Watching the watchmen: citizen groups springing up in Northumberland

Cobourg taxpayers Association

By Robert Washburn

The formation of the Cobourg Taxpayers Association in September represents the latest citizen’s lobby group in West Northumberland, following the creation of the Citizen’s Council of Hamilton Township in the summer, and the granddaddy of them all, the Port Hope Ratepayers Association, was formed in 2010. They all share a similar goal: to monitor the local council. And, the agendas may vary, they focus mainly on taxes, stopping wasteful spending and to lobby on contentious issues. The Cobourg group paints itself as a group of concerned citizens with assorted expertise, wanting to hold local politicians to account and ensure the system is transparent, along with keeping a keen eye on finances. It is taking aim at a wide range of items, including community grants, the upcoming town budget and Holdco, the town’s corporation that oversee the public utilities. Continue Reading →

Time for feds to step up on hospital funding

northumberland hills hospital

By Robert Washburn

Healthcare is the number one issue in this election a recent poll showed, period. Yet, it is being largely ignored on the national campaign trail. Local candidates gave brief statements in the media last week. But at a recent healthcare debate organized by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Conservative candidate Adam Moulton did not participate, sending a clear message to voters. With the Northumberland Hills Hospital consultant’s review pending release later this month, the debate over healthcare in this riding seems even more urgent. Continue Reading →