From Doug Draper
Posted Sunday, March 27th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
On this sunny Easter Sunday morning, I hope all of you are having a warm and peaceful Easter weekend. And here is to looking forward to more of the same as we get past the final blasts of cold air and ice pellets to spring.
I also want to thank the many people on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border in our Greater Niagara Region and beyond for inspiring me to struggle on as a journalist through the continued support you offer by visiting this NAL site and its Facebook and Twitter outgrowths in large numbers.
It is also heartening to learn through repeated messages I get each week from WordPress, the website software that delivers NAL to you that ever more people are subscribing to Niagara At Large.
Yet to the degree that journalism, practiced without fear or favour, plays an important role in a democracy, it is disturbing to attend a meeting of regional councillors on the Niagara, Ontario side of the border and often see no more than one reporter from the mainstream media covering people who are elected, appointed and hired to make decisions year after year over the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars of our money. A few short decades ago, there would be at least three or four reporters attending municipal council, committee and board meetings, and I get the impression that quite a few of those serving in elected and appointed offices today are quite happy to have little or no coverage of their deliberations.
One of the things that you can do to turn the spotlight of media and public scrutiny (which should be one and the same thing when journalism is done right) is to continue supporting alternative news and commentary sites like Niagara At Large so that hopefully they will grow and more than fill the void left from all of the gutting of newsroom resources by a monopoly of corporate chains.
There is my Easter message to you but before I close, I will leave you with a prediction I posted on NAL earlier this year – that we in Niagara, Ontario are more likely to have a real Easter bunny show up at our door with a basket of painted eggs than we are to see a brand new, stand-alone hospital built for communities in the southern end of the region any time soon. So our time is better spent fighting to save and upgrade the two older hospitals that are left in Welland and Niagara Falls.
Before there is ever a groundbreaking for another new hospital in Niagara, Ontario, I think it is also more realistic to hope for a national, universally available pharmcare program, free tuition for post-secondary students in both Canada and the United States and, last but not least, a truly seamless and accessible regional bus and light rail transit system for Niagara, Ontario.
But only these will come if we, the people, stand up by the countless tens of thousands and demand them.
And by the way, if I am wrong in doubting some of our politicians out there who predict a greenlight for a groundbreaking for a new hospital in the southwest end of Niagara Falls, Ontario will come before the end of this year, 2016, next Easter I will dress up in a bunny costume and deliver eggs to their doors.
For now, let me leave you with some Easter Sunday content I just found in my inbox from an NAL reader.
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