Squeaky Former Union Poobah Now Deputy Fire Chief Gets the Oil as 4 New Hires at FD in Cornwall

Bruce Donig parlayed some big headlines complaining about the situation at the Fire Department in Cornwall into a Deputy Fire Chief gig.

Now with a little help from the President of the Labour Union, who happens to sit on council, an Ottawa real estate convicted criminal, who also happens to sit on council, a councilor who said she would take a leave of absence to run for MP, but stuck around to grab an extra months salary, and some very silly rookie councilors Cornwall is now saddled with four new hires in a term that council clearly was looking for fiscal solutions to a zooming budget nightmare.

The vote, which was recorded:

A recorded vote on this matter resulted as follows:

Votes For = 6
Bernadette Clément, Councillor
Brock Frost, Councillor
Carilyne Hébert, Councillor
Elaine MacDonald, Councillor
Claude E. McIntosh, Councillor
Justin Towndale, Councillor

Votes Opposed = 5
Leslie O’Shaughnessy, Mayor
Maurice Dupelle, Councillor
Mark A. MacDonald, Councillor
David Murphy, Councillor
André Rivette, Councillor


From an earlier Freeholder story:

Meanwhile, the fire department has been painted with a thick financial brush in comparison to other municipal services over many years, but actual service has declined, claim Crites and colleague Bruce Donig, the firefighters’ district vice-president.

“Compared to 10 years ago, (service) has gone down,” Donig said.

Someone at city hall’s solution was to make Donig DFC and hire the very four firefighters that were contested during the budget process.

Clearly the experienced councilors, and David Murphy sided on the road of caution including former fire fighter Mark A MacDonald.

The cost of training, salary, and benefits could exceed $400,000 per year.

What do you think Cornwall?  You can post your comment below.



  1. I read your column Jamie and my opinion is that there should be what you might call part time or casual fire fighters since Cornwall is so very small and very little happens there. Here in Ottawa it is a grave necessity and all you hear are fires everywhere as well as crimes where cops are desperately needed as well as paramedics. Cornwall is a farm and doesn’t need a large detachment. You have to keep the expenses down and I say train people to be on call – hire them as casuals or part timers.

  2. Author

    Jules that was about the most lucid comment you’ve ever made.

  3. Jamie I will take a bow njust now as my lucid comment so far. I am having a good laugh even over yesterday’s column. I love your paper. Honestly Jamie many people do work as casuals and the money that the firemen make is enormous and the responsibilities are huge as well but Cornwall is very small and doesn’t need a ton of people that sit around and do nothing. If these people were on other jobs (ordinary jobs without powerful unions) they would be let go or sent home until there was work. Why not employ them when they are needed. We all talk about high taxes, etc. and this is the way to go Jamie.

  4. From what I understand part-time / casual and volunteer firefighters are not allowed due to the collective agreement.

    If the fire department is under staffed it should be brought up to the minimum required. The report submitted last night is so full of numbers it can easily be misinterpreted. Numbers can be massaged to make anything look good or bad depending on the requirements.

  5. Jamie you mentioned before that those who work for the fire department get a salary of $80K or $90K/year. What I came up with is if these people in the fire department (the new ones that they wish to hire) can work as temps and they can replace those who are sick, on vacation and when people retire they can take their place. Why put two or more full time at such exuberant salaries and all they do is sit around the fire station. As a temp they gain experience and still have a salary but for half or less money and it would be a great money saver. Taxes are outrageously high and we are all feeling the pinch everywhere. Nobody can continue on this trend of doling out high salaries for no reason. We all have huge expenses but there is a limit. We look for specials in our household and we always have. Well the same goes for hiring you have to know how to hire and what ones needs are. What has been going on in Cornwall and elsewhere has put the province and the towns and cities into financial hell. It is long past the time that the administrators in Cornwall smarten up or else the town will become like Detroit Michigan with everything boarded up and gone. Detroit was a manufacturing capital and look at what it became. People have to learn to hold the reigns on their finances and learn to shop wisely. The council that Cornwall has is laughable. This Hébert woman is laughable of wanting a university in Cornwall that has never succeeded and never will and the taxes that are needed to keep this up is unbelievable. It is like someone on a beer man’s budget with champagne tastes.

  6. I sort of don’t blame Bernadette Clement for sticking around for another month. Harper is to blame for this by adding four weeks to the campaign. Even her employer was hoping she’d stick around. Yes she agreed to step aside during the election campaign. But no one was expecting Harper to pull this crap.

  7. Author

    Jules as Hugger I think posted there is a collective agreement. For Cornwall to have volunteer or part time firefighters that agreement would have to be opened. The city let that horse out of the barn and as I’m sure you’re aware most people don’t like to step backwards when it comes to their incomes and benefits. I can’t blame them.

  8. What does ‘service has gone down’ mean? And how will ‘service has gone up’ be measured and by when?

  9. Author

    They never answer or quantify questions like that. They make great sound bites and quotes though 🙂

  10. Most cities do not allow part-time /casual and /or volunteer firefighters. It’s due to collective agreements. Volunteer firefighters are permitted in rural situations where full-time firefighters don’t make sense economically. Firefigter’s unions do not like to re-open collective agreements. As Jaime said no one likes to step backwards.

  11. Jimmy Olsen….it’s hard to answer that question. When they say “service has gone down” I think they may be referring to increased overtime and reduced /denied vacation time. I’ve read where some firefighters are working 50 – 60 hours a week to cover for the lower number of available firefighters. To me this is not good. Sooner or later fatigue will become a factor. Firefighting is not an occupation where you want fatigue factoring into the ability of a firefighter to do their job.

  12. Author

    Hugger this is a very strong union. Have they ever backed down or lost a scrap with City Hall? Sometimes you have to cut through the spin or see if conditions are …”artificial”….

  13. Agreed. Firefigter’s unions are usually strong, not just here.

  14. I want to know who at City Hall was
    involved in the {MODERATED} of Bruce Doing getting the job. There were other very qualified candidates. Including one that had been an acting Deputy Chief. The position instead was given to the {MODERATED}.

  15. Karen Simon I couldn’t get the names that you mentioned since it was moderated but I can say this and that is the entire hiring process in Cornwall is {MODERATED}. I can say that about most jobs as well but these high paying jobs in particular are all “who you know or what family that you come from” and we have all seen this from BOB Kilger getting his son {MODERATED} and he had a great deal less qualifications than others. Karen I left Cornwall a mighty long time ago and honestly when I returned for a short while I could see that things never changed and they never will. I would not ever move back to such a place at all and would rather go elsewhere than Cornwall. The best and brightest people have left and never returned.

  16. Common sense and what is right and fair for the taxpayer is that which resides on the opposite side of the ever widening gap which separates us from reality. Our municipal officials and system serve themselves first and their personal agendas. Taxpayers fall much further down the list. While this is not a revelation is should be of more concern. When enough people have their backs to the wall and no other place to go change will occur, check history.

  17. These four new firefighters were included in the budget approved for the fire department back when the budget exercise was done.

  18. I think that Mr. Oldham is trying to say: “when people lose it and have nothing else to lose they really lose it” and it is only then that people will wake up and take to the streets. This is coming folks and I am not giving you bull but I am giving you all the truth. Enough is enough of this nepotism and whatever else you want to call it. You all wouldn’t believe the intelligent people who have left Cornwall and if you saw them you would not believe that they were from Cornwall because they were all highly intelligent people with good goals and none wanted to live in a mighty backward and stinking town that had no future. Everyone of them knew that Cornwall was a dead end town that was dying and that was when Cornwall was alive and thriving. Today when we go to Cornwall it is as dead as a graveyard and will never recover. I just went on some videos about economy in the US and people losing everything that they worked for and it is the same thing here in Canada and around the world. The entire banking and real estate, etc. is one big scam. There are no more jobs because everything has been sent overseas by the powers that be to make a ton of money on people working for less than a fraction that they would have to pay out here and that is coming here as well where there will only be two classes of people the very rich and the poor and no middle. Everything will only be a “dream”. In the words of George Carlin the US comedian “in order to believe in the American Dream you have to be asleep to believe it” and how mighty true that is. The big incomes are going to disappear and that is the entire truth. Just this morning my husband and I were commenting that we don’t see cops around like what we used to in past years because cops today are on call here in Ottawa. In Cornwall they get away with too much and all that is going to make Cornwall a great deal worse than what happened in Detroit Michigan and Flint Michigan which were the top cities in manufacturing. You will see Cornwall bankrupt very soon.

  19. Words of wisdom??

  20. Author

    Jules Cornwall isn’t going to go bankrupt. While it has issues it’s better than some places and can do better than others. Every place has its plusses and minuses.

    Maybe it’s time for you to think about some of the positives of our great city?

  21. Agreed Admin. Perhaps it’s time for Jules and family to finally realize they miss Cornwall and need to move back.

  22. Author

    Hugger I’ve said that Jules misses Cornwall. Sadly because of our failings as a community by electing boobs people like Jules and so many others either move away or don’t come. It holds us back. They say you get the government you deserve and if that’s true what does that say about Cornwall? It’s a reason for more people to get invovled with the process, educate themselves, and vote accordingly.

    We have a very serious issue with organized labour literally running the show at City Hall. How is it that cleaning staff or nurses at Glen Stor DL can’t be a councilor but the President of the Labour Board can?

    That doesn’t make sense and it corrupted the last municipal election as it just corrupted the vote on the new FD hires.

    We have a lot to be proud of, but we also have a lot of work to make Cornwall a better community.

  23. Jamie and Hugger I promise and swear to you all that I do not miss Cornwall at all whatsoever. I do have to have some good laughs and this is the place to really explode with laughter. LOL LOL. ROLF! If you all haven’t noticed it is always certain people who come forward as mayor and council and most are as corrupt as can be just like what Frosty turned out to be. Oh speaking about ignorance, corruption and all go on Ottawa Citizen and read about the Liberal/Fiberal leader of Ontario Kathleen (Winnie the Poo) Wynne about the Ontario Pension Plan and if you have something in your hands you mighty throw it at her because she knows absolutely nothing which reminds me of the current mayor of Cornwall and his council. Go and read the article. This will give you some idea about Justine Trudope who thinks that the economy will look after itself. This is one of the craziest times to ever vote Liberal/Fiberal and if Winnie continues in her role Ontario will hit the bankrupcy lawyers sooner than what we think. Go read the article in the Ottawa Citizen. Cornwall is in mighty big danger when people go and doll out people’s hard working tax money to be spent on firemen who only sit around a table and kill flies all day besides playing cards.

  24. Totally agree with your comments of 2:19 p.m.

    I say we run a petition to get Jules and family back in Cornwall. Heck, if we can have dueling petitions on the train whistles why not this.

    The president of the local labour council needs to realize what conflict of interest is. She should not be discussing and / or voting on ANY labour related matters that come before city council.

    Unions are too strong in a lot of places. City halls are just one example. Politicians seem to know when and how to suck up to them. Getting rid of unions or reducing their strength is not easy, certainly not at the municipal level.

    Yes, we have a lot to be proud of, but more work is needed.

    BTW….did you see that Cedars / Shawarma on Wheels is reopening on Friday?

  25. Hugger thanks for wanting to have a petition to go back to Cornwall but things are wacky enough here in Ottawa especially living in Ottawa South with all the gang bangers and we don’t know where to turn. Every neighborhood is upside down and inside out. What is this about not wanting train whistles? Haven’t people learned a good lesson by what happened in the section called Barrhaven aka Farrhaven here in Ottawa when people in that area of town didn’t want train whistles and a bus driver driving one of those two tiered buses got hit by a coming train and many were killed and whoever survived were badly injured. This is a lame brained idea coming from lame brained sheeple. I just saw where you said that the Shawarma place is opening up again – how is that possible. Aren’t those who were selling illegal guns, drugs, etc. in jail? My God what is this world coming to anyway? Jules I don’t think that you belong to this wacky world. LOL LOL. ROLF! I am wacky but not that wacky. I am laughing so hard at this end like you wouldn’t begin to believe it. Jamie’s paper is the best and I mean that fully.

  26. JUles, Jules, Jules…. the four firefighters that council agreed to hire at Monday’s council meeting had already been budgeted for. So, I guess, going by your reasoning, all firefighters “only sit around a table and kill flies all day besides playing cards.”, not just in Cornwall.

    But I do agree with your comments on the ORPP. Trying telling someone working at Tim Horton’s on minimum wage and barely getting by that they now have to contribute 1.5% of their salary to a pension plan they don’t want. And to top if off McGuinty Jr (Wynne) has no idea what it’s going to cost to administer this pension plan.

  27. Until you’ve lived by train tracks and have train whistles going off on a regular basis you don’t understand what it is like. When we lived in Casselman the trains whistles went off on a regular basis 24 / 7 / 365. It does get to you after a while, especially when you’re trying to sleep. There are laws now where citizens can petition their city council, etc. to ask Via or CN / CP Rail to stop the whistles between certain hours if the railway crossing has the necessary safety precautions (gates, lights, etc).

    As for Shawarma on Wheels…..it’s opening under a different name and I presume a different numbered company with no connections to the previous owners. We’ll see what kind of reception they get in the next little while.

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  29. Hugger I have something here for you about that bus/train accident that happened in the Barrhaven area of Ottawa and everyone can see what happened over the city telling VIA Rail not to use their whistles because it annoyed people who resided there. The driver was a diabetic and it was written up in the previous news when it occurred and he went out with his wife the night before since it was her birthday. This time the city is denying that he (the bus driver) had a health issue. Someone told me that most of the bus drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers have diabetes. Anyway I am sending the news to you from today’s Ottawa Sun Newspaper.

    Via Turns Tables, blames city for deadly bus-train crash


    I think that anybody should think twice before signing any petition to ban train whistles. I know first hand that they are annoying as hell but there is safety first at all times. Many people were killed including the driver of the bus and many badly injured. I am sending this to all of you including you Hugger. I know that it is mighty annoying but safety first.

  30. Hugger I have lived right nest to train tracks for 22 1/2 years of my life in Cornwall and I know very well what it is all about. I would much rather be safe than sorry. The Ottawa Citizen has a report as well and in the Citizen I could see a body laying on the train. Another thing is that there were bodies strewn all over the tracks in pieces – I don’t want to make you sick but it is all true. A neighbor of mine in the building but some floors below was actually there at the time of the crash and he told me a little about it.

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