Yes, the CFN Boycott is an Election Issue in the 2014 Cornwall Ontario Election by Jamie Gilcig

cfn panic 180x150CORNWALL Ontario – Since December 2011 The City of Cornwall, and in particular Mayor Kilger, has led a boycott that has impacted CFN.  It was borne of a lie and has spread its tentacles wide and deep not only hurting our news outlet; but hurting the community and economy of our city.

CFN is an anomaly.   It’s not normal in a city of our size for a small independent newspaper (yes, CFN is an online newspaper; not a “Blog” as certain haters like to label us) to have the largest market share.

The fact that we tackle stories traditional media refuse to makes us controversial.   The fact that we have exposed some sacred cows has caused backlashes towards myself and those that have worked with CFN from our contractors to even those that supplied us to with services.

Heck one of our team is sworn me to secrecy for fear of losing their day job and they are not being paranoid.

Where did this boycott start?   It started with a comment left that was removed that allegedly hurt the feelings of Ed Lumley, Bob Kilger, and Paul Fitzpatrick.  It started from Gilles Latour losing his biscuit at Jim Brownell’s retirement engagement when he showed up late with John Earle to video tape the event and being stuck at the back of the room and screamed after that my “FAT ASS” blocked their shooting, when in fact I’d given up my seat to Mrs. Brownell and the Brownell family.

It spread one lie at a time including the statement in a city document that CFN and the Free Holder are filled with personal attacks and profanity.    And when I; unlike so many others, stood up to the attacks; some would say too successfully; led to charges that somehow I was a bully.

One by one our clients with ties to the city were bulled down; all with the usual story of fear to say “who” did the bullying and regrets.  Some of those are no longer in business.   One was essentially bribed away with a bunch of work; but after a year the work dried up and they were left on the outside again.

The Chamber of Commerce joined in too with one former President telling a city councilor that our radio station was a pirate and that they’d do something about it.  They left in scandal to Winnipeg.   Team Cornwall’s former President and Mayor Kilger’s bagman in the last election, Gilles Latour, was arrested for fraud.     He also uncannily,  and a bit drunkenly, told me our last election poll before the 2010 election was crap and then gave me the exact list of  winners in sequence…..two days before the election.

During this time of the boycott though our audience grew, and grew….and grew.    There was a tragic irony that while our audience grew our revenues shrunk to the point where we literally are hanging on from month to month financially.

We finally had to ad google ads to CFN; something I was very proud not to have done when we started because I didn’t want local businesses competing with google ads.  Now the irony is that local businesses using google ads that have historically boycotted CFN now grace our home page.

While the extremes of this situation are not common the theme is; that if media do their jobs they will pay a price in the loss of advertising revenue.

That this happens from tax payer dollars is wrong at every possible level.    The purpose of any government agency advertising is to inform the public and the same conditions should apply as any other tender process; ie the best value for the rate payer with a consideration for local support.   There have been issues with Mayor Kilger trashing CFN at a service club meeting; with Councilor Gardiner telling Seaway Tourism that the city boycotts us, and we won’t even start about the antics of Councilor Thibault.

In CFN’s case we have the largest audience in Cornwall and cost less to market or inform than either the Seaway News, Standard Freeholder, or Corus Radio.   There simply is no mathematical or business argument to support the use of tax payer dollars to advertise in those outlets and boycott CFN.

Our MPP for example had refused to advertise on CFN because he said he doesn’t believe in online advertising (maybe that’s why Mr. Hudak lost?) but he also has refused to advertise with South Stormont News, the other newspaper I own which is non gonzo and traditional.

In 2011 the city confirmed that we sent the website more traffic than all the other media while only being #7 on their money list.

In 2012 we still were number one from old archived ads during the first year of the boycott.  IE we sent the city more traffic while they refused to buy an ad from us than those that they were paying!

In 2013 we spent a year trying to get numbers from Maureen Adams from the City regarding the near $300K spent on advertising.  A city councilor even tried to help.  After numerous emails, phone calls, and chats at council I was emailed a freedom of information request by Ms Adams.

As we enter the 2014 municipal election this is definitely an issue.   It’s not at the top of the list; but it’s on the list.  Modesty prevents me from listing our many achievements and the list of issues that the people of Cornwall would not know about if not for CFN.

Those long time viewers know what we have accomplished; but a question that should be asked of anyone running for office this year is whether they would still support a boycott of CFN and frankly if that answer is yes they clearly are not putting the community first, and should not be elected to office.

What happened since 2011 should not happen in any community; especially to a local business.   While I am a firm believer in a free marketplace those decisions should be made freely and not at the threat of punishment by corrupt groups or elected officials.

One business was too frightened for us to write a profile about them because they were worried about losing a city contract.

The list of shame is long, and I may just publish it one day; but voters do have a choice once every four years and it’s a chance to fix old mistakes and hopefully steer the city to a better future.

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.

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  1. Hugger and folks about those tanks in the ground that is not a dead issue. Remember what happened in the US and I sent those stories to Jamie and he put them on his paper for all of you to read. If whatever is in those storage tanks leaks into the St. Lawrence river which is your water table and you get very sick or die this is a real issue. The same is true with those big tank trucks that are going to occupy the highways bringing that sludgy salt to Gatineau and Ottawa for the streets and those big trucks chew up the highways and are mighty dangerous to the traffic then you will all have something to say or if those tank trucks spill over the load or catch fire or whatever then you will all want to have something to say. If you do not go and speak up and throw Bare Ass and his lthugs out of office mighty soon then mighty terrible things will happen and I am not just typing this out to you I mean it fully. It is your duty to throw the bums out as soon as possible and there is no time to waste at all. I am just thinking at this very moment it is coming very soon folks. We are already in September 2.

  2. Admin,

    Exactly then what are we discussing then, a community issue, a personal issue or a political issue or all combined.

    Public Health should be public! If we are that public then we should not be denied any PSAs, updates or concerns regarding our health and issues in our community.

    Admin, I actually don’t see it as complaining but a matter of rights. This is not a complaint in the sense of what I see is a definite bias and even that alone is wrong.

    I feel issues that concern our community that come from the EOHU, Police and others should be made available as updates and media releases to CFN, not just the other paper.

    This is a fact because this is not taking place and is not based on he said, she said. This is happening daily as we read CFN and find out that the only access we have is from the other paper.

    This could go round and round in circles but I know you fully understand what I am stating.

    It is wrong! It is unfair and it leaves people denied their right to know.

  3. Admin,

    The people of Cornwall are certainly being short changed regarding many important issues.

    If something as basic and yet important to a community as general health care information is withheld, then what comes next?

  4. Admin,

    I have (just a few minutes ago) contacted the office of the Premier regarding this serious issue of our health and the lack of PSAs and other information that should and must be provided to CFN and all community residents from the EOHU.

    I have asked the Premier to please investigate this ongoing issue regarding the health of all community residents and need for CFN to receive all media releases from the office of Dr. Paul/EOHU.

    I have also asked for a reply to my mail and serious concern regarding this issue.

  5. Author

    OWC can you post where you emailed so others can see it please?

  6. Admin,

    Yes, certainly and with pleasure.

    I mailed to this address:

    As soon or shortly after you mail then you should receive an automatic reply back. In a few days or week/s, you then should receive a reply to your request.

    I have contacted Premier Wynne in the past months and did receive a swift reply back from her office regarding my request.

    Admin: If you have an outside e-mail (or if you wish) I can send you a copy of the mail sent out to the Premier’s office.

    Also, you do have my e-mail address if you wish to contact me.

    Thank you.

  7. Once again only the readers of another local paper are being given access to a news PSA from the EOHU.

    Does the EOHU not feel that the readers of CFN should be updated on this important Public Health media release regarding rabies in our community?

    It is quite obvious that the readers of CFN also have concerns regarding their health, their pets and local health community concerns such as rabies.

    This boycott has excluded and denied many of the viewing public their right to know and become properly informed from the EOHU.

    Isn’t it time that the EOHU protect all the Cornwall residents from harm via Public Education and awareness and not just some?

    September 3rd:from another local paper:

    Your Health: Protecting your family against rabies.

    Rabies is a serious concern, threat to your pet and a community issue.

    This is information from the EOHU that everyone has the right to know about.

    Unfortunately, readers of CFN will not be receiving this important Public Health news from the EOHU.

    This boycott could endanger the lives of many.

  8. Is there not one present council member or any potential future council member ready and willing to address this very serious issue of the boycott of CFN by the EOHU?

    Where are these council members who were so willing to address other issues that they felt were of great importance to our community, yet so far none appear concerned about this boycott on CFN?

    They were so willing to shake your hand and accept your vote though.

    Since this boycott is doing harm, in more ways than one, to local residents, should every council member, mayor, and others not share concern about this form of open discrimination?

    If there is obvious discrimination regarding issues that pertain to our health and community, then what will be next?

  9. A letter/e-mail was sent to the Mayor, Council and EOHU addressing the issue of the boycott against CFN and the negative impact it is having on our community.

  10. Author

    now if we could get another 99 it would be a great start !

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