Author Archives: dougdraper

Ontario NDP Leader Calls Out Ford on Record-High COVID-19 Case Count in Province

Despite completing barely over 44,000 tests, Ontario has counted a record-high 978 cases of COVID-19 this Saturday, October 24th

A Statement from Ontario Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted October 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Party Leader Andrea Horwath

TORONTO — Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement:

“It never should have come to this.

(Ontario Premier) Doug Ford’s refusal to invest in stopping the growth of the second wave is costing us so much more – it’s costing people their health and their lives, it’s hurting small businesses and it’s making the second wave longer and deeper.

Mr. Ford is sitting on more than $9 billion in pandemic support funding. More than $7 billion of that came from the federal government to help Ontario cope with COVID-19. Mr. Ford doesn’t want to spend the money. And cases are skyrocketing as a result.

Right now we need a massive expansion of public health for testing and contact tracing in every community in the province. We need real protections in long-term care, including hiring thousands of PSWs and putting infection control experts in every home. We need a 15-student class cap in schools. People can’t afford to have Mr. Ford delay another day.”

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

Join a Virtual Brock Event – Exploring People’s Behaviour During the Pandemic

A Free Public Webinar on Tuesday, October 27 the from 12:30 to 2 P.M.

“Young adults are at the centre of this second wave. Understanding what personal and demographic factors help them cope is critical, as is understanding what measures are likely to make them take proper precautions.”                                    – Tony Volk, Professor of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University

An Invite from the Centre for Lifespan Development Research at Brock University

Posted October 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Brock researchers will share their findings on how the global pandemic is shaping lives at a free public webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

The Centre for Lifespan Development Research at Brock University will host “COVID-19 and the Community: Learning more about people’s behaviour and experiences during the pandemic.”

The live virtual event will address topics such as lying about symptoms, the effects of lockdown on active Canadians and the pandemic’s impact on young people’s lives. Continue reading

Ontario Commission Reveals Long-Term Care Residents/Workers Ignored In Ford Governments ’s COVID-19 Response

“My heart aches for the families of the 1,900 people who died in long-term care, and the tens of thousands of others who have gone through hell, who now see in this report that the Ford government just didn’t put a plan together to protect their loved ones.”  – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea  Horwath

A News Release from Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democratic Party

Posted October 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“Devastating, emotional”… “lonely, depressed”… “muzzled, trapped”… “broken-spirited, boredom”… “terror awakened” – Words used by LTC residents and Board Members, Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils, to describe their lived experiences during the first wave of COVID-19 – from the Ontario Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission’s Interim Report, released this October 23rd, 2020

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath saw her motion to end for-profit long-term care services in the province defeated by the Ford government

QUEEN’S PARK — An interim report from the long-term care commission reveals the sickening fact that the Ford government completely ignored the people in long-term care as the COVID-19 virus swept in.

The commission “heard that long-term care homes were forgotten in the initial provincial plans to control the spread of COVID-19 until residents started dying…”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the revelation that not even a wave of deadly infections hitting long-term care homes sparked action from the Ford government is a disturbing indictment of the Ford government.

“My heart aches for the families of the 1,900 people who died in long-term care, and the tens of thousands of others who have gone through hell, who now see in this report that the Ford government just didn’t put a plan together to protect their loved ones,” said Horwath.

“Sadly and sickeningly, so much of what the commission has found so far underlying that is not new,” said Horwath. Continue reading

Progress Made To Restore & Protect Great Lakes At Risk Of Unravelling

As United States  Marks  48th Anniversary of Clean Water Act, Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Brian Higgins Leads Effort to Protect Its Progress

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

Posted October 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Great Lakes Task Force Members Press to Safeguard the Fresh Water System Which is Vital to the Environment & Economy

Our shared Great Lakes from space. A source of life-sustaining fresh water to tens-of-millons of Canadians and Americans, and a wealth of wildlife.

This week (October 19th thru October 25th), as the United States marks the 48th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and colleagues on the Great Lakes Task Force warned the progress made to restore and protect the Great Lakes is at risk of unravelling.

In the letter encouraging continued investments and highlighting the threats posed by recent environmental rollbacks, the Great Lakes Task Force Members write: –

“The Great Lakes contain 84% of North America’s fresh water, see 200 million tons of cargo per year, and are home to over 30 million people in their basin. Efforts like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement have made significant strides to revitalize the Great Lakes, reverse decades of industrial pollution, and create action plans to continue to on this course. Continue reading

St. Catharines MPP Calls On Ontario Government to Expand Testing for Toxins on Abandoned GM Property

“We must expedite this testing. Residents deserve up to date information.” – St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens

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

Posted October 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK – St. Ctharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens is urging the province to immediately expedite and expand testing of the former GM plant site in St. Catharines.

Once a major industrial force and source of good-paying jobs in St. Catharines, Niagara, what is left of the General Motors plant off Ontario Street in that city, has become an unwelcome eyesore for neighbours and is a source of citizens’ concerns about harmful contaminants possibly lurking on and migrating off the site.

The residents of St. Catharines had to wait almost six months for the results of the first round of testing which found high levels of carcinogenic PCB leaking into a creek. Stevens says the community needs the second round of testing to be analyzed without delay.

“We must expedite this testing. Residents deserve up to date information,” said Stevens at the Ontario legislature Thursday. Continue reading

Exploring the Ongoing Affordable Housing Crunch In Niagara

Why Are People Still Spending Years on a Waiting List for An Affordable Place to Live in this Region?

A Report from Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory  in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Niagara Community Observatory’s latest brief, written by Assistant Professor of Political Science Joanne Heritz, explores factors that cause an imbalance in affordable housing supply and demand, steps being taken to increase affordable housing and whether these measures will be enough to meet future need in Niagara.

Niagara, Ontario – Anyone hoping to rent an affordable one-bedroom apartment from Niagara Regional Housing can be facing wait times of a decade or more, anywhere from nine years in Lincoln to 17 years in Niagara Falls.

And as the gap between supply and demand keeps growing, so does the number of people on the waiting list — by 20 per cent between 2017 and 2019 alone — making the search for affordable housing a frustrating experience, especially for Niagara’s poor and vulnerable.

The latest policy brief from Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory — “Looking Ahead and Looking Up: Affordable Housing in Niagara” — explores factors that cause this imbalance in affordable housing supply and demand, steps being taken to increase affordable housing and whether these measures will be enough to meet future need. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Is Attacking Democracy By Meddling In Local Elections – NDP

“Local people know best and have the right to decide how their votes are counted. Doug Ford should be focused on dealing with the second wave of COVID-19 and saving lives. Instead, he is using the pandemic as cover to meddle in local elections.”              – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

A News Release from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPPs Peggy Sattler (London West), Democratic Reform critic, and Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre), Municipal Affairs critic, are demanding Doug Ford withdraw his latest attack on local democracy, a sneaky plan to scrap municipalities’ right to hold ranked-ballot elections.

The change is buried within an act the government claims is about COVID-19 recovery, but is not.

“Last year Doug Ford and his government claimed they would respect mayors and municipal councils, after attacking and meddling in municipal elections,” said Sattler.

“Can the premier tell us which municipalities asked for this assault on their local decision-making?” Sattler asked during question period at Queen’s Park Wednesday. Continue reading

A Good Lovin’ Tribute to British Invasion Legend Spencer Davis

Founder of 1960s Spencer Davis Group Died This October 19th at Age 81

Spencer Davis was “like a big brother to me … He was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that.” – Steve Winwood, who rose to  stardom as lead singer and keyboard player in The Spencer Davis Group

A Brief Tribute by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

Spencer Davis, photographed here at the height of his fame in the 1960s

When The Beatles conquered the North American music scene in 1964, a wealth of musical talent followed in their way in what became known at the time as ‘The British Invasion.”

Among the many great groups that were part of this invasion’s first wave were The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals featuring Eric Burdon, The Yardbirds, featuring a young Eric Clapton and later Jeff Beck, The Hollies featuring Graham Nash, Them featuring Van Morrison, The Kinks, The Dave Clark Five and The Spencer Davis Group featuring an amazing teen singer and keyboard player, Steve Winwood.

Of course, there would be no Spencer Davis Group or venue for Steve Winwood to continue on with a successful solo career of his own if it were not for the guy who founded the group in Birmingham, England in 1963 – Spencer Davis. Continue reading

New Ontario Government Legislation Will Make It Significantly Harder to Hold For-Profit Long-term Care Homes Liable for COVID-19 Harms

“No resident or family member who has suffered harm and injury as a result of the negligence of a long-term care home operator should have their rights to access justice extinguished in this way.”                                                                                                           – Graham Webb, Executive Director ,Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, a community legal clinic specializing in seniors’ issues in Ontario

News from the Ontario Health Coalition, citizen advocates for affordable, quality public health care

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario – The Ford government has introduced legislation that would make it significantly harder for residents and families to hold long-term care homes liable for harm resulting from exposure to and infection with COVID-19.

The legislation covers any individual, corporation or entity and includes the crown (which means the government and its agencies).

Bill 218, which was both introduced in the Ontario Legislature by the Ford government and passed First Reading yesterday, is retroactive to March 17, 2020 meaning the legal rights of those who were infected, potentially infected or exposed to coronavirus on or after March 17, 2020 will be compromised by the legislation, if it is passed, no matter when they started any legal actions.

There will be no compensation or relief for plaintiffs as a result of having their rights extinguished under this bill. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Votes to Back For-Profit Long-Term Care Corporations

This Past Tuesday, October 20th, the Doug Ford government Voted In Favour Of Protecting For-Profit Companies’ Role In Ontario’s Long-Term Care System

A Statement from Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath saw her motion to end for-profit long-term care services in the province defeated by the Ford government

QUEEN’S PARK — On Tuesday,  October 20th, the Doug Ford government voted in favour of protecting for-profit companies’ role in Ontario’s long-term care system, rather than replacing them with a better non-profit and public system.

That vote was in response to a motion tabled by Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath, who released the following statement in response:

“The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged long-term care homes because the system is a disaster – and it’s been getting worse for decades as Liberal and Conservative governments have allowed for-profit corporations to rush in, and cut corners in order to pocket bigger profits.

We can put an end to the days of short-changing our loved ones to pad the profits of private shareholders, and instead put every last dollar into better care, a better quality of life for aging Ontarians, and more peace of mind for families. But we need a government willing to put people before profits when it comes to long-term care. Continue reading

Hey Mr. Prime Minister – Good Call on Continuing to Keep the Canada-U.S. Border Closed

We Have Got To Keep the Anti-Mask and Gun-Toting Hate Groups that make up Trump’s Base out of Our Country

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

We sure don’t need scenes like this with cars from states like Florida, George, Texas and the Carolinas . crossing the border. How much of the virus would they now be carrying across? Leave it in Trumpland, please!

Our Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government may have led the way, this time, in extending the ban on crossing the Canada-U.S. border for yet another month, until November 21st.

And good for the Trudeau government for resisting any possible push by a totally demented U.S. Trump administration to re-open a border that has now been closed since late last March – for a full eight months now – due to a pandemic that we in Canada are suffering, but that Trump and his zoned out enablers have never cared to take seriously.

So now, as of announcements coming out of both countries this November 19th, a continuation of a ban on crossing the border for all but essential, mostly commercial traffic, is official and as much as this Canadians is relieved, I share the view expressed by Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins that it is also “heartbreaking” for all of us with friends and relatives and favourite places we like to visit on both sides of the border. Continue reading

A Golden Opportunity For Ontario, Ottawa & Quebec To Reduce Climate Damaging Emissions

“Phasing Out Ontario’s Gas-Fired Power Plants by 2030 Will Provide Ontario With All (Or Virtually All) Of The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reductions That It Needs To Achieve Its 2030 Climate Target.”

A News Release from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a citizen-based advocacy group for clean energy and clean air

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

In early October, Prime Minister Trudeau directed the Canada Infrastructure Bank to invest $2.5 billion in projects to support renewable electricity generation and storage and to expand Canada’s east-west electricity grid.

An excellent way to invest some of these funds would be to build a new 20 km transmission line between Ontario and Quebec through Ottawa. This line, which could be built within an existing transmission corridor, would increase our import capacity by 2,000 megawatts for a cost of approximately $80 million.

The increased power import capacity provided by this line would allow Ontario to phase out its gas-fired power plants by 2030 instead of ramping up their greenhouse gas pollution by more than 300%. Continue reading

Thanks to Pandemic, Club Capri in Niagara, Other Cultural Clubs Across Ontario are ‘On the Brink’ and Desperately in Need Financial Help

“Investment in cultural infrastructure is essential for the health, well-being and economic prosperity of communities. We must invest in these community hubs now or pay a much higher price for the fall-out when we lose them.”                                                          – Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

A Statement by Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch, in the Ontario Legislature

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

The Following is from the Official Record of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for Tuesday, October 20th, 2020 –

Mr. Jeff Burch: “I want to tell you about one of the forgotten casualties of the ongoing pandemic: Cultural clubs and associations, and the facilities and banquet halls they operate.

Cultural facilities in my riding and across the province provide immeasurable value to our communities and are integrated into their social fabric.

They do everything from supporting seniors and youth to welcoming newcomers to raising money for food banks and other charities. Yet many are facing closure due to unprecedented fiscal constraints with no end in sight. Continue reading

Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Calls Latest Extension of Canada-U.S. Border Closing “Heartbreaking”

Buffalo, New York area Congressman (Democrat) Brian Higgins

“As long as the U.S. President rejects scientific facts, calls medical experts ‘idiots’ and politicizes masks and other common sense health and safety protocols, coronavirus cases will rise, lives will be unnecessarily lost, and Americans will be seen as unwelcome health threat to our allies around the world.”          – Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

A Statement by Congressman Brian Higgins on Extension of the US-Canada Travel Ban Through November 21

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Those were the days, before late March of this year when the Peace Bridge and other Canada-U.S. border crossings were closed to all but essential traffic due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) who serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, released the following statement in response to the continued closing of the U.S. – Canada border:

“This week Canada has extended its ban on Americans crossing the Northern border for the seventh time. It’s heartbreaking to have the door to our closest neighbor closed for eight months but easy to see why Canada continues to make this decision.

“As long as the U.S. President rejects scientific facts, calls medical experts ‘idiots’ and politicizes masks and other common sense health and safety protocols, coronavirus cases will rise, lives will be unnecessarily lost, and Americans will be seen as unwelcome health threat to our allies around the world. Continue reading

Ontarians Should Have a Right to Know Which Workplaces Have COVID-19 Outbreaks

“Reporting COVID-19 outbreaks is crucial to making companies accountable and stops community spread of the virus.”                      – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

 

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls), Official Opposition NDP critic for Workplace Health and Safety, took Doug Ford to task this past Monday (October 19th) for not releasing information on which Ontario employers have COVID-19 outbreaks in their facilities.

“Workers in Ontario have the right to know their workplace is safe. Yet this Conservative government will not disclose when or where COVID-19 outbreaks happen in workplaces,” said Gates during question period at the Ontario legislature Monday.

“This means if there is a workplace outbreak, workers – and the public – won’t know. It not only puts their health and safety at risk, it increases the risk of community spread. It removes a critical piece of information we need to find COVID-19 hotspots and stop the spread.” Continue reading

Ontario NDP Leader Calls for Getting For-Profit Corporations Out Of Long-Term Care

Andrea Horwath Is Forcing A Vote This October 20th On A Motion To Get For-Profit Companies Out Of Long-Term Care, And Replace Them With A Non-Profit And Public System

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Andrea Horwath in St. Catharines this August 8th to press for more resources to safeguard province’s long-term care homes

QUEEN’S PARK — This Tuesday, October 20th, Andrea Horwath will force a vote in the Ontario legislature on a motion to get for-profit companies out of long-term care, and replace them with an all non-profit and public system.

“COVID-19 revealed a disaster behind the walls of long-term care homes. More than 1,900 people have died, shattering thousands of families. And a second wave is upon us. We need to take action to protect seniors this time, and we have to do it now,” said Horwath.

“Then, after we make it out of this nightmare together, we need to fix the system for good. This pandemic ravaged long-term care homes because the system is a disaster – and it’s been getting worse for decades.” Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Falls Short on its ‘Draft Blue Box Regulation’ Announcement

“As drafted, the proposed regulation locks Ontario into years of poor performance. Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise, as the province has underdelivered on every other waste regulation it has passed to date.”

A News Release from Environmental Defence, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and other Citizen Groups across Ontario
Posted October 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
Toronto, Ontario — The best and most important opportunities to improve recycling are missing from Ontario’s draft Blue Box regulation.

While shifting the cost of the Blue Box program to producers is vital, this regulation does little more than that.

Its narrow scope, low targets, and long transition period will mean millions of more tonnes of single-use products and packaging ending up in Ontario parks, lakes, landfills, and incinerators—an outcome that is out of step with public sentiment and the province’s own commitment to reducing litter and waste. Continue reading

Ontario Government Developing a “Stronger, More Effective” Blue Box Program

Province consulting on plan to increase recycling in more communities and help divert more waste from landfills

News from the Government of Ontario

Posted October 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — Ontario is kicking off Waste Reduction Week by unveiling regulations to improve the blue box program. The enhancements include expanding the items that can be recycled and making producers of products and packaging fully responsible for the waste they create.

“We’re creating a stronger and more effective Blue Box program that actually works,” said Minister Yurek. “By harnessing the innovation and ingenuity of industry and expanding recycling opportunities for people and businesses across the province, we can divert more waste away from landfills by finding new purposes for products and reinserting them back into the economy.” Continue reading

Key Changes to Niagara’s Waste Collection Start This Monday, October 19th

“The new waste collection contract coincides with Canada’s Waste Reduction Week and includes changes intended to help increase diversion (of household and commercial waste) from landfill.” – Niagara Region

 

 

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region’s new waste collection contracts start Monday, Oct. 19, coinciding with Waste Reduction Week, a national environmental campaign to build awareness around sustainable and responsible consumption, and promote actions to divert more waste from disposal and conserve natural resources.

As part of the new waste collection contracts, Niagara Region is transitioning to a new every-other-week garbage collection frequency, which will affect next week’s curbside waste collection. Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP Calls on Ontario Government to Fund More MRI Services in Niagara

“Our (Niagara) population requires more access to MRI services, not less. … Niagara’s MRI wait-times has severely increased and is now not in a position reasonably accommodate the residents of Niagara’s immediate medical needs leaving residents with an unreasonable wait as their health deteriorates.”                                – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates in an Open Letter, dated October 14th, 2020, to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott

An Open Letter from Niagagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

Posted October 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

To Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier of Ontario & Minister of Health Ministry of Health from Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

I am writing to you today regarding an urgent request from Niagara Health to fund a third MRI machine and operating hours to provide 16 hours of service, 7 days per week.

This request comes from the fact that Niagara’s MRI wait-times has severely increased and is now not in a position reasonably accommodate the residents of Niagara’s immediate medical needs leaving residents with an unreasonable wait as their health deteriorates. In 2016, the House unanimously adopted my motion to provide funding to clear Niagara’s MRI backlog.

Currently, there are only two machines that service Niagara’s population of 450,000. In 2016 the average wait-time for an MRI was 134 days. Continue reading

Niagara Region on Verge of Approving Revised Bylaw for Protecting Niagara’s Tree

New Bylaw Could Be Approved by Regional Council As Soon As This Coming Thursday, October 22nd

Have You Had Your Say Yet? If You Care About Protecting and Preserving Our Trees, Here May Be Your Last Chance to Contact Your Regional Councillors and Mayors and Raise Your Voice Before This Revised Bylaw Is Passed

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – This past October 14th,, Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee put its stamp of approval on the Region’s updated Woodland Conservation By-law after a comprehensive review and public and stakeholder engagement process.

The updated by-law governs the protection and preservation of woodlands in Niagara, and recently underwent a complete review and public engagement process.

Several key changes were made to ensure the by-law meets the current and future needs of Niagara, and is consistent with Provincial legislation and best planning and management practices.

Continue reading

Niagara MPP Urges Ontario’s Ford Government to Embrace Niagara River as ‘Global Treasure’ and ‘Wetland of International Importance’

“I was shocked to see (Ontario’s) Niagara Parks Commission decided not to endorse this extremely important initiative that has been in the works for years by groups on both sides of the Niagara River.”                                                                                              – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Why can’t our public leaders in Niagara, Ontario do what our neighbours in Western New York have already done? – Approve a global desiignation on the Niagara River as an internationally important wetland. Photo by Doug Draper

This Open Letter circulated from MPP Jeff Burch’s Niagara Centre Constituency Office in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

An OPEN LETTER from Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch to – John Yakabuski, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Lisa MacLeod, Ontario Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and Jeff Yurek, Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Dear Ministers Yakabuski, MacLeod and Yurek:

OPEN LETTER

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Given the drastic changes we see every day with climate change, I believe any initiative that promotes the protection of our wetlands including the Niagara River Corridor is imperative. The Ramsar Convention is a voluntary Treaty, committed to promoting the conservation and wise use of water-based ecosystems through international engagement and collaboration. 

The Treaty was signed in Ramsar, Iran; in 1971. Canada signed it in 1981, the United States in 1987.

Niagara Falls and Fort Erie endorsed the Ramsar Designation in 2015 along with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Ontario Power Generation. It’s still under review by Niagara Regional Council but endorsed by its Planning and Economic Development Committee. Continue reading

FirstOntario PAC and Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre Put Virtual Spotlight on Niagara’s Ethnocultural Groups

Free Virtual Online Event This Sunday 18 October at  7 P.M.

A News Release from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre and the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre present

Posted October 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (PAC) and Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre (NFAMC) are pleased to announce a new virtual project intended to put a spotlight on local newcomer entrepreneurs as well as established ethnocultural groups working to share their cultural knowledge and welcome the newcomer community.

The event will be hosted virtually by NFAMC Executive Director Emily Kovacs and PAC Executive Director Colleen Smith on Sunday 18 October @ 7pm. Continue reading

Environmentalists to Province – “Stop Sprawl and Grow the Greenbelt”

Saving What is Left of Ontario’s Green Legacy Should be Part of COVID-19 Recovery

A News Release from  the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance

Posted October 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Regional and Provincial groups launch a new program to say to governments: COVID-19 recovery should “Stop Sprawl and Grow the Greenbelt”

Hamilton, Ontario – On the heels of York Region Council’s attempt to get the provincial government to open the Greenbelt to development, the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance (OGA) today (this October 15th, 2020) launched a program to do the exact opposite: stop sprawl-style development and bring more lands into the protected Greenbelt as part of government COVID-19 recovery plans.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, people have been relying more and more on natural spaces and farmland to make it through the crisis,” said Lynda Lukasik, Executive Director, Environment Hamilton.

“These lands are key to our physical and mental well-being, the source of healthy, local food and the source of thousands of jobs. It’s time governments did more to better protect these lands and grow the Greenbelt.”

Continue reading

Niagara Region’s Planning Commissioner Rino Mostacci is Retiring At End of October

Rino Mostacci, Commissioner of Planning and Development Services, to retire from Niagara Region on October 30th

A News Release from Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government
Posted October 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Rino Mostacci is retiring out of a top job at Niagara Region at the end of this October that, according to 2019 records, rewarded him an annual salary of about $223,000 and more than $9,000 in benefits.

After six years of service as Commissioner of Planning and Development Services, Rino Mostacci announced that he will retire from Niagara Region, effective Oct. 30.

Mostacci joined Niagara Region as commissioner in September of 2014. Since that time, he has distinguished himself as a team-builder and visionary planner, driving innovation, supporting prosperity and relentlessly encouraging better urban outcomes.

Under Mostacci, the Region adopted an innovative model of district planning that has produced the Brock District Plan in Thorold, including the new International Plaza at Regional Headquarters, and the recently approved Glendale District Plan in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Under his leadership, the Region has also been preparing a new Niagara Official Plan, a comprehensive land-use planning document that will guide Niagara’s growth for the next 30 years. Continue reading

Paramedic Memorial Bell Comes to Niagara EMS

The Bell – Arriving in Niagara, Ontario this October 14th -Has Been Making Its Way Across Ontario, Visiting Paramedic Services In Each Area That It Passes Through.

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Paramedic Memorial Bell honours the Paramedic Services line of duty deaths in Canada.

The “Remember the Fallen” ceremonies demonstrate that those who have been lost are Always Remembered. The Paramedic Memorial Bell is tolled an extra time to recognize post-traumatic stress disorder and suicides.

The annual Paramedic Memorial Bike Ride has been cancelled due to COVID-19, but the bell has been making its way across Ontario, visiting Paramedic Services in each area that it passes through.

The Paramedic Memorial Bell arrives in Niagara on Oct. 14 for this leg of the journey, hosted by Niagara EMS, CUPE 911 and the Niagara Paramedic Association. Continue reading

A Prince’s Passionate Call for Immediate Climate Action

Prince William speaks out on climate emergency

“If we don’t get our act together in the next 10 years, by 2030, it’s too late.” – Prince William of Britain

A Brief Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a Full Offering of the Prince’s Remarks

Posted October 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I am probably about as far away from being a fan of aristocrats or monarchs as one can be, and I’m certainly not predisposed to be impressed with all that much that aristocrats or monarchs do.

Having said that, how inspiring and heartening it was earlier this October to watch Prince William – the oldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana – make such a strong plea to all of us around the world to take real and effective action now to address a climate crisis that is already causing such hardship for life and countless trillions of dollars of damage and destruction around the world. Continue reading

More Than 3,000 Canadians Urge American Tissue Paper Giant To Treat Ontario’s Forests With More Respect

“COVID-19 showed us that we care about toilet paper – a lot – but it doesn’t need to come directly from forests that are home to vulnerable wildlife species.”                                                                             – Dr. Julee Boan, Ontario Nature’s Boreal Program Manager based in Thunder Bay.

A News Release from Ontario Nature, a public-interest group advocating for the protection and preservation of Ontario’s green places

Posted October 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

In partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation, we (at Ontario Nature) sent a letter signed by more than 3,000 Canadians to Procter & Gamble in advance of its annual shareholder meeting today in Cincinnati, Ohio. The letter calls for American product companies be more responsible with Ontario’s forests.

From forests like this in Ontario …..

Procter & Gamble is an American multinational corporation with sales exceeding $60 billion per year. It is one of the largest buyers of Ontario pulp, producing a vast array of single-use, disposable products, from diapers to toilet paper. The company needs to do more to protect wildlife habitat and support Indigenous-led conservation.

Toronto / Thunder Bay, Ontario — Today (this October 13th) , a letter signed by more than 3,000 Canadians was submitted to Procter & Gamble in advance of its annual shareholder meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. Continue reading

A Salute to a Most Worthy Winner of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

United Nation’s World Food Programme Awarded This Year’s Nobel Peace Prize

(Here is some good news that we could all use during these perilous times  – Doug Draper, Niagara At Large)

Posted October 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Statement by David Beasley, World Food Programme Executive Director, October 9th, 2020

UN World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley

ROME, Italy – The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the World Food Programme (WFP) is a humbling, moving recognition of the work of WFP staff who lay their lives on the line every day to bring food and assistance for close to 100 million hungry children, women and men across the world.

People whose lives are often brutally torn apart by instability, insecurity and conflict.

Every one of the 690 million hungry people in the world today has the right to live peacefully and without hunger.

Today (October 9th), the Norwegian Nobel Committee has turned the global spotlight on them and on the devastating consequences of conflict. Climate shocks and economic pressures have further compounded their plight. And now, a global pandemic with its brutal impact on economies and communities, is pushing millions more to the brink of starvation.

The Nobel Peace Prize is not WFP’s alone.

Continue reading

Let’s Give Thanks This Thanksgiving that We Live in Canada

 … And Not on the Other Side of the Canada-U.S. Border Where All Hell is Running Loose

A Brief Thanksgiving Note from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Posted October 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

This note might come across to at least some as sounding a bit too patriotic or ‘Pollyanna’, but I am prepared to live with that.

In my more than six decades of life on the Canadian side of the Canada-U.S. border, I have hardly ever felt more relieved and happy to be a Canadian rather than a citizens of a country that unabashedly sold itself to the rest of us as “the greatest democracy on earth.”

Well, something akin to our good friend Toto has pulled the curtains open to expose that illusion.

We now know that all it takes is a reality TV con man with a reptilian genius for stirring the latent anger, racism and love of guns and violence in far too many millions of Americans to see that so-called great democracy fall like a house of cards.  Continue reading

Ontario’s Premier Urges Us to Practice a Safe Thanksgiving during these Perilous Times

“As you plan for Thanksgiving, I urge everyone to make responsible decisions that will keep you and your family safe.”    – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A Statement from Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Posted October 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has issued the following statement in advance of the Thanksgiving weekend:

“As we approach the Thanksgiving weekend, we have an opportunity to take time and reflect on what matters most as we all live through these unprecedented  times in our province.

I know Thanksgiving is normally a time when people get together with family and friends to give thanks and reconnect, but these aren’t normal times. This year, we will have to make adjustments in order to ensure everyone remains healthy and safe.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, it’s not enough to limit the size of Thanksgiving gatherings to 10 people or less. We must all do our part to keep gathering sizes small by sticking to our immediate households. Continue reading

St. Catharines Citizens Call Out Ontario Environment Ministry’s Lack of Action on Toxic PCB Concerns

“Contaminants (including PCBs) entering Twelve Mile Creek , a tributary of Lake Ontario, is significant in terms of international efforts to protect Great Lakes habitats. (Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks testing shows) that a number of other contaminants like Poly Hydrocarbons (PHCs) and metals hazardous to human health and the environment were also leaking off the site.”

A News Release from the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines, a grassroots, citizen group  in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Today (this October 9th), the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines, a citizens’ advocacy group, challenged the conclusions of the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) regarding contaminants leaking off the former GM Property in St. Catharines.

Once a major industrial force and source of good-paying jobs in St. Catharines, Niagara, what is left of the General Motors plant off Ontario Street in that city, has become an unwelcome eyesore for neighbours and may be a source to the Twelve Mile Creek and Lake Ontario of PCBS and other industrial poisons. Where it the government will to address it?

In a letter to Gary Wheeler, Ministry Spokesperson, the Coalition pointed out that PCBs were indeed leaking into Twelve Mile Creek from the former GM Property at levels at least 90% over the guidelines set by the Ontario government to prevent adverse effects to the environment and human health.

“MECP seems to downplay the situation at the former GM Property’, said Coalition spokesperson Dennis Van Meer,‘ despite clear evidence, to date they have not displayed any willingness to protect the environment or the community” Continue reading

Let’s Not Get Careless, Folks. The Killer Virus Is Still Here & It’s Ready for a Sequel!

Ontario Hits Daily Record this this Friday, October 9th of 939 COVID-19 Cases!

Do We Really Want to Suffer Through Another Crippling Lockdown?

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

Posted October 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Congratulations to all of you anti-maskers and virus spreaders out there.

Yes indeed. Here is to what appears to be fairly robust anti-mask coalition right here in Niagara, Ontario – call them ‘Hugs Over Masks’ or whatever you will.

I can’t think of them as anything other than a bunch of Trump-like screwballs and COVID-19 liberators.

Here also is to the enablers and supporters on the current Niagara Regional Council, including West Lincoln Mayor David Bylsma, West Lincoln Regional Councillor Albert Wittenveen, Welland Regional Councillors Leanna Villela and others, and to even others in in our Niagara Reginal Government who bestowed legitimacy on these wackos by allowing them to waste more than an hour and a half of public time spewing their anti-mask garbage at a Regional Council meeting this past September.

I thought of those nuts and their enablers again this October 9th, when CBC posted the following news bulletin, and it simply reinforced my view that it is time for our Niagara Regional Council and those they allowed to spew their garbage for so long to CEASE AND DESIST.

The CBC report I am talking this October 9th  began like this –

Continue reading

Feds/Province Make New Commitment To Battery-Electric Vehicle Manufacturing In Ontario

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced this October 8th their commitment to Ford Motor Company of Canada’s investment in its Oakville Assembly Complex.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“Companies like Ford are helping accelerate our transition to a low-carbon, clean-growth economy, which will help protect our environment, drive innovation, and create many good middle class job.”                                                                  – Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

A News Release from the Government of Canada

Posted October 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

As we continue to address the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19, we are also working toward a sustainable and greener economic recovery that will create new jobs and opportunities for workers and businesses alike.

This is why we are supporting measures to accelerate our country’s clean energy transition, making zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) more affordable while investing in more charging stations across the country. This work will help ensure we can become a leading destination for the design, development, and manufacturing of the sustainable technologies of the future.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced this October 8th their commitment to Ford Motor Company of Canada’s investment in its Oakville Assembly Complex. Continue reading

Environmental Group Applauds Federal Government’s Pledge to Address Plastic Pollution

“Single-use plastics are one of the largest contributors to plastic waste and pollution in Canada, degrading ecosystems, harming wildlife, and, in many cases, are difficult to collect and recycle. It only makes sense to ban plastic items that we don’t really need and that wreak havoc on the environment.”

 

Statement from Environmental Defence’s Plastics Program Manager Ashley Wallis

Posted October 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario — We congratulate the federal government for announcing (this October 7th) its intention to regulate plastic production, use, and disposal using the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).

Duck tangled in discarded plastic rings used to hold beverage cans together.

This is a critical next step in the government’s plans to address plastic pollution and is a justified response to the plastics crisis in Canada.

Industry’s demand for a new plastics law is a blatant attempt to delay or block federal action, and we applaud the federal government’s refusal to bow to the chemical lobby. Continue reading

National Poll Shows Over 40 Percent of Canadians Are Self-Described Climate Voters

COVID-19 Crisis and Climate Crisis both important,  finds Friends of the Earth

 

News from Friends of the Earth, one of the world’s longest lasting environmental organizations

Posted October 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

In releasing a new national poll, Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth said, “Despite COVID-19, climate is clearly on the minds of Canadians. Forty-two percent of respondents described themselves as climate voters.

The findings of this poll point to a caring Canadian society that wants immediate pandemic relief while understanding that climate action is needed now to save future generations from grave harm”

The COVID-19 pandemic is seen as the most important issue that will have long term consequences by an equal number of males (36%) and females (35%). But women put climate change at the same level of concern (34%) as COVID-19 while men (22%) see it as the second most important issue. Continue reading

Canada One Step Closer To Zero Plastic Waste by 2030

Comprehensive plan includes banning harmful single-use plastic items like bags and straws

News from Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

Posted October 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Plastic is polluting our rivers, lakes, and oceans, harming wildlife, and generating microplastics in the water we use and drink. Every year, Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste, only 9%of which is recycled, meaning the vast majority of plastics end up in landfills and about 29,000 tonnes finds its way into our natural environment.

 

 

 

Canadians expect the Government to take action to protect the environment and to reduce plastic pollution across the country.

This October 7th, 2020 , Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the next steps in the Government of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030.

The plan will protect wildlife and our waters, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs. Continue reading

Niagara to be Site of Ontario’s Largest Renewable Natural Gas Plant, Says Province

Ford Government “Welcomes Construction of Largest Renewable Natural Gas Plant in the Province and New Program for Enbridge Customers”

“Innovative Niagara facility will transform landfill waste into clean, affordable energy and Create Jobs”

News from the Government of Ontario

Posted October 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

NIAGARA FALLS — Ontario will soon be home to a new renewable natural gas (RNG) facility, which will create local jobs, stimulate regional economic development, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

The Niagara Falls Renewable Natural Gas plant will be the largest of its kind in Ontario and will generate enough clean renewable energy from landfill waste to heat 8,750 homes across the country and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 48,000 tonnes. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Urged to ‘Fix the Testing Mess’ in Niagara

“How can this government continue to say their plan is working when someone in Niagara has to wait up to four days to just get a call back about a test?”                                                                           – St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

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

Posted October 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines) has urged Doug Ford to stop trying to save money off the backs of Niagara residents, and fix the testing mess in Niagara, that’s left local residents waiting for up to four days just to get a call back from an assessment centre to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test.

Over the weekend, the time to get a call back from Niagara assessment centres has doubled from up to two days to up to four days. Stevens shared the experience of a St. Catharines resident who has struggled to book a test so she can visit her grandmother in hospital. Continue reading

A Possibly Once In a Lifetime Chance for Niagara Residents to Preserve Our Region’s Natural Heritage.

Niagara’s Regional Government Is Giving Citizens Until This Coming Friday, October 9th – Just a Couple More Days – to Offer Their Feedback

An Urgent Message to All of Us from Liz Benneian, a Niagara, Ontario resident and member of the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee, a citizen-based conservation and environmental organization in Niagara

Posted October 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

We cannot allow vital natural resources like this, in Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario, be compromised or destroyed by narrow-minded politicians who march to the tune of the greediest in the development industry, in this Niagara region.

In the coming months, Niagara’s Regional Council will have a once in a lifetime chance to vote to preserve Niagara’s natural heritage for the future or to continue to allow it to be destroyed and paved over, leaving a devastated ecosystem to our children and grandchildren.

Niagara’s citizens also have a once in a lifetime opportunity to have their say. Given the development pressure Niagara Region is under, if the right choice isn’t made now, there will be nothing left to protect.

Public feedback on the options must be in by October 9th. Feedback can be as simple as saying you want the system that is most protective of our remaining natural environment and water resources.Feedback can be sent to Regional Planner Sean Norman at sean.norman@niagararegion.ca

As part of the Official Plan review, the Region must develop a Natural Heritage System (NHS) and a Water Resource System (WRS). The HNS and WRS plans will be brought to Council in the next couple of months. Continue reading

Join Niagara Health Coalition for a DAY OF ACTION for Quality Long-Term Care in Ontario

Day of Action Begins this Thursday, October 8th in Town of Beamsville, Niagara, Ontario (SEE DETAILS BELOW)

A Call-Out from the Niagara Health Coalition and its umbrella group, the Ontario Health Coalition

Posted October 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

We are calling for:

  • 1.     Immediate action by the Ford government to recruit & train staff, improve pay and working conditions and provide full-time work. The conditions of work are the conditions of care
  • 2.     The Ford government to implement a minimum care standard of 4-hours of hands-on care per resident per day.
  • 3.     Both our federal and provincial governments to end for-profit long-term care, starting by making Revera long-term care homes in Niagara public.

The funding and staffing announcements this week so far increase the money but the announced staffing is far less than needed and strings are not attached to ensure that care levels are actually increased. Continue reading

Another Public Meeting On The Controversial Thundering Waters Forest Project.

When Will This Assault on Niagara’s Natural Heritage End?

Join the Online Public Meeting, This  Coming Tuesday, October 6th, at 4:30 p.m. – More Details Below

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

Posted October 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Well here we are – going on five full years now – and the City of Niagara Falls, Ontario’s Mayor Jim Diodati’s is still hosting public meetings on one of a pet project, scorned by so many citizens across this Niagara region.

The pet project in question is a controversial plan to urbanize at least part of some sprawling green lands in a Niagara River watershed we have made pledge after pledge with our American neighbours to treat with care for present and future generations.

These lands, covering some 484-acres in the southwest end of Niagara Falls, have become known to many in Niagara and beyond our region’s borders as ‘Thundering Waters Forest’.

Why has Thundering Waters Forest become so well-known and such a topic of public concern. Continue reading

Niagara’s Public Health Unit and Others in Province Warn That They’re ‘Overwhelmed’ – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Horwath Calls For Urgent Public Health Investment, Stronger Measures To Stop The Spread

Niagara Public Health has re-assigned staff from programs like mental health to try to manage the caseload.” 

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

Posted October 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — As public health units warn that they’re overwhelmed, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the Ford government must not wait another moment to make massive investments in public health units, and implement stronger measures to stop the spread.

“Doug Ford’s attempt to save money by ignoring the second wave is costing Ontario much more than it should have,” said Horwath. “We now know that he ignored warnings about the second wave, denied requests from municipalities for public health support, and failed to strengthen protections in long-term care properly because he wanted to save a buck.” Continue reading

Ontario Government Announces Support for Training Niagara’s Personal Support Workers

“Niagara needs more personal support workers. … Through this investment, our government is helping hard-working people in Niagara train for this viable and important career path.”             – Ontario Government and Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff

A News Release from the Office of Ontario Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton

Posted October 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

ST. CATHARINES, Niagara – The Ontario government has invested $500,000 to help 92 Niagara-area residents train for careers as personal support workers (PSWs).

This training is helping people from all walks of life gain the skills they need to pursue careers providing care and comfort for those living in long-term care homes or at home with an illness or injury.

The announcement was made (this October 5th)  by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, at Lifetime Learning, the District School Board of Niagara adult education centre running the training program. Continue reading

Anti-Mask Screwballs in Our Midst Are Endangering Us All

All These Characters Are  Doing Through Their Selfish Words and Conduct is Liberating the COVID-19 Virus

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and commentator Doug Draper

Posted October 4rth, 2020 on Niagara At Large

How disturbing it was to log on to a general meeting of Niagara Regional Council this past September 17th and see some seven or eight residents from across the region, spouting just about every screwball argument out there against wearing masks as a protective measure during aCOVID-19 pandemic that is continuing to cause so much sickness and death, as well as emotional and economic pain.

Something close to an hour and a half of our Regional Council’s time was taken up listening to this bunch question everything from the effectiveness of face coverings and whether this virus constitutes a heath emergency at all, to a spouting of libertarian gibberish about what a gross assault mask by-laws are on our individual freedoms.

Freedom is Essential? So is your life and the lives of others! A recent anti-mask protest in the Toronto area, where daily COVID-19 cases are spiking back to spring-time levels.

About the only thing missing in the so-called “presentations” these people delivered to our elected representatives was a suggestion that we drink bleach or shoot up Lysol.

My first thought as I listened to all of this Trump-like nonsense was why is our Regional Council offering any more time to this than most of us would to some nut bar yelling this stuff from a soapbox in a park?

What’s on the agenda for the next council meeting? Another seven or eight characters still trying to convince the world that smoking cigarettes doesn’t cause lung cancer?

Upon asking these questions to a representative of the Region’s council, I was told that according to the rules in place for delegations, these citizens had a right to a maximum of 10 minutes each to address councillors. Continue reading

Annual Niagara ‘Nurturing Our Roots Powwow’ Is Coming Our Way – VIRTUALLY

The Niagara Regional Native Centre is hosting their 8th Annual Nurturing Our Roots Powwow VIRTUALLY this year

News from FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted October 4rth, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – This weekend (Saturday, October , the community would have normally gathered in Montebello Park for the 3rd and Sunday, October 4th) Niagara Regional Native Centre’s annual Nurturing Our Roots Powwow, which has become a highly anticipated part of Niagara’s fall season. In partnership with the FirstOntario PAC, the Powwow will go on – virtually!

“We’re hosting this mini Powwow to demonstrate our way of life. We usually have Powwows all year but to have something like this, even though small, is still big,” says Joe Shawana, Cultural Resource Coordinator for the Niagara Regional Native Centre.

The virtual Powwow will take place on Sunday 4 October as part of an upcoming series developed by the PAC to continue to amplify the voices of Niagara’s BIPOC communities. Continue reading

Our Niagara Region Still Has an Opportunity to Celebrate the Niagara River and Those Who Have Fought So Hard to Protect It

When Is Niagara, Ontario Going To Do What Our American Neighbours Have Done – Honour Those Who Have Worked to Restore the Niagara River to Environmental Health with a Global ‘Ramsar’ Designation

Why do we still not have elected leaders and public bodies on the Niagara, Ontario side of the Niagara River willing to do this?

A Commentary by Jocelyn Baker, a Niagara, Ontario resident and Canadian Co-chair, Niagara River Ramsar Designation Binational Steering Committee, with a Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted October 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Foreword by Doug Draper –

A year ago this October 3rd, our U.S. neighbours assembled near the mist of the Horseshoe and American Falls in Niagara Falls, New York to celebrate the designation of their side of the Niagara River corridor as a “Wetland of International Importance’ under a ‘Ramsar Convention’ signed in 1971 by 170 member nations around the world, including Canada.

Western New York area C-Chair of the Niagara River Ramsar Designation Binational Steering CommiteeJajean-Rose Burney, with his Canadian counterpart and Niagara, Ontario resident Jocelyn Baker, celebrating an international designation for the American side of the Niagara River, a year ago this October 3rd. After years of trying, we still can’t get this done on the Ontario side. What an embarrassment. What a disgrace!

Since the signing of the Ramsar designation almost 50 years ago, more than 2,300 sites around the globe, known for their natural beauty and rich biodiversity, have been designated as wetlands of international importance.

On October 3rd of last year, a large assembly of New Yorkers, including citizens, municipal leaders, state and federal leaders, and leaders of academic institutions on the American side of the border, came together to celebrate a Ramsar designation for their side of the Niagara River corridor. Continue reading

Trumps’ Positive Test is “Urgent Reminder” – ‘Wear A Mask, Follow Social Distancing Guidelines’

A Statement by Buffalo, New York-area Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins,  in Response to the U.S. President & First Lady Contracting COVID-19

Posted October 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Brian Higgins, U.S. Congressman (Democrat) for the Buffalo, New York area

Buffalo, New York – “News that the President and First Lady have tested positive for COVID-19 is an urgent reminder that everyone is vulnerable to this disease. While we wish the first couple a speedy recovery, these results should be a wake-up call to the Administration and an urgent reminder that we all must take this virus seriously.

“The President is the Commander in Chief of our armed forces at home and around the world. That his actions and those in his inner circle could have made such a transmission event possible should be a cause for concern to our national security.”

“Wearing a mask, adhering to social distancing guidelines, and following the advice of medical experts and scientists is not political; its common sense and lifesaving. Continue reading

Discarded Black Kitten Named ‘Midnight’ is Now in Caring Hands

“While black cats are sometimes difficult to re-home, dumping a kitten in a park, or anywhere other than bringing it to someone who can provide care, is unacceptable and cruel.”                                  – Kevin Strooband, Executive Director of the Lincoln County Humane Society

A cruelly discarded kitten, now named Midnight by  rescuers. Photo from the Lincoln County Humane Society

News from the Lincoln County Humane Society in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A cold-hearted individual visited the Murray Street Park in Grimsby this October 1st and discarded something valuable.

Shortly after, Lisa, who lives in Grimsby, was walking her dog in the park and noticed a cat carrier.  Lisa investigated and quickly realized, a small, less than 1 kilogram black kitten, was left in the park with nothing but the cat carrier.  Lisa picked up the kitten and promptly delivered it to the Lincoln County Humane Society.  Continue reading

Could New Niagara Falls Hospital Seal Fate for Thundering Waters Forest?

If All of The Development that Unfolded Around the West St. Catharines Hospital Serves as Any Example, the Answer May be ‘YES’

Niagara’s Hospital System to Hold Zoom Webinar for Public – This Thursday, October 1st, on Plans to Move Foreword with “South Niagara Hospital”

 

 

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher               Doug Draper

Posted September 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The original billboard, erected about seven years ago, way out at the southwest end of Niagara Falls at the proposed site for a new “Niagara South Hospital.” How many people in south Niagara really think this is a good site for a new hospital for the region’s southern tier munincipalities?

When I visited Niagara Health’s website earlier this September and read a notice that it is planning to hold an online “information session” this October 1st on the South Niagara Hospital project, my heart sank.

My first thought was this –

If Niagara Health (formerly known as the Niagara Health System (NHS), created by the former Ontario Mike Harris government to amalgamate Niagara’s system of hospitals), moves forward with this new “South Niagara Hospital” at this site – way out in the woods and fields lands in  the south-western end of Niagara Falls – all of the green areas in between that site and already developed areas closer to the upper Niagara River and Falls, will be urbanized in no time flat. Continue reading

Honouring Role Women Have Played, and Continue to Play in Canada’s History

“Over the past few months, women – and in particular low-income women – have been hit hardest by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Many have served bravely on the frontlines, risking their health to provide essential care and services to Canadians.” – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

A Statement on Women’s History Month from Canada’s Prime Minister

Posted October 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, (this October 1st) issued the following statement for Women’s History Month:

“Women have contributed enormously to making Canada the country we know today. During Women’s History Month, we celebrate the significant achievements of women and girls, but also reflect on the work still to be done so that they can all reach their full potential.

“This year’s theme – Because of You – honours the trailblazers, activists, and advocates who work to advance gender equality and the well-being of women and girls, in all their diversity, here in Canada and around the world. Continue reading

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Introduces Bill to Support Ontario’s Wineries

Wayne Gates Introduced A Bill At The Ontario Legislature To Create An Exemption For VQA and 100 Per Cent Ontario Wine From The 6.1 Percent Basic Tax 

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

Posted September 30the, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) introduced a bill Wednesday at the Ontario legislature to create an exemption for VQA and 100 per cent Ontario wine from the 6.1 percent Basic Tax paid on wine sold at winery retail stores.

“The wine industry is an incredibly important part of our community here in Niagara and the economic impact of COVID-19 has dealt a massive blow,” said Gates. “This legislation is an important step in creating a level playing field and assisting our wineries and growers during a difficult time.”

Gates’ bill, the Supporting Economic Recovery and Renewal in the Niagara Region Act, would create the tax exception for all on-site retail sales of VQA and 100 percent Ontario wine for all wineries in the province. Continue reading

Ontario Honours Survivors of Residential School System

Province of Ontario Marks Orange Shirt Day – Wednesday September 30th, 2020

A Statement from Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs,

Posted September 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — This September 30th, Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs, issued the following statement on Orange Shirt Day:

“Today, we acknowledge the long-lasting, multi-generational impact of the residential school system on Indigenous communities, our province and our country. For more than 100 years, Indigenous children across Canada were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools, where they were stripped of their language and culture. Continue reading

A Message to Niagara, Ontario Residents – “The Second Wave of the Virus is Here”

“We now have confirmation of what we have suspected for the last several weeks with the rise in COVID-19 infections.”

A Message from Niagara Health President Lynn Guerriero about the second wave of COVID-19

Niagara Health is the body that operates Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted  September 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – On the advice of his provincial experts, Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirmed yesterday that we are in the second wave and is cautioning that it may be more challenging than the first wave.

At this point in time, we have a higher number of daily infections in Ontario than we did with the first wave, including a single-day record of 700 cases reported on Monday. At Niagara Health, we have two patients in our care who are being treated for COVID-19.

Thankfully, we are in a strong position to respond to the second wave because of the hard work of our teams over the last six months. Continue reading

If You Care About Protecting Niagara’s Trees, Get Involved in This!

Key Niagara Region Committee Meeting Coming – This October 14th at 1 P.M. – on Proposed By-Law for Protecting and Preserving Trees in our Region

Find Out Below How You Can Have Your Say

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by a Notice from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted September 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

More than a decade has passed since Niagara’s Regional Government last updated its tree protection by-law, and many Niagara citizens have made it clear, in one way or another, that a revised by-law for better protecting what wooded areas Niagara has left is long overdue.

Over past decade, there have been numerous cases of trees being taken out with chainsaws or bulldozers. There would be an outcry from citizens who were often told that the laws in place for protecting trees do little or nothing to charge those who cut them down. Continue reading

An American Aviation Hero Joins Growing Call to ‘Vote Trump Out’

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

“For the first time in American history, a president has repeatedly shown utter and vulgar contempt and disrespect for those who have served and died serving our country. …. We owe it not only to those who have served and sacrificed for our nation, but to ourselves and to succeeding generations to vote him out.”                                                                                                        – Retired Airline Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted September 29th, 2020

Retired Captain Chesley ‘sully” Sullenberger with an image of that jet he glided safely to the waters of the Hudson River on January 15th, 2009.

Every time this Canadian finds myself feeling really down about what is going on south of the border with Trump and his cultish followers, there is at least a little something that gives me hope.

This September 29th, that hope came in the form of a newly released ad, produced by ex-Republican Party operatives calling themselves The Lincoln Project and by a U.S. military veterans organization called Vets Vote.

The ad, which will apparently be widely circulated on social media and American television networks features retired commercial airline Captain Captain Chesley Sullenberger – also known as ‘Sully’ – who, in January, 2009, became an overnight hero after he was forced to glide a crippled jet with 155 people aboard onto the cold waters of the Hudson River between the shores of New Jersey and Manhattan. Continue reading

50 Trees for 50 Years: Fall Tree Plantings in Lincoln

News from the Town of Lincoln

Posted September 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln, Ontario – As part of Lincoln’s celebratory 50^th anniversary year, 50 trees will be planted in several parks throughout the Town.

Beautification and decoration of public spaces helps to instill a sense of civic pride and support community belonging. Town staff work to beautify the public realm and animate spaces through year-round seasonal plantings and decorations.

To further support these beautification efforts, there is opportunity to commemorate the Town’s 50th anniversary in 2020 by installing legacy beautification pieces such as floral displays and new trees.

Tree planting locations will include:

Continue reading

Greater Niagara Chamber Wants More Ford Government Transparency on COVID-19 Decisions

“We ask that the Government of Ontario commit to greater transparency in dealing with the business community and the public at this very difficult time.”                                                                   – the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, Niagara, Ontario’s large organization representing  members of the region’s business community

A News Release from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Posted September 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Chamber asks Ontario government for more transparency on its decision making  around this virus

Niagara, Ontario – On September 25th, the Government of Ontario announced immediate changes applying additional measures and restrictions to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments.

The government stated that the decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, but did not reveal what the nature of that consultation was, who recommended the changes, who decided to legislate the changes, and what data that decision was based upon.

These changes will negatively impact many businesses which are already struggling to survive under the pressure of the pandemic. The GNCC does not prioritize business over public health, but simply asks that decisions which harm businesses include a clear and tangible demonstration of benefit to public health, with data that include projections of cases with and without the measure.

The GNCC offered similar suggestions when Niagara was not among the regions selected to move to Stage 2 of the provincial re-opening. While we respect the decision of the government and encourage all of our members to comply with legislation, the government’s case would be better-made if the data they were basing their decisions on, and the methods by which they reached them, were publicly available.

We ask that the Government of Ontario commit to greater transparency in dealing with the business community and the public at this very difficult time.

The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Niagara and the third-largest Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, with 1,600 members representing 50,000 employees.

More information on the GNCC is available at gncc.ca

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

Ontario’s NDP Hits Ford Government for ‘Doing Little or Nothing’ to Prevent a Second Wave

As COVID-19 Infections Hit The Highest-Ever Daily Count In Ontario – Now A Full 700 a Day –  NDP Leader Andrea Horwath Said It’s Clear Doug Ford’s So-Called Plan Isn’t Working

A Statement from Ontario Official Opposition and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted September 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Official Opposition and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK, Ontario — On the day (this September 28thy) that COVID-19 infections hit the highest-ever daily count in Ontario, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it’s clear Doug Ford’s incomplete, weeks-late so-called plan isn’t working — and she urged the government to make the investments needed to try to get ahead of the second wave, now.

“The Ford government is doing the bare minimum in order to save a buck, and it’s not working,” said Horwath.

“Parents are worried about their kids as COVID-19 cases climb in schools, families are worried about their grandparents as COVID-19 reignites in long-term care homes, and tens of thousands of people are waiting anxiously in self-isolation for their test results because of a backlog. It’s clear Doug Ford’s late, incomplete, so-called plan for the second wave isn’t working.” Continue reading

Trudeau to United Nations – “The World Is In Crisis. …“Our World Is Facing A Climate Reckoning!”

Canada’s PM Shares Words with UN about Climate Crisis That Many Wish He Would Live Up To At Home

Trudeau May Have One More Chance to Prove Himself a Leader on the Climate Front

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted September 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

I can’t count the number of times I have had friends from the United States – friends who are sick to their stomachs over Trump and all the damage he continues to do – say to me; ‘Any chance we can switch leaders with you? We really like Justin Trudeau.”

I understand what my American friends are saying, and I would just love it if I could like our Canadian prime minister as much as they do too.

Problem is that Justin Trudeau says an awful lot of things that, to liberal, progressive-minded people at least, sound good, then he turns around and either does little or nothing, or he allows he allows ideas from past federal governments or he comes up with ideas of his own that betray the good words he is speaking.

Take the climate crisis that is already taking such a costly toll on Canada and other regions around the world. Continue reading

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff Acclaimed as Ontario PC Party Candidate for Niagara West

“I look forward to continuing to faithfully represent and actively advocate for the needs and concerns of families and job creators in Niagara West at Queen’s Park.”                                                         – Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff 

Next Ontario Election is Now Just Twenty Months Away

News from Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Constituency Association for Niagara West

Posted September 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

BEAMSVILLE in Niagara, Ontario – Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West, has been formally acclaimed as the riding’s Progressive Conservative candidate leading into the next provincial general election.

In an online Zoom Meeting, Saturday, chaired by riding president, Tony Joosse, the executive and membership of the Progressive Conservative Constituency

Association of Niagara West endorsed the acclamation.

“On behalf of the Progressive Conservative Constituency Association of Niagara West, Provincial Nominations Committee and our great Premier, Doug Ford, I am pleased to declare and announce our dedicated and hardworking MPP, Sam Oosterhoff, as theOntario PC Partycandidate for the upcoming general election,” said Joosse. Continue reading

Niagara’s Ontario NDP Reps Roll Out Their Party’s “Save Main Street” Plan

An NDP Plan For Jobs And Financial Security Will Support Working People In Niagara

From left, Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch, St. Catharines resident and downtown worker Adelodun Olusola-Ajayi, St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens, St. Catharines resident and downtown worker Andrea Connely-Miele, and Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates. Photo by Doug Draper

News from the Constituency Offices of Niagara NDP MPPs Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines), Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) and Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre)

Posted September 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines, Ontario’s downtown has been undergoing a positive makeover in recent years that has been drawing more people to the city centre. File photo by Doug Draper

Niagara, Ontario – Ontario NDP MPPs Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines), Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) and Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) held a press conference in downtown St. Catharines this past Friday, September 25th to discuss “Save Main Street: A Plan for Jobs and Financial Security for Working People.”

Full details of the plan were released earlier in the day by Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath.

It’s a plan to help people and small businesses weather the second wave of economic challenges, and ensure working people are positioned to drive Ontario’s economic recovery, and bounce back healthier and more prosperous than ever. Continue reading

A Call-Out to All of Us to Take a Stand for Something Life-Sustaining – The Trees on Our Planet!

Plan for Planting In The Fall, Plant Trees In The Spring – Now Is The Time To Advance A Canada-Wide Tree Planting Strategy

“With our dedicated partners, we already plant about three million trees a year from coast to coast in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador.”                                                                                                        – Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada

An Opinion Piece by Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester and CEO of Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

As Canadians, we need to ask ourselves this question – how do we build upon and deploy large-scale tree planting efforts such as the Two Billion Tree Program envisioned by Prime Minster Trudeau?

We are not alone with this idea. According to ETH Zurich University, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations, planting one trillion trees around the world may be one of the most effective ways to combat climate change impacts.

To respond to our moral and global responsibilities, and since Canada is able to contribute to the world’s growing need for trees and new forests, I say it is time we build on the Prime Minister’s visionary Two Billon Tree promise announced near Belleville last September with a climate focused national tree planting strategy. Continue reading

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates Calls on Ford Government to Provide OHIP Coverage for Prostate Cancer Testing

“We have universal health care coverage but somehow don’t cover this test which can save lives.”                                                     – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

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

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates. File photo

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) tabled a motion in the Ontario legislature Thursday calling on the Ford government to provide OHIP coverage for prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer.

“Early detection of prostate cancer saves lives. When detected early, the survival rate for prostate cancer is close to 100 per cent. Ontario is currently one of only two Canadian provinces that do not cover the cost of the PSA test for men upon physician referral,” said Gates.

“We have universal health care coverage but somehow don’t cover this test which can save lives. Now, more than ever, we see the importance of access to health care. When people can’t spare the money they choose not to get tested, we can put an end to that and make sure everyone can get the test. This will catch more cases of prostate cancer early and save lives.” Continue reading

Have Your Say On Niagara Region’s 2021 Budget Priorities

“Your opinion matters. Please take the time to help shape the 2021 budget process by participating in this short survey (linked in the post below).”                                                                                       – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

An Invite to All Niagara Citizens from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Work to determine Niagara Region’s 2021 budget is underway. Through the budget  process, choices are made to ensure the Region continues to provide services at a level that residents expect.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our community hard. Your Regional government wants to learn more about which municipal services you value and believe should remain a priority during this challenging time. Continue reading