Author Archives: dougdraper

City of St. Catharines Demands To Know How Much NPCA Lawsuit Against Private Citizen Cost Niagara’s Taxpayers

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

Posted December 11th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – How much of our municipal tax money did the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority spend in its unsuccessful attempt to sue St. Catharines community activist and retired Canadian Armed Forces officer Ed Smith?

Niagara citizen Ed Smith finally saw the lawsuits the NPCA and its former CAO Carmen D’Angelo filed against him dismissed by an Ontario court judge this past November. Now St. Catharines city council wants to know how much those failed lawsuits cost area tax payers.

St. Catharines’ city councilors passed a motion at their December 11th council meeting demanding to know.

It is a question that Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority  (NPCA) administrators and board members have so far refused to answer since this past November 23rd  when Ontario Court Judge James Ramsay dismissed defamation suits filed against Smith by the NPCA and its former CAO and now CAO for Niagara’s regional government, Carmen D’Angelo. 

The motion, tabled by veteran St. Catharines city councillor Joe Kushner, calls on the NPCA’s board – a majority of who are made up of Niagara area mayors and directly elected regional councillors appointed to it by the regional government’s Al Caslin administration – to “disclose the total amounts spent on the lawsuits.”

Before his motion was passed this December 11th, Kushner argued that current operations at the NPCA continue “to be problematic” and he called the whole idea of a public body like the Conservation Authority suing a Niagara citizen “reprehensible.” Continue reading

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Groundbreaking Brock U. Research Solidifies Idea That Sexual Orientation Is Biological

Brock University-led study confirms link between the number of older brothers and increased odds of being gay, and demonstrates the effect is womb-based

News from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted December 11th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Groundbreaking research led by a team from Brock University has further confirmed that sexual orientation for men is likely determined in the womb.

Brock University health sciences researcher Tony Bogaert

In the first-ever laboratory study of mothers of gay men, the research was prompted by more than two decades of statistical data examining the ‘older brother effect’ which shows that biological older brothers — but not older sisters — increase the odds of homosexuality in later-born males.

The study, “Male Homosexuality and Maternal Immune Responsivity to the Y-Linked Protein NLGN4Y,” was published Monday, Dec. 11 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading

Two Niagara Area MPPs – Cindy Forster and Jim Bradley – Weigh In Again on the NPCA and the Controversial Developement Plan for Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls

Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster

“I had a call from the NPCA              (Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority) telling me that I wasn’t welcome to attend their kickoff party to talk about their $1-million tree planting —  I wasn’t welcome; it was only for friends and family, of which I was neither — and I wasn’t welcome to attend, even  though the event was being paid for on the taxpayers’  dime..”                                                         – Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster

Veteran Ontario Liberal Party MPP for St. Catharines, Jim Bradley

“What essentially what essentially has happened is that people who are pro-development have been taking over the leadership of the Authority (NPCA), and those who are more environmentally inclined have been given the pink slip to head out the door, and have been silenced as well with agreements that compel them not to say anything about it.”                                                                         – St. Catharines Riding MPP Jim Bradley

More Statements in the Ontario Legislature from Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster and St. Catharines Riding MPP Jim Bradley

Posted December 11th, 2017 on Niagara At Large Continue reading

St. Catharines Council Motion Demands To Know How Many Tax Dollars NPCA Spent On Failed Lawsuits Against Niagara Citizen

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

Posted December 11th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Veteran St. Catharines city councilor Joe Kushner wants transparency from NPCA on court costs in failed lawsuit against Niagara citizen

Niagara, Ontario – Veteran St. Catharines city councilor Joe Kushner is tabling a motion for his council’s consideration that demands to know what the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and its band of administrators and regionally appointed board members are so far refusing to tell us – How much of our tax money was spent on its failed defamation suits against St. Catharines community activist and retired Canadian Armed Forces officer Ed Smith?

Kushner’s motion, to be tabled at St. Catharines’ meeting of city council this Monday, December 11th (available to watch on Cogeco Cable 10 or online beginning at 6p.m., calls for nothing less than disclosure of “the total amounts spent on the lawsuits,” on the grounds that municipal tax dollars are used to fund the annual multi-million-dollar budget of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA). Continue reading

Fifty Years On – Still ‘Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay’

A Brief Memory and Tribute by Doug Draper

Posted December 10th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

“Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun, sittin’ till the evenin’ comes. Watchin’ the ships roll in, and then I’ll watch them roll away again.”

How many times have you found your mind drifting off to that dock of the bay with that oh, so plaintive, soulful voice of Otis Redding and the understated beauty of Steve Cropper ‘s guitar and Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn’s bass riffs serenading away in the background?

It was 50 years ago this December 7th that Otis Redding finished recording that song, which he wrote with a little assistance from Steve Cropper (a friend and producer of his from Booker T. and the MGs fame), and just three days later – on December 10, 1967 – Otis died in a plane crash on his way to a show in Madison, Wisconsin. He was only 26 years old. Continue reading

Vigil Held In Honour Of Slain Brock University Student

A second community vigil in honour of Al-Hasnawi will be held at Hamilton City Hall Saturday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.

 News from Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted December 8th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, OntarioThe mother of slain Brock student Yosif Al-Hasnawi fought back tears and spoke in a hushed voice about her first-born son, as 150 people stood silently listening at a vigil at Brock University on Friday afternoon.

“Yosif had a beautiful soul,” said Amal Alzurufi, “and a smile that would light up any room. His smile was contagious. If he was smiling, you were smiling.

The mother of Yosif Al-Hasnawi, Amal Alzurufi, addressed the crowd alongside her sons Mahdi al-Hasnawi, left, and Ahmed al-Hasnawi, right, during a vigil at Brock University Friday

“He was a bright young man with dreams of becoming a doctor, he hoped one day to make a difference in the world.” Continue reading

Canada-Wide Journalists’ Organizaation Condemns Seizure Of St. Catharines Standard Reporter’s Notes And Laptop

“The actions of Niagara Regional Council members and police are an outrageous assault on media rights, and evidence of a disturbing disregard for the role of the press in a democracy.”

A Statement from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression on the Niagara Regional Government’s Assault on the Rights of the News Media

Re-Posted December 8th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

CJFE is deeply concerned by an incident in the Niagara Regional Council meeting in which city clerk Frank Fabiano seized notes and a computer belonging to St. Catharines Standard reporter Bill Sawchuk, allegedly on the orders of Chief Administrative Officer Carmen D’Angelo.

Niagara regional council in session. File photo by Doug Draper

Sawchuk regularly covers meetings and was in attendance when a regular session was moved in-camera to discuss a code of conduct violation by  Coun. Andy Petrowski. After leaving the chamber, Sawchuk was notified by staff that he was suspected of surreptitiously recording the closed session with his laptop and that his device and notes were being seized.

After the seizure of his device, the reporter was ordered to leave the city hall building and threatened with police action if he failed to comply.  After repeated inquiries by the Standard and their legal counsel, the laptop was eventually retrieved from the staff member’s office and returned.

The actions of Niagara Regional Council members and police are an outrageous assault on media rights, and evidence of a disturbing disregard for the role of the press in a democracy.

A reporter’s notes, sources and electronic devices should never be seized or searched except through enforcement of a court order, and only then under most narrow and rigorously scrutinized circumstances.

It remains unclear under what authority the Region believed it was authorized to seize the belongings of a journalist. Canada dropped to 22nd out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

CJFE calls on Mr. Fabiano and Mr. D’Angelo to provide an immediate and unconditional apology to Mr. Sawchuk.

We furthermore support MPP Cindy Forster’s request to Minister of Municipal Affairs to immediately investigate this attack on press freedom, and if necessary recommend policies to better protect the rights of media workers covering Niagara Regional Council.

About Canadian Journalists for Free Expression – Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is a Canadian organization founded in 1981 that works to defend and protect the right to free expression in Canada and around the world.

Our visionTo achieve universal respect for and protection of the right to free expression and access to information.

Our missionCJFE monitors, defends and reports on free expression and access to information in Canada and abroad. Rooted in the field of journalism, we promote a free media as essential to a fair and open society. CJFE boldly champions the free expression rights of all people, and encourages and supports individuals and groups in the protection of their own and others’ free expression rights.

For more about the CJFE, visit its website athttp://www.cjfe.org/about-us .

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