John Henderson Announces re-election Campaign

At a small Press Conference outside Victoria Hall today, John Henderson announced that he will run for re-election as Cobourg’s Mayor.  Adam Bureau was there and he said that he too has submitted his papers for re-election as Councillor although he has not yet started his campaign.  John handed out campaign material (see below) and has assembled a campaign team including Don Morrison and Roger Tessier.  John has lived in Cobourg for 36 years and has been on Council for the last 12 and in successive terms moved from Councillor, to Deputy Mayor to Mayor.   His campaign handout includes a list of “Areas of Focus” and his Professional Qualifications with a short section on his Personal Life.  He has provided phone and email contacts (see below) and plans a web site at the end of May.

Campaign material highlights

Areas of Focus

  • People: Affordable & Alternative Housing
  • Places: Climate Change & Sustainability
  • Partnerships: 5G Broadband & IT Integration
  • Programs: Youth Engagement
  • Prosperity: Developing a Business Continuity Plan

Personal Life

John Henderson
John Henderson

Cobourg is where my wife, Donna, and I have raised our three children and we could not envision living anywhere else. Now as empty-nesters, we keep busy with our Golden Retriever, Westley, and cat, Roxey, as well as our “fur grandchildren,” Peter and Izzy.

Professional Qualifications

Cobourg Town Council

Current Boards & Committees

  • Northumberland County Council
  • Town of Cobourg Holdings Inc.
  • Northam Industrial Park / Economic Development
  • Cobourg Civic Awards Advisory Committee
  • Cobourg Police Services Board
  • Northumberland Central Chamber of Commerce
  • HKPR Board of Health
  • Town Policy Review Committee
  • Canadian Association of Nuclear Host Communities
  • Ex-Officio of all Committees

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Rotary Club of Cobourg
  • Royal Canadian Legion Branch 133
  • West Northumberland Curling Club
  • Art Gallery of Northumberland
  • Cobourg Museum Foundation

Previous Profession

  • Elementary School Administrator with the Durham District School Board. Principal, Vice ­Principal and Teacher for 33 years (Retired).

Education

  • BA BEd. University of Western
  • Master’s of Education, Queen’s University

Contact Information

John treats the job of Mayor as full time; he has an office and (shared) secretary in Victoria Hall and is often seen at Town events. I’ll leave it to blog readers to comment on his performance.

It’s not known who else will run but it’s likely that candidates will wait to announce until after the Provincial Election.  The page listed below will be kept updated on Candidate information.

Resources

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Pete M
15 June 2022 3:45 pm

Here we are June 15th. The announced website for his re-election is still not up.

Is still running for re-election?

Or is this just a technical “glitch”

Dubious
Reply to  Pete M
15 June 2022 4:19 pm

The website delay is consistent with Council’s Unfinished Business list.

Bryan
Reply to  Pete M
15 June 2022 6:06 pm

Pete M

John Henderson, along with Adam Bureau, is listed as running for Council on the Town’s election web page,

https://www.cobourgvotes.ca/en/information-for-candidates/nominations-filed/

Perhaps JH is waiting to see if he will be acclaimed again…..therefore no need for an election website

Pete M
Reply to  Bryan
15 June 2022 10:24 pm

Im sorry Bryan, but if tell the electorate you will have a website up at the end if May, then have it up. If not please explain the reason why..

Its poor communication on John and his re-election team’s part

Bryan
Reply to  Pete M
16 June 2022 2:21 pm

Pete M,

Your point is well taken.
The commitment should have been kept or an explanation why not provided.
My comment was to suggest a possible reason why, not as a reason to excuse the performance lapse.

Keith Oliver
12 May 2022 10:50 pm

In this blog some are asking for examples of John Henderson’s achievements. Under a provincially mandated weak-mayor system of municipal government I don’t think it’s quite that simple.

I’ve been an active participate before Town Council since arriving in Cobourg in 1999. On one occasion I initiated an OMB Appeal where I challenged the Council’s decision to allow a Walmart because I believed the Town ignored it’s own Official Plan. I received hate mail over that.

I’ve always tried to be positive, respectful. Over what I remember as eight planning and development issues I consider that I was successful only once.

I believe Henderson is a better mayor than Delanty and Brocanier in that he is a better listener and is easier to contact.

What I would like to see is a mayor with a strong and well articulated vision of a future for Cobourg that reduces urban sprawl, energy consumption and CO2 emissions. One indirect way of doing this is to attract more jobs so that Cobourg citizens don’t have to travel for work. I would like to hear more ideas about how this could be achieved.

So far I don’t see any such vision. Hopefully that will happen if others come forward to compete for the position of mayor.

We’ll see. Six months is a long time in politics especially small town politics.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
12 May 2022 11:22 pm

Keith, the way to achieve your stated objectives is a combination of changes. Increased development charges would discourage population growth and attendant urban sprawl. Changes to building requirements — better insulation, heat pumps, rooftop solar panels, EV charging systems, larger lot sizes with shade plantings, etc. — would greatly reduce Cobourg’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
13 May 2022 9:17 am

Ken

The intent of this blog is to encourage candidates to put forward their ideas concerning issues important to the public and the town’s future … not your ideas.

Let’s keep the focus on what they are saying!

At this early point in the campaign you would be best to contact candidates directly and try to convince them of your concerns and solutions.

Pete M
Reply to  Keith Oliver
13 May 2022 12:12 am

Keith

From Cobourg Now website: At his announcement of his intention to seek re-election

“Henderson talked about three issues that would be important during his second term as mayor: inclusion of youth in the political process; continuing to develop the waterfront; and address local affordable housing pressures.”

Guess his important issues aren t your important issues?

Here are my issues:
•inflation and the ever increasing food prices, increasing gas and energy prices.
•rising mortgage costs
•rising property taxes
•politicians who are tone deaf to the daily challenges that people are facing in todays tough economy.

I know some are outside of council and the mayors authority.
But still they need to consider current world events and its potential impact on Cobourg and its residents

Time to re-examine Town spending- fuel budgets, delay /defer some capital projects. Essential vs. non essential spending.

Re-examine taxation and the capacity of residents and businesses to pay.

ben
Reply to  Pete M
13 May 2022 7:18 am

Here are my issues:
•inflation and the ever increasing food prices, increasing gas and energy prices.
•rising mortgage costs
•rising property taxes”

And how are these municipal issues – get off the red herrings!

Pete M
Reply to  ben
13 May 2022 8:14 am

How are property taxes not a municipal issue?
Rising prices and cost for services for the Town directly effect the taxpayer.You believe those cost wont be passed onto the taxpayer?

Ben, residents have a finite capacity to pay when it comes taxes. They’re being squeezed by the different levels of government.

Im saying the Town needs to realize and could adjust to give them some relief.

Pete M
11 May 2022 6:22 pm

As I follow this discussion, the one the thing I note is that no one has said what have been the positives or good things that Mayor Henderson has done as Mayor, especially those that support him.

I ve seen people express that commentators shouldn’t be so harsh, so negative, because it is tough and sometimes thankless job being mayor

But not once, I have read or seen a post where those same have touted the great accomplishments of the Mayor or current council, as a way to counter the negative.

ben
Reply to  Pete M
12 May 2022 6:43 am

Sometimes you don’t have to be flashy to succeed. Ask yourself what have the other Mayor’s done to stand out – not much. As to the accomplishments of this Council, it would be hard to find a standalone success but lots of small Staff-driven adoptions.

If you have the chance ask anyone of the Council members including the Mayor “Name one item that you have championed that made it through Council on its own, as opposed to just voting for staff-driven policy?”

Dubious
Reply to  ben
12 May 2022 8:33 am

Some previous Mayors have done things that stand out. One built a claimed to be free CCC that now costs over $1-million every year. One showed that voting to help a wife’s niece was not a conflict. One created the world’s largest cannabis factory. One bought patent infringing Chinese streetlights to create hundreds of jobs in Cobourg and cost the town millions.

Pete M
Reply to  ben
12 May 2022 8:54 am

The deflect spin…”ignore my guy” and look at the past individuals they did nothing too to stand out.

I think Gil and Peter might take exception to your comment?

We spent the last 2 years with COVID, surely the mayor and council could tout their successes in leading the Town through the crisis.

As the old political saying goes, ” never let a crisis go to waste”

Bryan
Reply to  Pete M
12 May 2022 6:11 pm

Pete M,

As noted in John D’s article, Henderson was on council for 12 years prior to being acclaimed mayor (DM 4, Council 8), serving while Gil and Peter were mayors. I’m reasonably sure that if the Council vote for each of the projects/events listed above was checked, it would show that Henderson voted in favour of each.

As you indicate, the Council members collectively are responsible for Council’s successes and failures. However, they are elected individually and must be assessed on that basis.
As yet, there have been no substantive achievements attributed to Henderson and several (many ??) failures, leadership being paramount.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bryan
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Pete M
12 May 2022 6:33 pm

Pete M, since you brought up our Mayor’s “leadership” during COVID you might be interested in https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2022/03/24/breaking-news-port-hope-man-receives-decision-from-privacy-commission-and-calls-on-hkpr-district-health-board-to-resign/

The summary is that HKPR refused to reveal the number of COVID cases in various portions of Northumberland and the Privacy Commissioner found this unacceptable. Mr. Henderson is the vice-chair of HKPR. 

In her 22-page decision, the Adjudicator, Stella Ball stated, ”I would think that the information being requested would seem to align squarely with the type of information that would enhance, rather than hinder, the health unit’s capacity to understand outbreak patterns and manage the pandemic.”

“And the Board of Directors supported her as is evidenced by their response to my December 8, 2020 letter to them asking that they re-consider and release the data. They flat out refused.”

“HKPR interestingly lists their Values as Trust, Engagement, Accountability and Leadership.”

“Furthermore, I can’t help but point out that it was recently reported that HKPR had blown their budget this past year due to COVID-19. Yet they had lots of money to defend this ridiculous matter using outside legal counsel!”

“Clearly HKPR has failed the people of this catchment area. While the people were trying to defend themselves and their families against this deadly disease, HKPR was withholding pubic information, information that we the taxpayers paid for, that we could have used in deciding how best to protect ourselves. I believe the Board members who supported this affront to open and transparent government should step aside and let those of their peers who will seriously provide appropriate oversight to the operations of the Health Unit takeover.”

Pete M
Reply to  Ken Strauss
12 May 2022 8:48 pm

The failure to disclose by HKPR should not have happened at all. All they needed to was reach out to other units for best practices- emails/ phone calls. Kingston Frontenac Unit would have been a good one to ask and model themselves after.

In this case their fear of doing the wrong thing; caused them to do the wrong thing.

Not all the blame can be laid at John’s feet. This was a board failure- so only partial blame- unless he was the one championing the policy not to release. Then it falls squarely on him.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Pete M
12 May 2022 10:16 pm

Pete M, I agree that the appropriate amount of COVID data to release should have been obvious. For example, the count of cases by postal code was being released by at least the Toronto and Brampton area health units.

Reading the HKPR Board Meeting Minutes that are publicly available, I was unable to find any mention of a discussion of what data should be released so we may never know which board members favoured what approach to releasing case count information.

The full details of the decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner is available at https://decisions.ipc.on.ca/ipc-cipvp/orders/en/item/520963/index.do

Pete M
Reply to  Ken Strauss
12 May 2022 9:07 pm

Ken,
HKPR, Town of Cobourg, Town Cobourg Police all tout some for of accountability and open communication and then do the opposite.

I ‘ve seen many express, in this forum, their frustration with the Town and its communication with the citizens.

I ve read opinion pieces by Pete Fisher expressing his frustration with the Police and their recent policy on the non release of names of those charged with criminal offences.

One has to ask. Why all the secrecy? Some of it is an over interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act. Some if it is to prevent criticism of the Agencies’ or Organization’s failures or short comings.

How long has the Director of Communications for the Town remained unfilled, since the last person left for HKPR

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Pete M
12 May 2022 10:51 pm

Pete, one entire panel of Mr. Henderson’s 2018 election brochure (available at https://cobourgtaxpayers.ca/wp-content/uploads/resources/election-2018/john-henderson.pdf) dealt with promises of “Enhanced Communications & Accountability”. Consider how little open communication there might be if openness and accountability had not been a major election promise!

Last edited 4 months ago by Ken Strauss
Pete M
Reply to  Ken Strauss
12 May 2022 11:41 pm

This thread on political openness and accountability brings to mind the movie A Few Good Men and that famous Jack Nicholson line: ” You cant handle the truth! Son we live in a world that has walls, and those have to be guarded by men…”

Sometimes, not all but sometimes, I believe this is how politicians see their constituents, incapable of handling or comprehending it. In turn
the elected create walls. The walls they keep saying they are trying to tear down.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Pete M
13 May 2022 9:14 am

Pete, the problem is that constituents DO know how to handle the truth if only they were allowed to know it; politicians fear knowledge, open discussion and accountability. Reminding constituents of failures to fulfill election promises together with revealing their rampant misdeeds, bad decisions, deceits and lack of respect for taxpayers would quickly end the careers of many of our politicians.

Kathleen
Reply to  Pete M
12 May 2022 8:44 pm

I’m so depressed he’s running again. What has this guy done to make Cobourg better? Make Northumberland better? I really hope somebody runs against him this time. Otherwise, my husband and I just won’t bother voting this year.

Pete M
Reply to  Kathleen
12 May 2022 9:26 pm

Kathleen please vote. Hopefully by election day there will be other candidates .
I might write in a name on my ballot if there are no suitable candidates for me.

Bryan
Reply to  Kathleen
12 May 2022 11:46 pm

Kathleen,

Pete M is right. Don’t abandon your vote.

Even if Henderson is acclaimed, his impact (or whatever ??) on Council can be minimized, even negated, by electing other skilled, competent council members.

Rob
11 May 2022 2:18 pm

FSD Pharma Closes CAD$16.4 Million Sale of Non-Core Assets | National Business | joplinglobe.com

The buyer is still a mystery to most – should I be surprised that our Towns representatives are so silent about the largest real estate transaction in Cobourg in many years. Perhaps its because they are completely out of the loop … more focused on renaming parks and piers and climate emergencies than local economic development?

Bryan
Reply to  Rob
11 May 2022 3:08 pm

Rob:
This transaction concerns two (or more) private entities and has nothing to do with the Town. The transaction is not the Town’s business. The Town has no say in the matter.
The Town’s representatives (Council??) would only be “in the loop” if the transaction members chose to include them. It is quite possible that some staff (CAO? CFO? planning?) are “in the loop” and respect the confidentiality of the information.

ben
10 May 2022 11:06 pm

OK enough of the negative comments about John, how about some of the collective wisdom sharing the names of his putative replacement.

Bryan
Reply to  ben
10 May 2022 11:52 pm

Ben,

What replacement?
Henderson has not withdrawn at this point and unless someone steps up, he is unlikely to do so. As someone pointed out, defeating an incumbent in a small town is difficult (very ??)

ben
Reply to  Bryan
11 May 2022 7:14 am

Ail the comments here have been about John’s failings and supposedly lacklustre leadership. If that sentiment is repeated at the polls then John will lose, but he needs an opponent that’s the challenge for the Board name his replacement – the person you think can beat him.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
11 May 2022 8:49 am

Ben, maybe we should discuss the necessary qualifications before naming names.

How about the following (in no particular order) for a start:

  • Not old — age 30-60
  • Lived in Cobourg for several years
  • Lived away from Cobourg for several years
  • Has school age children living at home
  • Runs or has run a successful business, perhaps in our downtown
  • No prior government job
  • Financially astute (understands balance sheets, loans, etc)
  • Computer literate
  • Understands the value of consultants for unique skills but favours a staff expert for most requirements
  • Articulate and engaging presenter/communicator able to summarize critical points
  • Passionate that growth should help current residents rather than growth for the sake of growth
  • Passionate that the residents be consulted in all decisions.

Feel free to add to my list but I believe that all items listed are essential for any candidate to get my vote.

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 May 2022 9:03 am

I like alot of the points you made except the last one. If we want a leader ( leaving names aside) then i dont believe a leader needs to consult the whole Town to make every decision. Isnt that why we hire someone in a leadership role? To make decisions that may not be popular but are for the greater good of the Town? Do we want a puppet or a leader?

Informed
Reply to  Informed
11 May 2022 9:04 am

The worse thing a leader can do is listen to the arm chair critics and make decisions based on the loudest voices

Informed
Reply to  Informed
11 May 2022 9:06 am

Im neither for or against John running for mayor but do applaud him for throwing his name in.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Informed
11 May 2022 9:44 am

Listening to the loudest voices is seldom good. Nor is parroting the latest politically correct virtue signal. A leader needs to listen to all reasoned arguments, encourage debate of the nuances with proponents and do what is consistent with their election promises.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Informed
11 May 2022 9:32 am

I probably wasn’t clear. It is not reasonable to consult everyone on everything. Our current Mayor never consults the residents nor our representatives, our Councillors, regarding how to vote on county issues. He never consults anyone on how to vote on Police Service Board issues. He never consults anyone on how to vote on Holdco board issues. That is completely unacceptable!

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 May 2022 1:00 pm

Im not in a postion to suggest that John does or doesnt consult others before making decisions but find it hard to believe he NEVER does as you seem to imply?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Informed
11 May 2022 2:35 pm

A few examples of public requests to Council regarding how to vote on county issues, HKPR Board of Health issues, Police Services issues, Canadian Association of Nuclear Host Communities issues and Holdco issues prior to the relevant board meetings would bolster your contention. Having held public meetings or “town halls” to garner public input prior to these meetings would be even better for your case.

Bryan
Reply to  Informed
11 May 2022 10:38 am

Informed,

KS wrote “…Passionate that the residents be consulted in all decisions…” He didn’t say “consult all residents” or “Council” should consult the residents. He said “the residents be consulted…” This is exactly what ADM21, the Town’s Public Engagement Policy, mandates.

” Citizen Engagement: The Town of Cobourg believes that a key element of local government is that people should be involved in the process of decisions that affect them.”

Sadly, this policy has often paid lip service by staff and Council. In fairness however, there has been some improvement during the past few years.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bryan
Concerned
Reply to  Bryan
11 May 2022 12:24 pm

I find this hard to believe when every resident has an opportunity to make a delegation, attend meetings, speak to a councillor whenever they want. A few on here like to hammer on Keith whenever he comments yet he is one of the few on this blog who puts his money where is mouth is an makes delegations to council and participated in the process. Just because a decision wasn’t what you wanted doesn’t mean you weren’t listened to.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Concerned
11 May 2022 3:18 pm

yet he is one of the few on this blog who puts his money where is mouth is an makes delegations to council

Wally Keeler is another one of the few. I lobbied for new sidewalks across the RR Darcy crossing. Done.

I lobbied for an extension of Hibernia Street sidewalk extension to the Ecology Garden. Done

I lobbied for bike hookups at the Ecology Garden. Done.

I lobbied with C, Smith to have parkland trash bins decorated. Half-done.

I lobbied to have to have the east pier named for Susanna Moodie. Pending.

Anyone can lobby for anything. All one needs is to drink a can of gumption.

Concerned
Reply to  Wally Keeler
11 May 2022 5:04 pm

I didn’t say the only one but if you need the praise and Pat on the back have at it.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Concerned
11 May 2022 6:44 pm

You named one of the few. I am one of the few. Pity that you are not one of the few. I got some cans of gumption you can drink, after all, you enjoy hammering on me.

Last edited 4 months ago by Wally Keeler
Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
12 May 2022 5:01 pm

I usually have lots after about 8 beer🙂

Concerned
Reply to  Bryan
11 May 2022 12:43 pm

What is your definition of involved, because from everything I see any resident can participate and be involved as much or as little as the like. It appears to me there is just a lot of sour grapes here because you don’t like/agree with a decision made. Again ,just because you don’t like a decision(s) doesn’t mean your opinion wasn’t heard/listened to it just means they necessarily didn’t agree with your perspective or they couldn’t incorporate an idea.

Informed
Reply to  Bryan
11 May 2022 1:06 pm

It appears that many would like a Mayor that is being open to be micromanged. Im not defending John by any means im just looking at the postion and what someone would encounter as Mayor. No wonder they arent lined up in masses for the job.

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 May 2022 10:15 am

Fulsome list although I don’t believe running/having run a business is a requirement nor is having children. But as we know, politicians are like busses – they never take you exactly where you want to go, but its about finding the one that gets you closest.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
11 May 2022 10:51 am

It is difficult to understand what would attract industry to Cobourg without having run a business. Having run a successful business means demonstrated decision making and negotiation skills together with an ability to listen to customers and to inspire performance from others. I believe that successful business experience is essential for our next Mayor.

For one without children and 30 years past their personal childhood, it is hard to understand what today’s children need from our community. A lot has changed!

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 May 2022 12:19 pm

I see your perspective, however an Oncologist doesn’t have to have had cancer to understand the disease, be empathetic or understand/ appreciate the impact on loved ones, the body and the patients life. Like I said – I think the list encompasses many important characteristics. We should hold all levels of politicians to the same high standard of qualifications.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
11 May 2022 12:35 pm

Rob, an oncologist has spent many years studying cancer and its effects and its treatment. Few of middle-age and without kids spend much time studying the emotional, exercise and other needs of children.

We’re unlikely to get candidates ticking every box on my lost; the current candidate doesn’t tick any.

Concerned
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 May 2022 12:55 pm

Always mister negative. I see items on your list the mayor meets you just don’t like the man as your mayor simple as that and that’s fine. Don’t make a list where he actually does meet items of your criteria and then say he doesn’t meet any. Especially such a subjective list that you will say he doesn’t meet any and those that like this mayor would say he meets many.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned
11 May 2022 2:13 pm

OK, I’ll bite. Which items does he tick?

Concerned
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 May 2022 3:17 pm

2,3,6,7,8,11,12. As stated it I believe it to be a subjective list other than 1-5 and you already stated you feel he doesn’t meet any criteria.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned
11 May 2022 5:42 pm

Concerned, I appreciate your alternate viewpoint.

Of the objective measures, my intention (not clearly stated) of requiring that a suitable candidate had lived away from Cobourg was to ensure that they are somewhat familiar with politics and attitudes in other locals and not just one of the “good ol’ boys”. This means that the candidate’s absence was in this century. John’s bio says that he has lived in Cobourg for 35 years.

The requirement to have run a successful business is, in my opinion, the most important of the criteria.

The requirement to have not been a government employee obviously eliminates those who have worked as teachers or principals.

The subjective criteria are certainly subject to personal opinions.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ken Strauss
Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 May 2022 1:54 pm

The reference seems lost on you and I can certainly discuss the Oncologist example much further and we could each post several more times without the slightest agreement…its not really germane to the point. I think we both agree JH needs an opponent who checks far more boxes than he does. I would suggest we need a similar list for Council as well.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
11 May 2022 2:17 pm

I have obviously totally missed your point regarding the oncologist. Is there a YouTube video that would help?

And, yes, most (all?) of the same criteria apply for Councillors.

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 May 2022 11:08 am

Ken I would say you are probably right but limiting the max age to 60 is both discriminatory and foolish. If a Town Council is supposed to reflect the demographic of the community, with our high proportion of over 60s then Council should be composed of a couple over 60. Although wisdom is not confined to the elders, some of us still have it.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
11 May 2022 11:39 am

Ben, no reason to prevent an old gal from running but given the choice and other things being equal I’d vote for a younger one. Besides, many of us old guys lack the stamina to still work a 40-60 hour week.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ken Strauss
Deborah OConnor
Reply to  ben
11 May 2022 10:33 pm

Our percentage of seniors is 26% according to the census.

Bryan
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
11 May 2022 11:25 pm

Ms OConnor:

Please refer to the Stats Can 2021 census results for Cobourg:

https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/dp-pd/prof/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&SearchText=Cobourg&DGUIDlist=2021A00053514021&GENDERlist=1,2,3&STATISTIClist=1&HEADERlist=0

The data clearly shows that the “senior (65+)” demographic is 34.0% (male 31.2%, female 36.5%)

Total – Distribution (%) of the population by broad age groups: Total Male Female
0 to 14 years 12.4 13.8 11.1
15 to 64 years 53.6 55.0 52.4
65 years and over 34.0 31.2 36.5
85 years and over 5.6 4.6 6.4

Where did you get your information?

Pete M
Reply to  ben
12 May 2022 9:00 am

How about the person who coordinated and lead the vaccine program for Rotary?

Pete M
10 May 2022 8:13 pm

I ve always liked this definition:

A leader is a person who directs, guides and influences the behavior of his followers towards the attainment of specific goals. A manager is a representative of the organization responsible for the management of the work of a group of employees and takes requisite actions whenever required.

I wonder how the citizens see the Mayor in relation to this definition?

a) a leader
b) a manager
c) neither
d) undecided

Dubious
Reply to  Pete M
10 May 2022 9:23 pm

c)?

Old Sailor
10 May 2022 1:11 pm

How do we expect to attract the best candidates for Council when we pay miniscule hourly wages for time spent being on Council? Shame on our Councillors who keep voting to pay the least amount possible to Council members.

There is a lot of talent available in Cobourg for filling Council positions. We have to give those individuals a reason to run. Other than “do it for the good of the Town”.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Old Sailor
10 May 2022 6:07 pm

Old Sailor, as you probably know the very low pay for Councillors (less than minimum wage based on hours worked) has been a point of contention for many years. Little has been done to correct the problem.

Council recently voted on a plan proposed by Deputy Mayor Séguin that would reallocate the payments for Police Services Board membership (double dipping by the Mayor?) to provide an additional $2,000 per year for each Councillor. This change would have provided almost minimum wage to our Councillors without requiring additional tax dollars.

Mayor. Henderson voted against losing his Police Services Board honorarium (about $7,000 per year for attending monthly meetings) and instead voted for spending $5,000 for a consultant’s report on Councillor salaries in other communities.

Concerned
Reply to  Old Sailor
11 May 2022 11:20 am

How do you expect to attract good people when they already know of the BS they have to deal with from members of the community. That’s the bigger issue. You rarely see comments on this blog praising any good work at all. The town for the most part despises three things politicians, public service employees and tourists.

Pete M
Reply to  Concerned
11 May 2022 2:47 pm

Here are some positives
Im glad we are getting a new Coast Guard Station.
Im really excited about the new gas bar and tims in the east end.
Im glad to see new housing development at Elgin and Brook Rd.

Now the question. How much praise should be given to council, how much praise to the planning dept and how much praise should i give to the brave property developers and entrepreneurs who decided to build in cobourg?

Bryan
Reply to  Pete M
11 May 2022 3:18 pm

Pete M,

How much praise should be given to:

  • council, None. What did they contribute to make these projects happen?
  • planning dept None. doing their job perhaps and not standing in the way.
  • the brave property developers and entrepreneurs who decided to build in cobourg? All of it and then some. For vision, patience, tenacity and sheer determination.
Concerned
Reply to  Bryan
11 May 2022 5:07 pm

Its amazing how you seem to know all that goes on in Townhall and the conversations that do or don’t occur I wish I had your contacts and knowledge within townhall as you seem to know what conversations do and don’t occur.

Bryan
Reply to  Concerned
11 May 2022 6:34 pm

Concerned:

Are you complaining that I am (or at least appear to be) reasonably knowledgeable about Town affairs, Town finances (yes, I am skilled at research, budget/financial statement analysis) and frequently discuss Town business with an assortment of equally skilled associates?

Would you prefer that I was one of the masses who don’t know much about local politics and the Town’s business and don’t care to?

Do you disagree with the information presented?
If so, what alternative information do you have to share?

Last edited 4 months ago by Bryan
Concerned
Reply to  Bryan
11 May 2022 11:23 pm

I don’t and that’s the point you simply make a bunch of assumptions of things that may or may not have occurred.

Bryan
Reply to  Concerned
12 May 2022 8:32 am

Concerned:

Ok, assumptions.

What assumptions related to what things/events?

Please expand on this.

Keith Oliver
10 May 2022 9:56 am

Running for political office or helping others do so is an experience every voter should have. It involves hard work, personal expense and more often than not, abuse and disappointment. Understanding this should engender respect even for those you disagree with.

Instead of offering constructive criticism or providing alternatives, many, including some of the regular contributors to this web site, resort to invectives, name calling and something akin to character assassination.

Through constructive criticism you can say anything you want and be taken seriously by others. Be as objective as you can be, offer alternatives, but in all instances show respect for the individual and the system.

We have six months in which to carry out such a discussion and I for one look forward to it.

Last edited 4 months ago by Keith Oliver
Dunkirk
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 May 2022 10:28 am

Keith–respectively–we all as an electorate are searching for some real progress or meaningful, measurable contributions by our Mayor in the past 4 years. If you have some please provide.

The Mayor and his Campaign group remind me of the Honorary Tee Off group at The Masters tournament only, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus have well-documented accomplishments and seem to know enough not to continue to try and compete.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dunkirk
10 May 2022 11:06 am

Dunkirk, you want measurable results? There have been many! As another poster mentioned, we now have more methadone clinics and more cannabis shops than Tim Hortons. We lost our only fine dining establishment and replaced it with another addiction treatment centre. We have far more traffic lights. We have much higher property taxes. We now have 58 municipal employees on the over $100K “Sunshine List” versus only 5 when John entered town politics. Are those the sort of measurable results that Cobourg’s residents want more of?

Jeffy
10 May 2022 9:10 am

Who is running against him? He needs to be removed so someone needs to run against him.

Ken
Reply to  Jeffy
10 May 2022 10:04 am

I wonder how that works? If he gets ‘zero’ votes, is he still in?

I mean no disrespect and I say that anyone that runs for politics, at whatever level, gets my approval! It’s not an easy job and there are some that are good at it and some that are not!

Time to ‘hang up your hat’ John and move on. Let someone else give it a try!

As others have said, we need someone that will get things done!

Concerned
Reply to  Ken
10 May 2022 10:45 am

I think many forget that decisions for the town are made by council as a whole not the mayor as an individual. So if you hold the Mayor accountable for a lack of progress you have to hold them all accountable.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken
10 May 2022 11:13 am

Ken

What if John hung up his hat and, considering the abuse he has often been subjected to … no one runs for Mayor? For that reason and that reason alone, John’s willingness to run once again serves a purpose.

Last edited 4 months ago by Keith Oliver
Pete M
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 May 2022 12:41 pm

Keith,
Im positive if people knew that John wasnt running for the Mayors, there would be current members of council and residents that would ru

The challenge with small Town.politics is that people do little research on the candidates and vote the name they recognize the most.

Trying to beat an incumbent in a small town is one the toughest things to do in politics

Just over 3500 votes got our current deputy mayor elected and she faced only one other candidate.

Informed
Reply to  Ken
11 May 2022 1:51 pm

Why does he have to hang up his hat? Anyone can run for Mayor and possibly beat him. Maybe you could?

Bryan
Reply to  Informed
11 May 2022 2:34 pm

Informed,

As Pete M noted above
“…The challenge with small Town politics is that people do little research on the candidates and vote the name they recognize the most.
Trying to beat an incumbent in a small town is one the toughest things to do in politics…”

Running for municipal council is a huge undertaking that requires a significant investment: financial as well as time (candidate, family, supporters and volunteers).

It also doesn’t end with winning a council seat.
During the four year term, the “winner” is on 24 hour call (yes, council members get 3am calls), numerous meetings day and evening, angry residents (abuse), favours asked (expected & demanded), undue influence (attempts), thousands of pages to read, difficult topics to master (or try to get a basic understanding).

All this for a princely sum that is below minimum wage.

The mayor is paid somewhat more. Considering the workload, responsibility and job content, the compensation is meager compared to a similar private sector job.
Cobourg is a $60M+ corporation who’s CAO and police chief are paid upwards of $200K each. Directors are paid upwards of $125K-$150K+. Council members, their “boss” are paid significantly less. The mayor is paid less than $45K and Councilors less than $25K

Last edited 4 months ago by Bryan
Bryan
Reply to  Ken
11 May 2022 3:26 pm

Ken,
In the 2018 election JH got no votes. As the sole candidate, he was acclaimed.

I do agree with you that anyone running for public office should be commended for doing so.

Pete M
10 May 2022 9:10 am

Im thinking John’s plan is to announce early in the hopes of dissuading any challengers in running against the incumbent, so he’ll be acclaimed again.

Dubious
10 May 2022 8:34 am

John lists his Areas of Focus, Personal Life, Professional Qualifications, Current Boards & Committees, Memberships & Affiliations, Previous Profession, Education and Contact Information.

Conspicuously missing is a list of his accomplishments during the 12 long years while he was Councillor, Deputy Mayor and Mayor. Did he bring new industries to Cobourg (we know about the loss of Western and the World’s Largest Cannabis Plant)? Did he get the East Pier repaired? Did he get police spending under control? Unlike Port Hope and others did he raise Councillor salaries to above minimum wage? Did he develop the promised IT strategy? Did he finish the provincially mandated Asset Management Plan? Is the downtown cleared of addicts? Did he hire fewer consultants? Are water rates under control? Do we have a plan for Memorial Arena? Do we have a plan to reduce the annual $1.3+M loss on the CCC? Were there ANY accomplishments?

Ah, I forgot, John does have accomplishments! He was part of dozens of photo ops and wrote a weekly puff piece for the newspaper.

We need a younger and competent mayor!

Pete M
Reply to  Dubious
10 May 2022 8:59 am

Wall of photo ops is the same as wall of participation ribbons.
Both show where I’ve been not what I’ve successfully accomplished

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Dubious
10 May 2022 10:45 am

Dubious

I agree with some of the issues you raise but it’s important to understand that the form and function of our municipal system of government is determined by the Province.

It’s called the “weak mayour system” and among other things, minimizes the appointment making power of a mayor and therefore the extent of his/her control. In addition, at Council, the mayor votes only to brake a tie vote

Council has tried to make the system more responsive and efficient but I’m not convinced it has succeeded.

An example is the introduction of Engage and Bang the Table which I believe are poor substitutes for a well attended, well run in-person public meeting.

In the ones I attended in the past, people would often come early to read relevant material posted on display boards and often discuss matters with others including a councilor or consultant before the meeting began.

During the meeting you could hear questions and opinions expressed by others, and answers by attendies representing Council and/or the Consultants. You could then offer a brief immediate personal response. An assistant would offen summarize comments on a chalkboard.

A non-binding vote was sometimes held at the end of the meeting.

Engage and Bang the Table are little more than convenient voting machines. What is badly needed is a form of public engagement that is more akin to real in-person debate.

Last edited 4 months ago by Keith Oliver
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 May 2022 11:45 am

Keith, I believe that the Mayor votes on all issues rather than only in tie situations.

We may have a “weak mayor system” but the Mayor has considerable control over what happens in our town.

  • The Mayor (in conjunction with the CAO) prepares the agenda for Council meetings so controls what is discussed and when.
  • The Mayor chairs Council meetings which influences the direction and extent of the discussions.
  • The Mayor represents the town at county Council meetings yet never asks for direction from Council; he personally decides what is best without benefit of formal input from our elected representatives. The county spends a significant part of our property tax dollars yet their budget is not influenced by our Councillors!
  • The Mayor is on the boards of Holdco, Northam, Police Services, HKPR Health Unit and other groups that significantly impact Cobourg’s budget and our economic success.

I agree that Bang the Table is a very poor method of public engagement and that is an important point; it was chosen by the Mayor and its continued use is frequently defended by him.

Bryan
Reply to  Keith Oliver
10 May 2022 6:12 pm

Dudious and others:

One of Mayor Henderson’s notable achievements was his claim that closed meeting confidentiality had been breached.
As reported by Cesilia Nasmith (Northumberland 89.7 FM, July 2019), his notice of motion stated that Cobourg’s mayor, council and chief administrative officer Stephen Peacock “have reason to believe that confidential Closed Session information, directions to staff and in-camera discussions are being shared outside of Closed Session.”
 
The statement is misleading in that Council as a whole, was not polled or asked about the issue and some Council members resented being “included” in his notice of motion.
 
The general tone of Henderson’s witch hunt was that a member or members of Council/Staff were disclosing confidential closed meeting information to the general public. As Karma would have it, a resident “confessed to the crime” noting that he deduced the “secret” from information in the public domain and some common sense.
 
Way to go John. A sterling example of your leadership and team building skills.
 
Cobourg deserves better

Last edited 4 months ago by Bryan
ben
Reply to  Dubious
11 May 2022 11:11 am

Perhaps you should ask all members of Council these questions, after all some of these questions are legacy items and this Council owns them all.

Pete M
10 May 2022 7:35 am

Prosperity: Developing a Business Continuity Plan.

What does this mean? Is it solely for for 55 King St. E.(Town Hall)? Or is John looking at the the Town’s entire Business Community?

John if you want to show that you are a guy who gets things done, might I suggest that when you announce your plan for re-election that your web site should be up and active- not- we are hoping to have it up sometime in May.

Pete M
9 May 2022 11:31 pm

Shocker!!!!!
I thought plan was John was not going to seek re-election; allowing Suzanne Seguin to for Mayor??

Concerned
Reply to  Pete M
10 May 2022 9:27 am

Before I voted for the deputy as Mayor I would want to know what her record was as mayor of Prescott. Unfortunately when you do a search nothing comes up to even show that she was a politician anywhere prior to Cobourg.

Pete M
Reply to  Concerned
10 May 2022 9:36 am

I agree Concerned with your assessment on Ms Seguin
Unfortunately its the way succession occurs in Cobourg .
Stint as deputy then onto Mayor.

Pete M
Reply to  Concerned
10 May 2022 9:46 am

Heres an article you can read about her response to an incident in Prescott at time she was Mayor..

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/prescott-residents-fight-back-against-bullies-1.804321

Pete M
Reply to  Concerned
10 May 2022 10:03 am

another article this one on CAI Ink plant that opened in Prescott at time she was mayor

https://www.salemnews.com/archives/cai-opens-ink-plant-in-canada/article_6b915cf0-ba55-5377-bfa2-71f1a15dfb5a.html

ben
Reply to  Pete M
10 May 2022 11:05 pm

From Dun and Bradstreet:
Company Description: C.A.I Inks Canada Ltd is located in Prescott, ON, Canada and is part of the Other Chemical Product and Preparation Manufacturing Industry. C.A.I Inks Canada Ltd has 6 total employees across all of its locations and generates $1.41 million in sales (USD). (Sales figure is modelled).

ben
Reply to  Concerned
10 May 2022 11:00 pm

Short version she was Mayor, fired the CAO and then the CAO ran against her and beat her – badly!

Frenchy
Reply to  ben
11 May 2022 7:23 am

What’s the long version?

ben
Reply to  Frenchy
11 May 2022 11:12 am

Ask her!

Frenchy
Reply to  ben
11 May 2022 10:07 pm

OK.
Hey Suzanne, what’s the long version?

Concerned
Reply to  ben
11 May 2022 11:25 am

It almost appears that a professional firm was hired to scrub information in relation to any negative news about her as mayor. I said appears because it seems odd you can only find two articles about her four years as Mayor.

Frenchy
Reply to  ben
11 May 2022 10:33 pm

I don’t think that Brett Todd (successor and current Mayor of Prescott after Suzanne) was ever the CAO of Prescott. Better check your facts.

ben
Reply to  Pete M
10 May 2022 10:58 pm

OK Pete M source this or else we might think that it is either fake news or speculation by the DM, after all I haven’t seen a DM that doesn’t think that they should be Mayor not the person in the big chair.

Pete M
9 May 2022 11:26 pm

Nice guy, maybe too nice.

I have to ask what was his vision for the Town of Cobourg.

Needed to show more passion for Cobourg, more passion for Economic Development…be the brand ambassador for Cobourg and get out there and sell the Town to Province and the Provincial business community.

Seemed more content resting on the beach, as his economic driver,/solution for the Town.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Pete M
10 May 2022 8:38 am

We all know that Those that can do — DO ! — and those that Can’t – Teach
History has proven once again
This is not the man to get things done .
How can more staff lead to Less Efficiency
Only in No Burg .

ben
Reply to  Sandpiper
11 May 2022 11:13 am

OK sandpiper who can get the job done?

Dubious
Reply to  Pete M
10 May 2022 7:01 pm

Nice is not the same as effective. The Peter Principle applies.

Cobourg taxpayer
9 May 2022 6:09 pm

John Henderson will not get my vote. Fresh blood is needed on council. He’s had his time, 12 years is long enough. Most useful would be a list of his accomplishments while on council. Fixing East Pier: nope, solving beach overcrowding: nope, reduce number of consultants hired: nope (that number has gone up), control property tax increases: nope. If population growth is roughly 1% per year so should tax increase be.

Dunkirk
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
9 May 2022 8:14 pm

I have to agree and the numbers speak for themselves: As Co-ordinator of Economic Development, the Mayor’s progress is negative. Our County has lost jobs –and working age citizens–in all major categories…manufacturing, construction & agriculture. Does anyone even remember the Mayor’s ‘World’s Largest Cannabis Plant’ announcement touting 1200 jobs? How about Weston Foods?
Affordable housing was the last campaign pitch from the Mayor–which ratepayer’s home is more affordable 4 years later?
If you invest in & run a business in Cobourg are you having an easier time in 2022 finding qualified employees than you did in 2018?
How many more restrictive by-laws now are on the books? Have you tried to get a taxi lately?
Maybe the Mayor focused on providing ‘living wages’ to citizens as 2 dozen new Town staffers found their way onto the Sunshine List. At the same time, my Dentist moved to Ajax; my Doctor relocated to Port Hope….is that progress?
Our tax increases lead the region; we can’t use our Pier; Brookside is shuttered; the Memorial Arena is a consultants dream; the Park Theatre and Sidmore remain a main street testament to our ineptitude. The CCC loses a million $+ every year. … We have more methadone clinics and cannabis retailers than Tim Horton’s or Medical clinics. In the last 4 years we have slid to 97th best places to live in the nation according to Macleans Magazine—falling behind the bright lights of Brampton and Bowmanville. Is this the track record our Mayor actually—mercifully– wants to run on or is he intentionally campaigning for mandatory term limits?

Pete M
Reply to  Dunkirk
9 May 2022 11:43 pm

“He just wasn’t ready”. I really believe he didn t fully understand the immensity of the Mayor’ s role and the responsibilities when he moved from councillor to Mayor.

cornbread
Reply to  Pete M
10 May 2022 8:35 am

And I don’t ever remember a public report on the Chinese paid trip to China by John or Gil.

Water watcher
Reply to  Dunkirk
10 May 2022 11:27 am

I agree, the town desperately needs a more vibrant and visionary soul to lead us into what is inevitably a highly challenging future—and someone who is brave enough to even occasionally debate the prevalent woke culture.

Another glaring absence from the election material is the issue of improving long term health care services and facilities —much needed given Cobourg’s demographic. The town is quick to spend many thousands of dollars on consultants (see just two major Waterfront studies) and so slow to take action.  

Finally, the suggestion that councillors might no longer engage in direct debate with citizens, who will now be referred to the appropriate ‘staff’ member, left me gasping for air!