Maybe Cornwall City Council Should Go to the Dogs Or Is the City Paying Conflict of Interest Legal Bills by Jamie Gilcig – MONDAY June 15, 2015

CORNWALL Ontario – Apologies for not writing as much as I normally do for the last while.    I was in mourning.

My beloved dog Melly passed away a week ago Saturday.

She was one of the greatest relationships in my life.    She was always there, and always will be.  Sadly she succumbed to Cancer in her 14th year.    It was a beautiful day and she’s now buried under a marble angel.

Melly AngelLosing a loved one always helps put things into a better perspective.  At least for me.    There’s a lot to put into perspective in this wacky town.

Honestly how can we ever expect to attract good new business and talent to Cornwall when we run our affairs as council is doing at City Hall.

You have the Brock Frost drama.    Todd Lihou, late the circus, wrote a piece about Frost leaving.   As usual he missed the boat writing about Frost moving to Ottawa when he didn’t realize that Frost didn’t live in Cornwall to start, but Long Sault.   Todd’s not big on facts or fact checking.  He appears to have missed what would be front page news in 100% of the cities, the Mayor and two councilors being served with papers for being in Conflict of Interest.

The irony is that Lihou has written about Mayor Leslie O’Shaugnessy’s bizarre complaint at the last council meeting about rumors of resignation; something that this media or any other news outlet had not suggested that he had ever stated or shared.

Here is a quote from an article that included an interview with Mayor O’Shaughnessy that appeared in the Freeholder.

“Contacted immediately after Monday’s meeting, O’Shaughnessy said he would be making a public statement on the complaint.

Later on Wednesday he explained that he had solicited a legal opinion on Tuesday, and was seeking a second opinion on Thursday, with the intention of holding a press conference for “selected” media that would not include Gilcig, the owner of the Cornwall Freenews.

O’Shaughnessy also said that any legal expenses incurred as a result of his potential defense would not be billed to city taxpayers.”

That was an odd mess to shart to the media.  First off, do you really get a second opinion if you are happy with the first?

Did Mayor O’Shaughnessy or any of the council consult with the Ontario Commissioner for Conflict of Interest?   The answer I believe would be negative because the website of the commissioner clearly has examples that would show that it would be conflict to participate or influence in a financial decision related to a body that is asking council for cash.

Also, the city wasn’t served by myself, but the individuals.   Why should tax payers foot the bill.  Likewise if for some reason Council decided to pay for any legal services for Les, Elaine, and Cari, then shouldn’t they foot the bill for myself?

Friday I was served a nasty letter stated WITH PREJUDICE from David Sherriff Scott of the City’s law firm, BLG.

This is going to be an expensive rodeo that you will be paying for.

When emailed asking to confirm if he was representing the city or the individuals writing the cheque Mr. Scott clearly refused to answer with a yes or no.   I actually wrote to him that if he was billing the city that I would hope the series of emails from Friday would not be billed!

The letter confirmed some facts which I had either missed or were never related to the public.

Akwesasne apparently didn’t kick in a dime to the first Benson University study.   It was only the city, the counties, and the EOTB run by Denis Thibault who back in 2013 stood up as a councilor supporting this initiative.

Thibault WF THE EOTB is run by provincial tax dollars.    While not in conflict it certainly feels incestuous.

That study, which was not delivered after one year, or two, but three did not deliver.   But the group came back with a new plan and again asked for hard cash.

And at that council meeting Councilor David Murphy recused himself as he works for Benson’s.  Carilyne Hebert recused herself clearly stating that she was on the steering committee, only to be dissuaded by Mayor O’Shaughnessy who spoke to the matter about his own voting and Councilor Elaine MacDonald who said that she didn’t perceive a conflict because people would never volunteer for these groups otherwise.

There are choices we make.   All three of those people made the choice and decided to be in clear conflict.

Does it make sense for City Lawyers to drag it out at great cost to tax payers when we can’t even support our 33 year old public art gallery?

You can’t make this stuff up.   It’s all on the city’s own video.

The Municipal Act is a very weak piece of legislature.   For a member of the public to have to risk great cost and get nasty threatening emails from huge law firms is not the way to administer justice.

It needs to be amended, but at the end of the day our elected officials take an oath to put the best interest of the corporation first as opposed to petty personal vendettas and mayhem.

Another question is if BLG is representing the elected officials personally would that in of itself be a Conflict of Interest as it’s council that decides who gets the legal contracts?   Did BLG or the City consult the COI Commish about that one?

For a man that condemned former Mayor Bob Kilger Leslie O’Shaugnessy is rapidly climbing the rankings for the Hypocrite of the Year Award.

Mayor O’Shaugnessy, and the councilors need to do the right thing as much as Brock Frost needs to do the right thing.

But mostly the tax payers of Cornwall Ontario need to do the right thing and demand that these folks stop wasting money that could be better spent.

And of course none of this would have transpired if Gerry Benson, the Kanebs, and others who have greatly benefited from our fair city had kicked in the cash themselves instead of parasiting it from the public.  Of course that could be why they have more cash than the average city resident in the first place.

While some are stating that those on the steering committee don’t benefit the reality is that the fame from a successful project helps get people re-elected and last that I checked elected officials earn cash;  in the mayor’s case probably much more than he made in real estate.

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


  1. It’s not easy losing a beloved pet. Been through it many times myself. Takes time for that empty feeling to pass, but it will.

  2. Author

    Thank you Furtz. I helped her through nearly three years with her cancer. The last six week window was a great gift. She died in the sunshine on her favorite blanket tasting fresh air and seeing the mountains. She had a great life and was loved by many.

  3. My condolences on the passing of Melly. It’s never easy, no matter how many times you go through it.

    It would be nice if the city updated us on what is going on in the Brock Frost soap opera. Did he in fact resign? Has he provided the necessary letter etc? Or is he stuck on a Ferris wheel somewhere?

    The city should NOT be paying the legal bills for Hebert, O’Shaughnessy or MacDonald. Elaine MacDonald can spin it any way she wants. But in the end it is conflict of interest.

    Cornwall University? The city should again NOT be involved in this, except for zoning, regulations, etc. This is a private initiative started by well-to-do individuals. If they want to leave a legacy let them fund it and its related costs. Enough of bleeding Cornwall taxpayers dry. We pay enough taxes. The 50k could have been put to better use. And asking after the budget has been approved?? Let the get in line with all the other organizations that line up for city dollars year after year.

  4. Author

    Hugger let’s not forget that this was the second $50K after the first $50K went for nothing. And Akwesasne not kicking in any cash? That’s not cool. I’m all for partnering with our neighbors, but a partnership means a commitment from all the partners. It makes me put up more red flags about the Waterfront scandal.

  5. I agree. Before agreeing the city should have asked for an accounting of what happened to the first 50k.

  6. Jamie,,,,so very sorry to hear of Melly’s passing . For most of us, they are not just pets but a caring member of the family.

  7. I think the City is going down the wrong path and it has been for a many years but now it has gotten worst, but if you really think about it all types of Power in the Government is Going more Corrupt each and every year, It makes the Young Voters like myself really think and makes us not want to vote cause no matter whoever you vote for it is always empty promises and I think Cornwall City council needs to get the priories Straight, they make Cornwall Look bad.

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  8. The fifty thousand came from the taxpayer via the city. The taxpayer deserves the respect of being responded to…the problem that exists is whether there is a councilor that respects the taxpayer.

    Any bets which councilor steps up to the plate first to do the right thing or are they all merely cowards, liars or dysfunctional blobs of protoplasm?

  9. Author

    David I emailed the mayor and council as well. Neither Mr. Sherriff Scott nor council will confirm who is paying the bill. I can’t imagine that the city would pay the bill unless approved by council; most likely at last Monday night’s in camera meeting?

  10. I think the City is going down the wrong path and it has been for a many years but now it has gotten worst, but if you really think about it all types of Power in the Government is Going more Corrupt each and every year, It makes the Young Voters like myself really think and makes us not want to vote cause no matter whoever you vote for it is always empty promises and I think Cornwall City council needs to get the priories Straight, they make Cornwall Look bad.

  11. So sorry for your great loss,14 years is much too young for Melly to die,damn cancer

  12. Jamie there are not the proper words that I can describe how bad I feel for you losing your beloved pet and believe me I could not handle it at all and I am telling you the truth. You are a very strong person compared to me. Mellie is in a much better place where she doesn’t suffer any more but leaves a trail of memories that you have and wonderful ones to show you that your real friend is your pet because they never let you down at all and she was always there for you. Humans are despicable and always talk behind ones back. I was out all day with my daughter getting her with shots since she is going back to college and she was very sick again with the flu and just getting over it. The climante is nuts one day good and other days horrible. Cornwall will be bankrupt soon and it is coming down gradually. I read somewhere on the net just yesterday that if you think that changing the leader will make better changes think again. You through out a bad leader BOB but threw in Les and we all thought that he would be good but he showed his true colors. Cornwall is completely finished and will never recover. Nobody wants to make business in such a place nor live there. The entire world is falling apart when you look around at real news. Again I send you my deepest hurtful feelings because I love animals so much Jamie that I cannot even explain it to you. All my very best as usual and I didn’t know about Mellie until now. Take care.

  13. Excellent article Jamie! Also my thoughts are with you on losing your dog!! It is so hard but you gave him many years of love!!

  14. The song remains the same. PLEASE change the tune, it’s getting boring and repetitive.

  15. Curtis Piper your observations are telling of your generations dilemma and resultant attitudes. My generation (boomers) in climbing to the top (or attempting that general direction) failed to consider the consequences of our decisions. We allowed greed and a sense of entitlement to take control to the detriment of our society as a whole. Our “would like” list was merged with our “must have” list and the results have not been pretty. I believe if the truth was heard that most boomers would not want to be starting over again at this juncture in time. I myself do not envy the plight of a twenty something. Live within your means and not off the backs of future taxpayers has become 20/20 vision, but who is going to do what is right and necessary and put on the brakes before the crash occurs?

  16. David Oldham….it won’t be Kathleen Wynne (McGuinty Jr). She’s in full steam ahead, damn what the voters and taxpayers want or need. Her legacy will be her inability to get control of Ontario’s problems.

  17. Hugger1 our legacy will be that we gave her the power to exploit ourselves making us all fools.

  18. Jamie some time ago I mentioned that little Fitzie would make a good mayor for Cornwall since you mentioned about going to the dogs. Believe me my dear man I meant it and at the same time to make people laugh. Animals are very intelligent and much more than we humans give them and a lot of them surpass a lot of humans in intelligence. When I see people today most are just zombies and sheep and they are known as sheeple and not people. The sheeple today are stupid and just go along with the garbage that the government throws at them and we don’t have a government of our own and I won’t get into that. Everything that we have been taught and still taught is a lie. I feel very bad for the loss of Melie and she was with you through everything. Take care of little Fitzie and I know that Fitzie is also feeling the loss even though he cannot express himself in words but you can see it in his body language. Take care and all the best to you.

  19. David Oldham….not me. I didn’t vote for Kathleen Wynne / McGuinty Jr. In fact, I never vote for Mcguinty at any time.

  20. I didn’t buy McGuinty snake oil and thus did not vote for him either. Since I didn’t think much of the original why would I vote for a clone? So Wynn lost my vote, so you might say I ended up spoiling my ballot in protest of the lack of a leader or real choice. So the point is that collectively we elected the Wynn Machine or rather Toronto and surrounding area did. Either way Hugger1 we all lost, and really big this time. Bob Rae could yet be written of as a saviour in comparison to Wynn.

  21. Jamie and folks when we lived in Cornwall my husband told one of his friends down in Cornwall that the town should put up an image of a dog instead of the coat of arms of Cornwall and when I read this article I spoke with him this morning about that while walking and we both laughed. We both said that the dogs would make better mayor and council and there would be no trouble at all. Having Frosty the Showman around is a real shame and I am having problems saying the truth just now and God help what I will say is that BOB had much more professional bunch of people than what Les has on council. What is now on council are nothing but clowns and not professional at all except for a mighty few. The dogs would have more of a handle on things than the humans I should really say sheeple.

  22. Seriously Jules!! Dogs? Why insult the dog population?

  23. Jamie,

    So unfortunate to here about your lost. My thoughts are with you.

    Take care,


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