Editorial – And The Truth Will Set You Free

In Editorial

Being accurate is something everyone in the world strives for in life.

Insignificant things to one person may mean the world to another.

In the world of journalism, truth and accountability are top of what we at Today’s Northumberland strive for.

I’ve bored people saying that mistakes have and will be made.

With this in mind, since an editorial was published on November 27, 2022 titled, “Prohibiting Police From the Warming at St. Andrew’s Church is Wrong” there were many comments about it.
Some agree, some didn’t. Which is welcomed.

But the one that stood out was from Rev. Neil Ellis from St. Andrew’s Church in Cobourg.

The day after the editorial was posted, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church posted on their Facebook group that they were disappointed that the full comment provided by Rev. Ellis wasn’t used and that his words were provided out of context.

Also, it stated, “there are other pieces of information in the article that are factually inaccurate.”

Since that time we’ve sent numerous e-mails and text messages to Rev. Ellis asking him to explain what was factually in accurate.

Rev. Ellis is a leader in this community. Stating something is inaccurate by any leader in the community should be of importance. So we wanted to know and have been trying to find out what was wrong with the editorial. Of course people don’t have to agree with an editorial. That’s what it’s about. But an editorial should never be “factually inaccurate” and that is the information we were looking for to either confirm or deny.

On Wednesday, December 7, 2022, we finally got our answer.

Rev. Ellis finally responded and in the interest of clarity we will take each of his five points stated and explain.

1. Rev. Ellis stated, “People weren’t housed in the bus terminal, they were sheltered.”

Looking up the word “housed” it states two meanings. But the first one is what is applicable in this instance. It says, “provide (a person or animal) with shelter or living quarters.”

As they were provided with shelter – they were housed. Not the type of housing anyone should have, but by definition, they were housed/sheltered.

2. Rev. Ellis, “You indicate in your editorial that “there are also a number of concerns with the facility at St. Andrew’s Church” but do not elaborate as to what they might be.

What we were referring to the age of people volunteering. Is 17-years-old too young to volunteer? Do they have proper training? Is a hour video that someone did enough for what they may encounter? Was it a safe injection site (there were at least two medical calls at St. Andrew’s Church for possible overdoses)?

3. Rev. Ellis, “The incident with the police officer is misconstrued, they were not kicked out. We asked that they not make random wellness checks.”

They were inside the church and were told they were not allowed to enter the room where the shelter was located. In an e-mail that Rev. Ellis sent to Today’s Northumberland he states himself that the officer, “was turned away by the volunteer on duty.”

4. Rev. Ellis, “Missy McLean and others were misquoted from the training session and the words were taken out of context.”

In the video that was shown to volunteers, Ms. Mclean broke it down into two scenarios, the first one was if someone called police from St. Andrew’s, she said to let them in, but added, “I would try and keep them in the foyer or hallway as much as possible to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the folks. Another key piece about that is if anyone is coming in, is giving people a heads-up and giving them notice. So if someone has called the police, it’s letting people know that police have been called and are on their way. So that people have the choice. They can get the fuck out. They can stay in the big room, while police officers stay in the foyer.”

In the second scenario Mclean states that if police arrived and no one called them it’s the volunteers role to say, “St. Andrews church is a private premises . We are upholding the privacy and confidentiality of the folks who are inside. So the message to the police is, “thanks so much for stopping by. For privacy reasons I can’t have you coming into the space.”

These are the exact words that Mclean said. There was no misquoting in the editorial – none.

5. And lastly, Rev. Ellis said, “some volunteers CPR and First Aid training.”

In the editorial, Today’s Northumberland stated, “volunteers also do not specifically have CPR training.”

Today’s Northumberland has stated before and will again that the volunteers that came forward were needed and also appreciated at that time.

That said, even in the training video organizers stated they weren’t professionals, they were volunteers.

Rev. Ellis is a leader in this community and this is why Today’s Northumberland is responding to the comments.

We wanted to know where the errors were and if, and how we could do better.

In this instance – we couldn’t.

Rev. Ellis is one of the people who helped in this situation and for that, the community should be grateful.

But he must also understand that lashing out and stating an editorial is “factually inaccurate” because you don’t agree with it may not be the way to go about it.

Today’s Northumberland stands by the accuracy of the article and there was nothing “factually inaccurate.”

Editorial – Prohibiting Police From The Warming Centre at St. Andrew’s Church Is Wrong

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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