The Passing Scene – A Man’s Job?  Why?

Back in the olden days – well, the olden days of 1837 – one Ebeneezer Perry proudly accepted the chain of office as the very first Mayor of Cobourg, no doubt a splendid occasion. The very first, according to Cobourg 1797-1948 by Edwin Guillet which, interestingly, was produced by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Cobourg under the direction of one Margaret Pewtriss. Perry came into office in 1834, slightly behind W. Lyon Mackenzie in Toronto, and ahead of John Scott in Ottawa in 1855 and Hamilton’s Colin Ferrie in 1847. Not bad for a small town. Going over the list of people who have held that office since its creation is like taking a journey through Cobourg’s history, a history populated with names such as William Weller, father and son Delanty, and retiring Mayor Gil Brocanier; a total of 48 mayors. But – wait a minute! Isn’t there something seriously wrong with Cobourg’s history – and not a very proud one that should jolt the consciousness of every voter in town? A shameful history in fact. We have elected only one – one! – female Mayor in the entire history of Cobourg’s Mayoralty.

Graham Woods
Grahame Woods

Joan Chalovich, who served one term from 1995, was that one person and it begs the question, why?  Why was it that, over the years, it simply became accepted that governing was a man’s job! What created the mindset in Cobourg that the town’s mayor should be a male? What does it say about the citizens of our town that built-in chauvinism is part of Cobourg’s DNA? Is it a throwback to the olden days of assumed male superiority? Perhaps, after 150 years, is it an attitude that is bred-in-the-bone? This all came to mind as our upcoming municipal election moves into a low, chugging, grinding gear. Is it not time to stop male domination of the Mayor’s chair? It’s 2018 for heaven’s sake! Cobourg needs a strong, vital female voice at the head of its council.

This is not to say previous mayors haven’t done a good job – but the mindset that the position of mayor can only be undertaken by elderly males is offensive and demeaning to the female population – which, over the years, has absorbed the notion that females need not apply. Joan Chalovich ignored that unwritten law and made history. In many ways, the position of Mayor of Cobourg has become a Good-ol’ boys club whereby, having been elected, members of Council gradually withdraw into Victoria Hall – well, until the next election is on the horizon when they emerge from their burrow to fight another day and suck-up to the electorate. What Cobourg and the next municipal election needs is a group of female candidates to run for office – at least two for the position of Mayor – to create a force that will send a message that things need to change. 

For the people, by the people. Ahh, that feel-good cliché. Yes, most councils start their term of office in good faith but, almost without fail, as their term of office gets longer, they withdraw behind the ramparts of Victoria Hall, seemingly forgetting why they were elected in the first place. The present Cobourg Council became past-masters at putting off interaction with the citizens of Cobourg, Its attitude to citizen delegations has been, well, shameful, seeming to forget it was elected, yes, by the people for the people. So this upcoming election will be an opportunity for the electorate to, hopefully, send a message to the council-elect that it was voted into office to serve – serve – the people of Cobourg.

2018 could be a watershed year for Cobourg, the year where the town shakes off its built-in, old male-for-mayor-complex. It’s time for the town to breath, for the women of Cobourg to raise their hands and cry, ‘We’re fed up with this! Enough of Males for Mayor!’  And throw their hat in the ring. We’re mad as hell, and won’t take it any more!  Women of Cobourg! Now’s the time!

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Walter L. Luedtke

Btw a new female candidate for Council has just joined the fray.

Wally Keeler

“Her goals will focus on economic development, culture and tourism, youth engagement and social policy.”


There is still time for another female candidate with reasonable goals to declare.


Dubious, I couldn’t agree with you more. Same old same old.

Wally Keeler

Times up.


Wrong as usual, Wally. Emily Chorley is another female candidate who entered the race since I posted earlier today.

Wally Keeler

Oh how petty can one get? I posted my comment at 2:43 pm. Nominations were closed at 2pm. Wrong as usual Dubious. As wrong as you were when accusing Brian Darling of breaking his promise to oppose boat slips west of the centre pier. Double dang Dubious wrong.


Upon reading this article l would suggest a great solution = that the Town od Cobourg draft Lydia Smith – who l am sure most readers would know of her as she is a voice on the “other side” of the aisle – and a dran bright one at that – Mrs Jenkins

Walter L. Luedtke

OMG! Shock Revelation: Cobourg Voters Are Mentally hmmmmm. Mr. Woods is a retired mental health professional and he has wondered over the years about what is wrong with Cobourg voters. Following the clinical practice of Doctor Sigmund Freud he put Cobourg on the couch. Mr. Woods went way back into Cobourg’s subconscious to the year 1837 and, among other things, counted the number of mayors – 47 males and only ONE Female. Welllllll! Being a mental health professional, Mr. Woods suspects this diagnosis: congenital male chauvinism – named a French soldier in Napoleon’s army! Cobourg males who suffer from this condition are not to be blamed. It is in the DNA, the genes, bred-in-the bones. Cobourg male voters – and some females too – just can’t help themselves. They vote for male mayors and councillors. The mayors and councillors soon start to display advanced CC (Cochon Chauviniste) symptoms: becoming unresponsive, divorced from reality and easily manipulated by Town Staff. Even CC voters are so far gone that they have to be reminded by Mr. Woods that this is not 1918. “It’s 2018 for heaven’s sake!” When Mr. Woods calls on the Almighty, he really means it. So what’s to be… Read more »


So John, you want to replace male chauvinism with female chauvinism? That’s a pretty poor policy in my mind. There is no reason why our mayor must be male and there is no good reason why our mayor must be female . My only concern is that we elect a capable mayor with a vision for the future. I’ll be very interested in seeing who throws their hat into the ring and runs for mayor this time around.


Well said!!


Very well said. No one is better or worse because they are born a man or a woman. There is no place for gender politics in a civilized society.

Bill Thompson

Have you mentioned that to Selfie Boy in Ottawa ?

Walter L. Luedtke

‘Selfie Boy’?
Disgusting, but typical alas!

Walter L. Luedtke

Sad to see that someone can join Donald Trump in insulting our Prime Minister.
And that in a blog that deals with Cobourg municipal matters.
And his fellow travellers approve of it.


There, there, I understand. I know how sensitive you are to any criticism of our municipal politicians, so for anyone to insult your dear leader must have been terribly traumatic for you, in fact it was so traumatic you hammered out two comments in a row. But this isn’t North Korea, Lawrence, and since Cobourg is in Canada, I think it’s OK to occasionally speak our minds about that politically correct, under-educated, imbecilic boy-man whose only qualifications are a famous name and a handsome face albeit with a vacant expression. He is an embarrassment not only to peoplekind in Canada, but to peoplekind the world over. He doesn’t have Barak Obama (Nobel laureate for being born) to hide behind now, so we can clearly see what he’s made of.


Under-educated and vacant expression?! If you want to see that then look no farther than the Trumpkin who now leads our province.

Walter L. Luedtke

There is a difference between criticism and insults.
Try criticism sometime.

Rusty Brown

“Margaret Pewtriss”? I think you mean “Margery Pewtress” actually, according to my recollection from that far back.

Wally Keeler

It was an honour to have been acquainted with Lenah Fisher, one of the original suffragettes, who became Cobourg’s first female Deputy-Reeve. (2nd to Mayor) She was one of the leading luminaries in the restoration of Victoria Hall. During the Starling Wars along Chapel Street, she offered a free meal at Marie Dressler’s restaurant for the man who shot the most starlings. 1200 starlings were massacred in one night along Chapel Street. Later in the 60s she got her first pair of jeans and joined some young people to jump the fence at the Strawberry Fields rock concert at Mosport.

She never complained about her situation. She just went ahead and did it. No need to woman-splain, like Deborah does here. She didn’t use her gender to demean and flog the other gender a la “the boys playing in their sand box so they can take our toy trucks away from us and throw sand in our faces.”

Oh boo hoo hoo hoo.

Rusty Brown

I still remember the day Mrs. Fisher arrived at the offices of Winchester Western, where I worked in the mid 60s, dressed in an elaborate gown (which may have been red satin) and wide hat, looking like someone from the original cast of Gone With the Wind to make her pitch for financial support for the restoration of Victoria Hall.
I’ll say this for Lenah FIsher: she certainly tended to make an impression that lingered in the mind for a long time afterward.

Wally Keeler

She was feisty. She had charm. She had courage. She was a bright light in the blight.

Deborah OConnor

Hmmm. So we have an “elderly male” writing to tell women we need to participate more in local politics by running for office. Patronizing or just classic man-splaining? Certainly irony at its finest.

We don’t need anyone to give us permission though. We just have better things to do than joining the boys playing in their sand box so they can take our toy trucks away from us and throw sand in our faces. Ask Miriam Mutton about that!

Apologies to Mr. Woods, no doubt his intentions are sincere. However, in this new millenium a wise man knows giving unsolicited advice to women is a risky pastime and one to be avoided.


Apologies to Mr. Woods? Why don’t you try not insulting him in the first place?


Deborah, please do not run for mayor of Cobourg. Your chauvinistic attitude has given me every reason not to vote for you, female or otherwise.


You have poked the bear with these comments. Well done! Now, wait for the name calling and mud slinging. Something that some folk in Cobourg do so well. I was labeled an “Elitist” because I said I would enjoy a glass of wine at the beach one day. Wonder what label you will receive sister.


Perhaps just being a woman and ‘mad as hell’ is not enough of a qualification for running for Mayor.
Seems to me that gaining knowledge and experience by starting out on Council, moving up to Deputy Mayor and getting a good grip on town finances and then trying for Mayor is the way to go.
That is what Miriam Mutton has done in the past and what Susan Seguin is doing now.
The rest is up to the voters, half of whom are women.
Like it or not, That’s democracy.


With only 48 hrs to go Grahame – lots of luck on this one