These Niagara Municipal Election Results Offer Lots Of New Faces -And A New And Uncertain Ride For Our Region’s Future

By Doug Draper

Well, it was an interesting municipal election night in Niagara – and for some a scary one a few nights prior to Halloween.

Niagara, Ontario's regional headquarters

Niagara, Ontario’s regional headquarters

It was also one that saw a greater turnover of faces at the regional council level than we have possibly seen since regional government was established in Niagara more than four decades ago.

Just to give a few examples, Bob Gale, a Niagara Falls businessman, owner of those Gale Gas Bars you may have fueled up at and the guy that blew the whistle, a few years back, at some nefarious practices going on at the Niagara Parks Commission, will be going to regional council as a representative for Niagara Falls.

Mayor Vance Badawey of Port Colborne, who decided to run for a regional council seat this time with a possible eye to the regional chair seat, will not be back. He lost to Port Colborne regional councillor incumbent David Barrick, who is also hand-picked about a year ago by board members of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority for a management position in that public agency. Continue reading

Niagara Falls To Be Illuminated In Red To Honour Fallen Canadian Soldiers

News from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

Niagara Falls, Ontario – In commemoration of the passing of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board will light Niagara Falls in red on the evening of October 28, 2014, the date of Corporal Nathan Cirillo’s funeral.falls at able-rock-exterior

The red lighting will take place on the half hour at 7:30; 8:30; 9:30; 10:30 and 11:30 for 15 minute time periods.  The colour red is one of Canada’s national colours and will signify the sacrifice these men have made for Canada.

“We thought it not only fitting to honour Warrant Officer Vincent and Corporal Cirillo in this way, but lighting the falls red will serve to symbolize Canadian unity and the deep patriotism that we are a part of when we stand together,” stated Jim Diodati, Chair of the Illumination Board and Mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Continue reading

This Municipal Election Day, Vote For Carlos Garcia And Bruce Williamson To Serve As St. Catharines City Councillors In The Port Dalhousie Ward

A Note from the citizen-based Port Dalhousie Conservancy

(Niagara At Large is running this note because Carlos Garcia and Bruce Williamson are decent individuals who do not deserve to be slandered and harrassed by some of the neo-con bullies attempting to run progressive thinkers out of political office in this Niagara region.)

Dear friends and supporters of the Port Dalhousie Conservancy,carlos garcia

Carlos Garcia, as most of you know, is running for (St. Catharines) City Council, Port Dalhousie Ward.  Voting day is (this Monday, October 27th)!
In the last election, Carlos ran for the Region.  He worked very hard but forces opposed to Carlos and what he stands for played a series of “dirty tricks,” the most blatant being the removal of his campaign signs from properties close to all of the city’s polling stations – an illegal activity – but not something that mattered, particularly to some of those in opposition to Carlos. Continue reading

This Monday, October 27th, Vote For Municipal Canadidates That Will Represent The Best Interests Of All Niagara Residents – Not The More Narrow Agendas Of Partisan Party Affiliates

Debbie Zimmerman, the Niagara  regional councillor for Grimsby and former Niagara regional chair, speaks at the launch of a pilot inter-municipal transit system in September, 2011. File photo by Doug Draper

Debbie Zimmerman, the Niagara regional councillor for Grimsby and former Niagara regional chair, speaks at the launch of a pilot inter-municipal transit system in September, 2011. File photo by Doug Draper

 By Debbie Zimmerman

(The following column by outgoing Regional Councillor and former Niagara regional chair Debbie Zimmerman is being posted on Niagara At Large by permission of its author.)

I always find the intensity with which people will fight to win your vote during an election campaign interesting.

Because when elected, candidates often turn that support into a personal, one-dimensional focus, forgetting the reasons they were elected – to work to ensure your property tax dollars are spent on services for you. Services you use every day like water, sewers, roads, senior and social services, police, ambulance and public health.

Every four years, and next this Monday, October 27th, we get a chance to elect our municipal and regional government. To choose a representative who understands, I am not just a taxpayer, but a resident. Who understands they weren’t elected by you to bring their political party affiliations, their ideologues or one-dimensional agendas to the council chambers.

Local and regional government is about service delivery and not about party platforms. Continue reading

This Coming Monday, October 27th, Vote For A 21st Century Regional Transit System for Niagara

A Commentary by Doug Draper

“I’m not ashamed,” said St. Catharines regional councillor and former mayor of that city Tim Rigby, nor should he be. 

Rigby was responding to comments from another St. Catharines regional councillor, Andy Petrowski, who declared his shave over motions at a Niagara regional council meeting earlier this fall to keep a three-year pilot effort to keep a regional transit system, which he said was akin to “lipstick on a pig, on life support.

Niagara Regional Chair Gary Burroughs, middle, take a ride on the bus with Brock University stdent unin rep. Kyle Rose, left, and Niagara Callege student council rep.l Shane Malcolm early this October in support f a region-wide transit system. Photo by Doug Draper

Niagara Regional Chair Gary Burroughs, middle, take a ride on the bus with Brock University stdent unin rep. Kyle Rose, left, and Niagara Callege student council rep.l Shane Malcolm early this October in support f a region-wide transit system. Photo by Doug Draper

No, Rigby should not be ashamed that he is trying to keep an inter-municipal transit system alive and I know that he, as one of those councilors who believes in a truly regional public transit system, that what we should really be ashamed of is how far behind Niagara is, compared to other regions across this province, when it comes to offering its citizens a 21st century transit system. 

This has strayed way beyond being shameful and is now into an area of writing this region of Ontario off as a modern, progressive area for young people and others to come to live and do business, and contribute to the building of a healthy and prosperous Niagara future. 

Indeed, we are getting to a point here in this second decade of the 21st century where we might just as well put up signs at the major gateways to this region that say; ‘Welcome to Niagara if you have a car.” Continue reading

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May Nailed It On Shooting On Parliament Hill

From the federal parliamentary hansard, Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

(A Brief Foreword by Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper – It took what many of Canada’s federal MPs described as a near-death experience, with bullets ricocheting off the walls inside the Parliament building’s lobby – to get the members of all parties to stand together, in a few moments of solidarity, for the best that Canada can be as a democracy.

Canada's Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

Canada’s Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

All party leaders, from Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Opposition leader Thomas Mulcare and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau stood in the legislature morning after the shooting . All had good things to say but there was something particularly important about the words from the leader of the fourth party in the legislature, the Green Party, which hardly gets any mainstream media attention at all, about trying to keep a cool head and not lose our sense of civility and tolerance over all this. So here, for the record, are the words of Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues for giving me this opportunity to speak on this very serious and grave day. We had a horrible day yesterday. I especially want to thank the Prime Minister for his words today, as the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Party. Continue reading

Ontario Premier’s Statement On The Attack In Ottawa

Queen’s Park, October 22, 2014 - Premier Kathleen Wynne issued this statement today following the tragic events that took place in Ottawa:

Ottawa's National War Memorial where tragedy began to unfold this October 22nd.

Ottawa’s National War Memorial where tragedy began to unfold this October 22nd.

“The appalling acts of violence that occurred today at our National War Memorial and on Parliament Hill have shocked our province and our nation.

Details are still forthcoming, but we know this tragedy has resulted in the death of a member of the Canadian Forces and that others are injured. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of the man who lost his life serving his country today. Together with all Canadians, my thoughts and prayers are with them.

Our thoughts and sympathies also go out to the injured and all those who are suffering in the aftermath of this traumatic event. Continue reading