CORNWALL Ontario – Standard Freeholder editor Hugo Rodrigues is a bright man. In addition to being the editor of Cornwall’s oldest newspaper he is also the Director of the Canadian Association of Journalists which many would consider means that he performs to higher standards than say…..Todd Lihou of the Seaway News?
His latest opus is titled ” Move on, South Stormont” He enters the fray that he as editor helped stir by allowing the first letter to the editor to be used as a smear against the Mayor of South Stormont; Bryan McGillis.
The letter which made several statements of facts was itself not fact checked by the Sun owned paper as we exposed when I interviewed Mr. Neil Stewart, and published the recording of the interview.
Hugo flourishes using a reference to Hamlet which many in our area would think to be a wee bit of ham.
Council candidate Rick Currier and his wife Ruth were peddling a letter from South Stormont resident Neil Stewart, whose name was first embroiled into these petty politics in April when his letter appeared in a letter to the editor. Along with the Stewart’s latest letter came another from township integrity commissioner Robert J. Swayze.
Hugo doesn’t weigh into the actions further of the Currier’s or mention that the letter they successfully had distributed on social media was clearly stamped CONFIDENTIAL by Integrity Commissioner Swayze.
Other recent calls tie back to council’s controversial decision to award $10,600 in advertising to a new local publication. Deputy Mayor Tammy Hart’s refusal to follow the rules after council’s decision prompted her colleagues to file one investigation that resulted in censure.
Is there really anything controversial about a company deciding to start a newspaper in a community that seems to be growing and warrants its own voice? I would think not. And for that company; which is locally owned, and whose ownership has a successful history of serving that community; to bring an offer saving the township 20% over what it currently is paying a Quebec owned media firm to publish its bulletin?
Frankly I don’t see anything controversial about that in the slightest. However where was Hugo and the Freeholder when the Deputy Mayor released a clearly false memo stating that South Stormont News was getting start up grants and and loans when those were never asked for or discussed at any level? Something that the Deputy Mayor was sanctioned by her own council and then dinged by the Integrity commissioner with four weeks of salary as penalty for her repeated offenses?
And the irony is that Ms Hart; whose supporters are decrying the fact that there is an Integrity Commissioners voted to establish one.
Now that’s controversial.
A pox on all their houses, I say.
Well Hugo may have something here. South Stormont of late has truly exposed itself in many strange ways. The President of the South Stormont Chamber of Commerce, one Donna Primeau, whose own video store is for sale, has the Currier’s petition to kill the ad deal for The South Stormont News in her store; clearly not understanding what the purpose of a Chamber of Commerce is about?
When I was told that the chamber was folding as it’d shrunk to its basic board of five or six members I said “no way”, and am proud that the Chamber has now regrown in spite of the petty politics we’ve seen into a group of over 30 members. I’m proud of the role that myself and business partner Reg Coffey played in saving the Chamber.
However the negativity and pettiness we’ve seen from this mess between council and from the mess we’ve seen from Ms Primeau and her good friend Kim from Stokefire really doesn’t inspire people to want to help and grow. It’s tiring and tedious, odious even.
Cornwall politics are ugly; but what we’ve seen recently in South Stormont frankly is….uglier. And that’s a shame as there are some terrific people doing some terrific things; but sadly like in many places, good people don’t seem to know how to stand up to bad people.
And in the end the bad guys win because usually all bad guys want to do is tear things down. It’s not about winning for them; it’s about destroying communities, businesses, and people.
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