Did I hear anything about the young girl that took her own life? For the second time in two years I was queried that recently.
We don’t like to talk about suicide. The police do not put it on the blotter. Here in Cornwall they refused to give me any numbers or data.
After much tracking down I was able to confirm some numbers and frankly they are even scarier than the cancer rates in Cornwall and SD&G.
When you do your research numbers show Nationally that Ontario has one of the lowest rates in Canada so why are they so high here in Cornwall?
After much wrangling I was able to get our confirmed numbers from 2015 to 2017. These numbers do not include cases where it may be suicide, but wasn’t confirmed as the anecdotal case of a young boy whose death was determined to be accidental even though few I spoke with agreed.
Even a single child suicide (under 18) is far too much a number. We have confirmed that 3 are officially on the books for 2016, 1 for 2017, and 2 that we know of since. That’s 6! If that’s not a red flag nothing is.
The total suicides for Cornwall/SD&G for 2015 were 17 with no child suicides officially recorded.
For 2016 the total was 18 with 3 child suicides!
In 2017 the numbers jumped to 26 total and 1 child suicide.
Out of a population of about 100,000 that simply is not acceptable. And of course for every recorded suicide there are a larger number of attempts and an even larger number of those that consider it.
So the questions start to become why? Why is this community seeing such high and rising numbers?
Is it the bully culture that starts at the top with retiring MP Guy Lauzon and people like Ed Lumley?
Is it the lower literacy rates as evidenced by repeated poor school rankings in the Fraser yearly reports for elementary and secondary schools?
Is it an economic factor? The historic child sexual abuse? A dysfunctional and corrupt local justice system with people like Crown Jennifer Burke and many of our local Justices who don’t appear to remotely understand the actual concept of justice?
It’s probably all of those and more. For example we don’t have many resources for mental health and suicide in the area. In our research we discovered a few, but sadly the Eastern Ontario Health Unit under Paul Roumeliotis (the highest Sunshine list member in the region) actually boycotts this newspaper. We don’t get releases. We don’t get public notices. We don’t get calls or emails. We don’t get ads. Nothing. In fact when we broke a story about Marijuana laced with Fentanyl a full court press was launched of what appeared to be misinformation.
While some in Dr. Paul’s political circle might think that this newspaper is a “Blog” CFN is the largest newspaper in this region. With over 15 million human pageviews in 2017 and over 14 million in 2018. Surely that is worthy of public notices for the safety and health of the region?
Sadly the Cornwall Community Hospital under Jeanette Despatie plays the same political game.
Can you imagine playing politics over public safety and then seeing these tragic kind of results?
We see it across the board locally, from our regional elected officials, to the local schools, and even charities. You can’t put petty small town corrupted politics and bullying over the public interest and expect a truly good result.
It’s one thing to be a special kind of odd like Roy Perkins, Sue Stewart, Andre Pommier, Randy Sauve, or Scott Lecky of the Ramada, but when you’re making decisions using public tax monies there should be only one principle and that again is the public interest.
We live in a community that has many wonderful qualities, but when we see such tragedy as our children killing themselves, or hurting themselves it simply isn’t the same as our high child cancer rates because of Big Ben having no membrane and leeching god knows what into our water, and historical pollution issues.
This newspaper is about to celebrate its 10th Anniversary on February 9th. What I’ve seen and endured during those ten years is testimony of the ills of our local culture that simply holds us back.
And it’s not the corrupt, the thugs, and bullies. It’s the weak and cowardly, the ignorant and loud, that enable and prop up a system that is failing even themselves. If you want to see real hate and disrespect for Cornwall just speak to someone that was born and bred here.
Is the Cornwall area unique? In some ways yes, but if the majority of people really wanted change it wouldn’t be that difficult to make that change. A lot of the dinosaurs are dying off and being exposed. This newspaper has helped, but my time here is coming to a rapid end.
If nobody fills that role who will speak for those that are afraid to speak up?
Normally I’d write the usual “what do you think dear CFN viewers”, but honestly at this point I really don’t want to know. I’ve seen enough sadly of this area to know that this column is whistling in the dark and most likely little to nothing will change.
And more children will die. And that is the true testimony to the culture that sadly is ruling this community from Guy Lauzon, to Jim McDonell, to Bernadette Clement, to Tim Simpson, Abram Benedict, Danny Aikman, Paul Roumeliotis, Jeannette Despatie, Rick Shaver, Sue Stewart, Eric Duncan, Tammy Hart, Lyle Warden, Elaine Macdonald, and too many more.
While some locals love to hurl abuse at this writer the mirror doesn’t lie. And the outside world sees the weak and impotent for what they are which is why Cornwall and SD&G are what they are.
The only way to change that is to change it.