The Cornwall Standard Freeholder
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 12:40:44 EDT PM
A leading figure towards the establishment of the Cornwall Public Inquiry into widespread sexual abuse and possible coverups has died.
Carson Chisholm passed away suddenly Monday “doing the work he loved in his bush” according to an obituary. He was 66.
A source close to the family suspects it was a heart attack.
Chisholm was also a leading pro-lifer in the area for many years. Professionally, he was a well-known real estate broker and auctioneer.
Chisholm became closely connected to efforts for an inquiry through his brother-in-law Perry Dunlop, a former whistle-blowing city police officer.
Dunlop’s investigation into the local diocese’s coverup of a priest accused of molestation led to a large-scale sex abuse probe by the OPP called Project Truth during the late 1990s.
Chisholm aided Dunlop in compiling reams of information about pedophile activity in the Cornwall area.
Project Truth led to more than 100 charges against 15 men, including lawyers and priests – but only one conviction.
But Project Truth did not identify an alleged pedophile ring as suspected by Chisholm and others.
After Project Truth wrapped up, Chisholm chaired a petition committee in 2000 that gained thousands of signatures in support of a private member’s bill for an inquiry from Ottawa area MPP Garry Guzzo.
But the bill was not supported by the Progressive Conservative provincial government at the time.
However, the Liberal Party promised to hold an inquiry, and in 2005 Chisholm’s wish came true.
But some aspects of the Cornwall Public Inquiry were criticized by Chisholm and others, who first took issue with the appointment of inquiry commissioner Justice Normand Glaude, a Roman Catholic with family ties to SDG.
Chisholm was a spokesperson for The Red Flag committee, which wanted Glaude to step down and also wanted the inquiry to also focus on allegations of a pedophile ring and coverup.
Chisholm was also part of the Coalition for Action on Child Sexual Abuse, which failed at first to qualify for standing at the inquiry. Glaude approved standing but not funding several months later.
Chisholm asked for individual standing, but was denied.
During inquiry testimony, some witnesses said they were told by Chisholm and Dunlop to embellish or make false claims related to their abuse.
During his inquiry testimony, Chisholm explained that victims had been damaged by abuse leading them to change their stories over the years. He also denied claims he had posed as a police officer or court ordered investigator.
Chisholm set up a trust fund to help Dunlop and his wife Helen with expenses incurred from the inquiry.
Glaude eventually ruled not to pass judgement on whether a pedophile ring existed, as that was not part of the inquiry’s mandate.
Glaude did blame systemic failures from various governmental institutions and agencies for not dealing with sex abuse allegations properly.
Chisholm also became involved politically and ran as a local candidate for the Christian Heritage Party in the 2006 federal election.
Chisholm leaves behind wife Julie and six children and 12 siblings.
He will be waked at Lahaie and Sullivan Funeral Home, 20 Seventh Street West, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Friday and 9-10 a.m. Saturday, followed by funeral Mass at St. Andrew’s Church at 11 a.m.