Niagara Region’s Chair Has “Sullied” His Position With His Response to Ongoing CAO Hiring Controversy

In a recent email to members of Niagara Region’s council, Caslin has delivered “the most puerile and disrespectful taunt any chair has ever lodged. For this alone Caslin deserves to NOT be elected on the St. Catharines regional ballot this coming October.”                 – St. Catharines resident and former Niagara regional councillor Don Alexander

A Special Meeting Of Niagara Region’s Council on the Hiring Controversy has been scheduled for this Thursday, August 16th, starting at 2 p.m. at Niagara’s regional headquarters in Thorold

A News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted August 15th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region’s CAO Carmen D’Angelo is at the centre of a controversy over the integrity of the process used to hire him in 2016 to the Region’s top bureaucratic post – a job that pays $230,000 a year.

Niagara, Ontario – Ongoing reports by The St. Catharines Standard and other news media that the October, 2016 hiring of former Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) CAO Carmen D’Angelo to chief administrative officer (CAO) for Niagara Region may have been tainted or corrupted by others inside the regional government have drawn widespread public concern.

This Sunday, August 12th, those reports, along with growing demands from Niagara citizens for action, prompted 18 members of the regional council to petition the Region’s Chair Al Caslin this August 12th to address this serious matter again.

In a letter accompanying the petition, the 18 directly elected  councillors and Niagara mayors who sit on the Region’s council stressed that they “are very concerned about the erosion of public trust in our communities regarding Niagara Regional Government. The harm to the reputation of the Region is a serious concern.” Continue reading

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Ford’s Cancellation Of St. Catharines Overdose Prevention Site Endangers Community And Puts Vulnerable Lives At Risk

“Public health experts, addictions counsellors and users have all said loud and clear – overdose prevention sites save lives.”           – St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens

News from St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

Posted August 15th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines’ recently elected  MPP, New Democrat Jennie Stevens

Niagara, Ontario  – Ontario NDP St. Catharines MPP, Jennie Stevens, says the Ford Conservatives’ backward decision to cancel lifesaving overdose prevention sites puts the lives of vulnerable users at risk and endangers local communities.

“These sites save lives,” Stevens said. “There were over 1,200 people who overdosed last year.  Those were 1,200 lives that could have been saved. Yet the deputy premier has already confirmed that no new sites will be opened despite calls for new life-saving sites in communities like St. Catharines.” Continue reading

To Hell With The Public Outcry. Ontario’s Doug Ford Rams Through Bill To Cancel Regional Chair Elections in Niagara and Slash Toronto Council

“Stripping our right to vote for our Niagara Regional Chair in the middle of an election campaign, without notice or consultation, is an affront to local democracy.” – Karrie Porter, aSt. Catharines resident and candidate for St. Catharines’ city council in Ward 4-St. Patrick’s who launched a petition this July to stop the Ford government from cancelling this October’s election for Niagara regional chair.

A News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted August 15th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Never mind the public outrage that followed Doug Ford’s July 27th announcement that he and his self-described “Government for the People” were scrapping  elections for regional chair in Niagara,  York, Peel and Muskoka, and cutting the number of councillors on Toronto’s city council in half.

Waving all petitions from residents and elsewhere aside, along with calls from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party to at least push a “pause button” and consult with the people, Ford and the majority government he was gifted by less than half of the people who voted in this June’s provincial election, made the shocking announcement this past July 27 – on the last day citizens had to register to run as a candidate in this October’s municipal elections – to slash the size of Toronto’s council in half and cancel elections for the position of regional chair in Niagara and the other three regions referred to above.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his trained seals clap and cheer this August 14 as they ram through legislation to kill Niagara election for regional chair and slash size of Toronto council less than three weeks after it was first tabled.

In all of the vague rhetoric Ford dished out during this spring’s Ontario election, there was never a mention that he would do that kind of a hatchet job on Toronto’s council or deprive the reisdents across Niagara of the opportunity to vote for the person they want serving as our regional chair rather than have a person appointed to that all-important position by those sitting on the Region’s council. Continue reading

Re-Doubling the Fight to Stop Ford from Diminishing our Democracy

“If PR (proportional representation) had been in place in Ontario, Doug Ford wouldn’t have had the power in the legislature to pass Bill 5.” – former federal NDP Leader Ed Broadbent and the Broadbent Institute of Canada

“The greatest way to defend democracy is to make it work”            – Tommy Douglas, Canada’s Father of Universal Health Care

A Column from Rick Smith, Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute

Posted August 15, 2018 on Niagara At Large

There was a time when all participants in the political process – whether from the left or right – disagreed about the best approach to issues, but did so with a respect for their opponents and our democratic process.

This is not one of those times.

Moments ago (this August 14th), in the Ontario legislature, Doug Ford’s Conservatives rammed through Bill 5: an unprecedented new law that alters the City of Toronto’s election rules, gerrymandering ward boundaries and cutting the number of Council seats by almost half; over the strenuous objections of the city and in the middle of the election itself.

Make no mistake: We haven’t seen anything like Bill 5 before in recent Canadian history and this stealthy attack on municipal government will have national implications.

(A Note to Niagara At Large readers – Bill 5 is the same legislation Ford’s “Government for the People” is using to kill elections for regional chair in the Niagara, Peel, York and Muskoka regions.)

Doug Ford didn’t campaign on a promise to unilaterally change Toronto’s election rules.  He didn’t submit the hair-brained scheme to public consultation. And he refused to allow it to be studied – as is customary – by a legislative committee. Continue reading

Say A Little Prayer for the Queen of Soul – Aretha Franklin

Posted by Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

 August 14, 2018

Niagara At Large will have more later on this great lady, now gravely ill in hospice in her native Detroit.

In a brief statement, she asks for our prayers. 

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

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

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

Why Does Al Caslin Act Like There Is Something To Hide?

If There’s Nothing Wrong, You’d Think Niagara’s Region al Chair Would Want To Call In Ontario’s Ombudsman Himself To Clear The Air

“To ask for another meeting less than two weeks later is nothing less than disingenuous politicking by the same few characters who have contributed the least this term of council.” – Niagara Regional Chair Al Caslin, in an August 12th, 2018 email to regional councillors

A News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted August 14th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara regional chair Al Caslin. He could have agreed to call the Ontario Ombudsman in four months ago in an effort to clear the air over the hiring of CAO Carmen D’Angelo.

More than four months have passed since The St. Catharines Standard published a story that took reporter Grant LaFleche and others at the newspaper months to investigate and fact check.

It was a  a story that raised serious questions and concerns about the  integrity of the process in place to  hire Carmen D’Angelo, in the fall of 2016, to the $230,000 a year job of chief administrative officer or CAO of a Niagara regional government responsible for services  costing more than $1 billion of our tax money to operate each year.

The April 6th story, based on documents the newspaper obtained and sources it obviously could not name for fear of those people becoming targets of reprisals, alleged that D’Angelo, then CAO of a Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) already facing intense public scrutiny, received information he should not have that  may have given him unfair advantage over other candidates for the Region’s CAO job. Continue reading

Ontario’s ‘Buck-A-Beer’ Premier Sets Plans for Trafficking  Pot in the Province

Come this October 17th, Pot Smokers 19 Years of Age and Over Will Be Able To Purchase Weed Online

“We will be ready to put in place a safe, legal system for cannabis retail that will protect consumers.”                                                        – Doug Ford’s Ontario General Caroline Mulroney

News from Premier Doug Ford’s “Government for the People”

Posted August 13th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Doug Ford moving ahead with plans for selling pot in Ontario

TORONTO, Ontario  — Following the federal legalization of cannabis on October 17, Ontario will immediately introduce an online retail channel for cannabis, to be followed by a private retail model by April 1, 2019.

Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney today shared details about how the province will manage cannabis retail following the federal government’s decision to legalize the drug effective October 17, 2018.

“We will be ready to put in place a safe, legal system for cannabis retail that will protect consumers,” said Mulroney. “We will also be ready to undermine the illegal market and protect Ontario’s roads.  Most importantly of all, we will be ready to protect our kids.” Continue reading