Thoughts on Council Raises & Police Checks for Cornwall Ontario Council by Jamie Gilcig – DEC 18, 2014

jg2CORNWALL Ontario – I’m going to pay a rare compliment to our city council.   Maybe rare shouldn’t Leslie Mayorbe the term.   Because of the weirdness that was the Kilger council of the last term there was very little to compliment our elected officials about.  Nearly half of our current council are from that last group; but at least a first baby step has occurred under new mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy.

One of the worst things about the last council was the appearance of the dress rehearsal before council.  It seemed like bad Russian theatre to watch the meetings roll out with what seemed to be staged questions and issues answered.

Watching video of Tuesday’s meeting it appeared that this council just might have to work without a net; at least for part of the time and that’s a good thing.    Kudos to Mayor O’Shaughnessy and council and hopefully this will help some of them learn some much needed communication skills and the realities of transparency and accountability.

New councilor Brock Frost announced that he’ll be delaying presentation of his first salary cheque from council to local charity.

Criminal Back Ground Checks – this has been a feel good discussion; but it’s looking to be a big sucking pool of energy. There are of course different types of checks.  CCPS offer three types.

Interesting enough the CCPS have this warning before filling out their online service.

NOTE: We do not recommend that you attempt to use this system if you:

  • Have lived in Canada for less than one (1) year, and/or;

  • Are under the age of eighteen (18) years, and/or;

  • Have no established personal credit history – i.e. no credit cards, bank loans, mortgage, etc. – that is required in order to authenticate your ID using EIV

Of course this would eliminate some immigrants and most of the poor who do not have a credit card from participating in committees.  Also, those under 18, on the Youth Advisory committee would be out of luck as well.

police checks

A CRC, which most would be applying for unless dealing with the Vulnerable sector is defined by the CCPS as

Criminal Records Check (CRC)

This check is intended for applicants who are involved as a volunteer, employee or in any situation where a basic PCRC is requested (i.e., retail or immigration). This check is NOT intended for applicants who are seeking volunteer and/or employment with vulnerable persons.

The Police Criminal Record Check will include the following information:

  1. Criminal convictions (summary and indictable) from CPIC and/or local databases.
  2. Outstanding entries, such as charges and warrants.

The Police Criminal Record Check WILL NOT include:

  1. Absolute and conditional discharges.

  2. Current judicial orders, including Peace Bonds, Probation and Prohibition orders under the Criminal Code of Canada.

  3. Convictions where a record suspension (pardon) has been granted.

  4. Convictions under provincial statutes.

  5. Local police contact.

  6. Ministry of Transportation information (PARIS).

  7. Family Court Restraining Orders.

  8. Foreign information

  9. A Vulnerable Sector (VS) query of pardoned sex offenders to ascertain if the applicant has been convicted of and granted a record suspension (pardon) for any of the sexual offences that are listed in the schedule to the Criminal Records Act (CRA).

  10. Any reference to incidents involving mental health contact that did not result in a conviction.

  11. Charged and processed by other means such as Diversion.


A Vulnerable Sector scan includes:

The Police Vulnerable Sector Check will include the following:

  1. Criminal convictions (summary and indictable) from CPIC and/or local databases.
  2. Outstanding entries, such as charges and warrants, judicial orders, Peace Bonds, Probation and Prohibition Orders. As per CPIC policy, information obtained from the Investigative Databank must be confirmed and authorized for release by the contributing agency.
  3. Absolute and Conditional Discharges where still within the applicable disclosure periods.
  4. Family Court Restraining Orders.
  5. Charged and processed by other means such as diversion.
  6. Dispositions including, but not limited to, Withdrawn, Dismissed, and cases of Not Criminally Responsible by Reason of Mental Disorder.
  7. A review of all available police contacts including but not limited to theft, weapons, sex offences, or violent, harmful or threatening behavior.
  8. As authorized for release by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Criminal Code convictions for sexual offences for which a record suspension (pardon) was received, identified as a result of a Vulnerable Sector verification search.

The Police Vulnerable Sector Check WILL NOT include:

  1. Convictions under provincial statutes.

  2. Ministry of Transportation information (PARIS).

  3. Suspect information that would hinder an ongoing investigation or where the suspect has not been spoken to.

  4. Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) information beyond the applicable disclosure period.

  5. Any reference to contagious diseases.

  6. Victim/Complaint information will not be released unless under exceptional circumstances.

  7. Foreign information.

  8. Mental Health Act terminology (refer to Ontario Human Rights Considerations).

That’s a lot of information; information that is not required by the very people making the decisions as to ends up on a committee, our city council and in particular the new lay committee; Mayor O’Shaughnessy, and councilors Clement, Hebert, Murphy and Dupelle.

At the meeting some key comments were made.

Elaine MacDonald called it Draconian and compared it to a Police State.   As repugnant as Ms MacDonald can be that was very entertaining.  If she was more professional I’d love to hear from her how she visualizes that statement.

Maurice Dupelle said that nobody on Cornwall Youth Committee has a check and he in fact doesn’t feel comfortable being on that committee unless there are.  He said we’re way behind the times and he may be right. Glen Stor Dun Lodge requires checks of its staff.

Brock Frost strangely enough cited the Charter of Human rights.  He seemed quite happy during the election when the Chamber of Commerce violated candidates rights over attire and speech; but feels police checks could be potential for adverse human rights issues.  Of course Mr. Frost himself has a criminal record for his DUI and may in fact end up extradited to the US over his Real Estate dealings in Nicaragua.

Should Council, Staff, and Committee Members Have Police Checks in Cornwall Ontario?

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Rescinding of Salary Raise for Council.

This was the 800 pound gorilla in the election for some reason.   Elections can be strange, especially in this part of the world.  Most of those that voted for the raise were dumped and those that made it lost a lot of votes.  Councilor Rivette was one bad story in CFN away from finishing behind Guy St. Jean.

Oddly enough this was not brought up at the first council meeting and even more oddly there was a mass of confusion as to Councilor Dupelle’s motion; chiefly as to when it was submitted to council and why Elaine MacDonald felt like it was dumped on them at the last minute when Mr. Dupelle tendered the motion to the clerk after the first meeting?

Elaine simply doesn’t support it.  Her multiple pensions must not be keeping her in really ugly footwear.   She demanded more lead time, and actually suggested that they needed more info after all the reports and consultant work done in the last election.  It was bizarre to watch; but then Ms MacDonald usually is.  She wanted data going back further than ten years for some reason.  She cited that someone on minimum wage should be able to quit their job and survive on the honorarium that council receives.    Frankly that was an odd one for a multitude of reasons.  She also was upset at the wording of the motion stating that a majority of council wanted to kill the raise.  She may be trying to fill former councilor Glen Grant’s shoes…

It was interesting to see Councilor Dupelle counter her suggesting that perhaps she should have read her agenda.

andre bernieCouncilor Rivette went on an on about how much work and value councilors provide for little money.   He clearly was sticking to his position and grasping at any reason to support the raise.

 I’m not sorry for voting for salary raise

He continued battering out points;

It was done properly, by consultant, all I”m saying is nobody has done it for person gain.   We wouldn’t have been doing our job if we didn’t give it (the raise)  We’re not doing it for the money.  Points to private meetings and all the work that they did.  let’s not go around saying that councilors are bieng greedy.  That’s bull.  I haven’t had one person say that Andre you’re being greedy.  Put your name on the ballot.  Walk a mile in someone’s shoes.

Councilor Clement veered hard right away from her far left compadre and disagreed with both Rivette and MacDonald.  Of course she earns a higher salary as a lawyer than both other councilors.    To her credit she reiterated that she had told the former council that they didn’t need to hire a consultant.  She didn’t agree with the amendment and that they didn’t  need to spend any more time on the issue and vote on it now, yes or now and not waste any more time   She was right.

Justin Towndale also just wanted to vote vote on the issue.  He made the valid point that they had plenty of time to discuss this on the campaign trail. Council is not a part time job. It’s not meant to replace a full time job.  He also cited that 29 ran for council. No problems attracting talent.

Frankly council should not get more than a Cost of Living increase.   I do see the issue however of our honorarium being well below the median.  I think a refreshing and simply alternative would be to give Council a $1,000 bump per term in addition to the CIP until reaching the 50th percentile if they can tow the line on taxation.      IE no tax raises.   Anyone, even elected officials should not get a raise unless they’ve earned it.

What do you think Cornwall?  Should council keep most of the candidates promise to rescind the ridiculous raise given by the Kilger council?

You can post your comments below.

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  1. Criminal checks….a big use of resources that will reveal what?? And who pays for the criminal check?

    Raises….they should get the same as they give the city employees. But nowhere near 40%, 40% to play catch up? I don’t think so. Why were raises not discussed in the years that the catch-up is supposed to cover? If they don’t like the pay then don’t run for council….it’s pretty simple actually.

  2. When someone refuses a police check it means that they have something to hide. Here in Ottawa a police check is done before you get hired. You can’t even work at MacDonalds and such places without being well checked over. The employment agencies are the very same way you have to get well checked before you are hired. This is of upmost importance.

    Some years ago when we were in Cornwall one girl who was known to the cops worked with my daughter in a fast food place and attacked her and she didn’t want to do her part of the job. My daughter called the police and it went to court. The girl still kept her job that is how mighty backward Cornwall is. Since we have been in Ottawa things are so much better and I cannot say one bad word about it here at all. We are living in a civilized city with so much and of all the years of being married 40 years not counting the years of my single life this is the very best there is. Cornwall takes a back seat to all other cities and towns in Canada.

  3. How ironic. When a consultants report does not support the general position of council it is tainted when it does they (the consultants) are next to God.

    I thought Elaine MacDonald was NDP, has she changed political stripes?

    Glad to hear that Ms. Clement seemed to have a straight forward opinion without apparent coaching.

    There is one councilor per 4,500 residents which is likely one of the lowest ratios of responsibility for a city anywhere in Canada. A rate of inflation raise would be fair.

    A criminal check costs less than a case of beer I believe and is usually paid for by the individual being screened. It is a routine procedure that is simply a commonsense and reasonable request. Need I remind anyone these councilors are responsible to the taxpayers for the safe dispersion and management of public funds. Personally I would prefer not to have a thief in this position of trust.

  4. I believe councillors and the Mayor do need a raise. When we see how increases with Firemen,Police Department. Emergency Services mostly via Ontario Legislation to match up other cities. Our local union city workers have had substantial raises compared to council and dare we talk of the Sunshine list of administrative department heads and CAO’s very well paid.

    We continue to beat up the Mayor and Councils potential increases as out of line and ‘yes’, 40% would be out of line IF IT WAS ALL AT ONCE, AS IN ALL IN THE VERY FIRST YEAR, BUT IS NOT.

    I would suggest a serious consideration of applying an 8 year vision of equalization to level out to sister cities throughout the province.

    If we continue on the road of thumbing down their pay increases we would indeed be dumbing down on qualified persons to run our city.

    Anyway, that’s how I see it. Take longer to do the deed, accomplishing fairness where it truly is over due.


  5. Well done Jamie!! The issue of police check is something that anyone should pass!! In any case, it is of the public domain to know if someone has a criminal record!! As for councillors raise, it was well documented during the election that the raise with the previous mayor and some councillors now defeated was not supported by the public in general!! So what is the point now?? Like you said, the raise for councillors should be accordingly to the cost of living raise!! Let say that they would also received a bonus as being elected and working for the public!! But not anything else!! As for Rivette, this man knew it was a big issue at the last election and has been almost out of the last position to be elected as a councillor!! He should know by now that the role of being a councillor is what it is!! If he do not agree about the previous salary and the charges related to being a councillor, he just need to resign and find a better pay job!! Same for the previous councillor like Elaine McDonald!! Knowing what Rivette has’nt done when he was sitting on the health board, when some issues happening with restaurants, he should be happy to still being on the council!!

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    Comment policy reminder

    CFN has a new comment policy. You must use your real first and last name. As well if your email bounces we will terminate your posting privileges.

    We value all input from our amazing CFN viewers and are always trying to improve the viewer experience which includes making this a safe, informative, and entertaining platform.

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  7. Dave Windsor said “Our local union city workers have had substantial raises compared to council” 2% is “substantial”? Not in my books.

    David Oldham…I don’t believe the criinal checks will appy to city council. Too bad it isn’t. And Elaine MacDonald will never change political stripes or understand conflict of interest rules.

  8. So Hugger1 let’s have a look…criminal checks may not apply to politicians, no real surprise there. You do not have to live in Cornwall to be a mayor or councilor, that makes perfectly no sense at all. You do not have to pay Cornwall municipal taxes to be involved with budget decisions which ultimately result in increases to taxation, where is the vested interest in that?

    You make Elaine sound like deadwood.

  9. David Oldham…True you do not have to “live” in Cornwall to be mayor or a councilor. But you do have to have a residence (i.e. Bob Kilger) or business (i.e. Brock Frost) here to be either. That’s how some of the previous and I suspect current council is on council.

    As for Elaine MacDonald…I’d like her a lot better if she would understand what conflict of interest rules mean. She continues to fight on council for organizations she is a member of the board of directors for. Cornwall needs to strengthen it’s C of I rules, so this cannot happen.

  10. The mayor and council should have criminal checks by the police and as we see one got in already without the public knowing. The police have to come in on this one and it cannot be let go at all. This is a real scandal that hit Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessey’s administration.

  11. “Elaine simply doesn’t support it. Her multiple pensions must not be keeping her in really ugly footwear.”( Your verbatim words) Though I am not a fan of Ms.Macdonalds’ politics. Do you not think that she worked for her pensions? Those are the kind of comments that in my opinion are simply not journalistic in style. They are simply childish. I am sure I’ll get an ear full now..Because I disagree with you.

  12. Author

    Brian why would you get an earful. How many other media stories do you take the time to write about? No, au contraire mon ami. I shall thank you for reading CFN, pondering, and then sending in your constructive, well thought and crafted, and most importantly, respectful comment.

    Thank you again for reading CFN and a healthy and joyous Christmas to you.


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