Ontario Court Judge Dismisses Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Lawsuit Against Niagara Area Citizen’

“A democracy can’t exist without freedom of expression.” – from the ruling of Ontario Court Judge James Ramsay

NPCA, says Judge in his ruling, looks like “a body that has had trouble finding its way.”

A News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted November 24th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara citizen and retired Canadian Armed Forces officer Ed Smith, faced with an NPCA lawsuit, gets some justice in an Ontario court. File photo by Doug Draper

A pair of lawsuits filed against St. Catharines resident and community activist Ed Smith with heavy punitive costs attached to them – one filed by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and former NPCA CAO Carmen D’Angelo (now the CAO for Niagara’s regional government) and the other filed by Niagara, Ontario businessman William Montgomery – have h been dismissed by Ontario Court Judge James Ramsay.

Dismissal of the defamation suits, outlined in a written ruling signed by Judge Ramsay this November 23rd,  follows arguments for and against the lawsuits, heard in a Welland court this past November 20th and 21st by lawyers for both parties.

They also follow a year-long odyssey that began a year ago this fall, after Smith, a 25-year, retired Canadian Armed Forces officer, shared a document he produced with St. Catharines regional councillor Brian Heit prior to a snap meeting called by Niagara Region chair, Al Caslin, for a council vote on hiring D’Angelo to the regional government’s top job as CAO – a position he was awarded by a majority of councillors following the vote. Continue reading

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Niagara, Ontario’s World-Renowned Winemaker Karl Kaiser left indelible mark on Brock University

“He was never comfortable being in the limelight and taking acknowledgement for all that he achieved and what he put forward. He was a very understated individual.” – Debbie Inglis, Director of Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI)

A Message from Brock University in St. Catharines

Posted November 24th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontari winemaker extraordinaire Karl Kaiser. Photo courtesy of Brock University

Niagara, Ontario – The Brock University community is mourning the death of a national figure and longtime associate who helped forge Brock’s leading role in grape and wine research, while also turning Niagara into a world-renowned wine region.

Inniskillin Winery co-founder Karl J. Kaiser, an industry pioneer and a key figure behind Brock’s oenology and viticulture programs, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 22. He was 76 years old.

Kaiser’s impact on the Niagara and Canadian wine industry is unmatched, and it was through his guidance and drive that Brock created the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI) and the Oenology and Viticulture (OEVI) undergraduate program in the 1990s, said CCOVI Director Debbie Inglis. Continue reading

Urgent Action Needed – New Ontario Government Act Allows Private For-Profit Hospitals & More Private For-Profit Clinics 

Please read and Act on this Information, and share this information widely with your friends and associates

A Call to Action from the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide citizen advocacy group

Posted November 24th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

The Ontario government is moving forward with legislation that lifts the ban on private hospitals, rolls private hospitals in with private clinics and renames them, offensively, Community Health Facilities, and makes it easier for private hospitals and clinics to expand and more difficult for the Minister to stop them.

This legislation was brought in with no prior public consultation. It is a massive omnibus bill that repeals or enacts 7 entire Acts, and amends more than 30 Acts. We were given 5 minutes to present to the Standing Committee on this massive piece of legislation. Now we have only four days to try to get the worst part of it withdrawn. Without due consideration of the consequences, the government is making a grave mistake that could easily usher in very significant new privatization and threats to our local public hospitals.

Please email or call your MPP and ask them to help withdraw Schedule 9 of Bill 160. They need to act by early next week. Continue reading

Breaking News – NPCA Lawsuit Against Niagara Community Activist Ed Smith HAS BEEN DISMISSED  by an Ontario Court Judge

A Brief from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 23rd, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara resident and community activist Ed Smith cleared of lawsuits filed against him by Conservation Authority and others.

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara At Large has learned from sources that two lawsuits launched within the past year against St. Catharines resident and community activist Ed Smith – one filed by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and former NPCA CAO Carmen D’Angelo (now the CAO for Niagara’s regional government) and the other filed by Niagara, Ontario businessman William Montgomery – have both been dismissed by Ontario Court Judge James Ramsay.

Dismissal of the defamation suits against Smith follow two days of arguments heard in a Welland court this past November 20th and 21st by lawyers for both parties.

Niagara At Large has also learned that Judge Ramsay’s written ruling will not be publicly released until late morning this Friday, November 24th, and NAL will be sure to obtain a copy and a post a detailed report on the ruling, SO STAY TUNED!

What one can say at this point, is that this is good news for all citizens who engage in the democratic process across Ontario and Canada, and for the right we all have as citizens to hold our governments accountable.

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater binational Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

A Happy Thanksgiving to All of Our American Friends and Readers

From Niagara At Larger reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 23nd, 2017 on Niagara At Large

It is the Thursday of the last full week of November and that only means one thing for our friends and neighbours in Buffalo and Western New York and for millions of others across the United States of America.

An exact replica of the Mayflower – a gift some 60 years ago from England to the U.S, – docked in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where, as so many of us were taught as children, the Pilgrims  settled and celebrated the first Thanksgiving feast. File photo by Doug Draper

It is Thanksgiving, and for anyone on the American side of the border who visits our Niagara At Large site and for what few of you may check in to it today – because most Americans put aside any and all work on this day and, yes, even their computers and other digital devices to spend some quality time with their friends and family – I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Along with my wife Mary and daughter Sarah, we share this day with fond memories of Thanksgivings we spent for many years with friends who gathered at Old Sea Pines, a wonderful Inn in the Town of Brewster on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Continue reading

God Help Us! Ontario’s Premier Off On Another ‘Business Mission To China!

Wynne has already lent her signature to plans by China-base developers to encroach on a sizable amount of what’s left of Niagara’s provincially significant wetlands. What is she going to sign away next?

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter/publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 22nd, 2017 on Niagara At Large

It’s  bad enough we’ve got the regional government we have in Niagara and a Conservation Authority that, in many area citizens’ view, isn’t worth a hoot.

In November 2015, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, second from left at table, joins Niagara Falls, Ontario Mayor Jim Diodati, just to the right of her, in Beijing, China for signing of ‘memorandum of understanding’ for China-based development proposal in Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls.

Now we’ve got Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne heading off on another “business mission” to, among other places, China.

All of which begs the question – what more of our natural heritage in Niagara is she going to sign away next? Continue reading

Ontario’s Hydro One’s Plan To Have Customers Pre-Pay For Electricity Will Hurt Families

 “The privatized Hydro One is seeking a 20 per cent increase (in hydro rates).” – Ontario NDP Energy Critic Peter Tabuns

A News Release from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted November 22nd, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Queen’s Park, Toronto —In question period this November 21st,, Ontario NDP Energy critic Peter Tabuns called on the Wynne Liberals to stand up for Ontario families and direct the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to stop the privatized Hydro One’s plan to require pre-payment for power.

Hidden in Hydro One’s distribution rate application for 2018-2022 are plans to replace recently installed smart meters with pre-payment meters, requiring customers to pay for electricity before they use it and creating a loophole to new rules banning winter disconnections. 

“Instead of reducing its rates, as the government promised would happen, the privatized Hydro One is seeking a 20 per cent increase,” said Tabuns. “But there’s more. On page 2,038 of the application, we learn that Hydro One wants to install pre-payment meters, which require the customer to pay first before they get any electricity. Continue reading