St. Aubin Tries To Whitewash Maclean’s Cornwall Story & Fails. By Jamie Gilcig 091017

Cornwall Ontario –  There are many people that you meet who at first seem to be more than they really are.

Etienne St. Aubin is one of those.    He recently ran a piece in the Freeholder trying to whitewash the Maclean’s article that embarrassed the community for no other reason that its own words.

In these troubled days of Anti-Social media it’s not hard to simply scroll through comments by viewers many times as a journalist and get great quotes and a feel for a community.  It’s not conclusive of course and is a snapshot.  It wouldn’t pass snifter tests in a courtroom where Mr. St. Aubin may be more familiar, but the watercooler world doesn’t work on Robert’s Rules of Order or Court formalities.

It’s also time for some politicians to stop handing outside media reasons to bash us with. These politicians need to think twice about what they do and say in this day and age, because their words and deeds eventually wind up hurting us all big time.

Now he writes those words?  Where was he before?   Would he sanction is personal friend and co-worker Bernadette “Flipper” Clement?   Did he note in his piece of his relationship with her while commenting on a motion she supported to give refugees free bus passes?  Nope.

How we actually responded as a community to the crisis which landed upon us was one of our finest hours.

Actually other than mostly negative comments including calling the refugees animals and suggestions of disease and crime the community didn’t respond much except to try and ask questions as council was left out of the loop by the Feds.  Of course our Mayor didn’t nail his good conservative friend MP Guy Lauzon for that mess.

Of course this was motion was well-meaning. There is no doubt about that. But more thought should have been given to whether it was worth the risk of it not passing, and that defeat being misunderstood as a hard-hearted reaction to the situation.

The city has a very talented clerk and some support staff that are there to assist council in preparing motions.   Part of bringing a motion to council is being prepared and doing your homework.  In this case it looks like “Flipper” and friends failed.

We were portrayed as uncaring and mean— and that’s just not right.

What’s not right is that the portrayal far too often is true.  And worse, people like St. Aubin crumble at the first sign of real opposition as he has appeared to have on other issues.   Enablers are a much larger problem than haters and bullies as they allow them to flourish.   The only way to deal with some of these folks is confrontation.  Nothing else really works.  This is a community that went after a family for their ice rink at xmas and then mysteriously the mom lost her job right after.

This is a community that went after kids selling worms and lemonade.

This is a community that cited seniors for listening to Abba in their backyard without evidence.

This is a community that brutalized not one, but three whistleblowers.

This is a town that watched mayor campaign on the back of a whistleblower and then throw her under the bus as soon as he was elected.

This is a community that idly sat by its mayor and two councilors in clear conflict of interest.  Where was Mr. St. Aubin on that issue as it was all on video.

This is a community, that Mr. St. Aubin and his good buddy Flipper, allowed its art gallery to be shut down allegedly because they simply didn’t like a board member.

You can’t make up stuff like that.   The fact that at least one newspaper, this one, actually exposes many of these factual examples has led to people like Mr. St. Aubin to boycott us.   Frankly that’s far more troubling in the big picture than an accurate Maclean’s article that probably wouldn’t have been written as it was without the COOPERATION of Flipper’s pal, Organizer Brenda Norman who outed vendors and others.

This brought to mind the role that well-meaning but non-thinking local politicians played in having the so-called Cornwall Public Inquiry imposed upon our community a few years back.

These politicians had trouble standing up to a rumour campaign, and as a result, our city was unfairly tarnished.

Now that’s a slap to the face of Project Truth’s victims.   There were rumour campaigns because of systemic cover ups by VIP’s.   The Province didn’t spend over $50M to cover up pedophiles, but people that moved Priests and others instead of prosecuting them when evidence was available.  That’s politics in Cornwall.  That’s the system that apparently Etienne St. Aubin and his ilk support.

Now that’s scary.   Not what Maclean’s accurately wrote.

The Cornwall inquiry gave us an unfair reputation as a place with a tainted people. It is widely considered as having been one of the worst hearings in Ontario history. It never even provided an answer to the questions for which it was created.

Frankly if Project Truth wasn’t a cover up and its investigators really did their job there would be over one hundred people outed.  Cornwall got away lucky reputation wise from Project Truth. It already had a poor mill town rep filled with ignorance and racism.  Honestly the best way to fix our branding is simply to rename the town.

{CENSORED}  Not a peep out of Etienne St. Aubin or his good buddy Councilor Clement.  In nearby Brockville when swastikas were found in a high school the police were called in.  According to UCDSB documents multiple occurrences of swastika issues occurred without the police being called in.

Yet this inquiry which was held right here, served mostly to enrich many lawyers as well as to make it seem as though Cornwall was an especially horrible place— something totally untrue.

And that sadly happens far too often as these types of events are usually done to “clean things up” which in this case included Bob Kilger becoming Mayor of Cornwall, and a return to Economic Development of Bob Peters whose expense file allegedly disappeared from City Hall after it was stated that he left his job originally after using a city credit card at a brothel in Europe.   Mr. Peters worked on all Kilger Mayoralty campaigns including working on the campaign during working hours at City Hall.  In spite of the disastrous failure of his department Mr. Peters was just handing tourism duties as well.

We are a good community built upon a proud history. We have what it takes to shape a bright future for ourselves and for our loved ones.

Sorry Etienne.  I know in court we can sometimes transfix the truth, but Cornwall was originally called Pointe Malignes and has lived up to its name far too many times.   Ignorance, cronyism, nepotism, bullying, racism, and corruption have our city where it is, in spite of the many people who live here who simply are either enabling or too afraid to step up and confront City Hall and it’s tentacles and simply say enough.

Cornwall bashing and the stumbles of some of our politicians in helping others to bash us comes at a huge cost. These news stories create the wrong impression about who we are, and they drive away investment, which can mean improved economic and social conditions.

For the sake of our future, dear politicians, please think twice about what you do and say.

Those are Etienne’s words.   Why warn politicians about what they say if we’re such a good community?   Instead of hiding from the issues, shouldn’t we all be working together to fix them?   Shouldn’t we be supporting those that can fix them instead of hiding or skulking off mumbling, or writing puffery of pooh?  Shouldn’t we be supporting good people and encourage them to run instead of Rivette after Rivette. or even worse, someone like David Murphy?

Sadly Mr. St. Aubin is part of the problem.  I’m sure he could be a part of the solution, but to date he doesn’t seem to have shown a true willingness to truly build a strong, healthy, Cornwall Ontario that is inclusive and attracts people and investment.

It’s time to stop protecting bullies and failures.  It’s time to say, buy bye.   It’s time to truly make Cornwall a city with “A World of Possibilities” as it sure as heck isn’t one right now.

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


  1. Just curious, who is Mr. St. Aubin? Also, why would he or anyone try to muffle community members’ opinions about issues they were being asked about by a Mac. reporter? Journalists reflect what interview subjects think, feel and have to say, verbatim. That’s it, that’s all. It wasn’t editorial or opinion just straight-up reporting. Clean, well executed.

  2. Jamie this is a top notch article that you wrote but the sheeple of Cornwall (the vast majority of them) have no education and no knowledge how to treat people and people have endured plenty of racism and hurt throughout time. I sure wont go back to the racism and hurt. I know what you are going through. Your paper is the very best and I don’t say what I don’t mean it is tops. Par excellence!

  3. Author

    Etienne St. Aubin, former poohbah at the Legal Aid Clinic that Flipper now is in charge of.

  4. I guess some still don’t understand conflict of interest. It really isn’t that hard of a concept to grasp, if they really wanted to.

  5. Etienne Saint-Aubin is part of the Standard-Freeholder’s community editorial.

  6. Must say wow ! I remember Mr. St-Aubin at the public meeting a few years back , regarding condos in the Park, he really nailed it. Subsequently, he’s been appointed to the Waterfront Committee, but has been totally mute on the recent assault that took place in July on our Park , mind you, the whole Committee has gone limp ? The “clique” is alive & well & running this Committee.

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