Community Voices

Contributions from others in the community

Recent Posts

Hard talk on hardball politics with journalist Amy MacPherson

A wide ranging interview with journalist Amy MacPherson about the federal election and politics during the Drive Time with Dave Glover on Northumberland 89.7 FM. Amy MacPherson is a freelance investigative journalist, based in Ontario. Her research is dedicated to politics, public policy, economic and social justice, with a penchant for going beyond the mainstream to produce original analysis of controversial subjects Continue Reading →

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Rowden’s published response to recent column

This is an excerpt from a column by Councillor Forrest Rowden entitled: Please abide by Town bylaws

I would like to let you know that I do support dog owners in the Town of Cobourg. I have been working with Councillor Larry Sherwin (not Jay Sherwin as columnist Robert Washburn indicated in last week’s column) for the last three years to secure a suitable off-leash site so that no one is in violation of any bylaws. The conservation area, also known as James Cockburn Park, is a park for everyone and not just a ‘dog park’. All conservation areas within the Ganaraska Region Conservation Area allow dogs to walk with their owners on leash only, which has been a rule of the GRCA for quite some time. Cobourg Council is trying to accommodate all types of users, which is why we have a library, a skating rink downtown, Legion and soccer fields, walking and bike trails, and bicycle lanes for cyclists to feel safer when riding on our streets. Continue Reading →

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Provincial election already underway, unofficially

By Robert Washburn

With the recent visit of Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak to Northumberland last week and Premier Kathleen Wynne’s upcoming visit to Port Hope next week, it appears the unofficial general election in Ontario is already underway. It is serious campaigning. Taxpayers pay some of it, as politicians devise ways to make it look like government business; and other times it is a partisan event funded by the party. It is an opportunity to streamline messages, field test policies, and take the temperature of the electorate. Meanwhile, there is plausible deniability where no one admits they are in election mode. Continue Reading →

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Ice storm 2013 – a visual story

Local photographer Warren McCarthy shared these amazing photos of various locations around Cobourg of the recent ice storm. While there were some pretty hard hit areas and people went without power, there is another side to the storm, which he has captured in these beautiful images. Consider This is grateful for his contribution. Thanks, Warren. Now, enjoy. Continue Reading →

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Quiet changes to health care in Northumberland

By Deborah O’Connor

In following the evolution of our no longer brand new Northumberland Hills Hospital, it’s been a rocky ride as the last 10 years saw the establishment of the LHINs, (Local Health Integration Networks) as the new overseers of all Ontario’s hospitals and health care entities. With their goals of improving health care through co-ordination and better planning as well as reducing the cost of health care, their tasks are monumental. The community uproar that arose in 2010 over the closing of the hospital outpatient physiotherapy clinic and diabetic care clinic has faded from public awareness as ever more announcements of this or that achievement emanates from the administration. Currently, the latest endeavour is the process called the “Community Health Services Integration Strategy, North East cluster”. The Implementation Planning Team (IPT) includes representatives from Northumberland, Haliburton/Kawartha Lakes, and Peterborough County. Continue Reading →

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Talking our way out of poverty

By Deborah O’Connor

Lets talk, shall we? Somehow, over many years of increasing poverty and misery for the disadvantaged, a large cadre of well meaning, middle class social agency workers have built up a philosophy that threatens to perpetuate the very problems they claim they are trying to solve. Encouraged, even enabled by government bureaucrats, these people have drowned out the cries of protest that seek immediate solutions, and reduced the real activists to a marginalized and demeaned fringe element. Consider the recent federal budget, and comments from the local executive director of Habitat for Humanity made to Rick Norlock, our federal Member of Parliament at his annual budget breakfast. Despite cutting off funding to build affordable housing back in the early 90s, with no plans to bring that back in spite of the current crisis in homelessness, this charity worker congratulated Mr. Norlock for throwing a few paltry crumbs in the direction of social housing. Continue Reading →

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Observations from a recent Northumberland County Council meeting

By Deborah O’Connor

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the monthly County Council meeting with fellow citizen journalist Scott Lamberton. We were there to record our impressions of the occasion, from the timely showing of a video on local poverty from the Halliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge Health Unit, to another from newly hired consultant Tim Welch explaining how he’ll spend the nearly $42,000 awarded to his company to develop a 10-year plan for housing and homelessness in Northumberland. Following that, there was discussion about the 2013 County budget, a $95 million package that looks after many of our most crucial services. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Funding loss cripples local agencies serving poor

By Deborah O’Connor

The last year has been a tumultuous one in Ontario for those caught in the welfare trap. Faced first by the austerity demands of the Drummond Report, then the final report from the Commission to Review Social Assistance, released after the legislature was already prorogued, the year ended with no clear direction in place but cuts to basic supports imposed regardless. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Welfare reform report released in a vacuum

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Welfare Reform

By Deborah O’Connor

The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance finally released its long awaited report, “Brighter Prospects: Transforming Social Assistance In Ontario”, today following a one-month delay. Too bad nobody is home at the Ontario Legislature to act on it. It’s not likely to make much difference anyway since many activists aren’t expecting anything positive from it. While the reforms designed to cut the welfare rolls and save money will no doubt be eagerly embraced, those who would improve the system and the lives of those affected are not welcoming it, if past government behaviors are any indication. The facts are while the Liberal government in Ontario added about 130 million to the welfare budget this year, corresponding cutbacks clawed away half of the rolls. Continue Reading →

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