Save Niagara’s Green Spaces – Speak Now or Risk Losing Them Forever!

We, As Citizens, Don’t Have Much Time Left to Act – To Stop Ford and his Government from Further Threatening Our Natural Heritage

A Call-Out from Ed Smith, St. Catharines community activist and member of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Board of Directors

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Long-time St. Catharines citizen activist and Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board member Ed Smith makes a plea to fellow Niagara citizens to speak up for Conservation Authorities and our green spaces. File photo by Doug Draper

We are days away from the greatest environmental catastrophe to be unleashed on Niagara by a sitting government. Once it occurs there will be no undoing the damage and it will result in mortal consequences to Niagara’s last few remaining wilderness areas.

Ontario’s Ford government has bundled into its recent budget legislation a section called Schedule 6.

Schedule 6 of the Budget Bill deals specifically with the 36 Conservation Authorities across Ontario, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

Since taking office  more than two years ago, the Ford government has tried to take control of our environment away from any strict protections and hand it over to causes more sympathetic to the needs of developers. Continue reading

Another Appeal to Save Our Conservation Authorities from a Group of Canada’s Top Environmental Lawyers

“We hope (the Ford Government) will listen to the chorus of voices asking them to protect the vital role of conservation authorities in Ontario”                                                                                     – April Weppler, Canadian Environmental Law Association

A Message from the Canadian Environmental Law Association

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Dear Fellow Ontarians

Thank you for your continued support for conservation authorities. We promised you an update on the province’s omnibus budget measures Bill 229 that is threatening Conservation Authorities, and here it is – the government is fast-tracking passage of Bill 229.

The Ford government’s legislation would purge Conservation Authorities across the province, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in this region, of citizen voices on its board of directors. Ford is moving to block citizens from sitting on these boards. His pals in the development community don’t want citizens to have a say.

Through a time-allocation motion that passed Monday, the government has sent the Bill to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs for an expedited review (https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/committees/finance-economic-affairs/parliament-42/notice-hearings/2020-nov-23-notice-hearings-standing-committee-finance-economic-affairs) .  While the timelines are very tight, there is a small window for public comment, through both in-person presentations and written submissions. Continue reading

Join the Citizens’ Campaign to Stop Ford from Gutting Ontario’s Conservation Authorities

Stop Ontario Bill 229 Schedule 6 and Save One of Niagara, Ontario’s Great Pieces of Natural Heritage – Waverly Woods

A Call-Out from Marcie Jacklin and Community Voices of Fort Erie

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Hello Everyone

It seems nature is under threat by the government of the province of Ontario. Please take some time to respond to these initiatives.

Bill 229 Schedule 6

Buried in the (Ford government’s recently tabled) budget bill for the province is Section 6 which threatens to destroy Conservation Authorities by not allowing experts to be on the Board.

The Board would be composed entirely of politicians whose mandate would be to serve their communities (not the mission of the Conservation Authorities). Continue reading

Wishing Our American Friends and Neighbours a Safe and Peaceful Thanksgiving

A Brief Message from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher      Doug Draper

Posted November 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Along with all of our readers in Niagara and other regions of Southern Ontario, Niagara At Large is pleased to say that we have regular visitors to this news and commentary site from the Buffalo, New York area and other regions in the United States.

With those NAL readers across the border in mind, I want to wish all of them on this American Thanksgiving – November 26th, 2020 – a warm and peaceful Thanksgiving, and a safe and healthy one during times unlike any most of us have ever experienced before. Continue reading

Ontario’s Premier Angered Over COVID-19 Criticisms in Auditor General’s Report

Doug Ford Says Ontario Continues to have some of lowest per-capita COVID case counts on Continent

A Brief One Posted by Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

Posted November 25th, 2020

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

At a news conference this November 25th, Ontario Premier Doug Ford lashed out at a report by the province’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, accusing his government of being slow on the draw and not as transparent as it should be on responding to the COVID-19 health crisis confronting us.

Ford addressed the Auditor General’s critical report, released earlier this November 25th, after he and his Health Minister, Christine Elliott, discussed some recommendations on how citizens should navigate the coming Christmas holidays during this second wave of the pandemic, and funding his government is providing to support small businesses.

To watch the news conference, click on the screen immediately below –

To read a news piece posted on Niagara At Large earlier this November 25th on the Ontario Auditor General’s report, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/25/ontarios-ford-government-response-to-pandemic-slow-compared-to-other-provinces/ .

To watch Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s press conference on this issue, click on the screen immediately below –

Okay, so what do you think? Ontario citizens make up the judge and jury on this one.

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Ontario’s Ford Government Response to Pandemic ‘Slow’ Compared to Other Provinces

Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Faced Systemic Issues and Delays

‘Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health did not fully exercise his powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to respond to COVID-19.’                                                                                 – Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk

A News Release from the Office of Ontario Auditor General Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Faced Systemic Issues and Delays

Posted November 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk releases critical report on Ford government’s response to COVID-19

Toronto, Ontario –  Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk says the province’s response to COVID-19 in the winter and spring of 2020 was slower and more reactive relative to other provinces.

The audit looked at three areas: emergency management and pandemic response; outbreak planning and decision-making; and laboratory testing, case management and contact tracing.

It found a number of contributing factors leading to this slower pandemic response, including outdated provincial emergency plans, insufficient staff and significant changeover in leadership at Ontario’s Provincial Emergency Management Office (EMO), as well as systemic issues such as the lack of lab surge capacity and outdated IT systems. Continue reading

For Doug Ford, Ontario’s Front-Line Health Care Workers Are ‘Heroes’ Until They Test Positive for COVID-19

Then – After Risking Themselves Caring For Others – Ford’s Tories Reward Them by Cutting Their Pay

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Demands Ontario Health Minister Immediately Reverse Directive That Denies Pay to Health Care Workers Who Need to Self-Isolate

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Posted November 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) has demanded the Ford government reverse a directive from the Ministry of Health that tells hospitals to stop paying frontline heath care workers who self-report when they are exposed to COVID-19 and are forced to go into isolation.

“This government likes to talk about the hard work done by nurses, doctors, personal support workers and other frontline health care workers, correctly calling them ‘heroes’. Yet the actions of this government put them in an impossible situation, having to choose between reporting an exposure and feeding their family,” said Burch during question period at the Ontario legislature Tuesday.

“Will this Minister investigate, reverse this disgraceful directive, and ensure that front-line health care workers in Ontario’s hospitals receive their full pay when they are mandated by the employer to self-isolate due to COVID-19?,” Burch asked Health Minister Christine Elliott. Continue reading

Welcoming America Back to the Climate Fight – And Not A Second Too Soon!

“Climate change is the number one issue facing humanity.”           – U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Finally!

The world has someone taking over the White House’s Oval Office in the New Year who sounds very much like he takes the climate emergency facing life on this planet seriously.

And it could not come a moment too soon!

Most experts around this world agree that climate change is an existential threat that could have catastrophic consequences for all of us if we don’t take significant, decisive action to address it – NOW. Continue reading

City of St. Catharines Moving to Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles deliver environmental boost and cost savings

A News Release from the City of St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

Posted November 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – New City fleet investments aren’t just delivering savings for taxpayers, they are saving the environment. This fall the City purchased its first fully electric vehicles, three 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EVs.

Manager of Equipment Maintenance Jim Thompson showcases one of three new 2020 Chevrolet Bolt Electric Vehicles purchased by the City, marking the first fully-electric additions to the City fleet. Photo courtesy of City of St. Catharines

The purchase of the vehicles, which replace the trucks that were utilized by Municipal Works supervisors, comes as the City continues efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to the fight against climate change. Continue reading

Raise Your Voice to Save Our Conservation Authorities!

Doug Ford’s Conservatives are Shameless in their Assault on the Environment

A News Release from the Green Party of Ontario

Posted November 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

You might never have heard of a conservation authority.

That’s OK.

They quietly keep us safe by regulating development in watershed areas (including the Niagara area)- where 95 per cent  of Ontarians live.

Most importantly, they hold the line against reckless projects in flood-prone areas. Continue reading

Documentary Photo Project Highlights Urgent Need to Protect Lake Erie

“When Lake Erie’s health is impacted, so are the lives of the people who live near and love the lake. We wanted to show that through this project.”                                                                                  – Keith Brooks, Programs Director with Environmental Defence

Two Niagara Region residents are featured in a new documentary photo exhibit, North of Long Tail , which explores people’s connections with Lake Erie

A News Release from Environmental Defence Canada and Documentary Photographer Colin Boyd Shafer

Posted November 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Our Lake Erie from space. For many decades now, it has faced serious environmental challenges. It is ultimately up to us and our governments to restore this great freshwater body to full health

Toronto, Ontario – Two people from Niagara Region are part of a new documentary photography exhibition, launched today online, which showcases Canadians’ deep personal connections with Lake Erie and highlights why the lake needs to be protected.

North of Long Tail , a collaboration between Environmental Defence and documentary photographer Colin Boyd Shafer, contains 20 stories from the north side of the lake.

“Lake Erie is more than just a body of water. So many people rely on the lake for so many things — to support their business, for drinking water, recreation, or just a place to unwind and relax,” said Keith Brooks, Programs Director with Environmental Defence. “When Lake Erie’s health is impacted, so are the lives of the people who live near and love the lake. We wanted to show that through this project.” Continue reading

Citizens Alliance Urges Incoming Biden/Harris Administration to Focus More Attention on Great Lakes and Clean Water

‘We look forward to working with President-elect Biden to create a Great Lakes region with thriving, healthy ecosystems and communities.’ – the Alliance for the Great Lakes

A Statement from the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a U.S.-based citizens coalition in the Great Lakes region

Posted November 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Our Great Lakes from space.

Engaging in the democratic process is one of the most powerful ways people throughout the Great Lakes region can have a voice.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Now that the votes have been counted, we must respect the vote and the work of election officials who have led a fair and transparent process.

President-elect Biden, in partnership with the Great Lakes region, has the opportunity to place safe and clean water at the center of our communities and make them healthier and more equitable than before. Continue reading

NPCA Applauds Growing Interest In & Support For Ontario’s Conservation Authorities

Ford Government’s Plan to Gut Role of Conservation Authorities May Be Getting More Media Attention Than The Premier and Company  Bargained For

A Statement from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)

Posted November 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

MEDIA COVERAGE ON (Ford Government”s BILL 229 & CONSERVATION AUTHORITIES

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority takes this opportunity to thank members of the media for their dedication to ensuring that our communities are well aware of the potential impacts that Bill 229 will have on conservation authorities across Ontario.

Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board in session in early 2019 . File photo by Doug Draper

These proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act will greatly impact the NPCA’s role in land use planning and will completely change the role of conservation authorities in protecting Ontario’s environment and ensuring people and property are safe from natural hazards.

We are proud to serve and support our community, and are grateful for the amount of support that has been shown. Continue reading

You Are Invited To A Virtual Conference on Contamination Concerns at Former GM Site in St. Catharines

Join Us On Wednesday, November 25 At 7 PM. For A Virtual Public Information Session About The Situation At The Former GM Site.

Once a major industrial force and source of good-paying jobs in St. Catharines, Niagara, what is left of the General Motors plant off Ontario Street in that city, has become an unwelcome eyesore for neighbours and may also  be a source of pollution to the area, including the nearby Twelve Mile Creek, a tributary  Lake Ontario

Hosted by the citizen-based Coalition for a Better St. Catharines

Posted November 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Call-Out from the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines

St. Catharines, Ontario – We’ve Learned A Lot About Conditions At The Former GM Site And Why It’s So Important To The Community To Clean It Up Now. We’ll Be Sharing That Information With You At A Virtual Information Session On Wednesday, November 25 At 7 P.M..

Dozens Of Highly Toxic Industrial Contaminants Are Present On And Under The Former GM Factory Site On Ontario Street. Recent Evidence Has Indicated That Some Of These Industrial Chemicals Including Pcbs And Asbestos May Be Leaking Off The Site And Possibly Exposing The Community To A Dangerous Health Hazard. Continue reading

Opposition Grows “Massive” to Ford Government Plans to Gut Ontario’s Conservation Authoritie

Local Conservation Authorities, including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and Hamilton Conservation Authority,  and many citizen organizations are fighting Ford government legislation gutting Conservation Authorities.

A News Release from CATCH, the Hamilton-based group Citizens At City Hall
Posted November 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large
There is massive opposition to the Ford government’s legislation that slashes the powers of conservation authorities and makes life easier for developers. It would also convert the Hamilton Conservation Authority into a sub-committee of city council.
All local conservation authorities and dozens of citizen organizations are demanding withdrawal of the changes, including a local climate group that is holding a public on-line webinar (https://hamiltoncatch.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=8ffda5515733a1dd97a7b21fa&id=534b78f4d8&e=a31ab29d46) and “phone zap” on Tuesday afternoon (November 24th at 1 p.m.).
Conservation Halton, which oversees several watersheds in Hamilton, says the Ford government move is a “cause for alarm” while Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) says it “would reduce [its] ability to protect the natural environment and our watersheds.”

Continue reading

A Big Call-Out to Trudeau Government to Strengthen Canada’s Toxic Pollution Laws

More Measures  Urgently Needed to Protect Canadians From Poisons in Commercial and Industrial Products

A News Release from Beautycounter, Breast Cancer Action Quebec, Canadian Association Of Physicians For The Environment, Canadian Environmental Law Association, David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice, Environmental Defence, Foundation For Resilient Health, Nature Canada And Women’s Healthy Environments Network

Posted November 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Virtual Hill Days call on federal government to keep its promise to strengthen toxics and pollution law Environmental, health and clean cosmetics groups ask for immediate reform to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Ottawa, Ontario – Parliament must prioritize reform of the outdated Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), says a coalition of environmental, physicians, women’s health and clean cosmetics advocacy groups.

The groups are organizing Virtual Days on the Hill for a Toxic-Free and Healthy Environment this week. Hundreds of concerned citizens are joining forces to call on the federal government to fulfil its promise to reform the country’s two-decade old pollution prevention and toxic chemicals law. Continue reading

Times When November 22nd was Synonymous with the Kennedy Assassination are Over

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

U.S. President John F. Kennedy and wife and First Lady Jackie arrive in Dallas, Texas on November 22nd, 1963. Shortly after this photo was taken, Kennedy was murdered on the streets of that city.

You know that time is flying by (dare I say, at warp speed) and that you are approaching the fossil stage of your life when the date November 22nd comes around and hardly anyone mentions the assassination of John F. Kennedy any more.

There was a time, not so many decades ago, when it was said that virtually everyone over a certain age remembered exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news, on that fateful day of November 22nd, 1963, that then U.S. President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas.

Many heard about the assassination of the president for the first time from one of the most respected television news anchors at the time, legendary CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, who barely ever lost his professional composure, but did on this one when his voice began to shake and tears welled up in his eyes.

You can watch Cronkite announcing that news to the world by clicking on the screen immediately below

Open up the obituary pages of your local newspaper now and you l see the growing numbers of people age 70 years and older who are passing on and taking their memories of that shocking news and it meant for those times and for times moving forward with them. Continue reading

Niagara Region’s Council Votes to Support Conservation Authorities Against Assault from Province

A Brief News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln Regional Councillor and NPCA board member Robert Foster

Thank You Lincoln Regional Councillor Robert Foster!

And Thank You also to Pelham Regional Councillor Diana Huson.

This November 19th, at a meeting of the whole Niagara Regional Council, Foster tabled and Huson seconded a motion asking the Region’s Chair, Jim Bradley, to send a letter to Ontario’s Ford Government, urging it to eliminate a clause – already known infamously to many across the province as Clause 6 or ‘Schedule 6’ – that would go a long way toward eliminating the role of Conservation Authorities in such areas as flood management and commenting on development plans that might impact negatively on our natural heritage. Continue reading

Niagara West MPP Defends His Government’s Controversial Plans for Conservation Authorities

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff

“As a local MPP, I appreciate the work of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and believe Bill 229 will help strengthen and further define the core mandate of local conservation authorities.”                                                                                                 – Niagara West MPP and Ford Government representative   Sam Oosterhoff

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword Note from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

A week after Ontario’s Ford government tabled a 2020 Budget on November 5th with a clause embedded in it that – if it received final passage in the days ahead – will radically diminish the role our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and other Conservation Authorities across the province play when it comes to protecting and preserving our natural heritage, I reached out to Niagara’s only Ford government MPP, Sam Oosterhoff, to ask him for his take on this controversial action.

Without any further commentary from me, I want to share with our Niagara At Large readers, for the record, my note to Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff earlier this month, and his response. Continue reading

Ford’s Oh-So-Bad Plans for Conservation Authorities Create Potential For “Cumulative Negative Environmental Impacts”

Province Tying Conservation Authorities Up in Red Tape – Repeal Schedule 6 of Ford Government’s Budget Measures Act

A News Release from Conservation Ontario, the umbrella body for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority aned 35 other Conservation Authroties across Ontario

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario

NEWMARKET Ontario  – Conservation Ontario (CO) recommends the Province repeal (remove) Schedule 6 which amends the Conservation Authorities Act and the Planning Act because the changes being proposed will create more red tape and higher costs for Ontario taxpayers as well as threaten the independent watershed-based approach used by conservation authorities (CAs) in land use planning.  

There are a number of proposed changes contained in Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID 19 Act (Budget Measures Act)  which Conservation Ontario believes will have the potential to add significant delays and costs in conservation authority enforcement, planning and permitting processes as well as ultimately have the potential for significant impacts on Ontario’s ability to provide cost-effective flooding and natural hazards management/protection and drinking water protection to Ontarians.  Continue reading

New Ford Government Legislation Will Let Developers Build on Wetlands

Ontario’s NDP is calling on Doug Ford to scrap troubling new legislation that would gut the role of Conservation Authorities in protecting and preserving our Natural Heritage

A News Release from Ontario’s Official Opposition Party

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

When it comes to preserving our natural heritage for future generations, Doug Ford and his legion of Tory MPPs are proving they simply couldn’t give a damn. Who needs Trump when we have this rabble running Ontario like a dictatorship.

QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario’s Official Opposition NDP is calling on Doug Ford to scrap troubling new legislation that paves the way for developers to build on the province’s wetlands by stripping conservation authorities of their powers.

The changes, buried in the government’s budget bill, would let the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry override the conservation authorities responsible for protecting Ontario’s wetlands and keeping people and property safe from floods.

“By attempting to help his developer friends skip checks and balances, Doug Ford is undermining conservation authorities and recklessly endangering communities,” said NDP Environment Critic Ian Arthur. “We should be protecting our wetlands and keeping people safe from floods, not dragging Ontario backwards in the fight against the climate crisis. Continue reading

Canada-U.S. Border Closure Extended Until At Least December 21st

With COVID-19 Case Counts Soaring, No Surprise Here

A Brief News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Who knows when we see traffic like this again on the Peace Bridge crossing between Niagara, Ontario and Buffalo, New York

As if the latest word from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the status of travel across Canada-U.S. border crossings come as any surprise, of course the ban on crossings for all but essential travel has been extended for yet another month.

We are now going on 10 months since the Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and other crossings between Canada and the United States were first closed to most of us due to the global pandemic, and it is almost getting to a point where this is the new norm.

As someone who loved day visits to favourite people and places in Buffalo, New York, this Niagara, Ontario resident has all but completely accepted this state of affairs as a new norm with no end in sight. Continue reading

Ontario’s Official Opposition Leader Calls For Additional Support for Small Businesses, Workers

Ford Government Needs to do More to Help Ontario Through a Second Wave of COVID-19

“If I were premier today, I’d be providing direct, concrete financial help to small businesses, workers would have paid sick days so no essential worker has to go to work sick, and we would have launched an aggressive recruitment strategy to (properly) staff up long-term car homes.”                                                               – Andrea  Horwath, NDP Leader and Leader of the Official Opposition Party in Ontario

A News Release from the Office of Ontario’s Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Andrea Horwath in St. Catharines this August 8th to press for more resources to safeguard province’s long-term care homes

QUEEN’S PARK — After Doug Ford relaxed public health protections in recent weeks, additional lockdown measures now seem inevitable. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Doug Ford to include specific measures to make sure people and small businesses make it through.

Horwath is calling for:

  • * Immediate direct concrete financial support to compensate small businesses and help with costs like rent and payroll
  • * Paid sick days for every Ontarian
  • * An immediate and urgent recruitment plan to hire at least 10,000 PSWs, with a permanent $5 per hour raise

Continue reading

Ford Rewards Ontario’s Front-Line Health Workers With No Pay if they are Exposed to COVID-19

So much for the Ontario Premier’s B.S. Rhetoric about ‘Front-line Heroes’

“Sending front-line workers home without pay shows flagrant disrespect for their work, livelihood, and safety.”                             – from an Open Letter from Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch to Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Health Minister Christine Elliot

An Open Letter to Ontario’s Ford Government from Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Posted November 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

OPEN LETTER

Dear Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot,

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott. How would Elliott and her Tory cronies  like it if they were sent home with no pay if they were exposed on their job, or whatever it is they do, to someone who tested positive with COVID-19?

I am writing to you today (November 19th, 2020) regarding an urgent ongoing situation within the Niagara Health System.

It has come to my attention that NHS staff are being sent home without pay when exposed to COVID-19.

It is my understanding that your Ministry has directed this change and that Niagara Health can no longer do straight pay for staff directed by the employer to go into isolation.

This practice is a marked departure from the province’s direction during the first wave, where staff in self-isolation would continue to receive their full pay.

We have heard from front-line hospital staff who report that after being exposed to COVID in the line of duty, they are sent home without pay. Continue reading

Citizens Not Getting Enough Information & Time to Respond to “Environmentally Significant Proposals – Ontario Auditor General

‘Province’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Needs to Lead by Example When It Comes to Protecting Ontario’s Environment’

A News Release from the Office of Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysy

Posted November 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO, Ontario – The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks needs to do more in leading by example on the environmental front by supporting, promoting and administering the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR Act) in a more fulsome manner, concluded Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk in her 2020.

Annual Report of Environmental Value-for-Money Audits and the Operation of the Environmental Bill of Rights. The report found examples by multiple government ministries of non-compliance with their responsibilities under the EBR Act that prevented its effective operation in 2019/20.

The report states some ministries are still not posting environmentally significant proposals on the Environmental Registry or giving the public enough time to respond when they do. Continue reading

Auditor General’s Report Confirms Ford Tories’ Will Destroy Climate as a Favour to Their Insiders

“(Ontario Premier Doug) Ford’s wilful ignorance about the imminent dangers of the climate crisis is already making all Ontarians less safe, and the consequences for future generations – our children and our grandchildren – will be unbearable if we don’t change course now.”                                                                       – Ontario NDP Climate Crisis Critic Peter Tabuns

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted November 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, right, and his Tory pal from Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney, favour the tar sands over addressing a potentially catastrophic climate emergency.

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP Climate Crisis critic Peter Tabuns and Environment critic Ian Arthur released this statement in response to the Ontario Auditor General’s report of the Ford government’s handling of the environment:

“The auditor general’s report puts into stark terms the disturbing reality that Ontarians face under the Ford government: we have a premier dragging us backwards in the fight against the climate crisis. Doug Ford is willing to destroy the environment in his quest to do favour after favour for insiders.

Ford has tried to pave over the Greenbelt three times. He cancelled Ontario’s cap and trade program illegally, and his government continues to use the pandemic as cover to ram through laws and Ministerial Zoning Orders that attack environmental protections.

Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP Demands Emergency Funding for Niagara Restaurants and Bars

Wayne Gates has demanded Premier Doug Ford immediately release emergency funding for restaurants and bars in Niagara

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

Posted November 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) has demanded Doug Ford immediately release emergency funding for Niagara restaurants and bars, after new restrictions were introduced by the local public health unit.

“The premier knows Niagara is a tourist destination. We depend on our restaurant and bar industry.

In fact, 13 per cent of all jobs in Niagara are tied directly to this sector which doesn’t include thousands of spin-off jobs. These businesses cannot survive without financial help – the premier holds that power in his hands,” said Gates in the Ontario legislature Tuesday.

Will the premier stand up today, tell the restaurant and bar owners of Niagara that he hears their cries for help and immediately announce emergency funding to ensure they can weather the storm of these new mandatory public health restrictions?,” asked Gates during question period. Continue reading

Ontario’s Auditor General Takes a Blow Torch to Ford Government’s Deplorable Environmental Record

r Doug Ford’s Tories are continuing to spend large sums of tax dollars fighting the Ottawa’s efforts to place a price on climate ravaging carbon emissions

‘This (Ford) government has axed practically every climate program in Ontario, taken the federal government to court to block climate action, violated the Constitution with their misleading carbon tax stickers, and failed to deliver on any elements of their environmental plan intended to reduce emissions.’

‘Not only is the Ford government failing to protect natural spaces and endangered species, but they are moving to kneecap Conservation Authorities, so developers can build warehouses on wetlands.’

A Statement from Environmental Defence’s Programs Director, Keith Brooks, on the Auditor General’s scathing report on Ontario’s track record on the environment

Posted November 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk issues scathing report on Ford government’s environment record

Ontario continues to play pretend with its Made-In-Ontario Environmental Plan, while its actions – and lack thereof – show that the province has no intention of actually protecting the environment.

Not only is the government failing to protect natural spaces and endangered species, but they are moving to kneecap Conservation Authorities, so developers can build warehouses on wetlands.

When it comes to climate change, to say the achievement of Ontario’s 2030 target is at risk is putting it very generously. Continue reading

New COVID-19 Restrictions Announced for Welland Hospital Site

Extended Care Unit taking additional measures to protect residents

A News Release from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted November 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Health’s Welland, Ontario hospital site

Niagara, Ontario – With the Niagara region in the Orange-Restrict category of the Ontario Government’s five-stage COVID Response Framework, general visitation is no longer permitted for residents in the Extended Care Unit (ECU) at Niagara Health’s Welland Site.

This is a necessary measure to protect the safety of our residents in the long-term care home.

Recognizing the importance of our residents having support from their loved ones, families may now designate up to two Essential Caregivers per resident. Essential Caregivers provide direct care or support to the resident in the home. Continue reading

Western New York Moves Forward With Waterfront Improvements On U.S. Side of Niagara River

“This year (as we face the COVID-19 pandemic) gave us a renewed appreciation for our outdoor spaces including the mental and physical healing it provides to the public.”                     – Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins on the benefits of improving waterfront environments for people

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

A News Release from the Office of Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted November 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Congressman Higgins Welcomes Big Plans to Invest $44.3 Million in Buffalo’s Waterfront Over the Next 5 Years

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) welcomed adoption of a General Project Plan (GPP) for Buffalo’s Outer Harbor by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) at their meeting on November 9, 2020.

Higgins said, “This year gave us a renewed appreciation for our outdoor spaces including the mental and physical healing it provides to the public. 

“We have helped to deliver incremental improvements to Western New York’s waterfront but to sustain the momentum we cannot rest on what has been accomplished, there is still work ahead for this community to reach its full waterfront potential. We appreciate Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation’s focus and look forward to this continued progress.” Continue reading

Let’s Fight Together to Save Ontario’s Provincially Significant Wetlands

Ford’s Conservatives want to take legal power away from the Conservation Authorities (including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in our Niagara Region) who are responsible for protecting our wetlands, forests and wildlife habitat.

A Call-Out to All of Us from Ontario’s Green Party

Posted November 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ford government is moving to further weaken Ontario’s environmental protections for the benefit of developers anxious to pave over more of our natural heritage

Earlier this November, we address the news about Ford’s approval of a 4-million square foot warehouse on top of a sensitive wetland in Durham.

THINGS HAVE GOTTEN WORSE.

Buried in the Ford government’s November 5th budget is a plan to do this sort of thing everywhere in Ontario.

Conservatives want to take legal power away from the Conservation Authorities (including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in our Niagara Region) who are responsible for protecting our wetlands, forests and wildlife habitat. Continue reading

Ford Tories Rush Through Bill to Protect Their Corporate Pals from Liability in For-Profit Long-Term Care Home Industry

“To the families who are directly impacted: we feel your heartbreak and your anger. We promise to continue to do everything we can do to improve care, protect those who rely on our health care system for their care, and finally achieve some accountability and justice for all that has happened”                         – Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition

A Message from the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide citizens group advocating for quality public health care

Posted November 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Health Coalition Executive Director Natalie M

Dear all members and supporters,

The Ontario Legislature just voted on Bill 218, the law that indemnifies for-profit long-term care homes among other for liability for their negligence in the pandemic. The Ford government MPPs voted for Bill 218 and the NDP and Liberals voted against it. The Bill passed.

One of the Opposition Parties requested a recorded vote: the result was 52 ayes and 38 nays.

The NDP had brought an amendment earlier in the Standing Committee to carve out long-term care and retirement homes that the Conservative MPPs used their majority to vote down.

The message to the long-term care industry is that they will not be held legally liable for negligence and that they are not required even to act with the normal requirement which, prior to this law, would have required a reasonable and competent effort to protect residents from harm from COVID-19. Continue reading

Join A Public Meeting On Police Responses to Emergency Mental Health Calls in Niagara

A Zoom Meeting, Hosted by the Niagara District Council of Women, this Wednesday, November 18th at 7:30 P.M.

An Invited from the Niagara District Council of Women

Posted November 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Join us for a Public meeting on –

EMERGENCY RESPONSES WHEN MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES & RACE CONVERGE

  • ·       What is the Niagara Regional Police Force  plan to  improve its responses  to emergency mental health  calls?
  • ·       What other service providers  should be involved ?
  • ·       Who would benefit from a better system ?

Continue reading

Niagara Centre MPP Expresses Outrage Over Ford Tories’ Plans to Gut Ontario’s Conservation Authorities

“The people of Niagara ask that you (Ontario Premier Doug Ford & Company) stop using this devastating pandemic as cover to suspend laws and impede conservation authorities that exist to protect our environment. This short-sighted decision is irresponsible and disrespects the people of Niagara.”                       – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

An OPEN URGENT LETTER to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek

Posted November 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Dear Premier Ford and Minister Yurek:

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

I am sending this letter to express my outrage as well as the deep disappointment of Niagara citizens with the recent actions of your government with respect to local conservation authorities.

At a time when we are all dealing with a worsening deadly coronavirus pandemic, you have chosen to accelerate an ongoing harmful agenda to strip the NPCA and conservation authorities across Ontario of its citizen appointees, in direct opposition to the recommendations of the 2018 Ontario Auditor General’s Report.

That report concluded that part of the problem with the NPCA was that it’s board was only made up of politicians.

As people stay home and frontline workers put their lives on the line during the COVID-19 crisis, your government imposes new regulations buried in the Ontario 2020 Budget gutting our Conservation Authorities by rolling back environmental oversight at the local level. Continue reading

Ford Tories Moving To Shield Ontario’s Private Long-Term Care Home Operators from Liability

Ontario Health Coalition Calls for Probe  Into Ford Government’s Alleged Financial Ties With For Profit Long-Term Care Industry

A News Release from the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide citizens advocacy group for quality public health care

Posted November 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

One last urgent push to try to stop Bill 218 that indemnifies for-profit LTC from liability for negligence in COVID-19

The Ontario Ford government’s Bill 218, which makes it more difficult to sue for-profit long-term care and retirement homes, is scheduled for Third (and final) Reading in the Legislature on Tuesday but late Friday we were advised that the matter may come on for a vote as early as Monday afternoon.

We are launching a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner to look into conflicts of interest between government MPPs who have received donations from the long-term care industry.

We are also asking that the Commissioner investigate an array of Ministers, the Premier and high-profile decision makers and advisors in the Ford government and their ties to the for-profit industry and their role in pushing this legislation that makes it harder for families who have lost loved ones to sue the long-term care homes owners. Continue reading

Trump Is U.S. History’s Biggest Loser

“For the next two months (though), this Biggest Loser will hold us all hostage. …His virus will kill countless thousands. His greed will further ravage an already devastated economy. His racism will more deeply poison our national spirit. His madness will pillage our mother Earth. His complete lack of morality, compassion, and empathy will forever cheapen our national spirit. His utter depravity will threaten us all with eco-nuclear extinction.”

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

Posted November 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

It’s over!!!

( … except for the next two months of residual rape and pillage.)

Donald Trump will not be re-inaugurated on January 20, 2021.

This could not have been said with certainty mere days ago. Our nation and the world have rightfully taken to dancing in the streets. We have dethroned a dictator for all to see.

For the rest of human history, the overthrow of Donald Trump can serve as a shining example of an angry public successfully disposing of a despicable tyrant. Continue reading

NPCA/Environment Canada Issue Flood Warning for Lake Erie

Warning Covers this Sunday, November 15th at Noon Thru Mid-Day Monday, November 16th

An Urgent Notice from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Conservation Authorities in the Grant River & Long Point Areas, and Environment Canada

Posted November 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

For Sunday November 15, 2020, this notice is intended to update the public and local municipalities of the condition of the Lake Erie Shoreline as it relates to the Niagara Peninsula and the eastern portion of Haldimand County.

Niagara is currently under a Wind Warning as issued by Environment Canada, calling for very strong southwesterly winds gusting to 100+km/hr. These winds will significantly increase water levels and waves along the Lake Erie Shoreline. Continue reading

Changes To Ontario’s Conservation Authority Act Will Impact NPCA Watershed Protection Programs in Niagara

Provincial Changes To Conservation Authorities Act Will Impact NPCA Watershed Management Approach And Progress Made On Auditor General Recommendations

A Response from Chandra Sharma, CAO of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, to Plans by Ontario’s Ford Government to Gut & Scale the NPCA and 35 other Conservation Authorities across the Province like a Lake Trout

Posted November 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

NPCA CAO Chandra Sharma finally responds to Ford government’s plans to eviscerate Conservation Authorities. Is her response strong enough?

Niagara, Ontario – (The Ford government’s) Bill 229 contains new rules for Board appointments, changes to conservation authorities’ planning role and creation of new Ministerial powers

On November . 5the , the Province of Ontario tabled omnibus budget measures Bill 229, which proposes fundamental changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and to the conservation authorities’ role in land use planning.

These changes will significantly compromise and in some cases, completely change the role of conservation authorities to protect Ontario’s environment and ensure people and property are safe from natural hazards.

“The recent COVID-19 pandemic brought home the critical need for investment in green infrastructure for the health and well being of our communities. We anticipate provincial support and amendments that enable us to carry on with this important work,” says Chandra Sharma, CAO/Secretary-Treasurer at Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA). Continue reading

ACTION ALERT – We Need Our Conservation Authorities

Don’t Let Ontario’s Ford Government Gut the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and 35 other Conservation Authorities Across Our Province

‘The Ford Government’s Bill 229 is the most recent in a disturbing trend of using omnibus budget measures bills to make substantial changes to environmental laws, thereby side-stepping the public’s right to comment under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights.’ – Canadian Environmental Law Association

 An Urgent Call-Out to All of Us from the Canadian Environmental Law Association

Posted November 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

On November 5, 2020, the Ontario government tabled omnibus budget measures Bill 229 in the Ontario Legislature, Schedule 6 of which proposes fundamental changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and to the conservation authorities’ role in land use planning.

Bill 229 is the most recent in a disturbing trend of using omnibus budget measures bills to make substantial changes to environmental laws, thereby sidestepping the public’s right to comment under the Environmental Bill of Rights.

In CELA’s view, the proposed changes to conservation authorities in Bill 229 will not achieve the crucially important goal of building climate resilience for Ontario. To the contrary, the package of amendments as proposed are likely to set back watershed planning and implementation of an ecosystem based approach by decades. Continue reading

Niagara College Awarded Grant for COVID-19 Related Research Equipment

News from Niagara College in Niagara, Ontario

Posted November 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara College will advance its COVID-19 related research after being granted close to $50,000 for the purchase of a biomedically compatible 3D printer for its Research & Innovation division.

Samantha Jemison, a student in NC’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program, calibrates an FDM 3D printer as a research assistant with the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC). The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) award will fund the purchase of a biomedically compatible 3D printer for the Research & Innovation division for COVID-19 related research. Photo courtesy of Niagara College

The state-of-the-art 3D additive manufacturing equipment will be used by researchers at NC’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC)<https://www.ncinnovation.ca/specializations/walker-advanced-manufacturing-innovation-centre> at the Welland Campus.

The award, which is part of a special fund of $28 million in research infrastructure support, was announced on November 6 by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. Continue reading

Doug Ford’s “Lies” Push Ontario To Disaster – Ontario Liberal Party Leader

A Statement from Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

Posted November 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

TORONTO – Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, made the following statement:

It’s been revealed that (Ontario Premier) Doug Ford ignored advice from Public Health Ontario, lied to us and said his plan was backed by doctors. He betrayed all of us, and he needs to take a long look in the mirror and ask himself how Ontario could ever trust him again.

Ontario is headed towards disaster, with a staggering 6,000 daily COVID cases projected by December.

Doug Ford told us he was acting on the advice of doctors, but he lied and he cost lives.

Just a few weeks ago Doug Ford was bragging about the progress his government was making. Meanwhile, he was secretly loosening restrictions while top doctors were giving him dire warnings. Thousands are now dead, with 71 deaths in nursing homes this week alone. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Losing Pandemic Battle As COVID-19 Cases Soar

New modelling data Released This November 12th Shows Ontario needs to take Powerful, Decisive, Immediate Action to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

Daily COVID Cases in Ontario now Hitting Record Levels Surpassing 1,400 and Counting

A Statement from Ontario’s Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted November 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Grim projections show action is necessary to stop the spread – Ontario Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Is this Ontario Premier and his Tories letting us down on the battle against COVID-19?

QUEEN’S PARK — New modelling data released this Thursday, November 12th  shows that Ontario needs to take powerful, decisive, immediate action to stop the spread of COVID-19, or cases will reach 2,000 to 6,000 per day, and hospitals will be overwhelmed.

Official Opposition leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement in response to the new information –

“This data modelling is horrific, and shows that Doug Ford’s choice to overrule expert advice, and cancel public health protections was gambling with people’s lives, and condemning us to live with COVID longer. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Is Moving To Gut Our Conservation Authorities

Say Goodbye to Bodies Like The NPCA Playing A Key Role in Science-Based Flood Management, Input on Development Proposals and Restoration and Preservation of our Natural Heritage

A Commentary Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a link to a Must-Read Report in The Toronto Star

Posted November 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford moves forward with is plans to deconstruct the province’s Conservation Authorities as voices for environmental protection

As we have been learning since Premier Doug Ford and his Conservatives released their 2020 Budget this November 5th, embedded in that budget are plans to radically diminish the role that the province’s 36 Conservation Authorities, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, play in environmental protection in our precious watersheds.

If and when Ford and company carry through with this demolition plan, all citizen voices on Conservation Authority boards, with the exception of representation from the agricultural industry, will be purged and Conservation will have little left to do but to maintain and manage the conservation areas they currently have under their control.

Any further role we need them to play – especially in an era of climate emergency and relentless pressure from developers to continue with low-density sprawl over natural lands – will be weakened to a point where citizens will have few, if any, bodies left to turn to with concerns over environmental protection. Continue reading

A Salute to Remembrance Day, Canada/Veterans Day, U.S.A. – 2020

“Where Have All The Flowers Gone?   Long Time Passing (and) When Will We Ever Learn”

Posted by Doug Draper on Niagara At Large
November 11th, 2020

Few songs have touched more movingly on the tragedy of war than this one, written by the late great American folksinger and activist Pete Seeger. Click on the screen below to listen and watch one of literally thousands of performances of ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone’ –

In 2018, in the last municipal  elections across Niagara , less than 50 per cent and in some cases, including St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland, less than 40 per cent of eligible voters actually bothered to vote.

That same year, in a provincial election that saw Doug Ford and his Tories win a majority number of seats – enough to allow him to run Ontario like a virtual dictator – the total voter turnout was about 57 per cent, with Ford’s Tories receiving only 40 per cent of those votes.

The First World War memorial in Welland, Ontario’s Chippawa Park. File Photo by Doug Draper

Wearing a poppy for a few days each November is nice, but it is far from enough.

And it is only empty tokenism if so few people in our municipalities and province do not participating in the democratic process.

That is no way to honour those who served and sacrificed in past wars, let alone those who are serving now.

We face many challenges in this greater Niagara Region, and in the provinces and states we live in on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

Please make a pledge to get more involved in your communities and in the democratic systems we are blessed with, thanks to those who fought and died for them.

Lest We Forget

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Ford Government’s Changes to Conservation Authorities Act Trigger Red Flags for Conservation Ontario

“If nothing else, pandemic conditions this year have certainly reinforced how much we rely on a healthy environment for our own well-being. It’s important that conservation authorities are able to continue to protect our natural environment and ensure the safety of Ontario residents.”                                                             – Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario

A News Release from Conservation Ontario, the umbrella body for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and 35 other Conservation Authorities across the province

Posted November 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario

Conservation Ontario and the conservation authorities (CAs) are reviewing the Province’s changes to the Conservation Authorities Act (CA Act) which were released (this past November 5th) in the 2020 Ontario Budget.

“There are a number of changes that we feel could have significant impact on conservation authorities, and on their watershed management responsibilities,” said Kim Gavine, General Manager of Conservation Ontario (CO).

Conservation Ontario is the association which represents Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities. The CA Act has been under review by the Province since April 2019.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Environment, Parks and Conservation (MECP) hosted a series of five consultation meetings across the province with invited representatives primarily from municipalities, conservation authorities and agriculture, landowner and development sectors. Conservation Ontario was a presenter at these sessions. Continue reading

2020 Niagara Economic Summit Tackles Recovery And Rebuilding

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s summit will be held virtually over three separate sessions

First Panel –  including Niagara Regional Chair Jim  Bradley among panelists – scheduled for 0 a.m. this Tuesday, November 10th –  will address the current economic picture in Canada, in Ontario, and in Niagara

An Invite from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Posted November 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario –  2020 is the year that everything changed, and all the forecasts and models we had built had to be abandoned in the face of a global pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.

With the world still in the second wave of that pandemic and many facts about the way it has affected our economy still coming to light, the 2020 Summit assesses where we are now, how we got there, and where we can go as we turn our thoughts to recovery and the future.

The first panel, held at 10 a.m. on November 10, will address the current economic picture in Canada, Ontario, and Niagara, as well as examining the uneven impact of the pandemic across different industries and demographic groups. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Making Disastrous Changes to Province’s Conservation Act

Ford Moves to Strip Citizen Voices from NPCA & Other Conservation Authority Boards, and Weaken Conservation Authorities’ Voice in Development Proposals

A News Commentary by Liz Benneian, a citizen activist in Niagara, Ontario, and leading member of the citizen-based groups, A Better Niagara, Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara and Ontariogreen

Posted November 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Hidden in the Ford government’s budget bill(tabled this past November 5th) are changes to the Conservation Act that have special importance to the citizens of Niagara including that only elected Councillors can be appointed to the board.

In its ongoing war against environmental protection in Ontario, Ford government is moving to eviscerate our province’s Conservation Authorities, including the citizen voices on our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board.

That’s what we had before the last municipal election. It didn’t work out so well. The same corrupt cabal that made a mess out of our Regional government, took over the Conservation Authority, got rid of a lot of experienced, qualified staff, hired their friends and turned the organization into a rubber stamp for the development industry.

That’s why Niagara’s citizens voted them out of office. That’s why there was a very critical Auditor General’s report on the NPCA (Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority).

That’s why citizens advocated to have some citizens appointed to the Conservation Authority’s board. And the newly elected municipal and Regional Council listened. 

Continue reading

‘Democracy Is Coming to the U.S.A.’ – the late Leonard Cohen

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Leonard Cohen

Believe it or not, four years have now passed since one of Canada’s greatest gifts to the world – poet, songwriter, singer Leonard Cohen – passed away on November 7th, 2016 at age 82.

I was thinking of Leonard just days ago, as our American neighbours and the world were waiting and waiting for enough votes to be counted to declare Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the next president and vice-president of the United States.

And hallelujah, for the sake of the United States and the world, this past Saturday, November 7th, it happened – a day that will live in history as the beginning of the end of Trump’s reign of chaos and terror, and the most monstrous presidency in close to two and a half centuries of American history. Continue reading

Prime Minister Pays Tribute to a Much-Beloved Canadian Alex Trebek

Jeopardy Host Alex Died at Age 80 This November 8th. He Was Diagnosed in 2019 with late-stage Pancreatic Cancer.

A Statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the Death of Alex Trebek

Posted November 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Camada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement this November 8th  on the death of Alex Trebek:

“This November 8th, we lost a proud Canadian and beloved TV star who was a familiar face to millions of people across North America and around the world.

“For many of us, Alex Trebek was a daily part of our lives. As the host of /Jeopardy! /for almost four decades, he hosted more episodes of a single  television game show than anyone else in history. We looked forward to his quick wit and wry jokes – and the questions about Canada he’d sneak into the show. Continue reading

Canada’s Prime Minister Congratulates Joe Biden On U.S. Presidential Election Win

Then Vice-President Joe Biden with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during better days for Canada-U.S. relations during a visit to Ottawa in 2018

A Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the result of the U.S. presidential election

Posted November 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala  Harris on their election as the next President and Vice President of the United  States of America.

“Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship – one that is  unique on the world stage. Our shared geography, common interests, deep personal connections, and strong economic ties make us close friends, partners, and  allies.

“We will further build on this foundation as we continue to keep our  people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and  work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action  around the world. Continue reading

For the Sake of the World, Hallelujah. Joe Biden Will Be Next President of the United States

At Long Last, Our Long Day’s Journey Into Night with the Monster – Donald Trump – is Almost Over!

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted November 7th, 2020

Can we now finally have a decent night’s sleep now!

At long last, this Saturday, November 7th morning, the world received the breaking news that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have received enough votes to be declared the next President and Vice-President of the United States.

Finally, GOOD RIDDANCE TO THIS GUY.

May he and members of his morally-bankrupt  crime family, and all those who enabled him face the full weight of whatever consequences come their way.

I leave you with a very moving moment from a young boy who received support from Joe Bidden and who endorsed him this past summer during the Democratic National Convention. To watch it, click on the screen immediately below –

Joe Biden is on his way in and the monster is on his way out. Hallejuh!

And to all of my friends and neighbours in the United States, and to your – friends and neighbours who have fought so hard to vote Trump and all of the hate and destruction he stands for out of office – THANK YOU.

I hope you can finally have a good sleep tonight.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Ford Government Continues to Give Bum’s Rush to Renewable Energy

Ford’s Budget Offers Billion-Dollar Subsidies to  Energy Pigs

A News Release from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Posted November 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

**You’re now helping to pay the electricity bills of Ontario’s biggest companies**

Why in hell would this Trump-like clown care about energy conservation and reneable energy in the middle of a globla climate emergency

This past week, the Ontario government unveiled whopping new subsidies for large electricity consumers. Taxpayers will now be shelling out $6.2 billion a year to lower electricity rates for businesses and consumers.

This subsidy is more than double what the previous government introduced, which Doug Ford said at the time was “the wrong thing to do.”

The Ford government’s new $6.2 billion subsidy will be responsible for 16% of Ontario’s $38.5 billion provincial deficit in 2020-21. Despite these massive subsidies for electricity consumption, residential electricity rates rose by 2% at the beginning of this month to help pay for the re-building OPG’s and Bruce Power’s aging nuclear reactors.

And get ready for more increases: According to OPG, its price for nuclear energy must rise by 74% by 2025 to pay for the Darlington Re-Build; Bruce Power’s price of nuclear energy could rise by an additional 57% to pay for the re-building of six of its reactors. Continue reading

Ford Regime Targets Ontario’s Wetlands, Woodlands and Endangered Species for Destruction in 2020 Budget

Ontario budget accelerates attacks on the environment on behalf of developers and other  special interests

A News Release from Environmental Defence, one of Canada’s premier environmental protection groups

Posted November 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

In Ford Nation, Ontario apparently can’t proper and grow unless we gut what is left of our natural heritage. That is the FALSE CHOICE Ford and his minions give us – for them it is either economic growth or our environment.

Toronto, Ontario  – Legal changes hidden in the budget show the Ontario government is accelerating its attack on the environment on behalf of developer and industry interests at the expense of the public and future generations.

Proposed changes include:

  •  * Creating a mechanism to override the science-based decisions of Conservation Authorities regarding the protection of wetlands, woodlands, endangered species habitats and flood protection
  • * Permanent exemption of the forest industry from compliance with the Endangered Species Act

“The Ontario government is busy taking apart 75 years of progress in preventing and mitigating the impacts of flooding, preserving forests, wetlands and protecting our sources of clean drinking water,” said Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. Continue reading

One of Canada’s Major Federal Leaders ‘Hopes to See Trump Lose’

A Message from Canadian NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s Twitter Feed

Posted November 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

So far, Canadian political leaders – especially Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – have been mum on the subject of the presidential election south of the border.

While it is understandable why Trudeau would want to stay away from expressing any view, one way or the other, on the U.S. election, at least until all of the votes are counted, one major party leader in Canada minced no words in a Twitter message this November 3rd.

That leader was the federal NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, who had this to say on Twitter –

VOTE HIM OUT

In 4 years Donald Trump has:

  • • Placed kids in cages
  • • Fanned the flames of hatred and division
  • • Failed 230,000 Americans, left dead because of COVID-19

Trump makes the world a more dangerous place for all of us and I hope to see him lose.

A Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

Okay, that is what Canada’s NDP leader had to say. How do you feel?

Here is a FOX News clip on one of Canada’s many ugly moments with Trump and his minions in the White House. Click on the scree  immediately below to watch –

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

General Motors Canada/Unifor Tentative Deal “Great News” for St. Catharines/Niagara

A Statement from St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik on tentative agreement between GM, Unifor

Posted November 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

St. Catharines, Ontario  – The announcement (this November 5th) of the tentative agreement between Unifor and GM Canada is great news for St. Catharines, and Ontario’s automotive manufacturing industry.

Clearly both sides worked hard to reach a deal that is both fair to the employees of GM in our community, and in strengthening GM Canada’s position within a highly competitive global environment.

The planned $109-million investment in St. Catharines to support added engine and transmission production reinforces the plant’s position as one of the most efficient and highly productive plants within the GM North American manufacturing framework. Continue reading

Here’s Praying Trump’s Reign of Terror on Earth’s Climate is Almost Over

Trump Administration Officially Cuts U.S. Out of Paris Climate Agreement

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”                                                                                  – U.S. President Donald Trump, on December 28th, 2017, in one of the self-described “stable genius’s” all-too-many bundles of wisdom to his tens-of-millions of followers on Twitter.

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

Posted November 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

We were warned, weren’t we?

Everyone from successful New York City business executives who could see through Trump many years ago, when he was a con man firing everyone from Meat Loaf to Gary Busey on his reality TV show ‘The Apprentice’, to his estranged niece Mary Trump, a Ph.D psychologist and author of the best-selling book: ‘Too Much and Never; How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man’, have warned that if this self-serving wing nut sees himself going down, he may try to take everyone and everything down with him.

So why not begin – just one day after this November 3rd’ss U.S. election that hopefully means the end of his dangerous and destructive presidency – by following through on his years-old pledge to pull the United States out of a 2016 Paris Climate Agreement signed by more than 190 nations around the world, including Canada. Continue reading

Make Pandemic Pay Permanent for Ontario’s Frontline Workers

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates is standing up for the workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 whose pandemic pay was ripped away

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara NDP MPP Wayne Gates

Posted November 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Front-line employees continue to work and risk their well-being in grocery chains like this, owned by the billionaire Weston family, which has been among those making record or near record profits during this pandemic. File photo by Doug Draper

QUEEN’S PARK, Ontario  – NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) is standing up for the workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 whose pandemic pay was ripped away while they are still putting their lives on the line every day.

“The major companies, like Loblaws, that employ frontline workers called them heroes and raised their pay. However, once the cameras were off – these companies ripped away the pay increases. They make record profits while workers carry on under the same low wage conditions,” says Gates.

Continue reading

Ford Government is Coming After Ontario’s Precious Wetlands

Urge the Government of Ontario to respect and uphold protections for Provincially Significant Wetlands and to stop its misuse of Minister’s Zoning Orders

Could the Provincially Significant Wetlands in the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls Be Next?

A Call-Out from Ontario Nature, a citizens advocate for natural heritage preservation in Ontario

Posted November 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Government of Ontario is showing its true colours with recent moves to ride roughshod over protections for Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSWs).

The first sign of trouble was a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) to demolish three PSWs on agriculturally zoned land in Vaughan so that a Walmart distribution facility could be constructed.

Don’t let Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the worst in the development industry take out places like this – provincially significant wetlands in the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario. What is left of our natural heritage and the health benefits natural spaces offer are worth far more than the narrow-mindedness of far too many in government and the development industry.

The second was a decision to destroy a large coastal PSW in the City of Pickering to make room for a warehousing facility, again through an MZO. The next domino may be five wetlands within the provincially significant East Humber River Wetland Complex in Vaughan.

What is going on? Is the government declaring open season on PSWs?

Continue reading

American Filmmaker, Activist Michael Moore On Nail-Biting U.S. Election

“Sadly, as to why our fellow Americans did not repudiate Trump yesterday in a massive way, as to why nearly 70 million Americans still embrace a bigot and a psychopath — well, we must have that discussion soon as to who we REALLY are.”          – Michael Moore

American filmmaker and poltical activist Michael Moore

A Commentary by American filmmaker, author and political activist Michael         Moore, from Michael Moore’s Facebook Page

Posted November 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

THERE IS NO CRYING IN TRUMP REMOVAL!

I am writing this at 7:45am on Nov 4 and here’s how I see it. First, I just slept like a baby in my chair with the TV blaring. For 3 hours.

That’s cause I dozed off at 4:30am knowing this: Millions of ballots — all of them from early and mail-in voting which the majority of Democrats did — had not been counted! In Pennsylvania, I knew that the majority of those 2.2 MILLION uncounted ballots were from registered Democrats.

When I fell asleep, the map of Michigan showed Flint as red! Hahaha!!

And here’s the bottom line:

Continue reading

Niagara Region Taking ‘Big Steps’ To Address Homelessness

“By knowing who is experiencing chronic homelessness we are able to better provide programs and supports for people in need.” ~ Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted November 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region is taking a big step toward addressing the issue of homelessness locally.

Built for Zero Canada, a national campaign to work toward an end to long-term, complex homelessness, has recognized Niagara Region for meeting all the requirements needed to achieve a Quality By-Name List. A By-Name List provides up-to-date information on people experiencing homelessness across the region.

This list provides data on clients to support coordinated access to housing resources available through providers in Niagara’s Homeless-Serving System, as well as system-level information such as the number of people actively experiencing chronic homelessness. Continue reading

Do It America. For The Sake of Your Country & the World – FIRE TRUMP!

Today is the Day to Vote this Monster Out

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted on November 3rd, 2020, Election Day in the United States

The danger that Trump poses and the carnage that he has already wrought – not only on the health and welfare of people in his own country, but to the world – is, without a word of hyperbole, heart-wrenching and mind-blowing.

From the dishevelling of democratic institutions, the overturning of truth, the total disregard for facts and science,  and the assault on fundamental human justice and decency, to the dismantling of environmental programs in ways that could harm property and lives on this planet for generations to come, the day of reckoning for this morally bankrupt con man and his legions of cultists and enablers – a day that should mark the beginning of the end of Trump’s reign of chaos, suffering, death and terror – may, at long last, be here.

It is Election Day in America and let’s hope and pray that enough of our American friends and neighbours do the right thing, and purge this monster and his crime family from our collective lives. Continue reading

Niagara Centre MPP’s Bill To Protect Vulnerable Persons In Supportive Living Accommodations Receives Unanimous Support

“I welcome today’s (November 2nd) unanimous support. … Ontarians in supportive living accommodations can finally get the protection they need to keep them safe.”                                       – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

A Statement from  Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Posted November 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Jeff Burch’s private member’s bill, Protecting Vulnerable Persons in Supportive Living Accommodation Act, 2020 (Bill 164), was passed unanimously

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) has released a statement after his private member’s bill, Protecting Vulnerable Persons in Supportive Living Accommodation Act, 2020 (https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-164)  (Bill 164), was passed unanimously at second reading in the Ontario legislature this Monday, November 2nd, 2020:

“Supportive living accommodations fill a critical need in communities all over the province but the lack of proper regulation with no minimum standards has resulted in suffering, deplorable conditions, and even death. Stories of a lack of food, cockroach infestations, fire hazards and other dangers have been documented.

”This bill is designed to fix that, and to make supportive living accommodations a safe option for people who need help to live independently. Continue reading

Celebrating National Living Wage Week and All Those Who Believe In One in Canada

“A living wage reflects what earners in a family need to be paid based on the actual costs of living and being included in a specific community.”                                                                                                 – Aidan Johnson, Chair of the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network

A News Release from the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network

Posted November 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is celebrating National Living Wage Week from November 2-8.

As a result of the many on-going challenges related to COVID-19 the Ontario Living Wage Network has announced that all new or updated Living Wage calculations across municipalities and regions in Ontario will be suspended for 2020.

This means that the 2019 Niagara region Living Wage calculation of $18.12/hour will remain in effect until further notice. The 2019 Cost of Living and Living Wage calculations and reports can be found on the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network’s website www.wipeoutpoverty.ca Continue reading

Niagara, Ontario Military Veteran Hosts Concert in Support of Canadian Veterans Facing Homelessness

Sunday, November 8th, 3 P.M., at the Greg Frewin Theatre in Niagara Falls, Ontario

“My fellow soldiers who encounter difficulty after service due to traumatic stressors are developing PTSD at an alarming rate. Some so severe they cannot cope or take care of themselves. In most extreme cases this leads to homelessness”   – Retired Canadian Forces  Sergeant Garrick Halinen

Posted November 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Local Veteran Garrick Halinen holds concert in support of VETS Canada and Canadian Veterans facing homelessness on November 8th , at the Greg Frewin Theatre.

Niagara Falls, Ontario – Retired Sergeant Garrick Halinen was stationed in Germany when the Berlin wall came down.

He served for 18 years in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and was posted in the Special Service Forces, where his dedication to Queen and Country earned him a Canadian Armed Forces Chief of Defense Staff Commendation for Courage and Professionalism.

 

 

After his tours, Halinen worked at the Canadian Recruiting Centre in Toronto for over a decade, where he provided expertise at various training and leadership centres including the Leadership School at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. Continue reading

Here Is To One Super Spooky Halloween

By Doug Draper,  with Halloween Eve  Jitters

Posted October 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Off they go, to the haunted forest.

This Halloween I find myself feeling nostalgic for those Halloweens long ago when one of the most frightening things for me  was sitting in front of the TV and watching Dorothy and her friends being attached by lying monkeys during the haunted forest scene in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’.

Then there was Halloween night back in my old neighbourhood in Welland when in a group of kids dressed in our costumes, we dared each other to walk down a long driveway lined with gnarly old trees and dried up corn fields on either side to a big brick farm house to do a little trick or treating with the family that lived there, the Wilsons, who were actually quite nice. Continue reading