TAG 2.0 as Historical Society Impeaches Itself at AGM in Cornwall – by Jamie Gilcig 040218

Cornwall Ontario – Corruption is not new to Cornwall.   Sadly it’s in the culture.  Bullying and ignorance is far too common.   This writer experienced it first hand during my time saving our former Art Gallery before it ultimately folded simply because of the insane politics of this area.    I had actually been able to find outside sources willing to cover most of the funds the city had cut from the gallery budget, but at the end told these very generous supporters of the Arts to better use their funds after members of the Board of Focus Art and people like Tracy Davies, picketed the art gallery at a meeting to find local solutions to save it.  And idiots like Sandra Taylor Hedges held up signs trying to sway support from TAG to the feeble weak sauce that is YAC (Your Arts Council) a group that didn’t do anything to try and save its only true art resource, the 36 year old public charity that was our art gallery.

At the AGM, which ran nearly five hours as reported, two clear facts came through that impeached the SD&G Historical Society of their fitness to run an organization using public funds.

One, it gave Don Smith a five year contract.   Mr. Smith, while a talented person seemingly blessed by former curator Ian Bowering, does not have the credentials or work history for such a position.  To lock him in for five years is utterly irresponsible.  It’s one thing to fill the breach and save the day; but quite another when there is funding for someone with a better track record and credentials.

Two, that Mr. Smith essentially paid for memberships to help bolster the AGM decisions including his hiring.    That should be grounds for immediate dismissal.  The entire farce that was the AGM should be grounds for suspension of any further city funding.   The make up and behavior of the current group simply impeaches them from doing the sole job of running the museum.

Having the board chair hold 71 proxy votes also reeks of something….

If people want to donate their own monies and behave in this manner…well that would be bad enough, but their dime.  For a penny of public money to be continued to be used?  No ma’am.   That duck don’t dance.

The city needs to take over the museum under its own mandate or the Historical Society needs to fund it themselves without tax dollars overwhelmingly supporting it.  It’s that simple.   They can hire who they want on their dime.  They can give severance packages to former staff instead of investigating them too, as long as its their dime and not mine, or yours.

Sadly the city itself has played similar politics in the hiring of its own tourism leader who himself doesn’t have the credentials for the well paid position, but at least it might save taxpayers a few shekels.   Maybe Don Smith can get a gig working under Kevin Lajoie and Bob Peters?

It’s time to spend the $130K or so the museum was to receive and to cut off Aultsville Theatre’s waste of over $100K per year and maybe, just maybe, put it in the hands of actual area artists and truly try and grow culture in this community.

Either way it highlights the lack of true culture assets in the community and the dirty and ugly politics involved in the few alleged attempts of culture that exist.

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


  1. Jamie again your assessment of this situation hits the nail on the head. 5 year contract of tax payers cash,

  2. Author

    Mike it’s like people complaining that we never write “nice” stories. It’s not that we don’t publish them; it’s that people love nasty news more than happy stories. Advertisers don’t, but the viewers do 🙂

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