U.S. Further Delays Final Decision On Canada’s Controversial Keystone Pipe

A Brief Bit of Breaking News and a Commentary from NAL publisher Doug Draper

Here is some good news on this Good Friday and just a few days before this coming Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014.

One of many protests near White House in past year over Tar Sands pipeline

One of many protests near White House in past year over Tar Sands pipeline

The U.S. State Department announced this April 18th that it is now delaying a final decision on construction of the Keystone and KL pipeline from Calgary’s tar sands through the U.S. Midwest to Gulf area where it would be refined until the end of this year.

U.S. environmental groups and citizens who are opposing the pipeline are greeting this as good news because it pushes a final decision by President Barack Obama and his Democratic administration past mid-term to take place across America this coming fall – elections in which any rejection of the Keystone pipe beforehand might be used by Republican candidates funded by the petro-chemical industry to go after their Democratic rivals. Continue reading

Jim Flaherty’s Legacy – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Nick Fillmore – A Special To Niagara At Large

The unexpected, shocking death of Jim Flaherty, the Conservative Party’s only Finance Minister until his retirement less than a month ago, has resulted in hundreds of warm tributes for his commitment to public life and praise from those in business and conservative circles who approved of his financial and economic policies.

Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper delivering federal budgets during their thumb-up days.

Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper delivering federal budgets during their thumb-up days.

Flaherty, who was only 64, died of a heart attack on April 10. He was devoted to his family and was one of the most popular Members of Parliament. Friends indicated that Flaherty was headed for a high-paying job on Bay Street, so he could make a better income after he had sacrificed by taking a lower paying government job.

While Jim Flaherty’s life achievements and humanity should be praised, it also needs to be said that his neo-liberal, conservative policies when he was part of the federal government did not benefit the majority of Canadians. Continue reading

It’s Record Store Day This Satuday, April 19th. Support A Record Store In Your Community, While You Can!

A Brief by Doug Draper

To paraphrase Dan Aykroyd in his introduction on the first Blues Brothers album called ‘Briefcase Full Of Blues,’ I suggest you buy as much of your music at record stores while you can.Record-Store-Day-has-marvelous-choices 

At a time when people are cherry picking more music and books online, too many of the real, organic record and book stores – especially the classic independent ones, with a more diverse and eclectic collection of titles that you can actually walk in to – are falling by the wayside. Continue reading

Well Alright Jimmy Carter! And Two Thumbs Up For Speaking Out Against The Keystone Tar Sands Pipe.

An Introduction by Doug Draper, Publisher. Niagara At Large

In my humble opinion, Jimmy Carter may just be the most decent person who ever lived in the White House across the border in my lifetime. I was just a kid when John Kennedy was blown away, and who knows if he might have been the president who would have drawn an early end to America’s involvement in  Vietnam, or done more to fight for the civil rights of his own country’s people.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is highest American citizen yet to speak out against Canada's Harper government Keystone tar sands pipe

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is highest American citizen yet to speak out against Canada’s Harper government Keystone tar sands pipe

What is sad about Carter is that so many Americans seem to dump on him for being the guy who tried to rescue the American hostages in Iran in a mission that failed and who just happened to be running his country when gas prices, no fault to him, went through the rough. 

Some may care to remember that when Jimmy Carter was president, way back in the late 1970s, he was the first president of the United States t – and the last to this date – to honestly try to plot an agenda for energy independence based moving toward renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. 

Some may remember that when Carter lost a second term in office in or around 1980, the new U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, made a point of ripping the solar panels Carter had placed off the roof of the White House. The rest – hail the petro-chemical industrial complex in the U.S. and now Canada – is history. Continue reading

Creating Cleaner Air In Ontario – Province Has Eliminated Coal-Fired Generation

News from Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli

 (A Brief Foreword by Doug Draper – Thank God that these coal messes are finally gone in Ontario.

Nanticoke coal-burning energy plant in full flight, toxic emissions and all. Ontario has finally shut coal energy plants off.l

Nanticoke coal-burning energy plant in full flight, toxic emissions and all. Ontario has finally shut coal energy plants off.l

I remember, when I was still working as a full-time environment reporter at the late great, independent St. Catharines Standard, going across the border to Buffalo, New York, for a meda conference held by the then-attorney general of that state and environmental groups in New York State. They used the occasion to rightfully slam Ontario for emissions they could pick up on air-monitoring systems coming into western New York from Ontario’s coal-fired plant in Nanticoke, which is ne of those finally shut down.

I sure don’t recall Ontario Tory (Tea Party) leader Tim Hudak or any of his friends out there in Wainfleet or West Lincoln, who have bought into the petro-chemical propaganda that wind and other renewable energy are a ‘health hazard’ ever once complain about the mercury and other toxins they were breathing from these coal-fired plants. Perhaps they would prefer to have a coal-burning plant in their backyard rather than a wind or solar system.

Now here is the announcement around Ontario going coal free in the energy department from the province’s energy minister.)

Queen’s Park, Ontario, April 15th, 2014 – Ontario is now the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation. The Thunder Bay Generating Station, Ontario’s last remaining coal-fired facility, has burned its last supply of coal. Operated by Ontario Power Generation, Thunder Bay Generating Station was the oldest coal-fired station in the province. 

The plant is scheduled to be converted to burn advanced biomass, a renewable fuel source. The province has replaced coal generation with a mix of emission-free electricity sources like nuclear, waterpower, wind and solar, along with lower-emission electricity sources like natural gas and biomass.
 
Ontario has fulfilled its commitment to end coal generation in advance of its target of the end of 2014. A coal-free electricity supply mix has led to a significant reduction in harmful emissions, as well as cleaner air and a healthier environment.
Providing clean, reliable and affordable power is part of the government’s economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario’s greatest strengths – its people and strategic partnerships.

Continue reading

A Message From Niagara Region To Resident Recyclers – Swap Your Broken Blue Box, Grey Box or Green Bin For Free

News from Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government

NIAGARA REGION, April 16, 2014 – Niagara residents can swap out their damaged or broken Blue Box, Grey Box or Green Bin for new ones, free of charge, at a special event in recognition of Earth Week.recycling boxes

When: Friday, April 25, 2014, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Where: Regional Headquarters, Campbell East Building, 2201 St. David’s Rd., Thorold Continue reading

Niagara Falls To Be Illuminated In Green in Honour Of Jim Flaherty

News frthe Niagara Parks Commission

Niagara Falls, ON, April 15th, 2014 – In commemoration of the passing of former Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board will light Niagara Falls in green throughout the evening of April 16, the date of the official State Funeral being held in his honour.

The Niagara Parks Commission and its partners usually only turn great lights on the great Falls of Niagara for St. Patrick's Day. This Wednesday, April 16th marks a special exeption for Jim Flaherity on the occasion of his state funeral. in Canada.

The Niagara Parks Commission and its partners usually only turn great lights on the great Falls of Niagara for St. Patrick’s Day. This Wednesday, April 16th marks a special exeption for Jim Flaherity on the occasion of his state funeral. in Canada.

“The Illumination Board is proud to pay tribute to a great Canadian that dedicated his life for the betterment of his country,” stated Jim Diodati, Mayor of the City of Niagara Falls and Chair of the Illumination Board. In recognition of Mr. Flaherty’s years of public service, three 15 minute tribute illuminations will take place at 8:45 p.m., 9:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. (15 minute duration each) that evening. Continue reading