Most Discussed Subjects in 2023

It’s a no brainer that the single most talked about subject in Cobourg this year was homelessness and the encampment. That’s also the message provided by the number of comments on posts.  But what came second and third?  Reader interest seems to put Council issues (Budget, Governance, Strategic Plan, remuneration of councillors) second and Police/Crime third. Cobourg residents also do care about public transport and the environment – but they have little to add to my reports on Entertainment. Maybe that’s good given that many comments are negative.  I should note that my numbers are biased since I have a strong focus on Council meetings so subjects discussed there dominate. This is not a scientific survey!  Overall, there were 118 posts (articles) on the Cobourg News Blog in 2023 and a total of 6221 comments.

You can see for yourself lists of articles from 2017 thru 2023 on this page. The lists include the post heading, the tag(s) (broad subject heading) and the number of comments.

There are other ways to access earlier posts:

  • Topics grouped by Tags – look in the column on the right side of each blog page.  The size of the text is a rough indicator or how many articles have that tag.
  • Search box – at the top right of each page. Enter words you are looking for – works like Google except it’s searching only the blog.

A Word on Moderation

One of the reasons this blog is popular is that it allows anonymous comments.  But there are rules – no libel or hate speech, stay on topic (well, close to the topic!), use a unique name and always use the same name.  Most spam is automatically stopped but I reserve the right to delete comments not following the rules – persistent violations could mean being permanently banned (more on rules here).

If you wonder what info I get on each comment – it’s:

  • User name (usually not the real name)
  • Number of approved comments by that name
  • Email Address
  • IP address – identifies the ISP and geographic location

Only user name is public. I will occasionally use the email address to contact the commenter about a problem.  Be sure to use your real email – if it bounces, you will get banned.

Maximizing the Benefit of the Blog

Four things:

  1. Not every topic needs more than a single sentence to cover it.  See the News Update box in the right column near the top of each page.
  2. I don’t know about every detail on a topic – look here for other sources of news in Cobourg.
  3. The morning emails sent to subscribers point to posts put on line the previous day – usually at 1:00 pm. Feel free to look at the Blog’s home page at any time to see the latest article.  You don’t need to wait for the morning email.
  4. Some people want to say more than can be put in a comment where it might get “lost”. So they write a letter to the editor. You can always see the latest letters here.

Summary

The big subject in 2022 was Covid but that now seems to be mostly behind us – hopefully some kind of resolution of the encampment will happen soon so we’ll have something else to talk about in 2024.

It would also be a breath of fresh air if commenters could stop being so negative or if they must, at least suggest constructive solutions to what they are complaining about.

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Bonnie White
2 months ago

Is there a recording of the town meeting at the CCC in Dec.?

John Draper
Reply to  Bonnie White
2 months ago

I reported on that meeting here: https://www.cobourgblog.com/news-2023/mayor-cleveland-answers-questions In resources is a link to a poor quality video.

Doug Weldon
3 months ago

Thank you John, for all your hard work that keeps us well informed. If you make anything from the occasional ad it certainly does not represent the benefit you add to Cobourg news. You are Cobourg’s best news source. Thank you very much !

Homelessness is an issue that will continue for many years. Normally a province wide issue would be delt with by a province wide government. This issue could be delt with by our county government but they also look the other way. That is the norm across Ontario so the only government left is municipal. If the municipality does anything positive then they are just inviting the homeless people from neighbouring communities to fill our parks. Hence the negative reaction to the purchase of the Division St. residence. Doug Ford who should be dealing with this issue, is only interested in $$$$ so the issue of Homelessness will not be dealt with as long as he is in power. He has the power to do nothing and that is his path. Shame.

I have a strong social conscience. My Dad was born almost Blind and did very well, and my mother brought Children’s Aid Societies to all of Northern Ontario – north of a line from North Bay to Thunder Bay. She flew into every Indigenous community from Moosonee to the Ontario border right next to Churchill Manitoba. An area bigger than all of Southern Ontario! Wow Mom !
Bill Davis phoned our house in Kapuskasing and coached her on and on.

WHAT I WOULD DO about Homelessness. I would buy the residence in Cobourg – more ! I would welcome all homeless people off the streets. BUT< standards would be set within every home. Cleanliness, routines and drug management would be totally required. Create new laws that require anyone with illegal drugs/drug addiction to attend Drug Addiction clinics otherwise they should be retained and sent to Drug Addiction Jails – Hey, they are breaking the law, stealing and ruining our communities. It would take very little to turn Brookside into such a secure institution. There will always be Drug problems in this day and age. Many confined and rehabbed druggies would be thanking our society over and over once they are rehabbed !

So, be kind, set expectations and sometimes be hard when rehab doesn’t happen. A few might have to live out their lives in confinement.
If, I was Justin Trudeau I’d hold national meetings to connect the whole country together on this. If successful he might even get re-elected !
Happy New Year !

Doug Weldon
Reply to  Doug Weldon
3 months ago

Why the negative – 1 above ? Are you upset with my mention of Trudeau ? Our only alternative is Pierre Polievre and the Conservatives do NOT spend money on Health/Human Care issues. Do we want a better Canada? Or do we just step back and let things deteriorate. After WWI we had enormous unemployment ( a Con. gov’t) nothing was done and Canada got to enjoy the Depression. After WWll we started to get unemployment and the Liberals started door to door mail delivery and the Commissioners – remember them.? Unemployment disappeared and Western economies boomed. FD Roosevelt (A Democrat) helped that a lot. If we let the bottom part of our society fall out then the middle won’t be too far behind. If we ALWAYS try to lift the down and up to Upward and Onward then everyone progresses.
We can all fall to the bottom without trying too. Drug Addiction is much like that.
I had a serious accident at 22 followed by Cancer (told it would be fatal!) ouch, then broke my neck. All in 14 months. Now 75, after lots of help, Unemployment Insurance,Student Loans kept me fed and schooled. I recovered in a few years and became successful – in Real Estate, cafeteria/restaurant business then finished with 20 great years teaching High School including at Brookside. Canadian society helped me back up and I became productive again. Homelessness is never anyones objective. Bad things socially and drugs lead people there.
Compassion for all !

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  Doug Weldon
3 months ago

Your comment on the Conservatives not spending money on Health care/ Human conditions, when they do expect to form the government there is no money left, except to crawl out of the pit left behind by the Liberal party.

Kevin
Reply to  Doug Weldon
3 months ago

Doug, you are questioning the negative response, thumbs down, to your comment. I think many people agree there needs to be rules for housing, that is not the problem. The problem may be your recommendation of forced rehab. From public information we know people have been working with the homeless in the encampment. The people in the encampment have refused the help that is available. Remember that 2 residences have been closed due to health and safety reasons. The tenants of these homes welcomed anybody off the streets, allegedly for a fee, which contributed to the deterioration of the properties. We need rules and they need to be enforced but not everybody agrees with this. There seems to be a number of supporters who want government provided housing with no rules. The thumbs down could be from anybody. My recommendation is to not worry about it and continue to provide comments. If you provide good suggestions and convince enough people maybe some change for the good will come of it. Perhaps not everybody agreed with your mother bringing the CAS to northern communities but, most likely, she had good intention and did help many children. We need to keep trying even though we will not help everybody.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Kevin
3 months ago

Based on these posts, “low barrier” housing (housing without rules) for the homeless appears to be on topic:

See https://www.durhamregion.com/news/reflection-2023-eye-opening-experience-covering-whitby-homeless-shelter-debate-that-divided-community-council/article_4dd245bd-bf48-5fb8-8466-8d7353d57308.html for a brief story of Whitby’s equivalent of the planned shelter at 321 Division Street.

Kevin
Reply to  Ken Strauss
3 months ago

Our homeless situation/encampment is the most Discussed Subject in 2023. Low barrier housing is part of that discussion. Interesting article Ken provided a link to. Hopefully all the discussions about the Whitby shelter will make it a better facility. We have the opportunity to provide opinions. 310 Division Street: Modernizing shelter services to address community need | Join In Northumberland
The County really seems to want community input. Let’s provided it!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Kevin
3 months ago

It is a little late for community input after having purchased the property and announced how it will be used! It should be obvious that most Cobourg residents don’t want illegal drugs *ANYWHERE* near our town.

Old Sailor
3 months ago

One of the reasons why the Homeless situation gains so many hits, is that the Town, County, Province, Feds, Police, Transition House executives etc. etc. do not come clean with Cobourg taxpayers on the answers to questions we all have. Especially related to the encampment(s) in 2024 and the intended uses of 310 Division Street.

My recommendation would be for a County run Q&A meeting at the CCC. Citizens could submit questions in advance. Answers to submitted and additional questions could be given by a panel of local experts – including our MPP, Police Chief, EMS services rep, Fire Chief, Transition House Executive Director and County staff who have interviewed encampment members.

The proposed 25 person controlled seances the County plans to hold in January should be scrapped.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Old Sailor
3 months ago

This Building held way more Seniors than what the Town & County are spinning to us
if laid out correctly and as Rehabs and other shelters do ,. This building will comfortably hold 90 Plus individuals and that’s leaving several units for single moms with their children

Remember this was the Cobourg Retirement center with 50 + residents Staff offices , medical treatment rooms , Kitchen ,,Dinning and Lounge & Storage areas etc etc .
So unless this place is to be turned into a Hotel with private suites they are mis leading us once again Or Under using the Facility and its true potential

CiW
3 months ago

Thank you John. That was an excellent overview.

Sandpiper
3 months ago

What I would like to see as a possible solution to Ontario’s and Canadas growing Poverty levels
Homeless, Food shortages , Depression and Mental health issues would be for all levels of Govt. to bring all support systems whether its ODSP , Welfare , OAS. CPP increased to a level of income that might get some of these people off the street s . I don’t mean increase Govt employees wages by another 30 % ++ with benefits not those that administer programs I mean those that need it . Every group you read about Unions , Hospitals , Teachers all levels of Govt
have received multiple increases over the last 10 yrs to keep apace but not the rest of Canadian
born and raised citizens . Trudeau need s to stop handing out our Tax dollars to every need cause else where in the World and start looking after his own.
I was hoping to see some groups like CARP or ZOOMER pick this up but it seems they are afraid to wade in on the topics which they suggest in their membership drives they are fighting for over the last 10 yrs .
Just a thought & Happy New Year

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  Sandpiper
3 months ago

Sandpiper, you should run for council, you seem to say much about nothing,

Rational
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
3 months ago

So much for “a word on moderation”.

Last edited 3 months ago by Rational
Beachwalker
Reply to  Sandpiper
3 months ago

Bang on! Give the money to the struggling folk.

Doug Weldon
Reply to  Sandpiper
3 months ago

People do not have to be born in Canada to be a Canadian citizen. At some point Sandpiper, your ancestors were most likely not born here !

Kevin
Reply to  Sandpiper
3 months ago

Yes, Sandpiper, it would be a much better world without people needing to live on the streets. You are suggesting in Canada we should be able to find a solution to help Canadians. That would be great. I am not knowledgeable enough to know if any society has ever really achieved this. Throughout history there are lots of examples of societies that had slaves or people who were practically slaves. Were serfs slaves? Maybe not technically but they had few options. With our modern society we have the technology to produce enough food and build enough homes. The problem is we have never found a fair way of sharing the wealth. The Ontario government tried a pilot program of guaranteed income. Too bad the current government cancelled it without getting data on the results. Tax the rich, give to the poor. OK, but that requires a government, a hierarchy, to collect the taxes and decide who deserves what. There will always be people better off than others. Some people work very hard and have lots of wealth. Others decide to work less, still able to live comfortably and enjoy time with family, friends, hobbies. Some do not work enough to support themselves, relying on government programs or charity to survive. There are many reasons people become homeless. We can try to help them. As long as we are not allowed to force them to get help we are limited in what we can do. An addict who doesn’t want to stop using (drugs, alcohol, gambling), a person with a mental illness who is not able to make decisions are the people in the worst situation. These people are very difficult to help. Even when they have a place to live and government assistance they are not always able to keep their home safe to live in. If we build more housing will we have the right, responsibility, to constantly inspect and repair? Maybe you are right about spending the money we give out around the world and use it to help our needy.

Government seems to keep growing. If things are getting worse then maybe we should be moving in the opposite direction. Maybe instead of trying to support every individual with whatever issue they personally have we should be looking at society as a whole. Maybe we should be able to force people to get off their addictions. Then, just maybe, things will start getting better.

Lydia Smith
3 months ago

John said, “…suggest constructive solutions to what they are complaining about.” Amen.

Happy New Year, Everyone.

Dave
Reply to  Lydia Smith
3 months ago

Constructtive Solution on many societal Canadian ills – change the laws and policies which are made at the Federal level which knee cap all efforts for change of the situations plaguing us today. Vote out the current Federal government. The source of the problems. Bring in new policies that will enable change which is blocked today. Begin the process of recovery and object by voting out the NDP which supports the government making these policies.