Author Archives: dougdraper

Niagara Region’s Move to Drive More of Us to Recycle Reaps Dividends for Environment

Organics and recycling up one year after change to every-other-week curbside collection

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

“We are making our communities a better place for today and for future generations by using our Green Bins, recycling properly and minimizing the amount of garbage we put at the curb.

Thank you to everyone for doing their part and let’s keep improving our use of the Green Bin and Blue and Grey Box.”                                         – Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

News from Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government, with a Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted October 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

File Photo

One year after Niagara’s Regional Government reduced the amount of garbage a householder could leave at curbside to one container every other week, the move is already working green magic

During a media event at Niagara Region’s Glenridge Naturalization Site this October 21st  – t called to celebrate the first anniversary of every-other-week garbage collection – Niagara’s Regional Chair Jim Bradley and other regional representativesannounced double-digit increases in the volumes of waste residents are now putting in their green compost Bin and recycling boxes.

It has been enough to divert or  reduce  the amount of waste going to landfill sites, or what we once called garbage dumps, just as significantly. Continue reading

Canada Announces Standardized COVID-19 Proof Of Vaccination For Travel

“We are working to ensure that those who travel have access to a reliable, secure way to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccinations, both at home and abroad.”                                                                             – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

News from the Office of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Posted October 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Vaccination is the best way to keep Canadians safe and healthy, get back to enjoying the things we love, and prevent future lockdowns. As new travel requirements roll out in Canada and around the world, the Government of Canada has been working closely with provinces and territories on a standardized proof of vaccination that facilitates international and domestic travel.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this October 21st, 2021)  announced that, in collaboration with provinces and territories, a standardized Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination is now available to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon, and will be available in the other provinces soon. Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP Demands Action from Ford Government on Niagara MRI Crisis

“There are 5,000 Niagara residents today waiting for an MRI. These scans could be the difference of life or death and people are sitting at home in stress waiting 255 days to get scans they need.” – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Wayne Gates, NDP MPP for the Riding of Niagara Falls, Ontario

Posted October 21st. 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK –  MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) called on Doug Ford to immediately provide Niagara Health with the necessary operating funding to clear the growing MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) backlog during question period on Wednesday.

“Today in Niagara, only six per cent of Niagara residents have received their MRI within the provincial benchmark of 28 days, compared to 46 per cent of Ontario residents who have their scan within that time,” said Gates.

“The current wait time for an MRI in Niagara is 255 days, well above the provincial average of 141 days. Will you provide the necessary funding to ensure residents of Niagara have fair access to MRI scans – yes or no?” Continue reading

Hello West Lincoln – Come Next Year’s Municipal Elections, Do Niagara a Favour and Fire David Bylsma!

In A Region Facing Enough Serous Challenges, David Bylsma and his Screwball Antics Pose a Distraction We Can’t Afford

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher              Doug Draper

Posted October 10th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

West Lincoln Mayor and Niagara Regional Councillor David Bylsma. His screwball antics are a waste of our time and money – especially at a time when Niagara has so many other more important challenges to address

Even as Niagara finds itself facing ballooning costs for policing and for hosting the 2022 Canada Summer Games, and a host of other issues around skyrocketing housing and rent prices, along with a serious shortage of affordable housing, not to mention an ongoing opioid epidemic, we have West Lincoln Mayor and Niagara Regional Councillor David Bylsma popping up again, just  in time for Halloween.

This time it is because of an October 8th report that has just surfaces from Niagara Region’s integrity commissioner, stating  the obvious about Bylsma’s  bone-headed move a few months back, to use social media to ask a young Niagara woman, Emily Spanton, he hardly knows, except that she is vaccinated for COVID-19,  if the vaccine was disrupting her menstrual cycle.

The Regional Government’s integrity commissioner, Michael Maynard, concluded that  Bylsma’s inquiry to the woman –apparently driven by unfounded conspiracy theories he  embraces about COVID vaccines– was “arguably insulting, “irresponsible,” and “alarmingly invasive.”

No kidding! Continue reading

St. Catharines NDP MPP Urges Ford To Save Seniors From Illegal Evictions

“The housing crisis is worsening all around Ontario under Doug Ford’s watch, and St. Catharines seniors are being forced to bear the brunt of it.” – St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

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

Posted October 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharnes NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

ST. CATHARINES, Ontario – MPP Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines) demanded action from Doug Ford in question period on Tuesday regarding the rise in illegal renovictions affecting seniors in several apartment buildings in St. Catharines. She released the following statement:

“Seniors in St. Catharines are being forced out of the homes they have lived in for decades because greedy speculators are buying up rental buildings and issuing mass eviction orders under the guise of needing people to move so they can renovate.

Many of these seniors have no internet access and are unsure about how to fight back against illegal renovictions at the Landlord and Tenant Board. They are being bullied by landlords who just want them gone. Continue reading

Federal and Provincial Governments Vowing to Improve Water Quality and Farming Practices Around Lake Erie

“The Great Lakes are vitally important to everyone in Ontario – from farmers to businesses and the millions of people who live in communities near these vast bodies of water.”

New Funding from Governments Said to Protect Great Lakes

Our Great Lakes from space

News from Canada’s Federal Government and Ontario’s Ford Government

Posted October 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $2.58 million to protect the province’s lakes and water sources by helping farmers implement sustainable farming practices that build more resilient farm operations.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the final Lake Erie Agriculture Demonstrating Sustainability (LEADS) initiative intake, will support on-farm projects that improve soil health and reduce the risk of nutrient losses on their farms while improving water quality in the Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair watershed areas. Continue reading

Ever More Species On Our Planet Keep Going Extinct. How Much Do We Really Care?

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

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?”David Attenborough 

“Here we are, arguably the most intelligent being that ever walked planet Earth, with this extraordinary brain, yet we’re destroying the only home we have.”                                                 Jane Goodall

One of our world’s most iconic mammals – the polar bear – is among countless species struggling to survive in these times of climate crisis.

Posted October 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The US government is declaring the Bachman’s warbler and 22 more birds, fish and other species extinct

Late this past September, CBC broadcast news that should upset anyone concerned about the health of our planet.

The news was released by an American agency in a report that began like this – “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove 23 species from the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to extinction. Based on rigorous reviews of the best available science for each of these species, the Service has determined these species are extinct, and thus no longer require listing under the ESA.” Continue reading

Ontario NDP Forces Vote To Stop Ford From Giving Licenses To Disastrous For-Profit Nursing Homes

“The Ford government is preparing to reward some of the for-profit companies with the worst performance records during the first and second waves of the pandemic with 30 year licences and millions of dollars in public funds.”

A News Release from the Office of Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted October 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK – On Monday (October 18th) , Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will force a vote on a motion to stop Doug Ford from giving new or renewed licences to the for-profit long-term care corporations that devastated seniors during the pandemic.

The Ford government is currently considering 30-year licence renewals for many for-profit homes, including Orchard Villa, where hundreds were infected and 70 people died in horrific conditions.

“During the pandemic, thousands of our precious parents and grandparents suffered through a humanitarian disaster. Nearly 4,000 of them died. Some literally died of neglect — hungry, thirsty and in pain. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the disaster lurking in long-term care. But the problems didn’t start or end with COVID-19,” said Horwath. Continue reading

At Long Last, Border Bridges Will Re-Open to Fully-Vaccinated Canadians on Monday, November 8th

By Doug Draper

Posted October 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

It has been 19 long months since Canada and the United States closed our border bridges to all but essential travel – the longest closure of the border to citizens of both countries in our lifetime.

For more than a year, bridges like this – the Rainbow Bridge between Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York – have been closed to most traffic. Now it looks like we are going to get going again.

And now the U.S. government has finally announced a date for allowing fully vaccinated Canadians to cross the Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and other land border crossings since they were closed in March of 2020.

That date is Monday, November 8th – more than three months after Canada opened the border to fully vaccinated Canadians this past August. Continue reading

Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre Condemns Vandalism of Harriet Tubman Statue

“This racist act of vandalism can strongly impact the mental health of many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and other people of colour) people in our community.”

A Statement on the Desecration of the Harriet Tubman Statue  from the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre

Posted October 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The bust of Harriet Tubman was pulled of its pedestal at the Salem, Chapel British Methodist Episcopal Church this past Thanksgiving weekend. The bust may be damaged beyond repair.

The Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre is extremely disheartened by the act of vandalism that took place this weekend at the St. Catharines BME Church. The damage happened at about 9 p.m. Sunday when a man intentionally pushed the statue of Harriet Tubman off of it’s pedestal.

Not only is Harriet Tubman an important figure of St. Catharines heritage, but her legacy an important part of Canadian heritage and Black history. Harriet Tubman escaped slavery from Maryland in 1849 and helped others in their journey to freedom. Eleven of the freedom seekers were brought to St. Catharines in 1851 and joined what is now the BME church.

We strongly condemn this act of vandalism as the Harriet Tubman statue served as a way for people to commemorate and learn more about Black history in Niagara. The damage of the statue is a significant blow to the BME Church and to all those who have worked extremely hard and have been dedicated to celebrating Black History in St. Catharines.

Based on the October 14th statement from Global News & Niagara Regional Police,  the concrete chest of Harriet Tubman to be “intentionally damaged” originating from a person with no fixed address and the NRPS claims there was no reason that it appeared to be a hate related incident. Continue reading

Billionaire Space Cadets Should Focus on Saving Earth – Prince William

“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on repairing this planet. Not trying to find the next place to go.”       – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and now second in line to the British Throne

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

Posted October 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

While some of the world’s richest people like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk – people who don’t pay a penny of taxes down here on earth – play around with rocketing tourists into space, at least some wonder the following.

They wonder if these top of the Fortune 500 plutocrats might consider investing some of their fortune to make things better down here on planet earth.

I am not the biggest fan in the world of the British monarchy, but I would like to give Prince Williams two big thumbs up for being one of the latest to come out and say that in a BBC interview that there is something about these billionaires playing around with space toys that is way out of whack when we are facing a catastrophic climate emergency earth side. Continue reading

Suspect in Smashing of Harriet Tubman Bust in Niagara has been Arrested and Charged

Now the same Historic Afro-Canadian Church – the Salem Chapel British Episcopal Church in St. Catharines – has been Assaulted Again

A Brief Update and Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted October 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Salem Chapel British Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Catharines/Niagara, one of the most historic churches of its kind in Canada.

If you have been following the disturbing story about a bust of the Underground Railroad icon Harriet Tubman virtually destroyed this past Thanksgiving weekend at  the historic Salem Chapel British Episcopal Church in St. Catharines, a suspect in that act has been arrested and charged.

Niagara At Large will post the Niagara Regional Police news release on the arrest below.

What is just as disturbing, there are reports that “two girls” were caught on video later this week going on the same church property and ripping away at a cherished berry tree near the spot where the Harriet Tubman bust was pulled of a pedestal. Continue reading

Niagara Seeks Business and Community Feedback For a New 10-Year Economic Development Strategy

“I encourage all Niagara businesses to engage with this process, and I look forward to working with all our local area municipalities as we chart Niagara’s path toward an economy that is healthy, sustainable and adaptable.”                                          ~ Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara businesses and community stakeholders are being asked to share their feedback to guide the region to long-term economic health and sustainability.

 From now until Nov. 12, businesses can take a short online survey <https://niagaracanada.com/about-us/strategic-plan/> to help inform the creation of Niagara’s new 10-year economic development strategy. Continue reading

Showing Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated Should Be Enough to Cross Canada/U.S. Border Bridges

Continuing to Also Require a COVID-19 Test – At a Cost of Up to $199 plus Tax Per Person – Will Likely Discourage Many from Crossing

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted October 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Earlier this week, news surfaced that after 19 months of being closed to so-called non-essential travellers, the U.S. Biden administration will open border bridges to Canadian visitors sometime this November.

The U.S. administration’s decision comes two months after Canada’s Liberal government opened the border bridges with two key conditions attached – first that any U.S. citizen entering Canada can show proof to border officers that they are fully vaccinated, and second, that they also provide a test showing that they are free of the virus.

The news from the Biden administration was joyously received by political leaders on the U.S. side, including Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins, who was lobbying for a re-opening for many months. Continue reading

What Is the Issue with Civil Rights Icon Harriet Tubman in St. Catharines?

“We feel awful … “It’s horrible. We no longer have a Harriet Tubman statue.” –  Rochelle Bush, historian, Salem Chapel British Episcopal Church in St. Catharines, Ontario, following the smashing of a bust of the civil rights icon by one or more perpetrators on the church’s property  

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

Posted October 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Nazi swastika sprayed on a sidewalk in front of Harriet Tubman Pubic School in 2018 where a statue of Tubman sits at the entrance to the school

It appears that at least a few people in St. Catharines, Ontario have anger management issues around the Iconic Underground Railroad emancipator and humanitarian Harriet Tubman.

Well, let’s hope it is just a few

Earlier on, in the winter of 2018, parents with children attending Harriet Tubman Public School in St. Catharines were greeted with a Nazi swastika – one of the world’s starkest symbols of white supremacy and racial hate – sprayed on a sidewalk outside the school where a beautiful state of Tubman is on display.

And this past Thanksgiving weekend, the latest reported act of desecration against this legendary African American who made St. Catharines her home for a time in the 1850s, occurred at the historic Salem Chapel British Episcopal Church located in the city’s downtown area, on Geneva Street. Continue reading

Students Urge Us To Sign Petition On District School Board of Niagara’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Policies

Niagara At Large is pleased to Post the Following Petition on behalf of Niagara secondary school students concerned about this issue

Posted October 14th, 2021

DSBN Sexual Assault and Harassment Policies

The Student-Launched Petition – “The DSBN (the District School Board of Niagara) has made it very clear that they refuse to hear our concerns and deny them despite the protests and real stories that students have shared regarding their experiences when coming forward about sexual assault and harassment in DSBN schools.

Niagara students at a recent walk-out over the sexual harassment issue.

“There is an inhumane lack of seriousness shown towards allegations within DSBN schools, and they will never be able to sit comfortably behind our silence again. Continue reading

Ontario Government Opening Temporary Road Test Centre in Niagara Falls

Province working to clear backlog of road tests due to COVID-19

News from Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, with a response from Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

Posted October 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

NIAGARA FALLS – The Ontario government is opening a temporary road test centre in Niagara Falls to increase testing capacity and help clear the backlog of road tests due to COVID-19.

“Opening a temporary road test centre in Niagara Falls will help increase testing capacity across the DriveTest network and help local residents book a G2 or G road test sooner,” said Sam Oosterhoff, Member of Provincial Parliament for Niagara West. “Our government has a strategic plan to reduce the backlog of novice road tests, and I am pleased that we are delivering additional testing for people in Niagara.” Continue reading

Canada/U.S. Border Will Reopen to Fully-Vaccinated Canadians This November

More Details On Date of Reopening And Rules For Crossing Coming Later Today. Stay Tuned.

A Statement  from the Office of Buffalo, New York Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted October 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

We will soon be back to scenes like this again at border crossings like the Peace Bridge connecting Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York

“At long last (19 months after the border crossings were closed to so-called “non-essential” travellers), there is action by the United States to open the doors and welcome back our Canadian neighbors.

“A robust cross-border exchange between the United States and Canada is fundamental to our binational relationship and mutually beneficial to our nations’ citizens, businesses and economies. Strong vaccination rates in Canada made the continued border shutdown absurd and unjustifiable. Continue reading

Could Our Buffalo, NY Neighbours Soon HaveTheir Very First Black Female, Democratic Socialist Mayor? Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker Michael Moore Sure Hopes So

A Commentary by Michael Moore, from his Facebook Page
Posted October 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Friends,

Buffalo, New York Mayoralty candidate India Walton. If she wins, she will be Buffalo’s first female mayor.

In June of this year, India Walton shocked the political world by defeating the four-term incumbent mayor of Buffalo, Byron Brown, in the Democratic primary, setting the table for her to become the favorite to win the Mayoral race in November because it’s a heavily Democratic city.

She would be the first democratic socialist to be elected mayor of a major American city in more than half a century, and the first woman — and first Black woman — to lead New York’s second-largest city. India Walton is a registered nurse, a union member and organizer, a community activist, a single mother of 4 boys — and come November, we’ll start addressing her as “Mayor.” Continue reading

St. Catharines Regional Councillor & Niagara Parks Chair Sandie Bellows Dies Following Battle With Cancer

“Our thoughts are with Councillor Bellows’ friends and family as they mourn this significant loss.”                                                               – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley on Behalf of the Regional Council

This News filed with Statements from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley and Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

Posted October 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines Regional Councillor and Niagara Parks Commission Chair Sandie Bellows

Sandie Bellows, a St. Catharines resident who has served for years in municipal politics and for the last two years as the provincially appointed Chair of the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC), died this past Sunday, October 10th following a long battle with cancer.

Bellows, who was 60, was first elected to St. Catharines City Council in 2014, and made a successful run in the city for Niagara Regional Council in the fall of 2018.

In the spring of 2018, she ran as a provincial candidate for the Doug Ford Conservatives in a St. Catharines Riding held for decades by Liberal Jim Bradley. That race ended with both Bellows and Bradley conceding to now NDP MPP Jennie Stevens.

The following year – in early 2019 – the Ford government appointed Bellows to serve as Chair of the NPC. Continue reading

Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving

A Holiday Weekend Message from Niagara At Large

Posted October 10th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Here we are going through the second Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in a row with this killer pandemic at large.

Every piece of factual information I read and hear tells me that this nightmare we are collectively suffering through  did not have to be this prolonged if more people followed the health measures and got vaccinated.

If you have not gotten vaccinated yet, please do so for the sake of yourself, your friends and family, and for the common good of all.

And please stop  – if you happen to  fall in this stream of information consumers   – relying so heavily on Facebook and mostly other right-wing venues for misinformation about what still remains a word-wide health catastrophe.

Thank you for visiting Niagara At Large for the news and commentary we post on this independent site, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  • 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

Political and Business Leaders on American Side Stress “Urgent Need” to Reopen U.S. Border to Canadians

With Existing Shutdown Extension Deadline Less Than Two Weeks Away Border Community Says Another Holiday Season Without Our Canadian Neighbors Would be Devastating

A News Release from the Office of Brian Higgins, U.S. Congressman for the Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York area

Posted October 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins speaking on American shores of Niagara River about need to let Canadians cross border bridges again

Niagara Falls, New York – Business and community leaders in Niagara Falls, New York are calling on the United States government to reopen its land border to Canadians.

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino joined leaders and members of the Niagara USA Chamber to emphasize the devastating impact extended border restrictions are having on the City of Niagara Falls and communities across the greater Western New York region which typically see millions of people cross the Buffalo-Niagara land border annually.

The U.S. Travel Association reports the U.S. economy is losing $439 million a month as a result of the extended border shutdown.

In the City of Niagara Falls, sales tax revenue collected from local hotels, shops and restaurants decreased by 26% in 2020 compared to 2019 levels. Continue reading

Protect and Keep Niagara’s Twelve Mile Creek Ravines Alive. Stop its Destruction! 

“The Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games (CSG) is building a brand-new mountain bike racecourse, which is resulting in significant environmental destruction of the Twelve Mile Creek woodland and watershed. ….This new mountain bike racecourse and playground trails are being developed right now and built without any oversight of environmental authorities.”                                                                                                – Friends of Twelve Mile Creek

Twelve Mile Creek, flowing through St. Catharines to Lake Ontario. It ‘s rich ecology has suffered many man-made assaults over the past 50 or more years. Do we really now need to cut mountain bike race tracks through its wooded valleys?

A Message and a Petition for You to Consider Signing from Friends of Twelve Mile Creek, a citizens-based group in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games (CSG) is building a brand-new mountain bike racecourse, which is resulting in significant environmental destruction of the Twelve Mile Creek woodland and watershed.

The contractor, the Niagara Trail Maintenance Association (NTMA), has been executing the CSG mission for this new mountain bike “racecourse” since the beginning of August 2021. This Twelve Mile Creek watershed of forest, natural vegetation, creeks, valleys, wetlands, steep hills, ridges, and wildlife habitats are being cut, removed, excavated, dug, disrupted, and permanently altered.   Continue reading

Ford Government Working to “Fix” Long-Term-Care Homes – Niagara West Conservative MPP Sam Oosterhoff

A Statement by Niagara West Ford Government MPP Sam Oosterhoff

Posted October 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara West and Ford Government MPP Sam Oosterhoff

“One pillar of our government’s plan to fix long-term care is increasing staff so they can provide more, high-quality care to residents.

“That is why, the Ontario government is providing long-term care homes across the province with $270 million to hire more staff to increase direct care for residents from 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours, per resident by the end of this fiscal year. This will make Ontario a leader in direct care.

“Every long-term care home in Ontario will benefit from this funding as it will allow them to hire more staff and these staff will deliver increased care to residents. Continue reading

Young Niagara, Ontario Family’s COVID Plight Amplifies Need For Mandatory Vaccination for Teachers, All School Staff

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch Demands Ontario’s  Education Minister Take Action to Stop COVID Outbreaks in Niagara Schools

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

Posted October 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – The minister of education must take action now to stop COVID infections in Niagara schools. Outbreaks have already shut down 15 classrooms and made an entire family with small children very sick, said NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) during question period Thursday (October 7th).

 “Haley Bateman and her family did everything right. They did their part, got vaccinated, observed all the COVID-19 guidelines,” Burch told the legislature.

“Just three days into school, Haley and her partner received a notice that there was a COVID-19 exposure in their child’s classroom. A few days later, the entire family was ill.

“Haley’s three children are 4, 4, and 5. Their symptoms were not mild, and ranged from vomiting, fevers of 40, extreme fatigue and hallucinations. Haley believes that her children were exposed through an unvaccinated staff member. Continue reading

Brock U. Research Team Examines What It Will Take To Foster Empathy For The World’s Oceans

Oceans Support All Life On Earth. Yet For Many, Oceans Remain Out Of Sight And, As A Result, Out Of Mind.

News from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted October 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – A Brock University-led research team set out to find out if people would feel more empathy for the oceans — which typically means a willingness to care for the environment — if they are shown either optimistic or pessimistic future scenarios of the high seas.

A research team led by Brock University’s Environmental Sustainability Research Centre created optimistic and pessimistic simulations of the future of Earth’s oceans to study what impact they had on participants’ empathy for the environment.

The research, “Fostering ocean empathy through future scenarios,”<https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/pan3.10253#support-information-section> used both virtual reality and written formats to give participants two differing scenarios about the future of the oceans: one describing a future of environmental sustainability and social equality; and another describing a world dominated by resurgent nationalism, regional conflicts and environmental degradation. Continue reading

Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Joins Canadian MP in Calling For Science-Based Reopening of Canada-U.S. Border

“Canadians and Americans have endured too much separation for too long and our economies have suffered as a result. We owe it to businesses, families and communities on both sides of the border to provide clear policy that allows us to come together again.”

A News Release from the Buffalo, New York Office of U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted October 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

More than one year and a half and counting. The ban on Canadians crossing the Peace Bridge and other border crossings to the United States continues, despite Canadian government’s decision to allow fully vaccinated Americans to cross.

United States Congressman Brian Higgins (Buffalo, New York area) and Canadian Member of Parliament Randy Hoback (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan) released the following joint statement concerning the ongoing closures along the United States-Canada border:

“When the pandemic hit in early 2020, Americans and Canadians understood temporary restrictions were necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine could be developed. Families on both sides of the border sacrificed time and separation from their loved ones in the interest of public health. Continue reading

Region’s Government Inviting More Youth Involvement in Issues of Concern to Niagara

“As Regional Chair, I am keenly interested in hearing from Niagara’s youth about ways to make local government more engaging, and if our programs and services are meeting their unique needs.”                                                                                             – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

Applications now being accepted for a new Regional Chair’s Youth Advisory Panel

A Call-Out from the Office of Jim Bradley, Niagara’s Regional Chair

Posted October 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Regional Headquarters in Thorold

Niagara, Ontario – As part of Niagara Region’s efforts to hear from as many voices as possible, applications are currently being accepted from youth ages 13-19 to participate on the new Regional Chair’s Youth Advisory Panel.

The youth advisory panel, which will meet a minimum of six times per year, will have members from all 12 municipalities in an effort to bring a region-wide perspective to the panel’s discussions.

Panel members will provide advice on policies, programs and services that affect young people across Niagara, while also acting as a centralized “hub” for information sharing between the region’s 12 communities. Continue reading

Niagara MPP Pushes Ford to Resume Eye Care Services Immediately

“The Ford government must get back to the table with optometrists and put proper funding in place to ensure that children and seniors receive the eye care they need.”                         – Jeff Burch, NDP MPP for Niagara Centre in Niagara, Ontario

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

Posted October 5th on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – On behalf of the NDP, MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) urged the Ford government to stop dragging its feet and restore OHIP-funded eye care services during question period Tuesday. Burch released the following statement:

“Families in my riding and across this province no longer have access to OHIP-covered eye exams. Despite months of advance notice and years of building problems, the Ford government is refusing to work out a deal with optometrists, leaving the eye care of Ontario families in the lurch.

I have seniors calling me worried that they cannot receive eye exams after crucial eye surgeries, putting their recovery under threat. I’ve heard from diabetics gravely concerned they’re going to lose their eyesight. Continue reading

Now – Possibly More Than Ever – We Need More Brave Heroes in This World like Frances Haugen

“You Are A 21st Century American Hero and We Owe You a Debt of Gratitude.”

Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey to former Facebook employee and whistleblower Francis Haugen who testified before a U.S. Senate committee this October 5th, 2021 about the dangerous and destructive operations of Facebook

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

Posted October 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Former Facebook employee and now whistleblower Frances Haugen warns the world about this out-of-control corporate monster

“I’m here today (before a U.S. Senate committee this October 5th) because I believe Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy. … Yesterday (this past October 4th) we saw Facebook taken off the internet. I don’t know why it went down, but I know that for more than five hours, Facebook wasn’t used to deepen divides, destabilize democracies and make young girls and women feel bad about their bodies.”                                                        – former Facebook employee, now whistleblower Frances Haugen

The late American civil rights leader Martin Luther King once said that bad things in this world happen when good people don’t speak out.

King said that more than 50 years ago and there has always been a problem of not enough good people speaking out but these days, good people not speaking out is all too pervasive. Continue reading

Province’s NDP Leader Introducing  Safety Zones Bill To Protect Ontarians From Anti-Vax Harassment

Andrea Horwath’s bill will result in $25,000 fine for anti-public-health protestors at schools, hospitals, businesses

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted October 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will introduce her Safety Zones bill Tuesday, and move a motion for unanimous consent to pass it immediately. Horwath’s bill creates Safety Zones around places like hospitals, schools and small businesses to protect Ontarians from anti-public health harassment.

“No one should have to walk a gauntlet of hate to get to school or a hospital. No small business owner should see their livelihood slip away because of constant harassment on the sidewalk in front of their business. No health care worker should face intimation — especially not when they’re been working tirelessly for the past 18 months to save people from COVID-19,” said Horwath. Continue reading

FACEBOOK Is Suffering Word-Wide ‘Outages ‘Right Now, and That’s Great News for All of Us

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

Posted October 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

At a time when we are bombarded with so much bad news in this word, here – at least for a few hours – is some good news.

For the better part of this Monday, October 4th and at least up to the time of this posting, the online services of Facebook or that corporate equivalent of “the evil empire, as I call it, has been suffering what it calls “outages.”

In other words, many of us cannot even get on our own Facebook page if we have one, let alone anyone else’s, and I have to say that is fine with me. Continue reading

No More “Hollow Apologies,” Mr. Prime Minister. Give Us “Concrete Action” – RoseAnne Archibald, National Chief of Canada’s First Nations

A Brief Commentary byNiagara At Large reporter and publisher  Doug Draper 

Posted October 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

First Nations Chief RoseAnne Archibald

Two thumbs up for RoseAnne Archibald, National Chief of the First Nations across our country for pinning the tail on the donkey.

In this case, the donkey is Canada’s all-sweet-talk-and-little-in the-way of action’ Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

As many if not most of you know by now, Trudeau performed like the arrogant little rich kid he is this past September 30th – a day that just happened to be Canada’s first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to commemorate indigenous children who suffered and died at residential schools – to take a little family vacation at a swanky looking beach house in British Columbia. Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP and Liberal Leaders Slam What They Characterize as Ford’s Nothing Burger of a Throne Speech

“Today’s Speech from the Throne is disappointing for everyday families and working folks in Ontario,” … If I were Premier today, we would be investing in health care and our kids instead of cutting deeper. We’d be standing up for local business – not big box stores. And we’d be protecting workers – not Ford’s buddies.”       – Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

“During an incredibly difficult year for us all, we have been left to rely on a government content to do as little as possible, as late as possible. Today’s Speech from the Throne is no exception to that disappointing trend.”                                                                                – Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

News Releases from the Offices of Ontario’s NDP and Liberal Leaders in Response to this Monday, October 4th Speed from the Throne

Posted October 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

(Note to Readers – Niagara At Large is yet to receive news from Ontario’s Ford government on today’s Throne Speech or we would have already posted it. Hmm.)

Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath vows to keep fighting for  health care, schools and small businesses needs.

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath vowed to keep fighting for the support health care, schools and small businesses need to get through the pandemic safely and come back strong, after they were left out of the Speech from the Throne.

“Today’s Speech from the Throne is disappointing for everyday families and working folks in Ontario,” said Horwath. “By announcing nothing new whatsoever to help patients, students, workers, or small business, Doug Ford made it clear again: he’s not here for you and he still doesn’t want to spend the money on you.” Continue reading

Ford Government’s Throne Speech a Disappointment for Niagara – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

“He (Premier Doug Ford) shuttered the Legislature for the entire summer and the grand plan he came back with is one that fails the residents of Niagara and Ontario in every possible way.”

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

Posted October 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK —Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates reacted to the Ford Government’s Throne Speech Monday morning, calling the speech a disappointment for Niagara.

“How can the Premier say he’s investing in healthcare and yet not say a single word about getting our New Niagara Falls Hospital built?

If you live in this community you have seen firsthand the urgent need for that hospital before the pandemic began, now that we’re two years into a health crisis it’s ridiculous that our Premier is still not getting shovels in the ground,” said Gates “to make matters worse, the throne speech said nothing about plans to hire the nurses and PSWs we desperately need, or to repeal bill 124 so they can get the pay they deserve. Calling them heroes and then refusing to support them is the definition of hypocrisy”. Continue reading

How Many Ways Can Justin Trudeau Continue Failing Us As A Leader?

This Time, Canada’s Prime Minister Takes A ‘Family Vacation’ on our Country’s ’very first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted October 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Next to his father, Pierre Trudeau to the right, Justin is a weak, soft-brained midget

If there is any lingering doubt that a federal election Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called this past August and that most Canadians did not want is over, Trudeau’s true itinerary this past September 30th – Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. – should put any doubt to rest.

Trudeau may by now have a proven record of failing to fully follow up on nice words he utters on election reform, climate change and a host of other issues, but if the federal election were still on, even he would not have been stupid enough to skip this most solemn of days for Canada’s indigenous peoples for what so many media outlets have described as a “few days of vacation. Continue reading

Host of Niagara Partner Groups Deliver Boost to St. Catharines’ Urban Tree Canopy

“Tree plantings like this do more than beautify our parks and public spaces. The urban canopy provides critical ecological supports for the local watersheds that sustain agriculture and the natural environment that we all rely on.”                                            – Della Trojan of the Friends of Walker’s Creek.

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

Posted October 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

There is some new greenery at Cherie Road Park thanks to a team effort between the City of St. Catharines; Friends of Walker’s Creek; Friends of Malcolmson Eco-Park and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

The Friends of Walker’s Creek, including Della Trojan seen here, teamed up with the Friends of Malcolmson Eco-Park, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and the City of St. Catharines to plant about 550 native trees and shrubs at Cherie Road Park on Saturday. Photo courtesy of City of St. Catharines

On Saturday, October 2nd, community volunteers from both the Friend’s of Walkers Creek and Friends of Malcolmson Eco-Park gathered at the City park to plant approximately 550 trees and shrubs native to the Carolinian Zone. The new greenery come courtesy of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) through a TD Friends of the Environment Foundation grant. Continue reading

At Long Last, Ford Government Orders Mandatory Vaccines For All Long-Term Care Home Staff

News from Ontario’s Ford Government

Posted October 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Rod Phillips, Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care, with Premier Doug Ford looking on to the right

TORONTO — As part of the government’s plan to protect long-term care residents and staff during the Delta-driven fourth wave, Ontario is taking further action with an additional suite of tools.

This includes making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all in-home staff, support workers, students, and volunteers by November 15, 2021, unless a staff member has a valid medical exemption, as well as expanded inspections of homes and redirecting provincial resources to enhance and audit existing testing in homes.

“We know that long-term care residents have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. As new variants continue to spread, we are seeing a growing number of outbreaks in long-term care homes where the risk to those most vulnerable remains high,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care. Continue reading

Happy Birthday to the First Major World Leader Who Took Climate Change Seriously

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter – A True Environmentalist – Turned 97 this October 1st

By Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted October 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Jimmy Carter, during his years in the White House

After he moved into the White House in 1977 as the 39th President of the United States, one of the things he did earlier on was install solar panels on its roof.

Wow, was the reaction of many at a time when solar panels still almost something in the range of science fiction technology and were rare to see anywhere.

Jimmy Carter was also the first leader of any Western industrial nation I can recall who raised serious warnings about carbon emissions (greenhouse gases, they were more often called at the time) and climate change, and who embarked on programs to develop renewable energy.

Later on during his all-too-short, four years in the White House, when the world found itself facing an oil shortage that had much to do with turmoil in the Middle East, Carter urged Americans, during the winter months, to turning down thermostats and dressing more heavily at home. Continue reading

Ontario Workers Deserve A Liveable Minimum Wage

“No one who works full time should be struggling to make ends meet or living in poverty, all workers in Ontario deserve to receive a decent wage that let’s them build their lives in our great province.”

A Statement by Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted October 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement regarding the 10-cent change to Ontario’s minimum wage, which took effect today:

“Minimum wage workers in Ontario have seen the cost of living skyrocket past their wages, and every month they have to make tough decisions around paying their rent, affording medicine and putting food on the table.

The Liberals froze the minimum wage for years, only increasing it as a last-minute election ploy, and one of Doug Ford’s first acts as premier was to hurt workers by cancelling a long-overdue increase.

Now, after a year and a half of very difficult pandemic working conditions, Ford is insulting these workers with an 80-cent per day increase, before taxes. Ford called them heroes during the pandemic — but he’s here for his buddies, not for them. Continue reading

Please Urge Trudeau Government Not to Appeal Hard-Fought Ruling in Favour of Canada’s Indigenous Children

Federal Court Upholds Landmark Compensation Order For First Nations Children

A Message from Desmond Sequeria, a social activist living in Niagara, Ontario, each person receiving it on this landmark ‘National Day for Truth and Reconciliation’  

Posted September 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Canadian child welfare activist Cikndy Blackstock

If this day  is to have any meaning at all, (Canadian child welfare activist and executive director of the Frist Nations Child and Family Caring Society) Cindy Blackstock ha a succinct message to all of us, contained in the report in the link immediately below – https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/federal-court-decision-human-rights-tribunal-child-welfare-1.6074346

Please do read the entire report, if you have not already, especially the following – “Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, launched the human rights complaint that led to the ruling, along with the Assembly of First Nations –  Continue reading

Niagara, Ontario’s Mayors, Regional Chair Call On Region’s Citizens to Reflect on Lasting Impact of Residential School Atrocity

“Simple acknowledgement of our past is insufficient, and offering apologizes in themselves is not enough. Here in Niagara, we take seriously our responsibility to implement the Calls to Action found in the Truth and Reconciliation.”    – Niagara’s Mayors and Regional Chair

A Joint statement from Niagara’s mayors and Regional Chair regarding the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Posted September 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Today (Thursday, September 30th), on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we have an opportunity to acknowledge and reflect on the lasting impact of the Indian residential school system in Canada.

In the wake of hundreds of unmarked graves for Indigenous children, discovered on the grounds of former residentia schools in Canada, Niagara, Ontario municipal flags were lowered to half mast at the Region’s headquarters earlier this year. file photo by Doug Draper

Today is an opportunity to learn about this painful aspect of our country’s history, as well as to commemorate the survivors, their families, and their communities – as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Indigenous leaders. Continue reading

A Day for ‘Reflecting on the Painful Lasting Impacts of Residential Schools in Canada’

“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation recognizes that at least 150,000 Indigenous children from across the country were forcibly separated from their families and their communities. Children were brought to residential schools where too many experienced abuse and were removed from their cultures, languages, and traditions.”       – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Statement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Posted September 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

“Today (this Thursday, September 30th), I invite everyone across the country to recognize and observe the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

“It is a day to reflect on the painful and lasting impacts of residential schools in Canada, and to honour survivors, their families, and their communities. It is also a day to remember the many children who never returned home, and an opportunity for us all to learn more, and to affirm the need for reconciliation and commit ourselves to the work ahead. Continue reading

Ontario NDP Calls on Ford to make Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a Province-Wide Statutory Day

“Premier Doug Ford and Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford have refused to make Sept. 30 a province-wide statutory day. … I don’t believe this would even be a debate if the graves discovered belonged to stolen non-Indigenous children.”                                                                                             – Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted September 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP statement on marking National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa, NDP critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, will mark Thursday’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day with solemn reflection of Canada’s shameful mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples, and commemoration of the thousands of Indigenous children who never came home from Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

“Today (September 30th), Canadians and Ontarians come together in grieving the over 1,300 stolen Indigenous children who never made it home from Canada’s residential school system,” Horwath said.

“These were precious children that Canada made it a policy to forcibly steal from their families and communities, who suffered violence, physical and sexual abuse and malnutrition.

“We acknowledge the fresh pain and trauma of discovering the graves of more than 1,300 Indigenous children this past year, and yet we know that for First Nations communities, these stolen children were never a secret. These graves belong to the babies who never got to grow up, the precious brothers, sisters, and cousins whose families never stopped searching for them. Continue reading

BREAKING NEWS – Niagara Regional Council Appoints Ron Tripp as Region’s new Chief Administrative Officer

“Over the last three years, Ron has proven himself to be a competent, dynamic and committed leader as our Acting Chief Administrative Officer. This is particularly remarkable considering the unprecedented challenges that were brought forward by the global pandemic. … I believe Ron’s track record as a creative, resourceful and ethical leader helped to set him apart from other candidates (for the CAO position).”                          – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted September 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – After completing an exhaustive competitive search, Niagara Regional Council has officially appointed Ron Tripp to the role of permanent Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

The CAO is the most senior municipal public servant and the only direct employee of Council. In this capacity, Niagara Region’s CAO is charged with the oversight of all Regional operations, providing high-level leadership to more than 3,000 Regional staff and ultimately delivering on Regional Council’s strategic vision.

Tripp’s appointment comes after a 10-month long comprehensive process that was managed by the recruitment firm Legacy Partners, under the direction of Regional Council’s CAO Recruitment Committee.

Ron Tripp has more than 20 years of municipal experience, formerly holding senior roles with the City of St. Catharines and the Town of Fort Erie, where he served as the Acting Chief Administrative Officer. Continue reading

Niagara, Ontario Town of Lincoln Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

“Reconciliation is not a destination; it is an ongoing commitment.”

A Statement  from the Town of Lincoln in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln, Ontario – This Thursday, September 30 marks the first National Day for Truth and as part of Truth and Reconciliation Week September 27 – October 1.

On this day we encourage everyone to wear orange to remember the children who never returned home from residential school and to honour the Survivors and their communities. Continue reading

Canadian-Born Climate Scientist Offers a ‘Must-Read’ Book on the Global Climate Emergency Facing Us NOW

 “A must-read if we’re serious about enacting positive change from the ground up, in communities, and through human connections and human emotions.” —Margaret Atwood, Twitter

“An optimistic view on why collective action is still possible—and how it can be realized.” —The New York Times

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

Posted September 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

If you have been watching the news this past number, you must have seen the almost daily reports on devastating wildfires, droughts, floods, wind storms and  mudslides ravaging communities and wilderness areas in Canada and around the world.

The once-picturesque town of Lytton, British Columbia was virtually destroyed this past July by unprecedented heat waves and wildfire. One resident said it is ‘canary-in-the-coal-mine’ warning to others that climate change is real and needs to be addressed now

What used to be 50 or 100 year climate-related catastrophes like this are now occurring almost daily now – just as climate scientists have been warning now for more than 50 years. Continue reading

Town of Lincoln Celebrates Opening of Konkle Creek Naturalization Project

“The Konkle Creek Naturalization Project has been a decade in the making and I am so proud of the many benefits it brings to our town, residents, and the environment.”               – Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton

News from the Town of Lincoln in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln, Ontario – The Town of Lincoln, in cooperation with the Active Transportation Advisory Committee, has proudly opened the Konkle Creek Naturalization Project. A small ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on September 25, 2021.

This project addressed the channel erosion issues of Konkle Creek, while concurrently restoring the form and function of the watercourse to the extent possible. It also provided the opportunity to further connect the community through the active transportation network. Continue reading

City of St. Catharines Protects Employees With New Vaccine Requirements

“As a public-sector employer we need to lead by example and that includes doing everything we can to protect both our employees and the public from the risks of COVID-19.”                                                    – David Oakes, Chief Administrative Officer, City of St. Catharines

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

Posted September 28th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – In an effort to protect not only its employees but also the members of the public they serve the City of St. Catharines will require all its employees to obtain COVID-19 vaccination.

Specifically, all City employees — with the exception of those unable to receive the vaccine due to a Human Rights Code exemption — will be required to be fully vaccinated.

With scientific data demonstrating the effectiveness of vaccines in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and the increased risk of the Delta Variant to unvaccinated individuals, the City is adding vaccine requirements to its existing COVID-19 employee safety protocols such as mask requirements, daily screening and increased disinfection efforts. Continue reading

On Climate, ‘We Have No More Time To Waste’!

A Passionate Plea for Action from 18-Year-Old Swedish Climate Activist Greta Thunberg

During a Global Climate Strike Rally in Germany on This Past September 24, 2021

A Brief One from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted September 28th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

If you happened to miss this urgent address delivered by the remarkable young activist Greta Thunberg to a large audience in Germany this past September 24th, please give it a listen. And please take it to heart.

If only we had a Prime Minister in Canada, let alone any provincial Premier across this country, speak about this climate emergency with that kind of passion.

“World leaders are talking about building back better, promising green investment and setting vague and distant climate targets as if to say that they are taking climate action,” Thunberg told thousands participating in the rally. Continue reading

Here’s A Book About the Value of Rivers in Our Great Lakes Region – Just When We Need It

A Brief Introduction to this Well-Timed  Book and its Author by Doug Draper

Posted September 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Among the few individuals left from the golden era of modern-day environmentalism to write about book about the need to protect and preserve our Great Lakes rivers, who better to do it than Margaret Wooster.

Margaret Wooster, an ecologist by trace, was the last executive director of Great Lakes United, a large Canada/U.S. coalition of public and private sector organizations around the Great Lakes basin that was founded in 1982 with a mission to advocate for the health of the lakes for the tens-of-millions of people living around them.

Tragically, Great Lakes United (GLU) and its voice for multi-dozens of public and private bodies in both countries, died in 2013, at a time when the environmental movement driven from the first Earth Day in 1970 was running up against walls of apathy, and relentless push backs from special interests with a mind to exploiting lands around the Great Lakes. Continue reading

Ontario NDP calls on Ford to Restore Children’s and Seniors’ Vision Care Urgently

“Doug Ford is forcing all children, teens and seniors to go without vision care in order to save a buck. He doesn’t want to spend the money, and it’s everyday people who are paying the price.” – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

News from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted September 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on the Doug Ford government to immediately get back to the table with optometrists, and put fair funding in place to give children and seniors the eye care they’re being denied.

“There are kids and teens struggling in school because they can’t see the board, or coping with eye pain and headaches. There are older adults facing the loss of independence because they can’t get a new prescription,” said Horwath.

“Doug Ford is forcing all children, teens and seniors to go without vision care in order to save a buck. He doesn’t want to spend the money, and it’s everyday people who are paying the price.” Continue reading

When Are Niagara’s Municipal Leaders Going to Nix Developers’ Plans to Clear-Cut Trees?

“Niagara’s residents deserve better. Our environmental assets deserve protection. Our Region, our municipal governments and our Conservation Authority need to step up before there is nothing left to protect.”

This Story is from Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara, an alliance of citizen-based conservation and environmental organizations and individuals from across the Niagara region

Posted September 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Trees have already been buzz-sawed down at the historic Ranwood Estate in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. How many more trees have to be mowed down before someone in authority finally says ‘STOP’?

According to Niagara-on-the-Lake residents, the Region has given permission for the removal of the last 2.5 acres of forest remaining on the Randwood Estate lands, now owned by the Two Sisters winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The land has already been the subject of controversial tree-cutting that had the community up in arms in 2017, and again in 2018, as 434 trees, including endangered butternut trees and Eastern Flowering Dogwood, as well as several hundred-year-old oaks and towering pines were cleared.

Residents say what happened to this historic and heavily treed property is an example of everything that’s wrong with local and regional planning and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority — organizations which all failed at some point to protect the area’s significant woodlands, creek, aquifer and important Natural Heritage Corridor. Continue reading

Niagara Region Public Health Recommends Workplaces Implement Vaccination Policies

“A common denominator of workplace outbreaks has been low vaccination uptake by employees. A COVID-19 vaccination policy is the most effective means to increase vaccination coverage in the workplace.”

A News Release from the Niagara’s Regional Government’s department of Public Health

Posted September 26th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region Public Health is recommending local employers establish a workplace vaccination policy to protect their employees and clients from COVID-19, and to prevent disruption of business recovery.

With the Delta variant currently driving a fourth wave in Niagara, there have been 11 workplace outbreaks so far in (and as of the 23rd of) September. This has required many employees to isolate as close contacts, disrupting business and impeding the economic recovery so many businesses need. Continue reading

Niagara Regional Councillors Give Final Approval to Launching a Climate Action Plan

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

Posted September 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley – a former Ontario environment minister – receives Regional Council support for his motion to develop and impiment a climate action plan for Niagara

Niagara, Ontario – “Thank you for your leadership,” said St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik to Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley at a meeting of the Region’s council this September 23rd.

What Sendzik was thanking Bradley for was a motion the Chair tabled at the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee this past September 15th, directing Regional staff and the Council to develop and implement a climate action plan for Niagara.

That motion received final approval at full meeting of the Regional council this September 23rd, and could not come soon enough as the province, country and other parts of the world witness an unprecedented number of severe floods, droughts, killer heat waves, wildfires, wind storms and other climate-related events that are costing lives and countless billions of dollars of destruction to property and wildlife.

And closer to home, Bradley’s motion states that “the Niagara Region has already been impacted by climate change through shoreline and escarpment destruction, millions of dollars of infrastructure damages caused by extreme storm events and increase freeze–thaw cycles destroying our roads and subsurface infrastructure.” Continue reading

Observing National Day For Truth and Reconciliation in Niagara

A Statement from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

Posted September 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – As (Niagara Regional) council is aware, September 30 has been declared the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Next Thursday (September 30th) will be an opportunity for all Canadians to acknowledge the devastating effects of the residential school system on Indigenous peoples, and to reflect on ways we can better advance our reconciliation efforts to build a better future for everyone.

It is my understanding that Niagara’s Indigenous communities will be observing this day as a time of reflection and mourning. I believe September 30th is a chance for us all to stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples across the country. Continue reading

Britain’s Boris Johnson Tells the World What it Needs to Hear on the Climate Crisis

“And our grandchildren will know that we are the culprits and… that we were warned and they will know that it was this generation that came centre stage to speak and act on behalf of posterity and that we missed our cue and they will ask themselves what kind of people we were to be so selfish and so short sighted.”                                                                                                 – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the global climate crisis

A Brief One from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

(This post has been updated to include a video of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s actual address at the United Nations, rather than just the news conference he held after.)

Posted September 23rd, 2021

I never dreamed of a day I would be singing praises for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

But in an address he delivered to the United Nations this September 22nd, he nailed it on the crisis our world faces today due to a climate crisis fueled by unsustainable human activities.

This Thursday, September 23rd, at a Niagara Regional Council meeting that begins at 6:30 p.m., a motion tabled by Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley at the Region’s planning and economic development committee a week ago, will be on deck for discussion and, hopefully, will receive final approval.

That motion calls for developing and launching a climate action plan in our Niagara region – a call to action that is long overdue.

To hear and watch British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s September 23rd address to the United States assembly in New York City, click on the screen immediately below –

To watch this Thursday, September 23rd Niagara Regional Council meeting click on the following link at 6:30 p.m. or at any time thereafter – https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/council/council-meetings.aspx 

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

 

Canada/U.S. Agencies Tracking Wetland Conditions in the Great Lakes Basin from Space

An Article by  Kevin Bunch, a writer/communications specialist with the Canada/U.S. International Joint Commission (IJC), for the IJC’s September 2021 newsletter, Great Lakes Connection

Posted September 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

One of the provincially significant wetlands in Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario – an area now targeted for urban development.  photo by Lori Monroe

In a region of Ontario where most of the great wetlands that were here when the first European settlers arrive are gone now, I hope that as many Niagara residents as possible will read the IJC article below.

Then you might also want to go online and find the contact information for the Windsor, Ontario Office of the International Joint Commission and do some satellite mapping and analysis of the wetlands we still have left before they too are possibly destroyed by predators in the development industry. Continue reading

Ontario’s Vaccine Certificate Program Must Be Improved – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

 “The 85 per cent of us who did the right thing and got our vaccines earned the right to be at a stadium, the mall, or at church without having to worry about whether the person beside us is unvaccinated.”

A Message from Ontario Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted September 22nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling for the vaccine certificate program to be improved in order to protect people, and Ontario’s progress in the fight against COVID-19.

“The 85 per cent of us who did the right thing and got our vaccines earned the right to be at a stadium, the mall, or at church without having to worry about whether the person beside us is unvaccinated,” said Horwath.

“For the safety of our families and our progress in the fight against COVID-19, let’s fix the vaccine certificate program. Doug Ford’s version is full of holes big enough for COVID to pour through — let’s close them.” Continue reading

Canadians Respond To The Climate Emergency By Voting For Climate Action And Environmental Protection

“As the polls show, a majority of Canadians know there is no time to waste. Our communities can’t afford any more delays. The federal parties must now put aside their differences and work together to do what is needed to tackle the environmental crisis we face.”

A Statement on the Canadian Federal Election Results from Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada

Posted September 22nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario – While no party won a majority mandate yesterday, the environment did, thanks to the millions of Canadians who cast ballots for parties that put forward strong policies to confront the climate emergency and advance environmental protection.

At a time where multiple crises are converging globally, this was a crucial election for Canadians. As the polls show, a majority of Canadians know there is no time to waste. Our communities can’t afford any more delays. The federal parties must now put aside their differences and work together to do what is needed to tackle the environmental crisis we face. Continue reading

Province’s Proof of Vaccination Rules Kick in Today – this Wednesday, September 22nd

News Coming in from City of St. Catharines, Town of Lincoln, and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines on How the Rules will Apply for Those Wishing to Enter Their Venues

Similar Rules Will Also Apply to Many Indoor Venues across the Niagara region and province

Posted September 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

The amount of text below is long but we feel to content is important enough that we are sharing it with our readers. There will probably be far more news to come on this new chapter to the war against COVID-19, and we will do our best to share key information with you.

In the meantime, if you live in another part of the Niagara region outside of St. Catharines or Lincoln, you may wish to call your municipality for more on the way these new rules will apply there.

Now here are some News Releases that have been circulated already by two Niagara, Ontario municipalities and one entertainment venue in our region –

City of St. Catharines facilities to require proof of vaccination starting September 22

St. Catharines City Hall

Starting Wednesday, Sept. 22, to comply with provincial regulations, anyone aged 12 and older will be required to show proof they are fully COVID-19 vaccinated to enter City of St. Catharines public facilities – unless an exemption applies.

Checks for COVID-19 proof of vaccination, indicating visitors are fully vaccinated with two approved doses, will be performed in addition to the visitor screening process currently in place at all City facilities, including those listed below: Continue reading

Niagara Ontario NDP Member Urges Ford Government to Address ‘Eye Care Crisis’

An “Urgent Open Letter from Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott

Posted September 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Dear Premier Ford and Minister Elliott:

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Many people already dealing with this ongoing pandemic and now having eye care services under OHIP stopped is really the last straw.

The Ontario Association of Optometrists says eye doctors are the lowest paid in the country and that OHIP has underfunded eye exams for decades.

My office has stacks of petitions from area optometrists and their patients demanding your government resolve this crisis in eye care coverage. They’re not even asking to make money at it. They are just saying, “Let’s negotiate something that covers our costs.” Continue reading

Have Your Voice Heard On The Future Of Transit In Niagara

“Public transit could have a huge impact on Niagara’s social and economic future. As we move forward, it’s important that we keep the public in the know, and keep their voices at the forefront of the discussion”                ~ Mat Siscoe, Chair, Linking Niagara Transit Committee

A Call-Out to All of Us from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted September 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region and all 12 local area municipalities are considering moving to a single, consolidated public transit system – a decision that could be made as early as this fall.

The proposed model <http://www.movingtransitforward.ca/>, based on consultation with all municipalities,would bring consistent operating hours and fares, new digital payment technology, and better connections for riders across Niagara. Continue reading

Niagara Residents Invited To Join in a Global Strike for Climate Action

On Friday, September 24th in St. Catharines, Ontario (See Details Below)

A Call-Out to All of Us from Extinction Rebellion Niagara

Re-Posted as a Reminder this September 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

As you may be aware, people around the globe are planning a Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 24th. To show our global solidarity and get back in the streets, we will be marching downtown St. Catharines on the (this coming Friday, September) 24th!

Here are the details of the day:

Continue reading

Justin Trudeau Comes On Like a Winner, But He’s Really a Loser

Federal Liberals Need a New Leader, and Her Name is Chrystia Freeland

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted September 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Let me start by saying something I think most of my fellow Canadians can agree with; “Thank God this federal election is over.

Voters lined up outside polling stations like this one in Thorold, sometimes for more than a hour, to cast their ballots in this pandemic election. Photo by Doug Draper

Now we can hopefully get back to focusing on issues that matter in our lives and communities before we were so rudely interrupted – issues like the fourth wave of this killer pandemic, trying to struggle back as individuals, families and businesses mentally and economically, safeguarding children in schools, and a climate crisis we are facing right now.

Canada’s Liberal leader and prime minister, Justin Trudeau, celebrates “victory” following this September 21st’s federal election

This snap federal election was called in mid-August by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and when asked over and over again why it was necessary, he kept falling back to the line that the government needed to hear from the Canadians people, and what we want to see done as the country moves forward.

It was a line that was never all that convincing.

Mr. Trudeau surely knew, before the election call, that he has more than 150 Liberal MPs with constituency offices spread out across the country. Canadians are calling in to those constituency offices every single day with their concerns and their hopes and desires on where they want to see the country go on a whole host of issues.

You don’t need to hold a snap election during a pandemic – one that cost Canadian taxpayers more than $600 million – to do that.

Continue reading