and not serving the interests of the Credit Union membership?  That’s pretty unprofessional no matter how you cut it.  Should they be on a board of directors and behave that way?

This isn’t unique here in Cornwall.   There is such fear and petty hatred from the boycott that some businesses are afraid to have us do a feature story on them even.    Any business with a connection to City Hall or an agency  connected to a clique member treads carefully.

Denis Thibault, a city Councilor alleged to be the architect of the boycott sits as head of the Eastern Ontario Training Board.  We should be able to access his agency for business; but he doesn’t return emails addressed to him at the Training Board.

He does advertise heavily in the TC Media Seaway News.   He does have a column there, and he does in fact have the Seaway News Editor’s wife working for him.    Now is that not a bit conflicted?  A staffer at Le Journal shared that former writer Greg Kielec was let go because the city sent a message to le Journal  over his coverage of the scandals at City Hall.   In fact Mr. Thibault’s advertising in that chain for the EOTB might be charted by their coverage during Mr. Kielec’s stories and after he was let go.   The EOTB also advertises in some of Le Journal’s owners other newspapers in the region.

After he left the newspaper hired a city councilor to sell ads for them and lo and behold the taps seem to have been turned back on with the City purchasing new ads?

We have had clients who allegedly were told that if they wanted a permit from the city to kill their advertising with us.  We have had others threatened and bullied.  We’ve had contractors bullied.   One of our current helpers said straight out if their employer found out they worked with us they’d lose their job.   

And of course the common theme was that none of them would issue a statement or out who leaned on them for fear of retaliation, and frankly I can’t blame them as these are their livelihoods, and families.   They’re just trying to make a living and do their own thing and that’s one of the factors in  why we have so many empty storefronts in Cornwall.  The clique isn’t that big and they can’t support themselves, but what they don’t get is that people don’t just spend money because you tell them to.   And if you drive away people like me and others you just end up with a small area that doesn’t have the horse power to attract masses. You need diversity.  Killing it isn’t healthy.

What all this nonsense does is a create division in the community.    It creates fear, frustration.  It holds back commerce as the alternate media here is much more expensive, and of course it keeps us from hiring staff and expanding our foot print in Cornwall as there are so many hours in the day and if I have do the work of four people (as Claude McIntosh makes fun of)  instead of one or two then I can’t be working on certain projects or stories, or sometimes there simply aren’t resources to properly cover them.

In spite this utter nonsense CFN has maintained our grip on being the most read media in Cornwall, and we keep growing our audience.  Frankly my focus is always on content and building our audience, usually at the sacrifice of sales and selling ads as it seems just about anyone we hire to sell ads for us gets bullied and abused if they happen to hit a clique business.

As for that car dealer I have a hunch one day they’ll buy an ad from us.  I’m sure if they themselves weren’t afraid of the boycott’s tentacles that they’d have grabbed it today.  I could see it all over his face.  His sales manager even kept asking what the hook was?  There wasn’t any hook. It was a test of the dealer’s testicular fortitude and integrity.

This is what Cornwall is today.  The big question is what will Cornwall be tomorrow and if you wish to advertise or support CFN feel free to email me at  or you can phone at 855 444 1133.

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  1. I’d consider trading my 500 Ninja for your Lexus, but summer is almost here, and for sure a bike is way more fun than a car.

  2. Author

    lol, my days of bikes are long long gone Furtz 🙂 And you eat less bugs at 240 in the Lexus 😉

  3. I can’t see the people of Cornwall make the necessary changes needed if they keep this type of mentality going. Empty stores on Pitt and Montreal Road are not good at all and it shows something wrong with the administration. Yes the economy is in a very deep hole and getting a great deal worse but there is a great deal worse when you cannot make a business unless that clique agrees with you and dictates to you what you can or cannot do. Cornwall is really stuck and if the people themselves cannot change without someone telling them how to do that then nothing can. It has been way too long that this has been going on and it won’t change unless the people themselves make that change.

  4. speeding kills, 240 in a lexus. please refrain from making inappropriate comments like that

  5. Author

    wow, I only drive that fast in Quebec 😉

  6. Jamie !
    You mentioned Greg Kielec formerly associated with Le Journal who was let go by that paper for only one
    reason , that being someone in the Cornwall clique group put pressure on the paper, this man was getting
    under their skin and making them very uncomfortable . Greg was a 1st class reporter and that paper has
    gone down hill in my opinion since he left.

  7. Jaime, whyy not hire Greg?

  8. Author

    Hugger if I could afford to I would in an instant.

  9. My only advice to you. Take a day off and come back the next day.And say to yourself IM back let get this thing done.remember jamie we are only here on this planet once .GOOD LUCK .

  10. Author

    Great comment Fern! Cheers and thanks!

  11. this is a bit reminiscent of the roaring 20’s. all they need is a few gatts and guns, some muscle, and there we are,,, back to protecting our business with a cash outlay each month. refuseing or delaying service to someone because of who they advertise with is tantemount to refuseing to serve someone because of their gender or nationality. is this the way of the future? is this the way city council buys votes? by turning their backs on prospective businesses because of who the choose to advertise with!
    thugs, thats all they are and thats how they should be treated, bullies with the law on their side, they should be considered vandals where business people are concerned.
    building a business is no easy task and when you finally get to a point where you feel successful and the city pulls the rug out from under you when you need or want to expand is in my opinion,,, like putting their gun to your head.
    what will happen to those business people who vote contrary to their party when those business people want to build, god forbid they should have a fire, be burned out and try to put up a new establishment, only to be held up by red tape due to their vote.
    i am considering reopening a business here in cornwall, what will transpire when i apply for a business license.
    will it be delayed because of who i chose to vote for?

  12. @ john rothwell. That is why we have in Canada, a secret ballot.

  13. Jamie is Le Journal have anything to do with André Rivette? It is kind of foggy just now on my mind but it seems to me that André is doing advertising for this paper or am I wrong. If this man Greg was doing a good job then it goes to show you how low that the dirty low life clique can get. I want nothing to do with Cornwall to live down there and it is much worse than it ever was before at any other time in history. Never, and I mean never has anything been that bad at all since Bare Ass came in as mayor.

  14. Author

    Jules Councilor Rivette worked for Le Journal before retiring and is now working for them again, yes.

  15. RE: Greg. Kielec

    Greg’s untimely departure, from Le Journal was a terrible editorial loss to our area. Greg worked closely with our group (“WFC. Shadow Group”) and assisted us greatly in various issues regarding the Waterfront . Wishing you well my friend !

  16. Mr. Rothwell you are absolutely right in what you wrote. What Jamie is going through in Cornwall is something that I can relate to and mostly my husband. I have a book that my husband purchased a few days ago from an immigration lawyer here in Ottawa. In that book it talks all about the Chinese who had to pay a head tax and about the Jewish people being refused and so many things. I am reading it and I am at the beginning of the book and it was written by the lawyer and another man. Even our own Canadians are discriminated against for whatever reason. The worst discrimination are in the small towns like Cornwall and most immigrants do not stay in Cornwall but land there for a short while and leave for big cities. There is nothing in the small cities and no life for themselves and their children.

  17. I have to agree with Jules re small-town Ontario racism and bigotry. When I first moved into the Brockville/Gananoque area in the mid seventies, it was like a time-warp to Alabama in the fifties. Even today, visible minorities don’t generally stick around very long.

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