There Comes A Time When One Just Has to Say ‘Lost Cause’ – And Call It A Day

A Commentary by Doug Draper, publisher, Niagara At Large

Posted May 16th, 2017

Late this April, I walked in to the Niagara regional council chambers shortly after another meeting of the council started, and the ill-tempered, back-and-forth spitting on the council floor had already begun.

There was one regional councilor, then another taking their verbal jabs, then the chair up their with his gavel doing his usual; ‘That’s enough!” “You’re out of order!”, “Sit down. I don’t want to hear any more of this!”, or whatever.

Niagara regional chair Al Caslin with, to his right, Carmen D’Angelo, the recently hired CAO for the Region who was CAO at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. D’Angelo and the NPCA are parties to a lawsuit they launched a few months back against t. Catharines resident and retired Canadian Armed Force officer Ed Smith who they charge has defamed them with some of what they regard as baseless question and concern he has raised about NPCA operations. File photo by Doug Draper

Then I found myself doing something I have never done in all of the more than 35 years I’ve covered public meetings as a professional journalist. I found myself saying; “Jesus Christ,” as I sat watching this garbage, just loud enough so that people  sitting near me could hear.

It was not a proud moment in what has otherwise been a reatlively respectable reporting career, and I thought to myself – ‘This is just about all I can take of this. It is doing no good. It is depressing and debilitating. For the time being, at least, I’ve got to stop coming here.’

I have come to the same conclusion about the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and its rancid administrators and board of directors. So much so, that to all of those who have emailed me or phoned and asked if I am going to the NPCA’s next board meeting – scheduled for this Wednesday, May 16th in the morning when (you know it and so does the NPCA brass) most working members of the public cannot attend – my answer is NO.

I have spent the past three or four year watching the NPCA which, going back to decades gone by when I was a fulltime environment reporter in this region, turn from the uncompromising voice for conservation in this region that it once was into the stinking mountain of pig manure that it is today.

NPCA board chair and Fort Erie regional council crossed paths months ago with Ontario Natural Resources MInister Kathryn McGarry, who has so far blown off calls from area citizens, municipalities, MPPs and others to intervene in the NPCA ibuiness, even though Conservation Authorities were created and are creatures of a piece of provincial legilsation called the Ontario Conservation Act.. It is beginning to look like she never will.

Most of the good, expert conservationists that once worked for this body are retired or have been let go one way or another, and there is nothing left to deal with here any more.

At the May 16th d meeting, the board is poised to approve a recently drafted revision of their code of conduct – this one with a Trump-like clause in it which would expect the board members to devote complete and utter loyalty to the NPCA hierarchy and whatever its mission is or decisions it makes.

There was a time, when I foolishly thought there was still something to save here, that I would have been as upset as I know at least some citizens are over this code of conduct business, and the censuring of board member Bill Hodgson, and all of the other antics that just go on and on.  But I’ve reached a point where I’ve found myself saying – “So now they want to codify loyalty to one another? Go ahead. What bloody difference is that going to make? Throw it right up there on the crap pile with  everything else?”

So unless I have any real reason to believe that the provincial government is ever finally going to come in and clean the NPCA mess out, which I’m beginning to think is never going to happen with Kathleen Wynne at the helm, it is time to say ‘lost cause’ and move on to other issues where there remains hope that engagement will lead to benefits for the community at large.

Those other issues are where Niagara At Large will continue to devote time.

The one silver lining in all of this is that we have municipal elections across this region next year.

Let’s work together as fellow citizens and neighbours to run a slate of candidates across Niagara that pledge their loyalty to the common good and community!

If you want to read some of the latest crap going on at the NPCA and regional government level, click on – .

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

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





2 responses to “There Comes A Time When One Just Has to Say ‘Lost Cause’ – And Call It A Day

  1. Wow! Frightening.


  2. While I am seriously dismayed by this news, I am not surprised and fully understand the decision. I spent a good many years on “the other side” of the process. In fact, if Doug had been in the press scrum in Victoria BC we may have encountered one another daily.
    From that background, and notwithstanding all I experienced and saw at Provincial level politics, I have honestly never seen such disrespect for people, colleagues, process, policies, or such deplorable conduct as I have witnessed in the past year at Regional Council meetings and meetings of the NPCA. There are some good, hard working, sincere members of Regional Council and maybe a couple on the NPCA Board, but the dismal majority demonstrate levels of behaviour and speech which are indefensible.
    I concur with Doug, it is one of the most dysfunctional pits I have ever seen! Time to clean up – can’t wait for 2018 (municipal elections in Niagara) to see some sound people replace the wheeler dealers!


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