Ford’s Proposed Changes to Ontario’s Growth Plan Could Unleash More Low-Density Sprawl Across Countryside

What the region needs are more housing options for renters and owners, within our cities, close to where people want to live, work and play. Not sprawling subdivisions on farmland, forests and the source of our drinking water.

From Environmental Defence, a Canada-wide organization dedicated to environmental protection

Posted January 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Statement from Environmental Defence’s Executive Director, Tim Gray on Ontario’s proposed changes to the Growth Plan

Toronto, Ontario – This (past January 15th), the (Ontario) Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing posted proposed changes to the Growth Plan for public comment.

What we apparently don’t have in Ford’s Ontario is enough of this, which is not only costly in terms of lost farmland and other natural areas, but in terms of how much it costs to service lower density sprawl with roads, waterlines and other infrastructure.

These changes were proposed under the guise of helping to increase housing supply in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), by loosening the regulations in place that encourage building within our existing town and cities, and instead favouring sprawl. Continue reading


Brock U. Hosts Public Lecture on Jewish History to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day

This Coming Sunday, January 27th  – 2 to 4 p.m. – at the Niagara Falls Military Museum

“Anti-Semitism is alive and well throughout Europe as well as Canada and the U.S. — and it is virulent and violent.”  – Elizabeth Vlossak,  Associate Professor of History and co-founder of Brock University’s History Lab

An Invite from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted January 22nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

A free public event designed to educate people about the Holocaust and the larger context of the Jewish community is planned for Sunday, Jan. 27.

Brock University will host the lecture at the Niagara Falls Military Museum in observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

History Professor Jack Lightstone, past-President and Vice-Chancellor of Brock University, will deliver a public keynote lecture titled “The making of ‘the other’ and its social and political consequences: Lessons from the historical experience of the Jewish people.”

“The Holocaust was not simply the ‘final solution’ to the ‘Jewish question’ stemming from the minds of Nazis, but the result of 1,700 years of virulent anti-Judaic rhetoric, primarily from Christian leadership, beginning in the second century,” says Lightstone. Continue reading

Planning Rules in Ontario Upended Again – Ford Now Set To Eviscerate Province’s Growth Plan

Ford’s “Government for the People” Set to Unleash Low-Density Sprawl Across The Countryside

It’s Growth at any Cost to Our Green Places in Ford’s Ontario, and the Rogues in the Development Industry are Rubbing their Hands

Another Dispatch from CATCH (Citizens at City Hall) in Hamilton

Posted January 21st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Does “Open For Business” have to mean paving over ever more of our natural heritage?

The provincial government has tossed another bombshell into municipal planning with the release last week of dozens of proposed changes to the rules governing how cities can grow.

These are in addition to the controversial Bill 66 changes that lets municipal councils override the Greenbelt Act, Clean Water Act and other environmental and planning legislation in order to facilitate specific development prospects.

More than one hundred amendments to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe were posted last week for 45 days of public comment. Major changes include substantially lower density requirements, reduced protection of agricultural lands, and removal of social justice and climate change objectives from the plan.

Is Ontario’s Ford government opening the door to more of this kind of business like what was done at this wild and wonderful place – Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls – this past fall. File Photo by Emily Spanton

 A Queen’s Park media release announcing the changes says “Ontario’s government for the people wants to speed up development and increase the supply of housing”.

Continue reading

The Meltdown on our Great Lakes

How Climate Change is Affecting Ice on Lake Superior


By Lianna Lopez,  York University for the Canada/U.S. International Joint Commission

From the International Joint Commission’s newsletter Great Lakes Connection

Posted January 21st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Changes in lake ice tell a story about a region’s climate. The time when lake ice freezes and breaks is highly sensitive to changes in climate, along with how long that ice remains intact.

The timing of these events is affected by fall, spring and winter air temperature but also can be influenced by snowfall, rain, wind strength and incoming sunlight. In particular, Lake Superior’s rich ice history has been a subject of interest, motivating researchers to look back several decades to detect patterns in the climate.

Ice on Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. Credit: Sharon Mollerus

Due to the size of Lake Superior, ice research has generally been conducted at a specific location or focused on the extent of ice formed over the lake surface area. A specific lookout point in Bayfield, Wisconsin has consistently kept records since 1858 of the day lake ice broke each spring. Continue reading

Ontario’s Niagara Parks to Host Annual Job Fair – Saturday, February 2nd in Niagara, Ontario

One of area’s largest employers is now set to fill over 350 seasonal positions

An Invite to Job Seekers from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

January 20th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario – The Niagara Parks Commission, one of the region’s largest employers with over 1,700 full-time and seasonal employees, will host its annual Job Fair on Saturday, February 2 at Niagara Parks’ Legends on the Niagara Golf Complex.

The annual Job Fair allows Niagara Parks to showcase the seasonal job opportunities that exist within the Commission each year, while providing individuals with an opportunity to connect directly with various departmental hiring managers. Representatives from Niagara Parks’ Human Resources Department will also be on-hand to help answer any questions. Continue reading

Ford’s Scheme Means Skyrocketing Tuition for Ontario Post-Secondary Students in 2021

Ontario NDP wants to see details on Ford government’s     Ontario Student Assistant Plan changes

“Reports reveal that the Ford government is not going to fund a two-year tuition freeze it’s imposing, forcing colleges and universities to accept what is estimated to be a $250-million revenue loss.”

A Message from Ontario’s NDP and Official Opposition Party

Posted January 21st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Queen’s Park — Ontario NDP Colleges and Universities critic Chris Glover released the following statement regarding news that tuition will drop for 2019-2020, and be frozen for 2020-2021:

“Doug Ford’s … tuition announcement is going to turn out to be a smoke and mirrors exercise. Ontario’s college and university students know that they are not going to benefit from a Doug Ford government.

Reports reveal that the Ford government is not going to fund a two-year tuition freeze it’s imposing, forcing colleges and universities to accept what is estimated to be a $250-million revenue loss. That means cancelled courses, larger class sizes and laid-off faculty. Students will likely pay for the freeze with two years of a lower quality education — followed by skyrocketing tuition in 2021 to make up for the shortfall.

Ontario already has the lowest per-student funding in Canada, the highest levels of student debt, the largest class sizes and the most precariously employed professors.  

We are also growing deeply concerned that Ontario Student Assistant Plan (OSAP) grants will be cut by Ford, hurting low and middle income students. Students counting on OSAP to give them a shot at university or college know that OSAP needs to be improved, not hacked apart.

The NDP has proposed a new system that would see provincial student loans converted to grants. That would means schools and students would both win, and new graduates wouldn’t saddled with a debt load that weighs them down just as they’re starting out.

The Ontario NDP will be paying very close attention to this announcement.”

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

The Time to Push for National Pharmacare in Canada is Now!

Need for Universal Drug Plan should be one of the most pressing issues facing Canadians in this federal election year

A New Report from the Broadbent Institute

Posted January 21st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

This January the Broadbent Institute released a significant new report, ‘Charting the Path to National Pharmacare in Canada‘, concerning what we expect will be one of the most pressing issues facing Canadians in this election year.

Right now, about 7.5 million Canadians are not taking the medications they need because they can’t afford them, and it’s been estimated that around 700,000 Canadians skip buying groceries to pay for their medications that currently aren’t covered. Continue reading