Niagara At Large Publisher/Reporter Suffers Health Setback

NAL Thanks You for Your Continued Support and Patience As We Fight Our Way Back

A Message from Niagara at Large Publisher and Reporter Doug Draper

Posted January 2nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

From a Hospital Bed in Niagara, Ontario

Doug Draper during younger, healthier times. In St. Catharines Standard newroom, circa early1980s

A few interesting things happened to me on the days leading up to Christmas Day and New Year’s.

It began with a nagging chest cough that would not go away in spite of how many over the shelf cough suppressant products I threw its way. Congestion grew in my chest and I found myself feeling weak to a point where I had to find a place to sit and catch my breath, even after doing something as simple as taking the recycling bins from a backyard shed at home to curbside.

Then, as time went by, my chest began convulsing when I went to bed at night, leaving me fighting for air to a point where I feared I was going to have a heart attack. Continue reading

Taking a Little Time Off for the Holiday Season

A Short Note from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted December 19th, 2021

It hardly needs to be said that these are rough times we have been living through over the past 22 or so months and the forecast for at least the next four to eight weeks, with this more infectious variant of the virus spreading around,  is that it could be a lot rougher.

I don’t mind admitting to you that as a constant consumer of the news, which I have to be to contribute news and commentary to a site like this, it has really been wearing me down.

Therefore, I am going to take a few weeks to rest my mind before diving into it again. This coming year we have important provincial and municipal elections in Ontario and I want to rebuild my strength to cover those and any and all other issues of interest and concern to our region of the world.

For the next couple of weeks, I am going to take a cue from my old friend Dexter. File photo by Doug Draper

That doesn’t mean you can’t continue to visit Niagara At Large over the next couple of weeks to read already posted news and commentary and to share your own comments, if you wish.

In the meantime, I want to thank all of you who have supported this site with your visits to it and wish you a peaceful and safe Holiday Season.

  • 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

Rules Tighten Again for Canada-U.S. Border Crossers

A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted December 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Well that didn’t last long.

Thanks to rapid spread of Omicron variant, test requirement is back for day-trippers crossing Canada-U.S. border

Want to make a brief trip across the border to Buffalo for some wings at the Anchor Bar or to do a little grocery shopping at a Wegmans.

Well thanks to a rapid spread of a highly infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19, you are going to be required to show Canadian border officers the results of a COVID test again, or you don’t make it back home.

It was just less than three weeks ago – effective November 30th – that the Canadian government dropped the test requirement for Canadians crossing the border for just a day or up to three days for “non-essential” trips. Continue reading

Ford Has Failed Us Again on COVID-19 Response – Ontario Liberals

“This is another wave of COVID-19 that he has failed to prepare for, and now we’re all stuck paying the price.”

A Statement from Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

Posted December 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ford Takes Belated Action As Omicron Surges

TORONTO – On December 17th, Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca issued the following statement:

Conquer COVID-19? Not everyone thinks Ontario Premier Doug Ford is doing a very good job.

“Once again, Doug Ford waited until it was far too late to start taking action, as he did in the second, third and fourth waves. I am outraged on behalf of all those who have followed the advice, gotten vaccinated, and were once again let down by their government.

The frontline workers who have been working through severe burnout for years, the entrepreneurs still trying to recover their livelihoods, the students who are facing what could be a third school year interrupted by COVID-19. They deserve so much better than Doug Ford’s failures and uncertainty.

It was more than a month ago that Ontario Liberals and doctors called for urgent new measures to proactively mitigate the fifth wave, but Doug Ford ignored the science. Continue reading

Trudeau Is Right About One Thing – “This Sucks!”

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

Posted December 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

With the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading like lightning across Canada and the United States, Canada’s Prime Minister advised during a news conference this December 15th that “now is not the time to travel.”

“I understand that sucks,” continued Justin Trudeau before urging us to be especially careful during this holiday season.

Indeed, after a few weeks of hope earlier this fall, with daily COVID-19 case counts down and restrictions being eased for crossing the Canada-U.S. border, we now seem to be heading into the perfect storm. Continue reading

Ontario Government Further Strengthening Response to Omicron

Additional measures to slow the spread of Omicron variant as province accelerates booster dose rollout

News from the Ontario Government of Doug Ford

Posted December 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — In response to the rapidly-spreading and highly transmissible Omicron variant, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is applying additional public health and workplace safety measures, including capacity and social gathering limits.

These measures will help curb transmission and continue to safeguard Ontario’s hospital and ICU capacity as the province continues to rapidly accelerate its booster dose rollout. Continue reading

Gates Blasts Booster Shot and Rapid Test Catastrophe in Niagara

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

Posted December 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates. file photo

NIAGARA FALLS — Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates blasted the Ford Government on the situation of both COVID-19 booster shots and rapid test availability across Niagara.

“We have been in this pandemic for two years and the roll-out of these rapid tests and these booster shots might be one of the biggest messes yet – how can the Province be so far behind on this,” said Gates.

“We’ve been telling Ford to release rapid tests to the public for weeks and when he finally does it, only two locations across Niagara get them. To make matters worse, they were gone almost instantly – there were no tests available in cities like Niagara Falls or Grimsby. We need more rapid tests available and we need them in cities across Niagara, not just one city.” Continue reading

Niagara Regional Council Approves 2022 Budget with 2.87 Per Cent Property Tax Increase

“As Regional Council continues to grapple with the lingering effects of the pandemic, and the uncertainty of the future, the 2022 budget represents a balanced and responsible approach to the Region’s finances.”                                                                                      – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

News from Niagara’s Regional Government in Niagara, Ontario

Posted December 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Regional Headquarters in the Niagara, Ontario municipality of Thorold

At its meeting of Dec. 16, 2021, Niagara Regional Council approved a budget for 2022 that addresses the unique challenges of the past year while ensuring our residents continue to receive the high-quality programs and services they rely on.

Three components make up the Regional budget: the levy-operating budget, rate operating budgets, and the capital budget.

Council approved an expenditure increase of $23 million for 2022. With the utilization of $6 million in reserves, the net increase totals $17 million, which maintains the property tax increase to 2.87 per cent.

For the average property assessed at $278,764 the Regional portion of the tax bill will increase by $46 totalling $1,684 in 2022.

Continue reading

Province and Feds Bringing High-Speed Internet to Under-Served Niagara Communities

Funding will help connect more than 4,800 homes, farms and businesses to high-speed internet service

“Having access to high-speed internet service is vital for families and businesses in the Niagara Region. … They need these services to do their work – whether it’s schoolwork or running a business.”

News from the Governments of Ontario and Canada

Posted December 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

FENWICK – As part of the Government of Ontario and Canada’s commitment to connect every community to broadband internet by 2025, construction is underway to connect more than 4,800 homes, farms and businesses in Fort Erie, Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls, Pelham and Wainfleet, to reliable high-speed internet services by December 2022.

This $17.9 million initiative to build three new infrastructure networks in the Niagara Region will help ensure that farms and businesses in the region will have the ability to attract new customers, grow their business, create new jobs and stay competitive in an increasingly digital marketplace.

Families in these communities will also be able to have confidence in knowing that connectivity will be available when they need it to access services, renew their driver’s licence, shop online, and do homework or work from home. Continue reading

Ontario NDP Leader Backs Province’s Science Advisory Table Call For Hitting COVID-19 Circuit Breaker

Call Comes As COVID-19 Daily Case Count Soars Past 2,400 Across Province, Compared to No More Than a Few Hundred Daily Cases Back in the Summer

“Increasing vaccination is not enough to slow this wave. Circuit breakers with strong additional public health measures (at least 50% fewer contacts) and strong booster campaigns (250,000 per day) could blunt the Omicron wave.” – from the latest update, dated December 16th, 2021 and circulated by the  Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Panel

HAMILTON — In response to new COVID modelling data, Ontario Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is supporting the call by Science Table infectious disease experts for a circuit breaker and is backing their call to urgently reduce everyone’s contacts by 50 per cent:

“The newest Science Table projections are scary for us all.

Doug Ford avoided action while Omicron bulldozed its way across Ontario. He put us in a position where we need a circuit breaker to avoid completely overwhelming our hospitals and causing shut downs for schools and businesses.

Reducing capacity everywhere is now our best chance to avoid shutdowns.

Doug Ford needs to tell us today what he’s doing — we do not have time to waste.”

To read the Science Advisory Table’s latest (December 16th) update report, click on – https://covid19-sciencetable.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Update-on-COVID-19-Projections_English_2021.12.16.pdf

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

Environmental Groups Sound Alarm Over Ontario’s Implementation of ‘Pay-to-Slay Fund’

Ford Government’s So-Called Species at Risk Conservation Fund Set Up To Allow The Destruction Of Species At Risk Habitats

An Urgent Message from the citizen -based environmental advocacy groups, Ontario Nature, The David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence Canada and The Wilderness Committee

Posted December 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Eastern meadowlark, Threatened in Ontario

Toronto, Ontario – On the heels of a blistering report by the Auditor General of Ontario, laying out the abject failure of the Government of Ontario to protect and recover the province’s most endangered plants and animals, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has decided to forge ahead regardless with its Species at Risk Conservation Fund.

Aptly dubbed by its many critics as “Pay-to-Slay,” the fund will make it far easier for habitat destruction to occur at the hands of industry and developers. Continue reading

Jennie Stevens Chosen to Run for Second Term as Ontario NDP Candidate In St. Catharines

A News Release from the Ontario New Democratic Party

Posted December 16th, 20221 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

ST. CATHARINES, Niagara — New Democrats in St. Catharines have selected incumbent MPP Jennie Stevens to be their Ontario NDP candidate in the 2022 provincial election.

Stevens currently serves as the NDP’s critic for Veterans, Legions and Military Affairs.

Quotes

“I’m honoured to once again run to represent the people of St. Catharines, the place I was born and raised in, and the community I love.” Continue reading

Following Death of Young Patient, Niagara Health is Calling for Independent Review

“A third-party review will help us to deepen our understanding of this patient’s experience and the experiences of Indigenous patients and community to further inform our work to provide safe, quality healthcare to every patient we serve.”                                  – Lynn Guerriero, President and CEO, Niaga Health       

A Brief Foreword by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by a Statement circulated this December 14th by Niagara Health President and CEO Lynn Guerriero

Posted December 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – This December 10th, Heather Winterstein, a 24-year-old Indigenous woman from St. Catharines, was reportedly taken to a Niagara, Ontario hospital via ambulance after complaining to her father about severe back pain. While in the hospital’s waiting room, she apparently collapsed and never regained consciousness.

The day before, she arrived at the hospital, complaining of the same pain, and was reportedly sent home with Tylenol.

Her grieving family is now searching for answers and in the wake of this tragedy, Lynn Guerriero, Niagara Health President and CEO, has released the following statement –

“I was deeply troubled to learn of concerns raised yesterday by family members and leaders within the local Indigenous community related to the death last Friday of a patient in our care. Continue reading

Celebrate the Holidays with Fireworks at Niagara Falls

An Invited from the Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara, Ontario

Posted December 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario – Beginning December 26 and continuing each night through to January 1, fireworks will return with spectacular displays over the Falls this holiday season, adding to celebrations taking place across the destination.

Hosted by Niagara Parks and presented by the Niagara Falls Hotel Association, fireworks will take place each night at 10 p.m. and on New Year’s Eve, there will be two displays (9 p.m. and midnight) to ring in 2022. Continue reading

Ontario Liberals Call For New Measures To Battle The Fifth Wave

“I am demanding immediate action to protect Ontario families from the surging wave of Omicron cases.”                                               – Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca

A News Release from Ontario’s Liberal Governmemnt

Posted December 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

TORONTO – Ontario Liberals are calling for new measures to counter the fifth wave and Omicron. Ontario is being walked into another public health disaster because of Doug Ford’s failure to lead, just as we were during the second, third and fourth waves.

“We need strong leadership right now before we see a repeat of the disaster caused by Doug Ford this time last year,” stated Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca. “I am demanding immediate action to protect Ontario families from the surging wave of Omicron cases.”

Ontario Liberals would implement the following measures:

* Immediately expand third dose vaccination eligibility to all individuals over the age of 18 who got their second dose 168 days or more ago. Continue reading

As Omicron Variant Spreads, Niagara Falls MP Urges Ford Government to Deliver More Vaccine Booster Shots to Niagara

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

“Having spoken with our pharmacies it is clear that Niagara is not being given enough booster doses to meet capacity at our pharmacies and primary care providers. Some pharmacies are finding that the doses they are receiving are considerably less than the doses they’re ordering. This means that they’re forced to book booster dose appointments well into 2022. This is not acceptable for Niagara and lives depend on your quick action to rectify this.”                                                                        – from an Open Letter Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates sent this December 13th to Ontario’s Health Minister

An Open Letter to Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Health Minister from Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates Posted December 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

To Ontario Health Minister and Deputy Premier Christine Elliott

RE: Immediate need for doses at pharmacies and primary care providers in Niagara

I (Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates) am writing to you today (this December 13th)  to urgently request that your Ministry release additional booster shot dosages to pharmacies and primary care providers in Niagara. As you likely know, Niagara Region Public Health has made the understandable decision to focus their vaccination efforts on children aged 5-11 years old for the next few weeks. As Public Health tells us, children have three times higher rate of getting COVID-19 than any other age group, and they have not yet had any chance to be vaccinated. Continue reading

Police Charge Marineland for ‘Unauthorized Use’ of Whales & Dolphins for ‘Entertainment Purposes’

‘During (a Niagara Regional Police) investigation, it was found that dolphins and whales were utilized for entertainment purposes during the month of August, without being authorized to do so following an amendment to the Criminal Code under Bill S-203 on June 21, 2019.’                                                                            – from a news release circulated this October 13th by the Niagara Regional Police Service

(A Note to NAL readers – This post was updated shortly after 6 p.m. this December 13th, with the inclusion of a response to the police charge from Marineland)

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

Posted December 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A few of the countless animal activists who have protested in front of Marineland over the years. File photo by Doug Draper

Going back at least 30 years, to my earlier days as an environment reporter at The St. Catharines Standard, animal activist groups in Niagara and elsewhere were accusing the operators of the giant Marineland amusement park in Niagara Falls, Ontario of exploiting majestic marine mammals like dolphins and whales like clowns in a circus.

All those years later, the Niagara Regional Police Services (NRPS) appears to be lending some substance to this complaint by activists by taking time this Monday, December 13th to issue Marineland a charge following more than a month-long investigation.

The NRPS summarized the charge and investigation leading up to it this way in a December 13th news release –

Continue reading

Ford Government Pressed for Earlier Vaccinations and Boosters, Free Rapid Tests to Combat Omicron

“Omicron (a new, possibly more infectious variant of COVID-19) is here and Ontario must mobilize every available resource to start giving booster shots to all adults right away.”                          – Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted December 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh issued the following statement:

“In the face of rising case numbers and a looming Omicron wave, the NDP is calling on Doug Ford to speed up the booster campaign for every Ontarian over the age of 18, create school-based vaccine clinics for five to 11 year-olds whose parents can’t afford to take time off work, and make rapid tests free and accessible everywhere in the province.

Omicron is here and Ontario must mobilize every available resource to start giving booster shots to all adults right away — why is Doug Ford waiting until January? Why isn’t he giving our heroic public health units the support they need to ramp up vaccines and give hundreds of thousands of shots per day? Continue reading

Segue Clinic is Niagara, Ontario’s Latest Certified Living Wage Employer

‘A living wage reflects what earners need to be paid based on the actual costs of living and being included in the community. … The 2021 living wage for Niagara region has been calculated to be $18.90/hour.’

A News Release from the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network

Posted December 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is pleased to announce that Derksen and MacKay Medicine Professional Corporation, operating as Segue Clinic <https://www.segueclinic.com/>, has become a certified living wage employerat the Champion level.

The team at Seque Clinic in Niagarar receives certificate for ….

Segue Clinic is the leading network of community-based addiction treatment centres throughout the Niagara Region and Hamilton area, specializing in opioid use disorder and recovery-oriented care. Segue Clinic opened its doors in 2003 to help address the growing issue of opiate addiction in the Niagara Region. Continue reading

Ontario Taking Action to Protect Against Omicron Variant

Vaccines Remain Best Defence Against COVID-19 and Variants

Ford Government is Delaying thlifting of proof of vaccination requirements beyond January 17, 2022, aligned with the reopening plan that stipulated that doing so was contingent on the absence of concerning trends.

News from the Government of Ontario

Posted December 10th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO —The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is taking action to further encourage vaccination and help limit the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant.

These measures will help reduce the risk of transmission during the winter months and further encourage every eligible Ontarian to get their shot so that Ontario’s hospital capacity is protected.

“As we continue to learn more about the Omicron variant, we are taking additional measures to protect our progress as we head into the winter months,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. Continue reading

All I want for Christmas is to Save Waverly Woods

The Citizens’ Effort Continues to Save this Beloved Island of Green in Fort Erie, Niagara from being Paved Over

A Call-Out from Marcie Jacklin, a Fort Erie resident and leading member of the citizens’group, Community Voices of Fort Erie

Posted December 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

From Marcie Jacklin –

Marcie Jacklin

Hello everyone

Do you need a special Christmas gift? Check out our unique guide to the Birds of Waverly Woods. 60 colour photos. Only $13.
To order email waverly2021@gmail.com or call 905-871-4681. 

And for that special someone that has everything? Give a gift for generations to come by donating to https://www.forterievoices.org/donation 

Inside Waverly Woods – now a target for urban development

* Share the petition with others https://www.change.org/p/ten-story-condo-going-up-in-waverly-woods Can we get to 8900 signatures by December 31st?  If you prefer not to sign the petition an alternative is to join our email list by sending your email and name to cvferie@gmail.com .

* Please donate to help us cover our legal and expert costs.

Go to this link https://www.forterievoices.org/donation or send a donation to Community Voices of Fort Erie, P.O. Box 273, Fort Erie, Ontario L2A 2S0. Continue reading

Niagara Region Reflects On Past Three Years Of Ccomplishments

Region Launches “Here For You” Public Education Campaign

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted December 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

“Since March 2020, much of the news cycle has been dedicated to covering COVID-19. While this is reasonable, I fear that some of the excellent work that has been completed by the Niagara Region has gone unnoticed.”                                                                   – Jim Bradley, Chair of Niagara Regional Council

Niagara, Ontario – After three years in office, Regional Council recently took an opportunity to reflect on what they have accomplished for the people of Niagara, and to refocus their efforts on what priorities remain for the future.

For the better part of two years, our community has dealt with the effects of a global pandemic.

Yet, despite the challenges of the pandemic, we have persevered and made progress on a significant number of important projects. 

Some of these accomplishments include:

Continue reading

St. Catharines City Councillors Move Long-Sought Dream of One Regional Transit System in Niagara a Giant Step Forward

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

“Tonight’s (December 8th) decision (to support one regional transit system for Niagara) is an important signal that we take climate change mitigation seriously. Environmental sustainability is a core pillar of our strategic plan and this is one further step we can take to help reduce the rate of climate change. By creating a more efficient system, we can encourage more Niagara residents to utilize transit, helping reduce our carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions.”  – Walter Sendzik, Mayor of St. Catharines

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

Posted December 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario — With St. Catharines City Council’s approval, the pursuit of a single transit system serving all of Niagara took one step closer to completion Wednesday night.

This December 8th, St. Catharines Council voted in favour of an integrated regional transit model, continuing years of effort to establish one public transit system to serve all of Niagara’s 12 municipalities.

The vote by Council to consolidate municipal transit systems into one regional entity follows a November vote by Niagara Region Council to begin consolidation efforts.

“This is a major step in bringing years of work to fruition. An integrated transit system will allow all of Niagara’s citizens the opportunity to benefit from the extensive experience of existing transit providers while better connecting our communities and fostering cooperation,” said St. Catharines Chief Administrative Officer David Oakes. Continue reading

A Brief Remembrance of the Night John Lennon Was Shot

December, 1980 – Forty-One Years Ago This December 8th

By Doug Draper                   

Posted December 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

John Lennon, as he looked during his ‘Fab Four’ days with The Beatles

Forty-one years ago this December 8th, I was a young cub reporter at The St. Catharines Standard, driving back to the newsroom to write a story out of a meeting I was covering in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

I barely sat down at my desk in the newsroom when one of the editors, checking some of the news coming in from around the word, said; “Oh know. Someone shot John Lennon.”

“Is he dead,” another in the newsroom asked. “It doesn’t say,” was the response. “This is just a first bulletin coming in.”

This Beatles fan, who was a particular fan of John, decided to write whatever story I had to write as soon as possible because I had a feeling that the next bulletin coming in would not be good, and it wasn’t. Continue reading

St. Catharines MPP Re-Tables Bill to Provide Long-Term Care to Ontario’s Veterans

“My bill would honour (our veterans’) sacrifice and service by making sure they can access care as soon as they need it.”               – Jennie Stevens, NDP MPP for St. Catharines

A News Release from the Constituency Office of St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens

Posted December 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines) re-tabled her bill Wednesday that prioritizes veterans for long-term care beds, making sure veterans and their families can access care when they need it.

“Seniors who need the support of a long-term care home should be able to quickly find one in their community. That’s especially true for the many veterans who have sacrificed so much for their country, who are now languishing on long waitlists to be able to get the care they need,” said Stevens.

“My bill would honour their sacrifice and service by making sure they can access care as soon as they need it.” Continue reading

This Holiday Season, Gift Yourselves a Memorial Calendar Featuring One of Niagara’s Celebrity Cats

And as Always, Proceeds from the Sale of the Calendar go to Animal Assistance

By Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted December 8th, 2021

Tigger the cat, in all his glory. Photo courtesy of Joe Krawchuk at Pet Valu Thorold in Niagara, Ontario.

“When the cat you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.” – from the calendar in memory of Tigger.

He was one handsome cat – loaded from the tip of his note to the tip of his tail with charisma. Walk in to the Pet Valu store at the Pine Street Plaza in Thorold any time over the past many years and you sure couldn’t help but be impressed by a big caramel-colour tabby named Tigger.

Tigger became a celebrity for countless regular customers at the Pet Valu store over the years who often struck a regal pose on the desk near the cash register, waiting for a pet from his fans.

Tigger at Christmas time.
Photo courtesy of Joe Krawchuk at Pet Valu Thorold in Niagara, Ontario.

Sadly, Tigger died this past January, leaving condolences pouring in to his close friends at the store. Tributes also filled Tigger’s Facebook page, which is still up and running at https://www.facebook.com/Tigger-Thorold-Pet-Valu-318975011643143/  , and which you can read by scrolling down to a  January 14th, 2021 entry on the page.

All of these expression of love for this fabulous feline were enough to inspire the store’s staff to produce one more Tigger calendar for 2022, to follow up what, year’s ago, became a tradition of putting out Tigger calendars with all proceeds from their sale going to animal assistance group. Continue reading

Fort Erie Council Votes Unanimously In Support Of Consolidating Transit Systems In Niagara

“It’s taken many, many years to get to where we are and I couldn’t be happier with the direction we are going. I am very hopeful the  other municipalities will also see the value in one single, integrated  transit system for Niagara.”                                    – Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop.

A News Release from the Town of Fort Erie in Niagara, Ontario

Posted December 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Moving toward one single, seamless public transit system in Niagara

FORT ERIE/Niagara – This Monday, December 6th, Fort Erie Town Council voted unanimously in favour of combining all of Niagara’s existing services into one single, integrated transit commission serving all of Niagara.

Town Council sees the value of a consolidated system in Niagara. A regional system will not only benefit Fort Erie residents and businesses, but also the environment and the overall health and wellness of our community. Continue reading

In Wake of Omicron Variant and Rising COVID-19 Case Counts, Majority of Canadians & Americans Think Border Should Be Closed Again

From a Survey conducted by Leger, the largest Canadian-owned market research and analytics company in the country

Posted December 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Just when border crossings like the Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York have re-opened again for non-essential traffic, should they be closed again in wake of rising COVID counts and the Omicron variant. file photo by Doug Draper

On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization designated the Omicron variant of COVID-19 a variant of concern. Cases of the Omicron variant have been detected on all continents excluding Antarctica.

Given the spread of Omicron, we (Legers) asked Canadians and Americans a series of questions about their perspectives on this new variant.

This survey is conducted in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and published in the Canadian Press. This series of surveys is available on Leger’s website. Continue reading

Ontario Government Extending COVID-19 Paid Sick Days

Support for workers and employers will continue until July 31, 2022

News from the Government of Ontario

Posted December 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – The Ontario government is extending its Worker Income Protection Benefit program, which provides paid sick days, until July 31, 2022 to continue keeping workers safe and ensure they do not lose pay if they need to miss work for reasons related to COVID-19.

Employees can continue to access this paid leave to get tested, vaccinated, self-isolate, or care for a family member. Should the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit be extended, workers in Ontario have access to the most generous paid sick days program in Canada. Continue reading

Brock U. Engaged in New Research that Finds Evidence of Climate-Driven Changes to Canada’s Northern Lakes

A News Release from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted December 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Across the Old Crow Flats in the northern Yukon, lakes are telling a story of climate-driven change.

The traditional territory of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN), the Old Crow Flats is recognized as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance thanks to its more than 8,000 thermokarst lakes (up to 15 square kilometres) and ponds.

Brock University Associate Professor of Geography and Tourism Studies Kevin Turner collects water samples for analysis from a thermokarst lake in Old Crow Flats. (Photo courtesy of Luke Gray)

Thermokarst lakes are formed by thawed permafrost and can be prone to drainage if they expand into low-lying areas.

Kevin Turner, an Associate Professor in Brock University’s Department of Geography and Tourism Studies and Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Arctic Studies at the University of Washington, has studied the area since 2007, says warmer temperatures, longer summers and more rain are “priming this important landscape for continued climate-driven landscape change.” Continue reading

Group Of Young Canadians Push to Lower Voting Age to 16

Young Canadians File Court Challenge to Lower Federal Voting Age

A News Release from Children First Canada, a national charitable organization committed to improving the health and well-being of young people across the country

Posted December 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

Should Canada lower the age that its citizens can vote in federal, provincial and municipal elections to 16?

This member of the Baby Boomer generation says absolutely, and I hope a group of 13 young Canadians prevail with a legal action they have in the courts to make it happen.

My main reason for feeling this way comes down to the fact that today’s young people are facing challenges – ones that are threatening to become insurmountable – when it comes to such matters as the cost of education, the cost of owning a home and finding jobs that offer some stability, a living wage and decent benefits.

Then, of course, there is the growing climate crisis that they will be around to suffer the worst consequences of if decisive action is not taken today. Continue reading

106 Year Old Veteran in Niagara, Ontario Deserves Long-Term Care Bed – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

“Seniors in Niagara who need the support of a long-term care home should be able to quickly find one in their own community.” – Wayne Gates, Niagara Falls MPP

A Statement from Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

Posted December 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

106-yeaar-old Fort Erie, Ontario resident and Second World War veteran Burd Sisler

QUEEN’S PARK – In question period this past Monday, December 6th, NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) brought forward the story of Burd Sisler, a 106 year old Second World War veteran who has been waiting for a long-term care bed in Fort Erie for months. He released the following statement:

“Seniors in Niagara who need the support of a long-term care home should be able to quickly find one in their own community. That’s especially true for veterans like Burd, who has been trying to get into a long-term care home in Fort Erie for six months and still doesn’t know when a bed might open up. Continue reading

Niagara’s Largest City has New Fire Chief

Dave Upper named St. Catharines fire chief

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

Posted December 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines, Ontario’s new Fire Chief, Dave Upper

With a proven track record of leadership and decades of service to the community under his belt, Dave Upper has been named as the new leader of St. Catharines Fire Services.

Upper will permanently take the reigns as Fire Chief following the departure of Jeff McCormick from the position in late October. Upper has been serving as acting chief since that time and brings with him decades of experience with St. Catharines Fire Services.

Upper first joined the service as a firefighter in 1991, working his way up through the ranks to deputy chief, a position he has served in since 2017. Beyond his familiarity with the community, and extensive leadership successes, he currently acts as the City’s backup Community Emergency Management Coordinator and has served as a board member with Community Care and as a volunteer hockey coach. Continue reading

International Joint Commission Hosts Pubic Webinar on Great Lakes

The IJC Great Lakes Water Quality Board is hosting a webinar on Thursday, December 9, 2021 to highlight results of their 2021 Great Lakes Regional Poll.

An Invite from the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) Great Lakes Water Quality Board Public Webinar

Posted December 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission (IJC) invites you to participate in a webinar about the board’s newly-published 2021 Great Lakes Regional Poll results.

See poll results at –  (https://ijc.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6f596332b572c1092ac6c20a3&id=8fe980dd1e&e=2df5acb1cf) .

Register today at: bit.ly/GLPoll2021 (https://ijc.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6f596332b572c1092ac6c20a3&id=8ff6671e31&e=2df5acb1cf) Continue reading

St. Catharines MPP Calls On Ontario Premier to Crack Down on Anti-Vaxxers Harassing Parents & Children at Vaccination Clinics

“As you can imagine, (a parent and child) being told (during one incident at a vaccination clinic in Niagara) “…the government is experimenting on you” and “You are going to die” at 7 years old only causes immense anxiety on a child.”                                             – Jennie Stevens, NDP MPP for St. Catharines

An Open Letter to Premier Doug Ford from St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

Posted December 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

One of the many signs anti-vaxxers have been holding up at demonstrations across Ontario

As COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out in Ontario late this November for children age 5 to 11, members of the anti-vaxxer cult went straight to work, verbally harassing parents and children at vaccination clinics across the province.

During at least one recent incident reported to St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens at a clinic in Niagara, anti-vaxxers outside warned a mother going in with a seven-year old, that she was allowing her child to be experimented on and that the child will die from the vaccine.

In another egregious case of harassment in the North Bay, Ontario area, a mother taking her young son into a clinic was told by anti-vaxxer demonstrates that she was participating in an act of “genocide” by vaccinating her child because she was “murdering” him. Continue reading

Ford’s Vaccine Certificate End Date Is A Dog-Whistle To Anti-Vaxxers

“(Ontario Premier Doug) Ford’s message (to anti-vaxxers) is: ‘It’s ok to wait it out instead of getting a vaccine.’”                                    – Andrea Horwath, Ontario NDP Leader

A Statement from Ontario NDP Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted December 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement in response to Doug Ford refusing during question period Monday to cancel his Jan. 17 end date for vaccine certificates:

“Vaccine certificates help to protect Ontarians and small businesses hard-hit by the pandemic — they’re a critical part of avoiding more lockdown measures.

“Doug Ford’s end date for vaccination certificates always was a dog whistle to anti-vaxxers. Mr. Ford’s message is: it’s ok to wait it out instead of getting a vaccine. Continue reading

Have You Eaten Your “Magic Dirt” Yet Today?

Forget About COVID-19 Vaccines. Eating or Bathing Yourself in this Dirt May be Just What You Need to Remain Virus Free, Say at least some Anti-Vaxxers

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

Posted December 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Who needs a vaccine when you can ingest or bathe yourself in “magic dirt”

For anti-vaxxers looking for anything but a vaccine to ward off COVID-19 and its growing number of variants, they’ve turned to everything from simply placing faith in their God-given immune systems to chemical concoctions like chloroquine phosphate (a drug used to combat malaria and sometimes use to clean fish tanks) and cleaning fluids like Lysol and bleach, and more recent favouites like a drug for de-worming horses and cows.

Then there is “magic dirt” – something fringe members of the anti-vaxxer movement also refers to as BOO, which is short for “Black Oxygen Organics.” Continue reading

Ford Gov. Awarding Thousands of Long-Term Care Beds to For-Profit Chains with Ghastly Records of Death and Suffering

‘Ontario is at a critical juncture. …The Ford government is on the cusp of privatizing an entire new generation of long-term care beds unless public outrage stops them.’

A New Report from the Ontario Health Coalition, a citizens group advocating for quality health care across the province

Posted December 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Toronto— The Ford government has been awarding tens of thousands of long-term care beds to for-profit operators and 30-year licenses paid by Ontario taxpayers. The Ontario Health Coalition warned the Ford government is on the cusp of privatizing an entire new generation of long-term care beds unless public outrage stops them.

The Ontario Health Coalition was joined by families members of loved ones in for-profit long-term care in a press conference late this November to release a new report, Public Money Private Profit: The Ford Government & the Privatization of the Next Generation of Ontario’s Long-Term Care.

They are launching a province-wide virtual tour to issue a call to action. Continue reading

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey Appointed Parliamentary Secretary to Indigenous Services

“I’ve spent my career in public service working to build better communities. As an Indigenous Member of Parliament, I am honoured the Prime Minister has entrusted me to work with Minister (of Indigenous Services Patty) Hajdu to bring real progress to Indigenous communities across Canada and ensure they are given the same opportunities every Canadian enjoys.”                                                                          – Niagara Centre Liberal MP Vance Badawey

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Centre Liberal MP Vance Badawey

Posted December 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – Niagara Centre Member of Parliament Vance Badawey has been chosen by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to serve as Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu.

Niagara Centre MPP Vance Badawey, a former Mayor of Port Colborne and former Niagara Regional Councillor, is also a proud member of the Métis Nation,

The Prime Minister said the new team of Parliamentary Secretaries will be focused on working closely with the Liberal team to find real solutions to the challenges that Canadians face as the country finishes the fight against COVID-19 and builds a better future for everyone. Continue reading

Ford Government Has Failed Ontario’s Species At Risk

Call on the Government to Take Action to Protect Ontario’s Most Vulnerable Species.

An Important Message to All of Us from Ontario Nature, a citizens group advocating for the province’s wildlife

Posted December 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The November 2021 report of the Auditor General of Ontario (Bonnie Lysyk), Protecting and Recovering Species at Risk, lays bare the provincial government’s utter failure to do what is needed to improve the outlook for Ontario’s most vulnerable plants and animals.

 

The audit’s biggest eye-opener is the government’s slipshod approach to implementing the law.

For example, approvals for harmful activities have gone up by 6,262 percent; the government has never inspected any of these approved projects to ensure compliance; and enforcement has been almost non-existent since 2018. Continue reading

Ford’s Conservatives Deny Ontario Workers Better Pay

Doug Ford’s Conservatives vote down NDP bid for buck-a-year raise in minimum wage, Ontario Liberals also refuse to vote in support NDP bid

“It’s not enough to call the people who clean our hospitals heroes, or to say thank you to the workers who stock our grocery shelves. We need to show them respect by paying them a wage that pays the bills.”          – Andrea Horwath, Ontario NDP Leader

News from the Office of Ontaro NDP Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted December 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — On Friday (this December 3rd), Doug Ford’s Conservatives denied workers better pay by voting down an NDP amendment that would have put Ontarians on the path to a $20 minimum wage.

Andrea Horwath and Ontario’s New Democrats have committed to a schedule of stable, predictable $1-an-hour increases to the minimum wage over each of the next five years.

Ford’s Conservatives rejected that schedule, defeating an amendment to replace the low-wage policy set out in the Fall Economic Statement, while the lone Liberal in attendance, MPP Amanda Simard (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell) refused to take a position, abstaining from the vote. That means the minimum wage will stagnate at $15 an hour as the cost of everything goes up. Continue reading

Niagara Health Foundation Launches “It’s Our Future Campaign” for the New South Niagara Site of Niagara Health.

A News Release from the Niagara Health Foundation, the fund-raising arm for Niagara Health, the region’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted December 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario  – The Niagara Health Foundation is excited to announce the launch of the It’s Our Future campaign for the new South Niagara Site of Niagara Health. 

The Foundation is honoured to announce that the campaign will be led by co-chairs Jim Diodati, Mayor of Niagara Falls and Mr. Harry Oakes.

The long-standing billboard sign off the QEW at the southwest corner of Niagara Falls where the so-called “South Niagara” hospital will go.

The Foundation held its campaign kick-off event on December 1, 2021, at Arpad Park Hall in Niagara Falls.  Community members, provincial, regional and local elected officials and a group of Founding Donors were in attendance.  Continue reading

Niagara Region’s Public Health Takes Further Steps To Keep Schools Safe And Open

Public Health Issues Instructions To Indoor Sports & Recreational Facilities

A News Release from Niagara Region Public Health

Posted December 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – As COVID-19 infections increase across Ontario, with school-age children now having the highest risk of COVID-19, Niagara Region Public Health has issued a letter of instructions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections in sporting and recreational fitness facilities. Niagara joins 26 other local public health jurisdictions in Ontario to have issued a letter of instructions to these facilities.

A letter of instruction is issued under Section 2, Schedule 1 of Ontario Regulation 364/20 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act. This letter of instruction creates legally binding requirements for anyone responsible for a business or organization that operates indoor areas of facilities within the Niagara Region that are used for sports, athletic and recreational fitness activities.

The instructions require the following:

Continue reading

St. Catharines Museum Mitten Tree Campaign Kicks Off Saturday, December 4th

“This is one holiday tradition we never want to miss, no one should ever go cold over winter.” – Kathleen Powell, Supervisor of Historical Services and St. Catharines Museum Curator.

A Call-Out to All from the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre

Posted December 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines/Niagara — Giving the gift of winter warmth is a holiday tradition worth keeping at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre.

This Saturday, Dec. 4, the museum will kick off its Annual Mitten Tree Campaign, inviting the public to come out and donate new, or gently-used winter wear such as mittens, gloves, scarves and toques.

The donated items will be used to decorate the Mitten Tree set up in the museum lobby, and ultimately will help those in need through Community Care St. Catharines and Thorold; and Start Me Up Niagara’s Out of the Cold Program. Guests can stop by the museum during open hours from Dec. 4 to Jan 8 to make their donation. Continue reading

Niagara Regional Councillors Vote Overwhelming for Stronger Measures to Protect our Natural Heritage

After Many Months of Council Debate and Lobbying by Citizens Across Niagara, “Option 3C” – Offering More Robust Protection for Niagara’s Natural Environment – Is Approved

“I think (passing Option 3C) really represents putting our environment first in terms of our planning. What an amazing legacy we can leave for generations to come.”                                    – Diana Husson, Regional Councillor for Pelham and Chair of Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee

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

Posted December 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines Regional Councillor George Darte

“We don’t want to be singing; ‘They paved paradise, put up a parking lot’,” said St. Catharines Regional Councillor George Darte as he tabled a motion at the Region’s December 1st’ Committee of the Whole meeting in support of including Option 3C – a stronger set of measures for protecting Niagara’s natural environment – in an Official Plan that will guide urban growth for years to come.

“What we are about to vote on tonight is forever, it is for eternity,” continued Darte. “What we are being asked to do tonight is to help decide the fate of our dear Mother Earth.”

“We need to give the next hundreds of generations ….and our successors a chance to survive on this planet. We owe it to them and that can be our legacy as one seemingly significant bunch of councillors,” Darte said. Continue reading

BREAKING NEWS – Niagara’s Regional Council Votes Overwhelmingly to Support “Option 3C” – A Higher Level of Protection for our Region’s Natural Heritage

News from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

This image courtesy of citizen-based Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara

Posted December 1st, 2021

The Niagara Regional Council meeting was tonight – this December 1st – and the vote went in the right direction for our environment.

This story will be updated this December 2nd.

To watch the meeting and the excellent delegations from citizens across Niagara who went before the council and spoke up for Option 3C, click on – https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/council/council-meetings.aspx?q=Committee+of+the+Whole

What Option 3c is about

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Auditor General Report Confirms Ontario’s Ford Government Couldn’t Give a Damn About Protecting Our Environment

“Today’s (December 1st) audit of Land-Use Planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe confirms that this (Doug Ford) government has simply abandoned the goal of curbing suburban sprawl in southern Ontario. … with full knowledge they would undermine the long-term vision of (Ontario’s) Growth Plan, (and would) lead to widespread loss of farmland and natural areas, put stress on water resources and increase car-dependency that fuels climate change.”

A Statement from Environmental Defence, one of Canada’s top public advocates for protecting and preserving our environment

Posted December 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Statement from Phil Pothen, Ontario Environment Program Manager, Environmental Defence, on the Ontario Auditor General’s finding that government’s 2020 Amendments and Sprawl MZOs and have “undermined” the Growth Plan’s “long-term vision” – 

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – Today (this December 1st, 2021), Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk lent her authoritative voice to the chorus of citizens, Environmental NGOs, land use planning experts, and non-partisan civil servants who have sounded the alarm about the government’s approach to land-use planning in Ontario.

Ontario Auditor General has released a scathing report on, among other things, the Ford government’s awful environmental record

According to Lysik, the government’s changes to Growth Plan policies, together with its unprecedented overuse of Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) have “undermined” the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe’s “long-term vision” of reining-in sprawl in the region. She notes that Minister Clark ignored warnings from within the provincial civil service itself, regarding the risks his approach to land-use would create. Continue reading

Ford Government Paid Millions of Dollars in COVID-19 Support to Ineligible Businesses

“I understand that the government was dealing with an unprecedented (pandemic) crisis. But even in a crisis, systems should be in place to make sure that only eligible businesses receive taxpayer dollars, and program funds reach those who need it most.”                                                                                               – Bonnie Lysyk, Auditor General of Ontario

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

Posted December 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – Provincial economic aid to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic was provided without consultation or good criteria, and resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars going to ineligible recipients, while there was no help for others that needed it, says Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk in her 2021 Annual Report.

“The province wrote off $210 million of Ontario Small Business Support Grants paid to ineligible recipients,” said Lysyk.

“Given the amount of money, the absence of better controls or assessment processes is troubling.”

Continue reading

Ford’s Sam Oosterhoff Champions Health Care Funding for Homeless in Niagara

Ontario Government Supports Expansion of Care to Individuals Experiencing Homelessness in Niagara

“This new funding extends care to marginalized and homeless members of our community who do not have a doctor.”                       – Sam Oosterhoff, Conservative Government MPP for Niagara West Riding

A News Release from Ontario’s Ford Government

Posted December 1st. 2021 on Niagara At Large

A new helper for Niagara’s homeless people marches to town in the name of Niagara West PC MPP Sam Oosterhoff

ST. CATHARINES – The Ontario government is supporting high-quality and compassionate health care for individuals experiencing homelessness in Niagara through an Alternative Funding Plan (AFP) partnership with the Shelter Health Network and REACH Niagara.

Announced today by Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West, additional support from the province will increase the annual base funding to up to $935,000 for eight to ten new service sites in St. Catharines, Welland and Niagara Falls to provide primary care services to 1,500 patients in 2021/22.

The commitment from the province includes an additional $425,000 in 2022/23 for two to three additional service sites to support another 500 unique patients.

A collaborative effort to increase access to primary care, REACH Niagara partners with local physicians and nurses, community health clinics, family health teams, as well as Niagara Public Health, Niagara EMS, and local shelters, to treat marginalized communities and individuals experiencing homelessness with dignity, kindness and respect. Continue reading

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch Calls on Ford to Solve ‘Critical Ambulance and EMS Shortages’ in Niagara

“Niagara families deserve to know that if they need emergency medical services, it will be available to them. Right now in Niagara, there aren’t enough ambulances or paramedics to help people experiencing medical emergencies.”                                            – Jeff Burch, NDP MPP for the Niagara, Ontario Riding of Niagara Centre

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

Posted November 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Niagara, Ontario – As Niagara Region faces a critical shortage in ambulance and EMS services, MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) called on Doug Ford to take action and make sure families in Niagara can access the timely care they need.

“Niagara families deserve to know that if they need emergency medical services, it will be available to them,” said Burch.

“Right now in Niagara, there aren’t enough ambulances or paramedics to help people experiencing medical emergencies. Families should not have to face the anguish of waiting for long periods of time by their sick or injured loved ones, wondering when the ambulance will finally arrive.”

Niagara Region Public Health and Social Services Committee has said the current situation is critical. There are often not enough ambulances to provide emergency coverage for all of Niagara, or to meet response times for critical patients. CUPE 911, the union that represents Niagara paramedics, state that they are understaffed, under-resourced and burnt-out as the demand for emergency services continues to rise. Continue reading

Ontario Liberals Will Scrap Ministerial Zoning Orders

Doug Ford has weaponized MZOs and is abusing his power to attack our environment and reward the well-connected few.

A News Release from the Liberal Party of Ontario

Posted November 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – Under the cover of a pandemic, Doug Ford has been abusing his powers and recklessly using MZOs to push through a list of rewards for his rich buddies over environmentally-sensitive land. Today, Ontario Liberals are releasing their plan to eliminate MZOs and bring in strict rules to ban Doug Ford’s abuses of power.

“Doug Ford has weaponized MZOs and is abusing his power to attack our environment and reward the well-connected few,” stated Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca. “Ontario Liberals will scrap MZOs and bring in strict rules to protect our environment while responsibly building communities.” Continue reading

Ontario NDP Leader Commits to $20 Minimum Wage by 2026

NDP lays out a predictable, stable increase schedule for first term in office

A News Release from the New Democratic Party of Ontario

Posted November 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced Tuesday her plan for a $20 minimum wage, reached within her first term through steady, stable increases.

“Whether you are stocking grocery store shelves or cleaning a hospital you deserve respect. All workers deserve respect.

“Respect is not just saying thank you and calling someone a hero. Respect means paying people a wage that pays the bills,” said Horwath.

Continue reading

Decision Day for How Far Our Regional Councillors Will Go to Protect Niagara’s Natural Heritage is Almost Here

Regional Councillors Will Meet this Wednesday, December 1st at 6:25 p.m. To Decide Fate Our Green Places

A Call-Out from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large to all Niagara residents to contact their mayors and regional councillors ASAP and urge them to vote for the highest level of protection for our precious natural places on the table – Option 3C

Posted November 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

For  details on this issue and contact information for your mayors and regional councillors, please click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2021/11/29/call-your-mayor-and-regional-councillors-now-and-urge-them-to-vote-for-a-healthy-future/ .

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

Call Your Mayor and Regional Councillors NOW and Urge Them to Vote for a Healthy Future

Urge Them to Vote ‘YES’ This Wednesday, December 1st for the Measures in ‘Option 3C’ – the Measures We Need to Protect What is Left of Niagara’s Natural Heritage

“We (in Niagara) have a pretty unique area …. and it is incumbent on us to protect it. …. I think (Option) 3C is best for the environment and the future.”                                                                          – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley at a council meeting earlier this year.

“Our natural heritage is Niagara’s brand. … Our watershed is our brand. That’s how we are known internationally. We should be embracing that.”                                                                                   – Pelham Regional Councillor and Chair of Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee Diana Huson at a council meeting earlier this year.

A Call-Out from Doug Draper, reporter and publisher of Niagara At Large

Posted November 29th on Niagara At Large

Places like this in Niagara are not only good for our soul, they are necessary havens for other living species and they help biodiversity and they are protective zones in the battle against the destructive impacts of climate change. photo by Doug Draper

This coming Wednesday, December 1st, our Regional Council is expected to make a decision that could determine the fate of what’s left of our natural heritage in Niagara for generations to come.

Will our municipal leaders vote in favour of the strongest measures possible (in Option 3C) to protect and preserve what is left of the irreplaceable natural places in Niagara or will they opt for weaker measures (in Option 3B) that  see even more of our green places covered over in asphalt?

For the sake of our own health, the health of our communities, and the nature systems we need to help combat the climate crisis we face today, we cannot allow the same-old, same-old, business-as-usual asphalt option to continue into the indefinite future. Not if we want to have a future that is livable and survivable for our kids!

Continue reading

Remembering George Harrison – Twenty Years On

A Brief One by Doug Draper

Posted November 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

It was 20 years ago this November 29th that the youngest member of The Beatles – George Harrison – died following a battle with cancer.

Here are some of his friends performing one of his great songs at a tribute concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England a year or so after his death.

To watch, click on the screen below

Rest in Peace George.

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

Dave Augustyn Gets High Five from NDP Members in Niagara West to Run Against Ford Incumbent Sam Oosterhoff in Next Spring’s Provincial Election

A News Release from the Campaign to Elect Dave Augustyn

Posted November 28th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Dave Augustyn nominated NDP candidate for Niagara West

Former Pelham mayor, regional councillor running for the Ontario NDP in the Niagara West Riding

PELHAM – NDP members in Niagara West haven officially selected Dave Augustyn to be their NDP candidate for the 2022 provincial election at a local nomination meeting on Sunday. The former three-term mayor and regional councillor released the following statement:

“I’m grateful to have the trust of our local NDP members and for the privilege to run to represent my community here in Niagara West.

Families across Niagara deserve so much better than the Ford government. They deserve to have their voices heard at Queen’s Park, and to have their families put first. Continue reading

Ford Government’s Record on Protecting Ontario’s Species at Risk is Abysmal

“The facts are staggering. The number of species at risk in Ontario has grown by 22 percent since 2009. The number of approvals for harmful activities has gone up by more than 6,000 percent.” – Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature

A Statement from Ontario Nature, one of the province’s most respected advocacy groups for protecting our natural heritage

Posted November 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Queen’s Park, Ontario – The Government of Ontario is failing Ontario’s most vulnerable plants and animals, according to a report released this week by Ontario’s Auditor General.

The Blanding Turtle. One of many species at risk in Ontario under assault by a Ford government more interested in pandering to greedy developers than to protecting what’s left of our natural heritage

The reportProtecting and Recovering Species at Risk, reveals the abysmal record of misdirection and mismanagement by a government prepared to undermine environmental protections at every turn. Continue reading

Niagara Falls Area New Democrats Embrace Wayne Gates for Another Term in Ontario Legislature

“I’m very proud to represent the people of Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie at Queen’s park, and I’m grateful for the trust families in the riding have placed in me.”       – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

A News Release from the Campaign to Re-Elect Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

Posted November 26th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

NIAGARA — (This November 25th) New Democrats in Niagara Falls have selected incumbent MPP Wayne Gates to be their NDP candidate in the 2022 provincial election.

He has represented Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake at Queen’s Park since 2014. Gates currently serves as a key voice for workers in the party where he is the NDP’s critic for Workplace Health and Safety, Training, Trades and Apprenticeships, and Auto Strategy.

Gates’ nominators included Burdett Sisler, a 106 year old Second World War veteran living in the riding (see video (https://vimeo.com/649224238/31548d951c) ). Continue reading

At Long Last, Niagara’s Regional Council Votes for One Seamless Public Transit System for Niagara

“Regional council made an historic, progressive and courageous decision this afternoon which will set into motion that process that will hopefully strengthen public transit across Niagara for generations to come.”                                                                                    – Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

Support Is Still Needed from a Majority of Niagara’s Local Municipalities

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted November 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

At its November 25th meeting, Niagara Regional Council made an historic move to improve and modernize public transit, voting in favour of combining all of Niagara’s existing services into one single, integrated transit commission serving all of Niagara.

The Moving Transit Forward <http://www.movingtransitforward.ca/>proposal would bring together independently operating local transit systems in Fort Erie, St. Catharines, Welland, and Niagara Falls, as well as Niagara Region Transit and NRT OnDemand, in order to offer consistent operating hours and fares, new digital payment technology, and better connections for riders across Niagara. Continue reading

Niagara At Large Wishes Happy Thanksgiving to Our American Friends and Readers

Posted November 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Brief One from Doug Draper –

This Thursday, November 15th is Thanksgiving Day for our American neighbours – a day that means more too many of them, from what my American friends have told me, than Christmas.

That’s because it is just a day for families and friends to get together around a dinner table and enjoy each other’s company.

Old Sea Pines Inn on Cape Cod in Brewsters, Massachusetts. photo by Doug Draper

For the better part of the past 30 years, my family – even though we are Canadians – were honoured to be invited to a beautiful in on Cape Cod, called Old Sea Pines, where a large gathering of friends came together each year to celebrate Thanksgiving until we got a little old to do a gathering that large and folded it with a lot of beautiful memories.  

One of the traditions at the Inn, on Thanksgiving Day, was to play that oh so very long story song by Arlo Guthrie (son of the legendary Woody Guthrie) called Alice’s Restaurant.

As a tribute to all of my American friends, here it is, as performed by Arlo. You can watch it by clicking on the screen below –

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

Niagara Region Supports ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence’

“We must work to address the social norms and power imbalances that, in-part, allow gender-based violence to occur. Finally, we need to ensure our law enforcement agencies and judicial system holds perpetrators accountable.”                                  – Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

A Statement from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley on behalf of Niagara’s Regional Council

Posted November 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

“Today (this November 25th) marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. This is an international campaign that starts on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Based on a motion passed by the Region’s Women’s Advisory Committee, and endorsed by Regional Council, Niagara Region will be formally supporting this year’s campaign. Just this morning, I joined other community leaders from around Niagara to raise flags that are designed to build awareness of gender-based violence, as well as the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada. Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP Tables Legislation for OHIP to Cover Prostate Cancer Screening Tests

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

Posted November 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) has re-tabled a motion calling on the government to provide OHIP coverage for prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer as November comes to an end.

“We know that early detection of prostate cancer saves lives. When detected early, the survival rate for prostate cancer is close to 100%, when it is caught at stage 4, the survival rate is 28%,” said Wayne Gates.

“We have universal healthcare coverage but somehow don’t cover this test which can save lives. Now, more than ever, we see the importance of access to healthcare. When people cannot spare the money they choose not to be tested. We can stop that from happening and we can save lives.”

Continue reading

Fort Erie Could Become First “Bird Friendly” Community in Niagara

An Article submitted to Niagara At Large by Lynda Goodridge

Posted November 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

 

 

Niagara, Ontario – This past October, Deb Sherk (a fellow Fort Erie resident and President of the Fort Erie-based Bert Miller Nature Club) and I made a presentation to our local Fort Erie Town Council (in Niagara, Ontario) asking them to consider working towards becoming a Bird Friendly City.

The Great Egret and the Great Blue Heron are able to co-exist with one another, but will they be able to continue to exist in waterways which are increasingly congested by human traffic and polluted by human activities? Photo by Ron Goodridge

At a council meeting this November 22nd, we were pleased to see Fort Erie Council approve a motion, directing the town’s staff to “provide a memorandum offering suggestions on how staff can investigate and provide recommendations on becoming a Bird Friendly Municipality.”

This initiative is actually a process that leads to certification, under guidelines developed by Nature Canada.  It recognizes the efforts made by cities to save birds and to acknowledge the important role that they play in maintaining our ecosystems.

A major study done by Cornell University, specifically the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, shows a cumulative loss of nearly *three billion* birds since 1970, across most North American biomes (aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, tundra).

This new study finds steep, long-term losses in virtually all groups of birds in Canada and the U.S.  Another way to phrase this is from the Audubon Society which states that North America has lost more than 1 in 4 birds in the last 50 years.

About 90 percent of the missing birds came from 12 distinct and widespread bird families – including warblers, sparrows, blackbirds and finches. Grasslands in particular posted the biggest losses, with more than 700 million breeding individuals lost across 31 species since 1970. Continue reading

Join Niagara’s Conservation Authority in Celebrating the Return of the Annual Ball’s Falls Holiday Trail

An Invite to All from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted November 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is excited to welcome the community to the 2nd Annual Ball’s Falls Holiday Trail<https://npca.ca/events> this winter season.

The NPCA is thrilled to announce the return of a cheerful and bright holiday tradition at Ball’s Falls Conservation Area, with thousands of sparkling lights along its trails, a skating rink, and immersive activities.

The Ball’s Falls Holiday Trail will run each evening, from November 26 to January 9, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. It will be closed on December 24, 25, 26, and 31. Continue reading

Ontario Liberals Pledge Incentives on Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations

“Creating a new electric vehicle incentive program is a win-win for Ontario families. It will advance the fight against climate change, create good paying jobs and deliver needed pocketbook relief.” – Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca.

A News Release from the Liberal Party of Ontario

Posted November 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – Ontario Liberals will give families an incentive of $8,000 on the purchase or lease of eligible electric vehicles and $1,500 on charging equipment. Ontario Liberals will end Doug Ford’s stubborn fight against climate action.

“Creating a new electric vehicle incentive program is a win-win for Ontario families,” said Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca. “It will advance the fight against climate change, create good paying jobs and deliver needed pocketbook relief.” Continue reading