Overspending Complaint Against Cornwall Mayor Highlights Toxic Bully Culture in Cornwall by Jamie Gilcig 042419

Cornwall is not a unique community. It however does have a strain of bully culture that is very rare in that it’s embraced by its victims, many times more than its bullies, who really, because of cronyism, aren’t that capable.

An example is that when I tried to save our Public Art Gallery and ended up on its board and I invited the City’s last Art Coordinator to join our team. She also was friends with one of our board members at the time.

She was smart, knew art, and it was a great fit.

The now defunct art gallery was never properly funded or truly supported during its 36 years. It became a corrupt reflection of the supposed art community of this region. It’s best artists stayed away with many telling me they simply wanted nothing to do with the “Focus Arts” types and politics.

I can’t blame them.

This poor board member was then harassed so much by the “clique” that she had a near melt down. After pleading with me to leave the gallery to appease them she quit and then sent an apology invoking Jesus no less.

I was told that they had threatened her day job and at her age I can only imagine how fearful she had felt. I didn’t blame her for any of this. Nobody deserves this treatment. Our board president lost a high dollar contract because one of his clients was threatened to lose their contract with the city if they didn’t turf him.

Isn’t that insane? The city cut the gallery’s funding to zero and like the miracle of Passover, Cornwall style, we stretched out our meager resources for two years while holding three huge shows, giving out the most cash in prizes the gallery had ever done, redone our governance, and put in a blue print for a strong future and expansion.

One of the chief thugs who led to its demise was our current mayor Bernadette Clement. In a US style political move she played a key role in destroying Cornwall’s only real art asset. In fact the city didn’t even respond when we offered the entire permanent art collection which had been evaluated at one time for over $700K plus local art, plus historical artifacts for the tiny amount of our outstanding liabilities so would could officially close. (about $15K)

Instead she championed buying an unsuitable bank building (for double what they could’ve purchased the art gallery building for across the street )in the dark that has cost the city more to support while closed than it spent on the art gallery. In fact now a $300K or so study has been commissioned which will waste another year. How Trump’ish can you get?

You can’t make this stuff up. It’s all really happened.

Mayor Clement in the meanwhile burnt her election spending limit by about 30 freaking percent! If Mayor Watson had done that in Ottawa the lines on CFRA would have metaphorically melted.

Yet here in Cornwall the special people want to give her a free pass including it appears, CAO Maureen Adams who jumped into the media on day one.

Day one oddly enough was at the end of the day before a four day holiday weekend. That’s junior spin. Spin doesn’t work if people see the spin. My political mentor taught me that when I still had a full head of hair.

Her proactive statement wasn’t brave, and it wasn’t really transparent. It was feebly clever as I’m sure she didn’t want it published on our pages first.

So I filed a complaint yesterday. Frankly there should’ve been a lot of complaints. It appears I was the only one.

In true Cornwall style I sent an email out to our local media, The Seaway News, The Standard Freeholder, and even Cornwall Newswatch, because even if I think Bill Kingston is an utter turd, he still runs a media outlet and all outlets should be treated fairly, especially because its the viewers that count.

I wanted to give them first crack instead of me simply publishing it. I’ve consistently done this as I am more than just CFN. I did run for mayor and support other causes not directly related to this newspaper.

The Freeholder responded and I was interviewed by Alan Hale.

Mr. Hale had my complaint and he had Ms Clement’s admission.

Now the questions and abuse begin.

You should see the abuse and hate in their comment section on facebook which again highlights the toxicity of this community.

Honestly, Ms Clement, if she had integrity, should step aside until this process is over and vacate her seat. There is no plausible excuse. Even if the clerk didn’t send her a form it still is her responsibility. End of.

Overspending by 29% isn’t an oopsie. It doesn’t matter if it’s her own money, and it certainly would be an indictment of her potential to manage a city budget. It’s why we have murder or manslaughter. One is intentional, one isn’t, but you still have a corpse to deal with.

And that frankly is where Ms Clement’s political career is at this point. While she may have some support in Cornwall; mostly organized labour, the senile, and those who have drank far too much fluoridated water, after multiple terms of office we’ve seen a city lose it’s edge to attract growth.

Because of Ms Clement’s firm hand we have bloated taxes, high hydro rates, less services and very little to bring business and growth to our community.

The crowning example is that we can’t even attract big distribution centres even though we have the space and capacity, and it’s supposed to be our big strength.

We’ve now seen multiple majors settle nearby, outside of this city. Frankly it’s embarrassing, as embarrassing as I’m sure at some level Ms Clement might be for fumbling the ball and burning through over 29% more cash from her pocket than she should’ve.

Photo : Social media


  1. Nothing but name calling at the S-F comment section, and no rational thoughts or defense of the allegations. All my life I’ve heard that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”. I know for sure it wouldn’t work for an average Joe like me, so how can we take a mayor seriously who would even dare utter those words as an explanation? Dumb or entitled in my estimation.

  2. All it takes is one complaint to start the process. I’m glad the complaint was filed. City clerk Levesque MUST be replaced as this is just yet another example of her not doing her job as described. Clement can blame the clerk all she wants. But in the end Clement overspent and did not check to see what her limit was. Clement must resign. As a lawyer she knows the rules. Drain the swamp!!!

  3. Author

    There is no defense. Mayor Clement has admitted that the overspending occurred. What she appears to be trying to do is mitigate the damages so that she doesn’t have to vacate the seat.

  4. Author

    See Hugger, you and I agree on lots of things 🙂

  5. Yeap. IMHO Clement had a duty as a candidate to verify what her limit was. Using the clerk’s failure as an excuse for the overspending is just an excuse that cannot be tolerated. She’s been in politics long enough to know the rules and how things work. And Levesque MUST be replaced as clerk as this is yet another example of her failure in that job. But having Clement as her lapdog it won’t happen.

  6. And let’s see who gets appointed to the “compliance audit committee.” I’m willing to bet it’s “friendlies” to the mayor and council.

  7. Will this go anywhere? The clerk has basically said “personal candidate contributions” don’t count. Arrggghhhh!!!!!

  8. Author

    Are you sure Hugger? There seems to be some loosey goosey reporting going on….

  9. The community needs the Cornwall Free News; it is proof of the difference between investigative/pro-active journalism versus publishing press releases and promotional puff pieces (Seeker, Seaway, Newswatch, etc.), or treading lightly not to offend advertisers and friends (S-F)… and of course the biggest pile of perfumed excrement is Peters’ less than the whole truth propaganda (Choose Cornwall).

  10. Author

    Yet Simon the simple truth is that this community is not financially supporting this newspaper. It’s not like it’s hard. All they have to do is click the donate button via paypal or send an e interac transfer to info@cornwallfreenews.com

    And honestly, is it any wonder we finished 124 our of 125 in the CFBI entrepreneurial rankings when so few locals miss out on over 80 million ad impressions per year? Our competition in Cornwall can’t even offer those organically.

    It’s a cultural problem, and this is the last year that we will subsidize this community. We’ve already cut off most of our ombudsmen services which rarely even make our pages.

    We can’t help people if they don’t support us.

  11. From another media outlet “Levesque and Clarke reiterated that the City Clerk is not required to make a statement concerning candidate’s personal contributions. Pursuant to section 88.9.1 (8), section 88.34 does not apply to contributions made by a candidate for an office on a council or his or her spouse to the candidate’s own election campaign,” reads a note at the end of the Clerk’s statement.”

  12. Author

    Hugger I don’t want to point fingers, but I think the waters are being muddied on purpose by certain entities. I think most “reasonable” people know that candidates have spending limits for a reason.

    Our mayor has publicly published her admittance of guilt. The lame attempt at mitigation by alleging that our clerk didn’t send out certain documents really don’t hold much water.

    The committee, chosen by the lay committee, which our mayor sits on, has at least two people that optically have connections to her. Again, just about any other town people would be screaming about this rather than posting idiotic statements about it being Bernie’s own money.

  13. I agree totally. Once again it’s easy to see how city hall works, or doesn’t work depending on how you look at it.

  14. Author

    And the one sole independent voice with a ten year history of speaking some ugly truths has to struggle to survive financially. What does that say about the businesses and community hugger?

  15. Jamie what you see in Cornwall is nothing new and always has been. The internet speaks the truth about what is going on in Cornwall and I didn’t leave that cursed no good for nothing town for nothing. We had very good reasons and never again would we ever make such horrible mistakes. When you see seniors leaving you know that something is rotten in Denmark. Cornwall sure is rotten.

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