One Amalgamated Niagara May Finally Unlock The Door To A Healthier, More Prosperous Future For Our Region

A Commentary by Doug Draper

‘Don’t dare ever mention the A-word.’

As a journalist in Niagara, Ontario, I’ve heard variations of that line around municipal council tables in this region for the better part of for more than 30 years.

Niagara regional headquarters

Niagara regional headquarters

It’s as if any talk of amalgamating municipalities in this region is akin to promoting some form of pornography or an apocalypse. And it’s as much to say; ‘Let’s continue on with a xenophobia and narrow, parochial vision that continues to prop up 13 municipal corporations in Niagara that have fail we, the people, so much that our region continues to suffer one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada, that continues to see young people coming out of college and university fleeing this region for greener pastures, and that continues to resist building a truly regional transit system that has been available in almost every other region in southern Ontario for more than a decade now.

So we should say thanks to Tom Rankin of Niagara-based Rankin Construction and to a handful of other prominent business people in Niagara for attending a roundtable of regional government this June and calling for another look at amalgamating our 13 – yes that’s right, THIRTEEN – municipalities in to one.

These business people and others in the past have tried to make a case that attracting more businesses and jobs to Niagara has suffered from the amount of bureaucracy that has to be gone through dealing with two levels of municipal government. But over and over again, due to too many mayors and councillors at the local level who place parochial interests above the interests of Niagara as a whole, these calls for a united region have gone nowhere. Continue reading

You Are Invited To A Discussion On Climate Change

News from the Sierra Club Niagara Group, Buffalo New York

Climate and Clean Energy Writers Group

Monday, July 6th, 2015 Session:

Haven’t had time to read the

       Pope’s Climate Encyclical?

Walk through Laudato Si with

Sister Eileen O’Connor, 

Member, Diocesan Care for Creation Committee            

6:00-7:30 PM

Unitarian Universalist Church

695 Elmwood at Ferry (Garden Entrance)

2nd Floor Alliance Room

Free and open to the public

For more information on the Sierra Club Niagara Group click on http://niagarasierraclub.com/ .

(Niagara At Large now invites all of you care to share your real first and last name to respond to this post below.)

This Canada Day, Make A Vow To Save Our Canada – To Get Engaged And Vote In This Coming 2015 Federal Election

A Commentary by Doug Draper

As this Canada Day was approaching, I have found myself feeling distant from – and sometimes even a little angry with – this country I grew up feeling so proud of.Canada_flag-7-620x270

The relentless craving for more and more tax cuts, followed by the gutting of services around health care, education, public and infrastructure renewal and environmental protection ignited that feeling of distance.

Then there was that pig-fest of a senate, the muzzling of what is left of our publicly-paid-for scientists, the war on citizen activists and our aboriginal people – as if they are enemies of out state ot terrorsits – and the transformation of our nation’s role in the rest of the world from peacekeeper to warrior – bomb, bomb, bomb!

All of it left me thinking about flying my Canadian flag upside down on this Canada Day. Continue reading

Tough Guy Harper Has Had Eight Years To Jail The Worst Domestic Terrorists In Canada – And He Failed

A Brief Comment from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Thirty years ago this June 23rd, an Air India flight, carrying 329 passengers and crew, took off on Canadian soil and was blown to pieces by a bomb planted on board above the seas off Ireland, killing them all.

A piece of the Air India jet found floating in the north Atlantic 30 years ago this June

A piece of the Air India jet found floating in the north Atlantic 30 years ago this June

Thirty years later, it remains (in terms of high loss of human life alone) the worst act of domestic terrorism ever perpetrated on Canadian soil. And what is more than scandalous 30 years later, not one of the perpetrators of this horrific crime have been brought to justice yet – even though it is fairly well known, through various investigations and a public inquiry that ultimately went no where, who one or more of these perpetrators are.

Isn’t it something how quickly the Harper government can act to get a draconian anti-terrorist law (C-51) passed, less than a year after some domestic wack job murdered a sentry on duty at Canada’s tomb of the unknown soldier, then walked into the halls of the federal parliament wielding a gun before he was gunned down.

Could it be that Harper and company drew up and passed this law – an act many constitutional scholars in Canada fear compromises our civil liberties – so fast because there they were, huddled behind doors, with a gunman on the other side, hunting them down?

Boy, we sure don’t see that kind of response from this Harper government on the mounting numbers of aboriginal women and girls that have gone murdered and missing, do we? And where is Harper’s response to make true restitution for the victims of residential schools? Continue reading

Bill Shakespeare Is Back On The Verdant, Tree-Covered Slopes Of Buffalo, New York’s Delaware Park

A Brief from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

If you survived the boredom of grade school English classes enough to still have a place in your heart for the plays of William Shakespeare, don’t miss a chance to enjoy two of his greatest ones in one of the most scenic settings in our Greater Niagara Region.

Shakespeare In Delaware Park in Buffalo, New York is back for 40th season. File photo by Doug Draper

Shakespeare In Delaware Park in Buffalo, New York is back for 40th season. File photo by Doug Draper

The 40th season of Shakespeare in Delaware Park is already underway in Buffalo, New York with Romeo & Juliet on now followed byTwelfth Night later this summer.

These performances remain free to the public after all these years despite government cut backs to the arts, which is why members of the cast will walk up the hill during the intermission asking members of the audience to place a small cash donation in a hat.

And it is always a wonderful cast, including some of the best theatrical actors in Western New York. Continue reading

Niagara Health System’s Latest Annual Report Announces Budget Surplus For Region’s Hospital’s For First Time In Five Years

News from Niagara, Ontario’s Amalgamated Hospital System

Niagara Health System’s Annual Report titled Forward, which was released today at our Annual General Meeting, highlights our successes and milestones from the past year and our future planning.

Niagara Health System's super hospital complex in west St. Catharines

Niagara Health System’s super hospital complex in west St. Catharines

In choosing the theme Forward, we are conveying the message that we are actively moving ahead on a new and exciting path.

“Part of this new way forward is a deep acknowledgment that to move ahead, we need to be working proactively with those we serve and partnering arm-in-arm with our 12 communities, and with other health service providers and agencies across the region and beyond,” says NHS President Dr. Suzanne Johnston.

Added Dr. Barry Wright, Chair of the NHS Board of Directors: “Our health system has experienced amazing successes and developments in the past year. We’ve attracted new leaders, staff and physicians and we are proud of our emerging culture. We continue to develop a culture of safety and quality, working with academic partners like Brock University, McMaster University and Niagara College. And we continue with the development for our ambitious future including a new South Niagara Hospital, and working with all communities to strengthen local healthcare.” Continue reading

You Are Invited To A Yard Sale And Adopt-A-Thon For Our Animals Friends

Niagara At Large is pleased to post the following on behalf of the good volunteers from Niagara Action for Animals

pet valu yard sale flyer-page-0 (2)

(Niagara At Large now invites all of you care to share your real first and last name to respond to this post below.)