Any Cornwall Candidate that Supports the BMO Arts Centre Doesn’t Deserve Your Vote by Jamie Gilcig 101818

Cornwall politics are essentially shameless, corrupt, and frankly the government we collectively deserve.

No other issue highlights this better than the BMO farcical art centre hustle.

Essentially for over 30 years the city doled out a very very meagre amount of money to sustain the charity that was our Public Art Gallery.  Run by fumble down boards who generally were there for their own interests, they were expertly handled by the long time director of the gallery.

After Councilors Elaine MacDonald and Carilyne Hebert quit the board of the gallery after having their illegal bingo activity exposed yours truly entered the board and managed to help stretch out of the life of the gallery for two more years when it was on death’s door.   More board spinning, more bad politics including Focus Art trying to illegally take over the gallery when all they needed to do for years was simply attend an AGM and vote in their members, as well as the city cutting the galleries funding to zero with the perception of many being that it was because I was on the board.

In fact Bernadette Clement, in an act of total fabrication and showing of her true pettiness said she couldn’t support council transfering Lift Off’s meagre monies to the gallery because of its governance.   She neglected to mention that she had been working on said governance before the transition nor that she had received, as had all of council, notification of up to date governance by TAG Cornwall.

The gallery essentially cost the community about $65K per year.   We managed to shrink it down to about $40 after we ended the ED’s position with a plan to have a reduced paid staffing role and more volunteers.

Many of those quoted as supporting the BOM art centre refused to lift a finger to save the gallery.   Likewise, it’s only asset, its permanent collection was offered to the city for about $15K so that the gallery could close as there could be no assets left.   The city and council never responded to multiple appeals.   The city essentially lost an asset that at one point was on the books for over $700K for $15K.    This is not responsible management.  This is not the action of a council or management that give a flying donkey’s about art.

The arts groups, if you wish to call them that, don’t seem to give a flying monkey about art either as everything possible should’ve been done to save the art gallery, but instead they actually participated in its demise.  It was a brand of insanity pretty much only seen in Cornwall.

Which led to the hypocritical and two faced purchase of the BOM building right across from the old art gallery.

It was not done democratically.  It was not done with any real public consultation.   Those are two red flags.

Many of those that seemed to take pleasure in killing the art gallery, or did nothing to help save it, are now supporting the BOM building which is nothing but more #taxrape.

Explain how a community that complained about spending $50K per year for its art gallery is now spending more than that to keep the BOM building empty?

Who is going to fund the new art gallery?  The city?

Some really mentally gifted politicians try to compare it to the Benson Centre, but that’s a joke too.



While hockey folk did raise some cash and deserve credit for that, it by no means comes close to covering the investment in what is now a white elephant as the Benson Centre’s upkeep is huge and not commiserate to its usage.

There has been talk of an arts centre in Cornwall for over 20 years.   Meanwhile the art gallery struggled to barely survive and no real funding was created for an arts centre and frankly the BOM building is not suitable even if you pimp it up and spend $5M or so.

There is only one building suitable, but the scared cows at City Hall refuse to consider consolidating the public library building which already has high ceilings for converting to a small black box theatre.

Should Cornwall Sell the BMO Building or use it as an Art Centre?

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Recently some candidates were quoted in the Freeholder.  We’re going to list them so you know who NOT to vote for under any conditions as well as a few others.


Carilyne Hebert

Justin Towndale

John Rattray

Maurice Dupelle

Syd Gardiner

Kelly Bergeron

Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy

Coun. Bernadette Clement

Heather Megill

Claude Poirier

Alex de Wit

Elaine MacDonald wasn’t quoted but is the chief ringleader of this joke. 

Todd Bennett wasn’t quoted, but is on this list too as he was part of this joke being on the Culture Committee and did nothing to save the art gallery.

A few candidates actually seemed a bit more grounded in reality.

Kyle Bergeron said he felt the whole project was nothing short of a “boondoggle.”

“The previous city council bought the BMO building for $450,000 without any consultation with the public outside of the culture committee,” he said.

Bergeron added the city has not provided a business plan for the project.

“So many red flags and the city has jumped in with large amounts of money without having a plan,” he said.

There really is only one clear solution that’s in the best interests of the taxpayers of Cornwall.

The building should be sold or used by the city if it has a purpose; like maybe moving city staff out of the Civic Complex as the cost of waterfront space is a premium and we really don’t need the Civic Complex.   With Aultsville Theatre there is a large spaced venue still in the community and the Benson Centre can take care of the Cornwall Colts who don’t provide revenue to the community.  (the city essentially lets them sell the rink boards to pay for their heavily discounted ice time)

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


  1. They said the BMO building purchase was “financed”, but no explanation of what that meant. And no realistic plan for what they want to do to the building or a business plan on how to do or pay for the renovations required. This has turned into a clusterf**k real quick.

    Anyone who thinks this is a good idea needs to give their head a good shake and wake up.

    Megabucks!! Megabucks!! Megabucks!

  2. I was buyyng a hoT dog and small fri at the lose cabose and I saw a concillar their. I asked bout why we need an art centre and he just rambaled on and on. I said this will cost us a lot of money the way they want to make it, and I ain’t gonna vote for him. We need change in this city, and I will run next year! There has been too much spennding of our tax dollers in this city and it needs to STOP

  3. Author

    Hugger, I could be 100% wrong, but I do believe they have a mortgage on the building. IE more debt.

  4. Author

    Which councilor?

  5. If it’s a mortgage, then the city should say so. Saying it was “financed” leaves it open to vast interpretation. There are so many different “financed” options. As taxpayers we have the right to know how our tax dollars are being spent to “finance” city councillors / mayor’s legacy projects.

  6. I think it was concillar jerry Sampson or ed allard. Dont no for sure. just no I have seen him on the chanel 11. when he finished his putin he got up and left.

  7. So the “arts community” will raise $1M of the $12m required. That leaves $11m to be raised from senior gov’t and taxpayers. And you can be sure it’ll be mostly taxpayers.

    And the city has still not said how the building was purchased. If it was mortgaged shouldn’t this have come before council in an open meeting, not behind closed doors. Council loves closed door meetings. Hide the info!!!!

  8. Author

    Hugger the local arts community has never raised much money. This is tragic and spun badly. $70K in “pledges”? Honestly….

  9. Brain fart / slippery fingers on my part. Renos to the BMO building have been pegged at $6M. That leaves $5m to be raised from senior gov’t and taxpayers. And you can be sure it’ll be mostly taxpayers.

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