Toxic Culture @ Root of School Closings Failures in Cornwall Area by Jamie Gilcig NOV 20, 2016

CORNWALL ONTARIO – I left Team Cornwall after a sampling of its former President Gilles Latour, who’s now waiting his court dates from charges of fraud, including of his mother.

I also am no longer a member of the Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce.    When I first ran for a seat on its board I was informed I didn’t win.  When asked for vote totals they stated they don’t release those.

Ironically enough of the eight people than ran for six seats, two of those elected actually died in the term and I was begrudgingly put on the board.

After a bit it was clear that it’s director was a big factor for the failures of the chamber, but as one clique member and long time Cornwall business person shared when referring to Lezlie Strasser.

Lezlie Strasser - Director Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce
Lezlie Strasser – Director Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce

It’s too expensive to fire her.

Other board members at the time echoed that sentiment, especially as the building the chamber owns needed repairs, and essentially the chamber was losing money and being kept afloat by the Driver’s permit office which the late Joe Gunn was chief in bringing to the chamber.  An example is the gross lobby carpet that the chamber solution was to put rugs over the stains in front of the clerks instead of simply replacing the carpet.

There’s also a great tale about the chamber feeding private driver info to a certain local political riding association mailing list, which in my opinion believe.  When I first moved here I’d get mail addressed to me in the exact spelling of my driver’s license from our MP.

That practice stopped after the province brought in a new system that logs when users sign in and tracks what they do.

The next chamber election the clique flooded the amount of people running, and I and many others left.

When the South Stormont Chamber was to close, Reg Coffey and myself essentially saved it.   Sadly some of the wannebee cliquesters from the townships jumped to the fray and essentially illegally did some very odd things.

People like Donna Primeau, who is now on a township council that ran essentially to shut down a locally owned and developed print and online newspaper (also owned by myself and Reg Coffey) and resulted in the township stiffing us for the balance of our contracts to the point of spending as much as 3 times the value of the contract on legal bills to make their point.

Taxes have jumped in South Stormont since Ms Primeau and her council started, with less services, a failed Marina project, and other negatives for a community that can’t afford negatives.

The message of course is that you really can’t do business in the Cornwall region unless you’ve gone to the right Catholic school and hung out with the same cliques and essentially conformed to the powers that be.    That might work in small villages, but in 2016 the result is that schools are now being closed and karmically, those in the townships will endure more suffering than those in the city of Cornwall.

When I started CFN in 2009 I was warned to not do it in Cornwall because of the low literacy rate and ugly clique politics.

When CFN started that was a hunger for local news.   There was a lot of stuff covered up.  There still is, but not as much.   The three main local media essentially didn’t do real journalism, but were more PR shills.  Say nice things about the same nice people, and then cash the cheques.  Even more ironic is that the media with the most actual ads pretty much has the least eyeballs.

CFN, an upstart, local, near one man shop, was first in market share in less than two years of its existence which upset a lot of the cliquesters.

So Bob Peters at City Hall started his mission to derail our growth and with some of the politicos the process to attack the paper and run me out of town started.   That was 2011.  Since then CFN has had over 100,000,000 human page views.   The City actually spent more cash paying its Ottawa lawyers to monitor CFN than it had paid us in advertising before the boycott.  The city never made an actual complaint to us for any issue related to our service.

The loss to the local economy has been in the millions of dollars, and continues to grow.   Lost revenue for our advertisers who essentially were bullied by the City Hall led boycott, which saw CFN send more traffic to the city website in the first year of the boycott when they weren’t advertising with us (traffic just was delivered from archived material) than those that they spent thousands and thousands of tax dollars on, amounts to even more of a loss.

A review of local news websites show that only two allow anonymous posts: the Standard-Freeholder and the Cornwall Free News. Both sites have some moderation of comments, but a review of activity over the past several months have led staff to concur with the generalized assessment of the practice by the American Journalism Review: “Comment sections are often packed with profanity, and vicious personal attacks.”

That quote was never verified or confirmed.  The statement of both CFN and the Freeholder was false as neither was packed with profanity or vicious personal attacks.    Three CAO’s refused to give me my ten minutes in council to present information which is a right of any resident of Cornwall to do.   The Freeholder buckled and simply does not allow viewer comments any longer thus getting to keep their ad $$.

I have had clients who have been told straight out that if they didn’t pull their ads they’d lose support of City Hall or not get permits.  I’ve had a at least three board members of our now defunct public art gallery see their day jobs threatened and one lost a contract that was connected to City Hall.

I’ve watched multiple cliquesters leave town because of exposing of their shizzle.   We’ve reported on it.  We documented it.

But we still have a disturbing culture with an even scarier police and justice system.    In a city where people are charged for throwing grass clippings and shaking fists, and even of seniors waiting for open heart surgery being wrongfully incarcerated none of the near dozen factually documented complaints I’ve made have seen anyone be charged.

Of course when you have a police chief that was in need of a new contract, and a police board with a corrupt mayor on it and his campaign manager its chair, would those results be surprising?

In my own case, even after it was categorically proven that I never made a single call that I was arrested for, threatening or otherwise, I was kept under conditions by corrupt crown attorneys through the election and for nearly another year.

When my charges were dropped the police refused to charge Mike Bedard for mischief or spreading false news.

When Kevin Dockery, leader of a facebook hate group against myself and CFN stole one of our videos and had it taken down by You Tube for copyright infringement, he basically lost any possible defense by loading the same video to Facebook.  After it too was taken down, copyright infringement being a Federal crime, a call was put into the RCMP where an officer told me the crown refused to pursue a charge.

Traci Trottier not once, but twice, made utterly false statement to police saying I was at her house threatening her.

Luckily on both occasions I was in public places or I would have been charged.   The police on both occasions refused to charge her with mischief.

There are more cases and examples, but if you’re still reading we should get to the grist of what’s going on now in Cornwall and the area.

School Closings.    This is scary and will be devastating for the counties.  (The  SD&G County government also boycotts CFN) Communities like South Glengarry will feel it the hardest as their kids will have to travel further and deal with bigger schools in Cornwall.     That is going to have a dramatic effect.

If a community doesn’t truly embrace and welcome growth it’s doomed in Ontario in 2016.    The province is already suffering under the brutal economic result of its Hydro policies where essentially delivery charges are leaving people homeless and destroying the fabric of rural life.

Only in this messed up province could any government behind such an energy program get a majority mandate as happened in the last election.

Only in this messed up province will the same crooked government essentially get elected again.

In this part of Eastern Ontario we simply are seeing too many mobile younger people heading out of our region and being replaced by Seniors.   There simply is no way to fund the infrastructure costs.

Teachers in Ontario are some of the highest paid in Ontario.   (Those teachers are chiefly responsible for keeping the Wynne government in office) That cost of living increase to a top heavy salary really ads up, and now we are in an age where we simply, because of our corrupt economics, are over paying our teachers who seem to do less work and get less results, being a priority over actual schools and quality of education.

That’s scary.

In Cornwall we’ve lost festivals which attract people. We seen our local public art gallery close after thirty six years for no other reason that the dirty politics of people like Bernadette Clement and illegal activities of Councilor Elaine MacDonald and Carilyne Hebert while they were on the board of the Art Gallery.   (They were paying Bingo workers above the legal honorariums they could pay.)

We’ve seen businesses leave who followed the clique lines.  The latest is Bryan Merkely who like many of the clique live outside of Cornwall to pay less taxes, but love the benefits gained from the city.

He abruptly and with very little warning sold his building (congrats to new buyers Stephen and Traci Lynn Davies)  and is shutting down the Cornwall Career College leaving over a dozen students scrambling.   Bryan is in the thick of the Clique and good buds with Councilor Denis Carr (one of the cliques chieftains) who get this, gets a full salary running Heart of the City, which essentially an arms length office for the city.   Bryan’s school also suffered from boycotting this newspaper.  It’s boggling.  It truly is.

So the woman that does a great job of mopping City Hall can’t run for council, but Denis can and votes on issues that some have suggested are an utter conflict of interest.

Bryan will probably get some plumb from the clique to soothe his failure.    Most in Cornwall of course, do not get such a cushion.

Is it any wonder why Cornwall finishes consistently near the bottom of the Moneysense or CFIB polls on communities across Canada?

The only bright sliver is that CFN still has a growing audience that is the largest in our market even under these brutal conditions.

The good news is that the very tendencies that brought Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump to power are starting to trickle into local politics.   IE Social media and outlets like CFN do have an impact and more younger people and those that haven’t voted are doing so.

The next municipal election is in less than two years.   It should be interesting to see if the hunger to clean house at City Hall including certain managers is enough to cause change?

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



  1. Hugger you are right about the cost of the LRT and it is going to cost a great deal more to get on that system. I am kind of frightful about it – I am old now as I say to everyone. LOL LOL. The taxes will raise significantly and no work and when there is – low wages.

  2. Hugger the government is known at all levels to juggle figures around and I used to type all of that and roar with laughter with my co-workers. People don’t know about any of this and nothing is really balanced out just smoke and mirrors to fool the public.

  3. Author

    Hugger are your comments blocked? Have you not read our Mission or Vision Statements? And if people think something of a place or person does it really matter if they voice them out if they act on them? Ultimately the cronyism and corruption are hurting all of us.

    Btw, your house taxes may be going up as much as 5% this year. Congrats!

  4. Author

    Hugger just because you say something doesn’t make it fact anymore than Jules rantings should be taken as fact. Their your opinions.

  5. As I said before “whatever.” Time to rethink some things about CFN, CSF, CNW, etc, Do I need the hassle and /or stress?

  6. I’d still rather own than rent. Renting you are paying someone’s else’s mortgage and lining their pockets with you ending up with NOTHING to show for it.

  7. I guess the only way that I would go back to Cornhole is in a box. I would be scaring the living hell out of everyone every Halloween night. LOL LOL. ROLF! I would have to have a broom thrown in so as to join Tammy on her rides. LOL LOL. ROLF!

  8. Ottawa used to be a nice quiet city something out of the book The Legends of Sleepy Hollow but nowadays there is nothing but crime like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t know how long we will be living here but long enough. There is a great deal of building going on and with the LRT – OMG the city will be growing even more and will extend to Cornhole.

  9. {MODERATED because Hugger is being a baby}

  10. Property taxes out of control. Hydro rates set to double in 2020 (as Cornwall unnecessarily becomes part of Hydro One) Carbon tax in 2018 adding $2,000 per year to household budgets ( Taxpayers Federation estimate) = an additional $10,000 per year (before tax dollars). As more individuals like myself leave to greener pastures the burden increases due to a smaller tax base. Liberalism in action.

  11. David, you’ve been threatening for years to pack up your loot and move to a tax-free paradise. Is it just a wild fantasy of yours, or are you actually going to do it?

  12. Furtz…my statement was not future tense…no worries…it was not a tax free haven that I sought my criteria was simply tax fairness. Canada’s system is not fair if you look around the world but that is my perspective and not necessarily yours. Given the current debt outlook the taxpayer is in for a load of pain as interest rates rise. I hate pain.

  13. Thanks for clearing that up David. I was almost sure that you intended to blow this pop-stand for greener pastures.

  14. Hugger we owned for a good 8 years of hell in Cornhole and believe me life here in Ottawa is heaven for us and we rent and have one of the best landlords that anybody would want to have. I am sitting here now and the only sound that I hear besides me clicking on the keyboard was the sound of a cop car racing outside with the siren on.

  15. Hugger my rent is only going up $16. in March. If I owned I would be placed in a box over suicide to see the high cost of payments that a house entails. That is not counting all the repairs (not upgrades) but repairs and that is a living nightmare even to the cost of a house or very close – it is a money pit.

  16. The building where I live is so mighty quiet that you would think that everyone died and that is no joke. Cornhole’s taxes are a nightmare to keep the clique’s pockets lined with your money and never ever again would we ever make that mistake again.

  17. I do come here in CFN to catch up what is going on in that God Forsaken town called Cornhole but believe me I don’t miss is at all. I have more laughs sitting here at the keyboard and my lungs are sore from all the laughter. I was very sick yesterday and on the way to recovery. I don’t want to be buried in Cornhole at all.

  18. Hugger I much prefer to rent the way things are nowadays. If this was the 1950’s era then I would say differently. Today you have to be mobile because if you lose one job and there is another somewhere else you can go to it without all the hastle of selling. Another thing is bad neighbors or a bad town like Cornhole. Taxes in Cornhole is to the rediculous and it isn’t benefiting you.

  19. HOLY JUMPING JOSEPH MOTHER MARY! Jamie are you serious? Taxes going up in Cornhole 5%. I almost had a heart failure here. This is completely and utter rediculous. OMG I can’t get over it. What does Cornhole have to pay for – everything is falling apart. If you try to sell your house it would be a miracle from God and then some. People are not that crazy.

  20. Jamie do you remember when I said that the populations on those billboards were wrong and that Cornwall and area are losing population and I meant it fully and still mean it. Cornwall is going to be a ghost town soon along with the surrounding areas. The sheeple have not woken up and will die there and that is all it is a graveyard.

  21. The Julesfree News. Now that’d be a web site!

  22. Simon I am my own news and don’t need another. I love to laugh my head off at what is going on in Cpornwall. LOL LOL. ROLF! My husband and I were just talking about it down there and the laughter roared here in my household with my adult kids. We will never forget that town ever. When you experience it you never forget it.

  23. This afternoon when I was going down for mail my neighbor across the hall from me an 88 years old former army RN said to me “it is cold” and I said yes it sure is and I feel it more and more these days. I thought about that little dog in the picture and felt like having a pillow around me if one can fit. LOL LOL. School closures – gee that sure didn’t exist in my day and the cold was real cold.

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