Cornwall Chamber Forcing Candidates To Sign Facts Only Document Before Appearing at All Candidate Debate in Cornwall Ontario

JG Election 300x250-02  TESTCORNWALL Ontario – I’m facing a huge decision in this election.    The Chamber of Commerce, in spite of the letter from the Ontario Civil Liberties Association, is not backing down on its demands.

For the first time it is forcing candidates to sign a document to participate in the All Candidates Televised Debate on the 15th of October at the Civic Complex.

It essentially is a binding agreement for all candidates that appear and until this election has never been done in Cornwall.

Likewise none of the other debate events in our city involve signing such an agreement.

chamber agreement

While the form may seem innocent enough at first it’s the combination of the guidelines that truly make this a scary move that would make any fascist proud.

chamber guidelines

There are no definitions or devices to insure what is being asked.   What if a moderator accepts a statement made as factual that isn’t?  What if they decree that a statement of fact isn’t and actually is?  Their own employee, Mike Metcalf, just posted a letter to the editor in Past Chamber President Rick Shaver’s Seaway News that was filled with non factual statements. Will he be a moderator?

Why the last sentence for Mayoralty candidates and not for council?

Is this supposed to be a debate?  Debates get messy.  They include opinion.  According to the document that the chamber is forcing candidates to sign there clearly can be none stated.   Who will be fact checking and will the debates stop if a candidate challenges a fact?

As to apparel we’ve already covered that with Chamber President Kevin Hargreaves stating that the Charter of Canadian Rights and Freedoms doesn’t matter.     As a follow up I asked him what if a candidate wanted to appear in drag?  His answer?

Kevin Hargreaves Photo:Facebook
Kevin Hargreaves Photo:Facebook

 If the candidate lives their life among the LGBT community they can come as they normally would dress, no problem.

I know.  I couldn’t figure out that one either?  I asked him if candidates had to declare their sexuality before appearing at the debate and his response to that was short.

No and I’m done with this question.

One of our candidates is a lawyer and one is a paralegal.  Some running actually know better.   Surely if 31 candidates refused to sign this document a solution would be found but sadly as of yesterday when the chamber issued a final alert only myself, Leslie O’Shaughnessy, Todd Bennett, Davey Bedard, Bernadette Clement, Brock Frost, Greg Kielec, Elaine MacDonald, David Murphy, Gerry Samson, and Guy St. Jean had not returned their signed forms with October 6th being the deadline.

I’ve spoken to my advisors and some of my supporters, and all are pushing me to sign the document and appear no matter how much no elected official should ever sign a document as open ended as this.   Can you imagine signing an agreement with the Feds over our waterfront if it was worded like this?

Frankly the big issue isn’t the apparel clause.  For example if the Chamber had simply asked candidates to wear Black Tie or Business Professional there would be no questions; but this is more about someone wearing a message t shirt than anything else and that’s sad when you think about an organization doing that.    I mean if a candidate did that; or wore a clown suit the voters would judge them accordingly.

It should not be up to the chamber to favor one candidate or another; but it’s the stifling of free speech in a debate that’s of most concern and should be for anyone wanting to represent the greater good of the public.   Are we going to tell Chamber members who to vote for now too; or what to put on the menu’s of their restaurants or not to use pre-cooked frozen foods any longer?

I thought I’d ask our viewers what you thought about Mr. Hargreaves and the Chamber of Commerce first ever documents that seem created for one purpose only and that’s stifling actual debate?

You can post your comment below and vote in our poll.

To reach Mr. Hargreaves you can email him at or drop in at Kelsey’s (a Cara restaurant) to speak with him in person.

Should the Cornwall Chamber Revert to 2010 Debate Guidelines?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

Comment policy reminder 

CFN suggests you post comments using your real name. If you wish to post with a pseudonym you can register that user id by emailing with your name, address, phone number and user id you wish to register. 


  1. Do we have to vote for 10 councilors? I feel there are less than 10 qualified candidates, so I’d just like to vote for whom I feel deserves to be there.

  2. Hugger and Jamie and folks Cornwall is a small town and to have 10 councellors is a little too much. If Cornwall had a bigger population then I would consider to have 10 or more depending on the population. In my opinion Cornwall doesn’t need more than 6 or 7 councellors. I would also go with the ward system which is the best because it will make them responsible instead of just shrugging everything off and collecting a paycheque.

  3. Jamie when Bare Ass has his dirty paws stuck into every kind of committees then you know that this will not be a fair election. Bare Ass is nothing but a coward and I give him other names which you cannot print but believe me Jamie I have names that suit him to a T. I just need to listen to his voice and that is all I need. My dear man this is not going to be a fair election at all and that I can see it. Bare Ass is the CONMANDER IN CHIEF of the idiot chambers. I wish that more and more people knew about Bare Ass and his dirty tricks.

  4. Jules….we have to stop agreeing. It’s too bad you’re not in Cornwall. Between you and Jaime I’m sure you guys could start to clean Cornwall up.

  5. Hugger if I were in Cornwall I would scare the people to reality in what is going on and I wouldn’t need Jamie for that. I know exactly what is going on and the only way that people can cure all of this is to get strong mentally and physically and throw the entire clique out of town lock, stock and barrel. Jamie and I are two very different people and I am one who puts priorities first before luxuries. I am for lower taxes, good roads and sidewalks, good schools, good homes for people to live in and good parks. I love art as well and I am an artist here at home but that is not going to solve anything until the people themselves change and only they can change. I would give them the truth that Jamie doesn’t post. I am a tough cookie and I don’t take abuse but instead I give it back. That is my personality Hugger and at the same time I am as gentle as a kitten but with good people.

  6. Good luck tonight Jamie. Hopefully it will all be fair and nothing unsavory happens.

Leave a Reply