Author Archives: dougdraper

Brock University in Niagara Prepared For Province-Wide Lockdown

‘With Niagara being moved into the lockdown classification, Brock will move into its Stage 1 effective Thursday, Dec. 24 at noon.’

A News Release from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted December 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Brock University, with the original old ‘Brock Tower’ in the background.

Further steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 were announced by the Ontario government on Monday, Dec. 21 with a province-wide lockdown coming later this week.

Effective Saturday, Dec. 26, the Niagara region will join the rest of the province in moving into a lockdown under Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework. This will be effective for at least 28 days until Friday, Jan. 22.

Brock University had previously announced it was moving into Stage 2 of its own Stages of Response and Recovery plan<https://brocku.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/216/Stages-for-Pandemic-Response-and-Recovery-Report.pdf> effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Dec. 21 to align with the government moving Niagara region into the Red (Control) classification. Continue reading

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey Announces Funding Support for Legions

A News Release from the Niagara Centre Constituency Office of Federal Representative Vance Badawey

Posted December 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey

Welland, Ontaro – This December 21st, Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey announced $32,535.15 in funding from the Government of Canada to support the Rose City Legion, Thorold Legion, and Port Colborne & Humberstone Legion, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.

This funding will assist our local veteran organizations with their operational costs so they can continue providing important support for Veterans.

The Veterans Organizations Emergency Support Fund is part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to protect jobs, provide emergency support and keep businesses afloat through the pandemic. Organizations such as our Legions, play a critical role in the well-being of Veterans, their families and the community. Continue reading

New Visitor Restrictions at Niagara Health Emergency Depts. and Urgent Care Centres

“We regret any inconvenience this may cause patients and their loved ones, but these measures are in place for everyone’s safety.” – Derek McNally, Niagara Health’s Executive Vice President of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive.

A News Release from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted December 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Health is implementing new restrictions for visitors at our Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres, effective this just-past Monday, December 21st at noon.

Niagara Health regularly reviews and updates its safety measures based on COVID-19 activity to ensure the hospital remains a safe environment. Emergency Departments and Urgent Care Centres are busy areas of the hospital and these additional measures are necessary to maintain proper physical distancing. These changes have been made in collaboration with our Patient Partners. Continue reading

Ontario Announces Province-Wide Shutdown to Stop Spread of COVID-19 and Save Lives

Government Providing Grants of up to $20,000 to Small Businesses Impacted by New Public Health Measures

“The number of daily cases continue to rise putting our hospitals and long-term care homes at risk. We need to stop the spread of this deadly virus.”                                                                                        – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A News Release from the Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted December 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

TORONTO, Ontario — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a Province-wide Shutdown.

Additional restrictions will be put into place and reinforce that Ontarians should stay at home as much as possible to minimize transmission of the virus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. The Province-wide Shutdown will go into effect as of Saturday, December 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Naveed Mohammad, President and CEO, William Osler Health System. Continue reading

Look to the Skies – This Monday, December 21st, 2020 after Sunset – for a Rare Look at the “Christmas Star”

Skywatchers Call It “The Great Conjunction”. Beginning this December 21st and for the Next Few Weeks, It is also a Great (and most welcome) Diversion from COVID-19 and Related Madness

Posted by Niagara At Large publisher and reporter Doug Draper

December 21st, 2020

“Skywatchers are in for an end-of-year treat,” begins a recent news release from NASA.

“What has become known popularly as the “Christmas Star,” continues the news release, “is an especially vibrant planetary conjunction easily visible in the evening sky over the next two weeks as the bright planets Jupiter and Saturn come together, culminating on the night of Dec. 21.”

“In 1610, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei pointed his telescope to the night sky, discovering the four moons of Jupiter – Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. In that same year, Galileo also discovered a strange oval surrounding Saturn, which later observations determined to be its rings. These discoveries changed how people understood the far reaches of our solar system.

“Thirteen years later, in 1623, the solar system’s two giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, traveled together across the sky. Jupiter caught up to and passed Saturn, in an astronomical event known as a “Great Conjunction.”  …

For more details on when and where to watch for this rare event in our skies, check out the NASA news release and a related Globe and Mail newspaper story below.

To read the full NASA media release, with details on when and where to watch for this sky spectacular, click on https://www.nasa.gov/feature/the-great-conjunction-of-jupiter-and-saturn

To read a Globe and Mail report on the Great Conjuction, including an audio report, click on https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-how-to-see-and-photograph-the-great-conjunction-of-2020/ .

To watch it when or after it happens, try clicking on the screen, at the appropriate time, immediately below –

 

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

Canadians Need ‘Accurate Info’ on New Variant of Killer Virus in United Kingdom

Canada Federal Conservative Party Statement Regarding Genetic Variant of the COVID-19 Virus

Posted December 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A Brief Note here from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper – I would buy as much o what this character says about COVID-19 as I would buy a Brexit plan from him. He operates in the same dead zone as his old friend Donald Trump.

OTTAWA, Ontario – The Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister for Health, issued the following statement calling on the Trudeau Liberals to provide Canadians with information about the new genetic variant of COVID-19 identified in the United Kingdom:

“Canadians are looking for accurate information about the new variant of COVID-19 that has been identified in the United Kingdom. The ties between our two countries are extremely close, with many Canadians’ families overseas.

“I am pleased that the Prime fMinister is convening a meeting of the Incident Response Group this afternoon.  It is imperative that the Trudeau government provide Canadians with information and proactively respond to the following questions:

Continue reading

A CODE RED Message from St. Catharines’ Mayor – Wear Face Covering, Whenever Possible, Stay Home!

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

“This second wave of COVID-19 is overwhelming our healthcare systems and has had a serious impact on our long-term care homes in Niagara. We are on the verge of losing the battle against COVID-19 in Niagara – and if we do not get everyone – every family and every business – focused on removing the opportunities for the virus to move about our city, more people will become sick, more people will die.”                                                                                          – St. Catharines, Ontario Mayor Walter Sendzik

A Statement from St. Catharinges, Ontario Mayor Sendzik on Niagara Region moving into RED category of the provincial COVID-19 response framework

Posted December 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

Downtown St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario. File photo by Doug Draper

Niagara, Ontario – This past Friday, December 18th, the Ontario government is placing Niagara Region – along with a number of other regions, into the RED category of the provincial COVID-19 response framework.

This means, that effective Monday, Dec. 21, there will be a number of broader-scale measures and restrictions<https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-response-framework-keeping-ontario-safe-and-open#red> across multiple sectors – to stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes changes to the City’s recreation programs and facilities.

Please see www.stcatharines.ca/covid19<http://www.stcatharines.ca/covid19> for information on City programs and services, and watch the page regularly for updates.

This second wave of COVID-19 is overwhelming our healthcare systems and has had a serious impact on our long-term care homes in Niagara.

We are on the verge of losing the battle against COVID-19 in Niagara – and if we do not get everyone – every family and every business – focused on removing the opportunities for the virus to move about our city, more people will become sick, more people will die and more healthcare workers will suffer the stresses of a system-wide breakdown.

While the province is suggesting tighter restrictions may be announced next week, we need to continue to take a bundled approach to keep our community safe regardless of any future announcements.

We must act quickly and aggressively to stop the spread of COVID-19. To achieve this we MUST do the following:

  *   Maintain physical distancing

  *   Wear a face covering

  *   Wash your hands frequently

  *   Stay home

The only way to flatten the curve is to reduce points of contact. This means – no private house parties, no hosting dinner parties, and do not have your children or teenagers attending large gatherings in anyone’s house. These measures will greatly reduce points of contact and help to drive down COVID-19.

As we head into the final week before Christmas, please limit any travel in the community. Support small local businesses in any way you can, but also try to limit your points of contact. Curbside pick up, gift cards and pre-ordering products is a great way to both support local businesses and limit your own exposure to COVID-19.

Check out www.loveSTC.ca<http://www.loveSTC.ca> for some great ideas.

We are months away from a level of vaccinations that would be able to combat the spread of COVID-19. Now is not the time to let up and let other people do the heavy lifting of protecting our community. The greatest gift we can give each other right now is to stay home.

In the wake of Red Zoning in Niagara, Ontario, The Town of Lincoln circulated the following release on new restrictions in that Niagara municipality. To read the release, click on – https://mailchi.mp/e0a59d604302/statement-from-mayor-sandra-easton-and-chief-administrative-officer-michael-kirkopoulos-on-recent-cases-of-covid-19-in-lincoln-12973674?e=6d96d8ed62 .

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

Long-Term Home Care Staff Continue Getting the Shaft from Ontario’s Ford Government

Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch Responds for NHS staff and Niagara LTC staff, who continue to inform him about be ing unpaid for self-isolation when exposed to COVID-19 at work.

An Open Letter to Official Opposition Critic for Municipal Affair, Hon. Christine Elliot. Ontario Ministry of Health from Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

Posted December 21st/ 2020 on Niagara At Large

OPEN LETTER

Dear Minister Elliot,

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

I am writing to you today as a follow-up to my original letter sent to you on November 19, 2020, to which I have yet to receive a reply.

Dozens of health care workers have reached out to my office since the original letter, pleading for assistance. Nurses working in hospitals and long-term care homes are reporting that when their employers or health and safety officials direct them to isolate due to COVID exposure, they are not allowed to take sick days or get paid.

One nurse was exposed to COVID by a person in their bubble. OCC Health mandated them to stay home until they received a negative test, but said they could not take sick time or be paid. Continue reading

Dear U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi- Please Lift America Above the Moral Morass It is In – American Folk Singer Legend and Activist, Joan Baez

From Joan Baez to Nancy Pelosi, on Joan Baez’s Facebook Page

Posted December 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Joan Baez

(A Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper – Why am I posting this? Well because Joan Baez remains one of the greatest living activists for world peace and justice of our times. That is why. She was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the early 1960s when Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech and she was there for his funderal after he was assinated by a bullet of intolerance and hate in 1968. Love and peace to you Joan. Long may you live on. – Doug Draper.)

Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for not mincing words about the 126 Republicans who joined the lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General. As you said: “Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions.”

But in these virulent times are words enough? Continue reading

Niagara Region Moving to Red Zone Shows Desperate Need for More Action

A Statement from Niagara, Ontario’s Three NDP MPPs

Posted December 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens and Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch released the following  statement in response to the Niagara, Ontario  region being moved to the Red-Control Zone

From left, Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch, Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates and St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens

Niagara, Ontario — “Our communities are facing longer and deeper lockdowns, once again, because Doug Ford failed to take action and invest the money we needed in our health and safety.

It should never have come to this. If Ford had stepped up earlier with paid sick days and family care days so people didn’t have to go to work when they’re unwell, testing in our schools and workplaces and more funding for our local health units to test and contact trace, we could have avoided this.

Instead, Ford decided to sit back and wait for the vaccine, knowing it’s still months before everyone is vaccinated.

Our thanks and praise go to everyone in the Niagara region, particularly our frontline heroes, who are working hard to prevent the spread, and our condolences go out to all those that have had their lives touched by COVID.”

The three NDP MPPs at a news conference in downtown St. Catharines this past fall, for the launch of an NDP plan to support Ontario’s main street businesses.

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

Niagara At Large is Taking a Rest – Just for a Few Days

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

Posted December 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I have never known a cat in my life – however dynamic – that has not needed a nap every once in a while.

Well, with your patience, Niagara At Large is taking a little one now, if only until the coming week leading up to Christmas when we will once again be posting more news and commentary about the issues and the crazy world around us – in earnest! Continue reading

Niagara Falls, Ontario Hospital Hit With Another COVID Outbreak

COVID-19 outbreak declared on Greater Niagara General Trillium Unit

News from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted December 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Health has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 on the Trillium Unit at the Greater Niagara General Site in Niagara Falls.

The outbreak was called after four patients and two healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19. All of the cases are healthcare associated.

“The safety of everyone at our hospital sites is our top priority, and our Infection Prevention and Control experts, working with our Occupational Health and Safety team and Niagara Region Public Health, is monitoring this situation closely,” says Derek McNally, Niagara Health Executive Vice President Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executives. “We have taken immediate steps to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and physicians.” Continue reading

COVID Case Count in Ontario Hits Another Record High

With Daily Count Hitting 2,275, Province’s Official Opposition Leader Says ‘Just Waiting for a Vaccine is a Dangerous Plan’

A Statement from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted December 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Horwath responds to exploding COVID case numbers as Ford waits for vaccine

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Party Leader Andrea Horwath

HAMILTON, Ontario — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement in response to today’s (this December 15th, 2020) daily COVID-19 case numbers surging past the 2,000-mark to a record-high 2,275:

“Today’s exploding COVID-19 case numbers in Ontario are the biggest alarm bell yet that just waiting for a vaccine is a dangerous plan.

Doug Ford has been withholding $12 billion in COVID-19 funding, and it would be wrong of him to keep sitting on it.

As we head into the holidays, Mr. Ford is condemning families to more pain and suffering because he just doesn’t want to spend the money, so instead he’s waving a white flag in the fight against COVID. Continue reading

Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Launches Country-Wide Plan to Plant Two Billion Trees

Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan

“Planting two billion trees is more than a plan for climate action. It’s a plan for creating thousands of good, green jobs. We’re confronting the urgency of climate change and getting trees in the ground starting this spring.”                                                     – Seamus O’Regan, Federal Minister of Natural Resources

“The federal government’s commitment to fighting climate change, protecting forests, and creating good jobs – particularly through planting two billion trees across Canada by 2030 – is good news.”                                            – Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario/Forest Recovery Canada

News from Natural Resources Canada, followed by a response from Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada

Posted December 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

OTTAWA, Ontario  – This December 14th, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, launched the Government of Canada’s plan to plant two billion trees over 10 years, with an investment of $3.16 billion. Meeting this commitment will help Canada address climate change by reducing carbon pollution and is a key part of Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

There is no path to net-zero emissions that does not involve our forests. Planting trees is a natural climate solution that reduces emissions while providing other benefits such as improved air and water quality, particularly in urban settings; decreased risk of wildland fire to rural communities and support for biodiversity. It also provides spaces for recreational opportunities that improve quality of life and form part of our Canadian identity.

Canada’s plan to plant two billion trees over the next ten years is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 12 megatonnes by 2050. It will create up to 4,300 good jobs. Continue reading

Ontario Delivers First COVID-19 Vaccine in the Country

“This is a watershed moment – the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic. The light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter every day, but we must remain on our guard.”                  – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A News Release from the Government of Ontario

Posted December 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued the following statement on the first COVID-19 vaccinations being administered to frontline health care workers in Ontario and in the country:

“Today (this Monday, December 14th, 2020) is a historic day for Ontario and for Canada as the first Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines have started to be given to our frontline health care heroes.

I would especially like to recognize Anita Quidangen, the first person in Ontario and Canada to receive the shot. Anita is a personal support worker (PSW) from the Rekai Centre at Sherbourne Place, a long-term care home in Toronto.

 

 

She has worked tirelessly to care for some of our most vulnerable, both throughout this pandemic and since her first days as a PSW in 1988. Anita has spent years rolling up her sleeves to protect our province, and today, she didn’t hesitate to find a new way to do so. She represents the best of the Ontario Spirit. Continue reading

COVID-19 Outbreak Declared at Welland Hospital Site

Welland Site’s Extended Care Unit Confirms One Positive Case

A News Release from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted December 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario’s Welland Hospital site confirms COVID-19 outbreak.

Niagara, Ontario – An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared at the Extended Care Unit, Welland Site, effective this past Sunday, December 13th.

One staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 following routine surveillance, which meets provincial guidelines to call an outbreak in a long-term care setting. This is a community-acquired case. The staff member is isolating at home and contact tracing has taken place.

“We are taking all necessary steps to create the safest possible environment for the residents and staff,” says Derek McNally, Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive. Continue reading

Of Course the Canada-U.S. Border Crossings Will Remain Closed

Ten Months In, Border Shutdown Remains for All But “Essential Traffic” Extended Until At Least January 21st, 2021

So Why Is It That Thousands of ‘Canadian Snowbirds’ Get to Fly Down to a COVID-19 ‘Death Zone’ Like Florida?

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

Posted December 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Since March of this tyear, when Canada-U.S. border crossings were first closed due to the pandemic, crossings like the Peace Bridge have remained a bridge too far for all but essential (mostly commercial) traffic.

Given the horrific numbers of people now dying and being tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States, it goes without saying that Canada’s Prime Minister would announce, once again, that the Peace Bridge and all other Canada-U.S. border crossings here and from sea to polluted sea have been closed for at least one more month now.

The border crossing ban, for all but “essential,” mostly commercial traffic, began last March when the first serious outbreaks of Coronavirus began, and probably few of us believed that governments – mostly the “It will disappear like a miracle Trump nut show – would handle it all so badly, that we would still be hear with a border ban today.

“Oh, it will probably only be a few months,” I recall many saying of the border restrictions back then. Continue reading

Despite Blow from Ford Government, Niagara’s Conservation Authority Determined to Soldier On

Brenda Johnson, Hamilton city councillor and Chair of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board

“The NPCA is thankful to its partner municipalities, residents, nature clubs, professional associations, not-for-profit organizations, volunteers, community groups, and many others who made a difference by voicing their support for the important work of conservation authorities. …We are especially grateful to our local media for their ongoing coverage and helping us keep our communities informed.                                                                               – Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Board Chair  Brenda Johnson

A News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)

Posted December 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

NPCA REMAINS COMMITTED TO KEEPING PEOPLE AND PROPERTY SAFE AND CONSERVING THE WATERSHED’S NATURAL RESOURCES

On December 8th, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 229 Budget Measures Act, along with Schedule 6 approving changes to the Conservation Authorities Act.

While the NPCA was hoping for full withdrawal of Schedule 6, as it presents significant challenges related to its planning and permitting activities and defending lands as the second largest landowner in Ontario, partial success was achieved.

During the process, amendments to Schedule 6 addressed conservation authorities’ enforcement activities, as well as several governance-related concerns pertaining to the appointment and duties of Board members. Continue reading

Canada’s Federal Government ‘Accelerates’ Action on Climate Change

Prime Minister Announces Canada’s Strengthened Climate Plan to Protect Environment, Create Jobs, and Support Communities

News from the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada

Posted December 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

As we continue to address the challenges of today and the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada remains focused on meeting the tests of the future.

Climate change is the biggest long-term threat of our generation, but it is also the greatest economic opportunity.

By accelerating action to fight climate change and rebuilding a more sustainable and resilient economy, we can create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians, while also ensuring cleaner air and water for our kids and grandkids.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, (this December 11th) announced Canada’s strengthened climate plan, A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy, which will help achieve our economic and environmental goals. Continue reading

You Are Invited to a 100th Birthday Celebration of One of Niagara, Ontario’s – AND CANADA’S – Great Fire Halls

WELLAND’S CENTRAL FIRE STATION CELEBRATES 1OOth BIRTHDAY VIRTUALLY

Find Out Below How You Can Go Online – This Coming Thursday, December 17th, 2020 – To Enjoy What This Heritage Gem Has to Offer

Welland’s iconic old Fire Hall – one of the best of the still standing fire stations of its kind in Canada – is celebrating its 100th Birthday. We all have to make sure that it is saved.

Niagara, Ontario – On Dec. 17, 1920, with the official opening of the Central Fire Station, firefighting and public safety in Welland rolled into the 20th Century.

A stylish and practical $43,851 fire hall, built on an easy-to-exit 45-degree angle at Hellems Avenue and Division Street, contained the latest firefighting features of the period.

For the hall’s centennial on Dec. 17, 2020, the Central Station Education Initiative (CSEI), which leases the closed fire hall from the city, had planned to hold an “at home”, a traditional fire department open house. Continue reading

Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake Wins Prestigious Heritage Award

Niagara, Ontario Town Receives National Trust’s 2020 Prince of Wales Prize

News from The National Trust, a Canada-wide organization that encourages and honours communities that engage in heritage stewardship

Posted December 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

One look at Queen Street in the old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake in Niagara, Ontario

Recognized for its sustained commitment to heritage conservation over time, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a compelling example of resilience grounded in built heritage.

It is the recipient of the National Trust’s 2020 Prince of Wales Prize, which recognizes communities and their local governments for the successful heritage stewardship of a town, city, First Nations reserve or community, rural region, or district.

Niagara-on-the-Lake is a community that is proud of its past. Founded in the late 18th century, it is a living illustration early 19th century Upper Canada.

A National Historic Site of Canada, Niagara-on-the-Lake boasts an extraordinary collection of residential, commercial, ecclesiastical and institutional buildings, many on their original sites close to the street. Continue reading

COVID-19 Outbreak Declared at Greater Niagara General Site in Niagara Falls

News from Niagara Health, the body managing the amalgamation of hospital sites in Niagara, Ontario

Posted December 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – An outbreak of COVID-19 has been declared today on the inpatient Unit C at Niagara Health’s Greater Niagara General Site in Niagara Falls.

The outbreak was declared as a result of three healthcare-associated cases of COVID-19 involving two patients and a healthcare worker.

Our Infection Prevention and Control team, working with Niagara Region Public Health and our Occupational Health and Safety team, is monitoring the situation closely. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford/Oosterhoff Regime Renders Another Blow to Our Natural Heritage

Ontario Government Betrays People of Ontario in Favour of Bad Developers with the Passage of ‘Schedule 6’ in 2020 Budget Bill

A New Release from the David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, Land Over Landings, Ontario Nature, Rescue Lake Simcoe Coalition, Simcoe County Greenbelt Coalition, Wilderness Committee

Posted December 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Now that Ontario has passed Bill 229 and its attack on Conservation Authorities, the job of protecting wetlands, forests, drinking water and quality of life falls to ordinary citizens

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Tory minions, including Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, turn their back on us. They have chosen the side of the worst of the worst in the province’s development industry. Our natural heritage can go to hell.

Toronto, Ontario  – This December 8th, the Ontario Government ignored a deafening chorus of expert warnings, to instead reward the worst developers and land speculators by incapacitating the system that protects source water and guards Ontarians against flooding, landslides and other environmental disasters.

Members of the Greenbelt Council, non-partisan regulators, legal analysts, municipalities, NGOs and farmers, together with tens of thousands of Ontarians of all political stripes and walks of life, have warned the government of the dire consequences of “Schedule 6” amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act.

These changes will let developers dump, build and excavate largely unchecked in high-risk areas, risking impaired water quality, property damage, and environmental degradation, and endangering public safety across the province. Continue reading

Hey Mr. Premier, Waiting for a Vaccine Isn’t a Plan – Ontario Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Horwath Wants Legislature To Return Immediately To Get To Work Protecting People From Second Wave

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

HAMILTON, Ontario — “Doug Ford is waving the white flag in the fight against COVID-19, and just waiting for a vaccine now,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

On Tuesday (December 8th), Doug Ford ended the session of the legislature early — and Horwath said that’s despite the fact that Ford hasn’t done the things people need to stay safe until the vaccine is delivered. She’s calling for the legislature to return immediately, so MPPs can pass more protections and support for people, who likely still have to get through months before vaccines are available to all.

“Sending MPPs home to have a holiday break at the height of the pandemic is wrong,” said Horwath. Continue reading

Canada Must Act Now To Head Off Rising Costs Of Climate Change, Experts Warn

“As climate change accelerates, no individual, province or sector will be immune. Now more than ever, we cannot afford to ignore massive future costs—especially those that we have the power to manage.”                                                                                                             – Kathy Bardswick, President, Canadian Institute for Climate Choices

A News Release from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, with a Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted December 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Foreword by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

This sticker in place of the one Ford forced gas stations to display on their pumps to protest the federal government’s efforts to put a price on climate ravaging carbon pollution.. The courts recently ruled against Ford trying to make the display of his anti-carbon pricing stickers mandatory.

Almost every time public debate turns to what we need to do now – collectively as regions, provinces, states and countries – to address a climate crisis that is already doing major damage to our natural resources and to properties and communities, we get extreme right-wing politicians like Doug Ford in Ontario, Jason Kenney in Alberta and Donald Trump in the United States arguing that taking the real action that is needed and moving toward a green economy is going to cost too much.

In Ontario, we have witnessed Premier Doug Ford and the anti-environmental protection ideologues that make up his Trump-like party, spend tens of millions of our tax dollars fighting Canada’s federal government’s efforts to, at the very least, put a modest price on climate-ravaging carbon pollution. Continue reading

Brock Prof’s ‘Love Actually’ Spoof Goes Viral

Professor’s Video Aimed At Staying Connected With Students During Pandemic

“It’s just insane. I think it resonated with people doing online teaching right now and struggling to make that connection, especially now as the holidays are approaching,”                              – Brock Prof Lori MacNeil says of online reaction to video

A News Release from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted December 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Brock University Lori MacNeil goes viral with video featuring a staying connected message to students

Niagara, Ontario – Brock University Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Lori MacNeil prides herself on connecting with students and making them feel engaged in the classroom.

So, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced her third-year genetics course to go fully online, she wanted to make sure that connection didn’t get lost.

Since the start of the Fall Term, MacNeil has been making increasingly complex introductions to her weekly BIOL 3P51 lesson videos. They have ranged from a brief magic show from Arrested Development’s Gob Bluth to her starting the class with a ‘press conference’ in front of the Four Seasons (Total Landscaping).

But her most recent intro topped them all, with MacNeil recording a holiday-themed mashup video<https://twitter.com/loriamacneil/status/1334181798612508674?s=21> with clips from the famous doorstep scene in the movie Love Actually. MacNeil replaces the character Mark with herself, using paper signs to silently tell Juliet (played by Keira Knightly) about how she hopes they’ll be in a classroom together again soon … but how in the meantime, Juliet still has to watch one more lecture, and study for an upcoming exam. Continue reading

Ford/Oosterhoff Government Passes Bill to Gut Conservation Authorites

Despite  Opposition from Countless Thousands of Citizens Across Ontario, the Infamous ‘Schedule 6’ in Ford’s 2020 Budget Bill – Was Rammed Through this December 8th

Bill Passage Also Means Conservation Authority Boards Will Be Raped of Citizen Members, and Environmental Protection Role Will Be Castrated

A Brief Foreword Note from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted December 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Conservative minions, including his puppet in the Niagara West riding, Sam Oosterhoff, have now made it clear where they stand on environmental protection – and it isn’t on the side of our kids and their future. We have got to turf them out.

It may come as little or no surprise to anyone that Ontario’s Ford government – in bed with the most morally bankrupt and corrupt members of the province’s land speculators, farmers and developers as it is – would ultimately pass a 2020 budget, bill with a schedule built into it, to destroy any powers that the province’s 36 Conservation Authorities have to speak out for what is left of our natural heritage.

Why in hell would you want to protect what is left of our natural heritage when some greedy bastard with chainsaws and bulldozers can make another buck paving it over?

For this veteran journalist, who began work as a full-time environment reporter at The St. Catharines Standard 40 years ago, I have been witnessing this Ford government destroy at least that many decades of environmental protection progress by so many dedicated citizens in this Niagara region and others, and it is heartbreaking.

I know that there are many others in this Niagara region and others, in the development industry, in corporate agriculture and in land speculation, who won’t give a shit about my heartbreak or anyone else’s, but here we are. Continue reading

Remembering the Death of a Beatle – Forty Years On

“There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone, and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead, and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all.”

  • From The Beatles song ‘In My Life’, with lyrics by John Lennon

By Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted December 8th, 2020 on NAL

John Lennon, the way I will so often remember him during the height of The Beatles years in the 1960s

I went to work 40 years ago today – it was Monday, December 8th, 1980 and I was about a year and half in to my first job as a reporter for The St. Catharines Standard – and I was still flying high from what is still one of the greatest rock concerts I have ever seen, just four days earlier

On December 4th, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band took the stage at the old Buffalo Aud., and from the countdown to ‘Born to Run’ to almost five hours later (Springsteen was famous for doing those marathon concerts at the time), those of us who were fortunate enough to be there were in Rock and Roll ecstasy.

For me, it almost made up for not seeing The Beatles when I was a kid, although right up to December 8th, I still entertained dreams that a Beatles reunion and a concert I may be lucky enough to get a ticket to could still happen. Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP to Ontario Premier – ‘Stop Attack on Niagara’s Environment!’

NDP MPP for Niagara Falls Wayne Gates stood up in the Ontario legislature this December 7th  to tell Doug Ford to stop attacking the environment

Our kids’, our grandkids’ futures are at stake. … Stop the attack now. We must stand up for our greenbelt, our environment, our climate, our kids and our grandkids.”                                                        – Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

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

Posted December 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP for Niagara Falls Wayne Gates stood up in the Ontario legislature Monday (December 7th) to tell Doug Ford to stop attacking the environment by gutting the province’s conservation authorities.

This weekend David Crombie, chair of the Greenbelt Council, and six of its members, resigned in protest against the Ford government’s pushing through changes to the Conservation Authorities Act in the budget omnibus bill.

“For weeks, my colleagues and myself have been highlighting the shameful decision the of this government to sneak in damaging anti-environmental legislation underneath the smokescreen of the budget.

These recent resignations further prove that this government’s priorities when it comes to the environment are all wrong. They want to tear up 80 years of environmental protection and help their developer friends pave over the greenbelt. Continue reading

Major Ontario Architects Group Joins Fight to Spare Conservation Authorities from Doug Ford’s Axe

Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO)  joins thousands calling for withdrawal of Ford Government’s  Bill 229 Schedule 6

“ACO’s mandate is to encourage the conservation of culturally significant landscapes. We strongly oppose the removal of the excellent protection which Ontario’s Conservation Authorities have provided.”                                                                                                  – ACO Board of Directors Chair Kae Elgie

A News Release from Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO)

Posted December 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) has joined the hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals calling for the withdrawal of Bill 229 Schedule 6, the portion of the Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 (Budget Measures) Act which would limit the powers of Conservation Authorities to comment on land use planning decisions.

“ACO’s mandate is to encourage the conservation of culturally significant landscapes,” said ACO Board of Directors Chair Kae Elgie. “We strongly oppose the removal of the excellent protection which Ontario’s Conservation Authorities have provided.”

The proposed legislation removes highly trained and experienced scientists and engineers and 75 years of Conservation Authorities’ experience from the land use planning process. Continue reading

More Resignations at Ontario Greenbelt Council Are “Alarm Bells” – Official Opposition Party Critic

Six more Greenbelt Council resign in protest to Ford Government’s Move to Gut Environmental Rules and Conservation Authorities

“Conservation Authorities are key to the future of watershed planning in Ontario. … The steps taken in (the Ford Government’s Budget Bill) ill 229 (to gut the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and province’s 36 other CAs), put decades of excellent work across city and regional boundaries at risk.”                                                                                                              – from a resignation letter by Ontario Greenbelt Council member Leith Moore

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted December 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — Peter Tabuns, NDP critic for Energy and the Climate Crisis, has issued the following statement regarding Sunday’s resignation of six more members of the Greenbelt Council in protest over measures in Doug Ford’s budget that will gut conservation authorities.

These resignations follow the resignation of Chair David Crombie Saturday (December 5th) evening:

“I want to thank the outgoing members of the Greenbelt Council for their principled stand against Doug Ford’s attack on the environment, the Greenbelt, and conservation. People have had enough of Ford working for powerful developers and not in the best interests of the province. Continue reading

You Are Invited to ‘A BETTER NIAGARA’ Online TOWN HALL on Child Care

Join Us On Tuesday, December 8th at 7 P.M.

An Invite from Better Niagara director Liz Benneian

Posted December 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

 

 

 

I am so excited to be sharing this news with you!

Every municipality across our country is working on recovery plans to aid us as we get through the pandemic. Child care has long been an issue for families, so I hope you will join us on Tuesday for @a Better Niagara’s first Facebook LIVE.

FACEBOOK LIVE On Tuesday, December 8 at 7 PM A Better Niagara will be hosting a virtual Townhall discussing the importance of child care.

Continue reading

Renown Ontarian, Chair of Province’s Greenbelt Council Resigns Over Ford’s Ongoing War on Our Environment

Former Toronto Mayor David Crombie – Also a former Federal Conservative MP and Cabinet Minister – Has Long Championed Environmentally Sustainable Development in Ontario

David Crombie quits as Chair of Ontario Greenbelt Council in protest and out of principle. We need more profiles of courage like this in provincial and municipal leadership.

“It is now clear that the (Ford) Government’s direction under Schedule 6 of Bill 229 (of its 2020 Budget Bill, due to be passed as soon as Monday, December 7th) disastrously assaults (and cuts out the heart of integrated watershed planning and management; severely cripples the Conservation Authorities in the pursuit of their historic stewardship of environmental issues, and now with the grossly expanded use of Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZO) and other procedural revisions, essential public discussion and debate will be stifled or shut down.”                                                                                                                            – from Ontario Greenbelt Council Chair David Crombie’s December 5th’s letter of resignation to Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A News Release from Environmental Defence, followed by a response to this resignation from Ontario’s Official Opposition Party

Posted December 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence Canada

Statement by Environmental Defence’s Executive Director Tim Gray, on  resignation of David Crombie, Chair of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council, in protest of the Ontario government’s attack on wetlands, flood protection and future prosperity

It is a great shame and a loss to the people of Ontario that David Crombie, the Chair of the provincially appointed Greenbelt Council, had no alternative but to resign today. His resignation comes as a direct result of Minister Steve Clark’s refusal to listen to the Council’s advice and remove Schedule 6 from Bill 229 (the budget bill).

In the words of Mr. Crombie: “It cuts out the heart of integrated watershed planning and management; severely cripples the Conservation Authorities in the pursuit of their historic stewardship of environmental issues, and now with the grossly expanded use of Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZO) and other procedural revisions, essential public discussion and debate will be stifled or shut down.”

Mr. Crombie and the Council have been key thinkers and advisors to the Ontario government on how to best protect farmland, natural features and economic prosperity. It is tragic that their impartial advice has been ignored and overridden by the self-serving demands of developers. Continue reading

Another Twist Of the Knife for Conservation Authorities from the Ontario Government

“The provincial government is circumventing the planning process and shutting down public consultation and now they are ending the ability of any “nuisance” bodies like Conservation Authorities to apply laws that protect wetlands, floodplains and source water protection areas.”                                                                                      – Caroline Schultz of Ontario Nature.

Ontario’s Ford Government now just a few days away from moving to destroy the voice and the role the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and 35 other Conservation Authorities across the province play in flood management and protecting our environment from ill-conceived development. RAISE YOUR VOICE AND STOP THIS GOVERNMENT FROM RAPING OUR CONSERVATION AUTHORITIES’ ROLE IN NATURAL HERITAGE PROTECTION.

An Urgent Call-Out to All of Us from ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE and ONTARIO NATURE

Posted December 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario government’s proposed amendments to Bill 229, Schedule 6 are a shocking escalation of attacks on public safety, natural values and safe drinking water

Toronto, Ontario –  The Ontario government will today bring forward amendments to its proposed legislation that attacks Conservation Authorities, which will allow the provincial government to order dangerous development projects to proceed against the science-based decisions of Conservation Authorities in a manner that threatens public safety and environmental values all across the province.

These new, and never previously discussed, amendments expressly force Conservation Authorities to issue permits for development, even if it will cause flooding or erosion and jeopardize human health and safety, if the government issues a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO). They also force Conservation Authorities to accept and implement “pay to slay” agreements with developers to allow natural values to be wiped off the landscape for a fee. Continue reading

Ontario Health Coalition Applauds Excellent Recommendations Released by Long-Term Care Commission

Coalition Calls on on Ford Government to Implement Recommendations Immediately

A News Release from the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide citizens advocacy group for quality public health care

Posted December 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Toronto – The second set of recommendations from Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission were released this December 4th.

You can click on them here: http://www.ltccommission-commissionsld.ca/ 

The Commission continues to do excellent work and the Ontario Health Coalition said it is fully in support of the recommendations which focus on restoring comprehensive inspections in all LTC homes, improving compliance and enforcement of care standards and care plans, ensuring that staffing levels are inspected, and improving infection control measures in long-term care homes. Continue reading

Ontario Premier’s Vicious Attack on Our Natural Heritage

‘Ford Government’s Midnight Amendments to Legislative Bill Threatens Ontarians’ Safety from Floods and Throws Our Wetlands at Mercy of Developers’

Environmental Protection Role of Our Conservation Authorities Hangs in the Balance

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted December 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario NDP Environment critic Ian Arthur responded to the Ford government introducing amendments allowing developers to destroy wetlands, floodplains and source water at a cost to human safety, to proposed legislation that attacks Conservation Authorities:

“Doug Ford is a threat to Ontarians’ safety. Ontario’s wetlands, floodplains and source water and the wildlife they support aren’t just beautiful; they protect people from dangers like flooding, disease and the contamination of our food and water. Continue reading

Last Call to Stop Ford and Vandals in Ontario’s Development Industry from Gutting Our Conservation Authorities

Anti-Environment Ford Government Moving to Ram CA-Gutting Thru Ontario Legislature as Soon as this coming Monday, December 7th

We need your help with a last-minute push to retain the Current Mandate of the Province’s 36 Conservation Authorities – Ontario Nature, a province-wide citizens advocacy group for our environment

A News Release from Ontario Nature

Posted December 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Rather than listening to tens of thousands of Ontarians – including nearly 20,000 Ontario Nature members and supporters who requested that Schedule 6 be removed from Bill 229 – the provincial government (of Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff and company) is proposing several pages of never-seen-before amendments that tighten the screws even further on Conservation Authorities.

These amendments include one that will require a Conservation Authority to issue a permit that would otherwise be prohibited by provincial law and policy, if associated with a Minister’s Zoning Order. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Supporting Niagara Parks Commission During COVID-19

“Funding will ensure Niagara region remains one of the top tourism destinations in the world” – Ford Government

A News Release from the Ontario Government of Premier Doug Ford

Posted December 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

Niagara Falls, Ontario – The Ontario government is providing the Niagara Parks Commission with up to $12.81 million to help ensure the region remains one of the top tourism destinations in the world during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This one-time funding will help protect jobs, keep some attractions open, ensure compliance with public health protocols, and continue to keep visitors safe through policing and road maintenance activities.

Details were provided today by Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, Sam Oosterhoff, MPP of Niagara West, Jim Diodati, Mayor of Niagara Falls, and David Adames, CEO of the Niagara Parks Commission.

“Ontario’s heritage, tourism and culture agencies are important components of the province’s economic and social recovery,” said Minister MacLeod. Continue reading

Niagara’s Conservation Authority Working With Partners to Gift Our Region More Trees

Partners Plant Trees In Fort Erie & St. Catharines Thanks To TD Friends Of The Environment Foundation Grant

Initiative will have a positive impact on Habitat Restoration and Urban Reforestation

News from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted December 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – On Friday, November 13th, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) completed the planting of 128 trees across the Niagara Peninsula watershed.

Thanks to funding from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF), partners and volunteers planted trees and shrubs to benefit the local community and improve wildlife habitat.

The TD Tree Days grant of $8,000 supported the planting of eight large trees and twenty shrubs at Ferndale Park in Fort Erie, six trees at the Niagara Chapter Native Women’s office, four trees donated to Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre and an additional 110 trees, which were planted at homes owned by two native housing corporations. Continue reading

Ontario Failing to Take Effective Action on Climate Change

A New Report from Environment Defence shows that despite the Ontario government’s claims, the province has failed to take meaningful action on climate change or reduce greenhouse gas emissions

 

 

A News Release from Environmental Defence, a Canada-wide citizens advocacy group for environmental protection

Posted December 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

These two individuals – Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek (left) and the province’s Premier Doug Ford – and their Conservative government are not doing enough to meaningfully address the climate emergency we face.

Toronto, Ontario – This past Friday (November 27th), Ontario Environment Minister Minister Jeff Yurek outlined his government’s progress on its Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan and claimed to be lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Environmental Defence’s new report Yours to Recover:

A Progress Report on Ontario’s Climate Change Actions [https://environmentaldefence.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/YoursToRecover_OntarioClimateProgressReport_EnvironmentalDefence_FINAL.pdf] presents evidence that Ontario’s emissions are rising as a result of government inaction.

After two years, the Ontario government has largely ignored its own Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan and failed to take meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

Buffalo, N.Y. Area Congressman Asks Biden Administration to Prioritize Canada/U.S. Border Strategy

U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins hopes the new Administration will work quickly to take Coronavirus seriously and rebuild the working relationship between our two ally nations to the mutual benefit of the cross-border economies.

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

Posted December 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) Co-chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, is appealing to the incoming Biden Administration to make coordination between the United States and Canada a top priority, including development of a reopening plan at the northern border and the expansion of technology that provides for improved border crossing efficiencies over the long-term.

In a letter to Alejandro Mayorkas<https://higgins.house.gov/sites/higgins.house.gov/files/12-1-20%20Higgins%20Letter%20to%20Mayorkas%20Northern%20Border.pdf>, who has been named by President-elect Biden to serve as U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, Higgins writes, “The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the daily operation of our shared border with Canada. Restrictions on non-essential travel at our land ports of entry first imposed in March 2020 have frustrated many of my constituents in completing their routine activities.” Continue reading

Niagara West MPP’s Compassionate Care Act Becomes Law in Ontario

Parties and Stakeholders Work Together to Improve Access and Quality in Palliative Care

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff

Posted December 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, and member of Ontario’s Ford Government

Queen’s Park – Today (this December 1st), Bill 3, the Compassionate Care Act passed Third Reading unanimously in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  Originally tabled in 2017, MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s first Private Member’s Bill will become a law upon Royal Assent. This follows the re-introduction of the bill in July 2018 during the 42nd Parliament of Ontario.

Public committee hearings took place on November 23 and 24, during which 40 stakeholders testified in favour of the bill, including the Ontario Medical Association, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians, Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, ALS Canada, and health professionals from across the province.

Witnesses at the hearings stressed the timeliness and importance of the Compassionate Care Act, which mandates the creation of a provincial framework to improve access to palliative care in hospitals, long-term care homes, hospices and home care. Continue reading

Ford Moving To Gut Conservation Authorities’ Ability To Protect Communities from Severe Flooding

Ontario’s Ford Conservatives Now Working to Rip Apart Role of Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and 35 other CAs Across Province in Environmental Protection

A Call-Out from Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner to Stop Ford Tories’ War on our Environment

Posted  December 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner

Two days ago (this past Sunday, November 29th), I stood on the banks of the Grand River alongside local leaders, to condemn the rollback of flood protections by the Ford government.

The Grand River Conservation Authority (one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario that may have been established at various times later) was formed in the 1930s in direct response to severe flooding.

But now Doug Ford wants to gut the ability of conservation authorities (including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in our Niagara watershed) to protect communities from severe flooding, thus taking us back decades in responsible  planning. Continue reading

Habitat for Humanity Niagara Urges Us All to Join the ‘Giving Tuesday’ Movement

This Giving Tuesday – December 1st, 2020 – We Can Help Make a Difference

A Call-Out from Habitat for Humanity Niagara in Niagara, Ontario

Posted December 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Today (this December 1st)  is Giving Tuesday which marks a day of giving and gratitude, and a reminder to all of us to think of others and our communities as well as ourselves.

The (world-wide) Giving Tuesday initiative encourages families and individuals to join the movement in giving and volunteering in whatever ways matter to them.

Please join the movement by:

Continue reading

In These Times of COVID-19, Remembering Another Lethal Epidemic on World AIDS Day

 

“In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us all of the importance of  community and has shown us that no one is safe until everyone is safe. This  year’s World AIDS Day theme, ‘Global solidarity, shared responsibility, recognizes that, like COVID-19,  fighting HIV and AIDS requires global cooperation and united commitment.”                                                                        – Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

A Statement from the Prime Minister of Canada

Posted December 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario –The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement on World AIDS  Day – December 1st, 2020

“Today (December 1st), on World AIDS Day <https://www.unaids.org/en/World_AIDS_Day>, we show our solidarity with people living with HIV and AIDS, here in Canada and around the world. We mourn the loved ones we have lost, and renew our commitment to supporting those who live with HIV and ending this epidemic and the stigma that surrounds it.

“In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us all of the importance of  community and has shown us that no one is safe until everyone is safe. This  year’s World AIDS Day theme, ‘Global solidarity, shared responsibility’ <https://spark.adobe.com/page/OdpIRTRApOghp/>, recognizes that, like COVID-19,  fighting HIV and AIDS requires global cooperation and united commitment. Continue reading

Urgent Help Needed for Niagara’s Struggling Small Businesses

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates Tells Ontario’s Ford Government  to Provide Emergency Support for Niagara’s Small Businesses Before THEY LOSE EVERYTHING!

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

Posted December 1st,  2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) told the Ford government Monday (November 30th) that struggling businesses in Niagara need urgent financial assistance if they are to stay afloat after new restrictions were introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

“It has been two weeks since I told the premier that Niagara’s medical officer of health instituted an additional regulation to try to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“It has been two weeks since I told the premier that Niagara’s medical officer of health instituted an additional regulation to try to stop the spread of COVID-19 which has put restaurants and bars, the tourist sector, operators and the wineries in a very tough spot financially,” said Gates during question period at the Ontario legislature. Continue reading

Environmental Groups Sue Ford Government To Keep Ontario Wetlands Protected

 “Wetlands are delicate ecosystems that pay for themselves many times over both ecologically and economically. Their estimated economic value in southern Ontario alone is $14 billion per year. Yet in the Toronto area 85 percent  of our original wetlands. (About the same percentage of wetlands have already been lost forever in Niagara, Ontario.) When is enough, enough?”                – Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature’s Executive Director

A News Release from Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and Ecojustice, three of Canada’s largest environmental groups

Posted November 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario – Environmental groups are taking the Ontario government to court over its unlawful use of a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) to force through development on the provincially significant Duffins Creek wetlands complex.

Ecojustice, on behalf of Environmental Defence and Ontario Nature, filed the legal application to maintain protections on this special area, which the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs has approved as the future site of a warehouse facility.

Provincially Significant Coastal Wetlands, such as the Lower Duffins Creek complex, are of huge importance to local communities, helping to mitigate flooding, store carbon, filter water and provide habitat to wildlife. Continue reading

We Need To Stop The Assault On Our Natural Heritage

A Call-Out from Ontario Nature, one of Canada’s premier advocates for protecting and preserving what are left of our green places

Posted November 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Across the Greater Golden Horseshoe developers and land speculators are lobbying local governments to allow sprawl-style development on precious natural areas and farmland.

We can continue to grow and prosper without turning the green space on the left into more of the low-density sprawl on the right.

They’re using COVID-19 as a smoke screen saying these developments are necessary to get us through the crisis. Continue reading

Ford Accused of Covering Up COVID-19 Info on Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes

NDP Calling On Ford Government To Immediately Release All Documents That Have Been Requested By The LTC (Long-Term Care) Commission

“People living in long-term care continue to suffer and die, while Doug Ford’s government plays politics with information that could reveal changes that need to be made to protect people. ”       – Ontario NDP Long Term Care critic Teresa Armstrong.

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted November 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP is calling for the Ford government to immediately release all documents that have been requested by the LTC Commission, following revelations by Queen’s Park Briefing that the commission itself says the government has refused to cooperate.

This past July, Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates, left, with St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens immediately to his right, and over at the right side of the photo, Niagara Health Coalition leader Sue Hotte, call on Ford government for  more public resources for long-term care homes. File Photo by Doug Draper

“A government that truly wants answers doesn’t work this hard to hide the facts,” said NDP Deputy Leader John Vanthof, who made the demand in question period on Monday.

“People living in long-term care continue to suffer and die, while Doug Ford’s government plays politics with information that could reveal changes that need to be made to protect people,” said NDP Long Term Care critic Teresa Armstrong. Continue reading

Join A Free, Online Event, Celebrating Treaties with Niagara’s Indigenous Community

Niagara College hosting We Are All Treaty People, a Living Library event on Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

An Invite from Niagara College’s Indigenous Education Department

Posted November 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

On the heels of Treaties Recognition Week, Niagara College is hosting its first-ever Living Library event to help educate the community about the historical and cultural significance of treaties, and the role they continue to play in the lives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Ontario.

We Are All Treaty People, a free online event hosted by NC’s Indigenous Education department and the Library and Learning Commons in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, will be held on Tuesday, December 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. and the community is invited to join the live remote conversation via Zoom. Continue reading

Save Niagara’s Green Spaces – Speak Now or Risk Losing Them Forever!

We, As Citizens, Don’t Have Much Time Left to Act – To Stop Ford and his Government from Further Threatening Our Natural Heritage

A Call-Out from Ed Smith, St. Catharines community activist and member of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Board of Directors

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Long-time St. Catharines citizen activist and Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board member Ed Smith makes a plea to fellow Niagara citizens to speak up for Conservation Authorities and our green spaces. File photo by Doug Draper

We are days away from the greatest environmental catastrophe to be unleashed on Niagara by a sitting government. Once it occurs there will be no undoing the damage and it will result in mortal consequences to Niagara’s last few remaining wilderness areas.

Ontario’s Ford government has bundled into its recent budget legislation a section called Schedule 6.

Schedule 6 of the Budget Bill deals specifically with the 36 Conservation Authorities across Ontario, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

Since taking office  more than two years ago, the Ford government has tried to take control of our environment away from any strict protections and hand it over to causes more sympathetic to the needs of developers. Continue reading

Another Appeal to Save Our Conservation Authorities from a Group of Canada’s Top Environmental Lawyers

“We hope (the Ford Government) will listen to the chorus of voices asking them to protect the vital role of conservation authorities in Ontario”                                                                                     – April Weppler, Canadian Environmental Law Association

A Message from the Canadian Environmental Law Association

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Dear Fellow Ontarians

Thank you for your continued support for conservation authorities. We promised you an update on the province’s omnibus budget measures Bill 229 that is threatening Conservation Authorities, and here it is – the government is fast-tracking passage of Bill 229.

The Ford government’s legislation would purge Conservation Authorities across the province, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in this region, of citizen voices on its board of directors. Ford is moving to block citizens from sitting on these boards. His pals in the development community don’t want citizens to have a say.

Through a time-allocation motion that passed Monday, the government has sent the Bill to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs for an expedited review (https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/committees/finance-economic-affairs/parliament-42/notice-hearings/2020-nov-23-notice-hearings-standing-committee-finance-economic-affairs) .  While the timelines are very tight, there is a small window for public comment, through both in-person presentations and written submissions. Continue reading

Join the Citizens’ Campaign to Stop Ford from Gutting Ontario’s Conservation Authorities

Stop Ontario Bill 229 Schedule 6 and Save One of Niagara, Ontario’s Great Pieces of Natural Heritage – Waverly Woods

A Call-Out from Marcie Jacklin and Community Voices of Fort Erie

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Hello Everyone

It seems nature is under threat by the government of the province of Ontario. Please take some time to respond to these initiatives.

Bill 229 Schedule 6

Buried in the (Ford government’s recently tabled) budget bill for the province is Section 6 which threatens to destroy Conservation Authorities by not allowing experts to be on the Board.

The Board would be composed entirely of politicians whose mandate would be to serve their communities (not the mission of the Conservation Authorities). Continue reading

Wishing Our American Friends and Neighbours a Safe and Peaceful Thanksgiving

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

Posted November 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Along with all of our readers in Niagara and other regions of Southern Ontario, Niagara At Large is pleased to say that we have regular visitors to this news and commentary site from the Buffalo, New York area and other regions in the United States.

With those NAL readers across the border in mind, I want to wish all of them on this American Thanksgiving – November 26th, 2020 – a warm and peaceful Thanksgiving, and a safe and healthy one during times unlike any most of us have ever experienced before. Continue reading

Ontario’s Premier Angered Over COVID-19 Criticisms in Auditor General’s Report

Doug Ford Says Ontario Continues to have some of lowest per-capita COVID case counts on Continent

A Brief One Posted by Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

Posted November 25th, 2020

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

At a news conference this November 25th, Ontario Premier Doug Ford lashed out at a report by the province’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, accusing his government of being slow on the draw and not as transparent as it should be on responding to the COVID-19 health crisis confronting us.

Ford addressed the Auditor General’s critical report, released earlier this November 25th, after he and his Health Minister, Christine Elliott, discussed some recommendations on how citizens should navigate the coming Christmas holidays during this second wave of the pandemic, and funding his government is providing to support small businesses.

To watch the news conference, click on the screen immediately below –

To read a news piece posted on Niagara At Large earlier this November 25th on the Ontario Auditor General’s report, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/11/25/ontarios-ford-government-response-to-pandemic-slow-compared-to-other-provinces/ .

To watch Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s press conference on this issue, click on the screen immediately below –

Okay, so what do you think? Ontario citizens make up the judge and jury on this one.

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 Ford Government Response to Pandemic ‘Slow’ Compared to Other Provinces

Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Faced Systemic Issues and Delays

‘Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health did not fully exercise his powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to respond to COVID-19.’                                                                                 – Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk

A News Release from the Office of Ontario Auditor General Ontario’s COVID-19 Response Faced Systemic Issues and Delays

Posted November 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk releases critical report on Ford government’s response to COVID-19

Toronto, Ontario –  Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk says the province’s response to COVID-19 in the winter and spring of 2020 was slower and more reactive relative to other provinces.

The audit looked at three areas: emergency management and pandemic response; outbreak planning and decision-making; and laboratory testing, case management and contact tracing.

It found a number of contributing factors leading to this slower pandemic response, including outdated provincial emergency plans, insufficient staff and significant changeover in leadership at Ontario’s Provincial Emergency Management Office (EMO), as well as systemic issues such as the lack of lab surge capacity and outdated IT systems. Continue reading

For Doug Ford, Ontario’s Front-Line Health Care Workers Are ‘Heroes’ Until They Test Positive for COVID-19

Then – After Risking Themselves Caring For Others – Ford’s Tories Reward Them by Cutting Their Pay

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Demands Ontario Health Minister Immediately Reverse Directive That Denies Pay to Health Care Workers Who Need to Self-Isolate

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

Posted November 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) has demanded the Ford government reverse a directive from the Ministry of Health that tells hospitals to stop paying frontline heath care workers who self-report when they are exposed to COVID-19 and are forced to go into isolation.

“This government likes to talk about the hard work done by nurses, doctors, personal support workers and other frontline health care workers, correctly calling them ‘heroes’. Yet the actions of this government put them in an impossible situation, having to choose between reporting an exposure and feeding their family,” said Burch during question period at the Ontario legislature Tuesday.

“Will this Minister investigate, reverse this disgraceful directive, and ensure that front-line health care workers in Ontario’s hospitals receive their full pay when they are mandated by the employer to self-isolate due to COVID-19?,” Burch asked Health Minister Christine Elliott. Continue reading

Welcoming America Back to the Climate Fight – And Not A Second Too Soon!

“Climate change is the number one issue facing humanity.”           – U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Finally!

The world has someone taking over the White House’s Oval Office in the New Year who sounds very much like he takes the climate emergency facing life on this planet seriously.

And it could not come a moment too soon!

Most experts around this world agree that climate change is an existential threat that could have catastrophic consequences for all of us if we don’t take significant, decisive action to address it – NOW. Continue reading

City of St. Catharines Moving to Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles deliver environmental boost and cost savings

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

Posted November 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – New City fleet investments aren’t just delivering savings for taxpayers, they are saving the environment. This fall the City purchased its first fully electric vehicles, three 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EVs.

Manager of Equipment Maintenance Jim Thompson showcases one of three new 2020 Chevrolet Bolt Electric Vehicles purchased by the City, marking the first fully-electric additions to the City fleet. Photo courtesy of City of St. Catharines

The purchase of the vehicles, which replace the trucks that were utilized by Municipal Works supervisors, comes as the City continues efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to the fight against climate change. Continue reading

Raise Your Voice to Save Our Conservation Authorities!

Doug Ford’s Conservatives are Shameless in their Assault on the Environment

A News Release from the Green Party of Ontario

Posted November 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

You might never have heard of a conservation authority.

That’s OK.

They quietly keep us safe by regulating development in watershed areas (including the Niagara area)- where 95 per cent  of Ontarians live.

Most importantly, they hold the line against reckless projects in flood-prone areas. Continue reading

Documentary Photo Project Highlights Urgent Need to Protect Lake Erie

“When Lake Erie’s health is impacted, so are the lives of the people who live near and love the lake. We wanted to show that through this project.”                                                                                  – Keith Brooks, Programs Director with Environmental Defence

Two Niagara Region residents are featured in a new documentary photo exhibit, North of Long Tail , which explores people’s connections with Lake Erie

A News Release from Environmental Defence Canada and Documentary Photographer Colin Boyd Shafer

Posted November 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Our Lake Erie from space. For many decades now, it has faced serious environmental challenges. It is ultimately up to us and our governments to restore this great freshwater body to full health

Toronto, Ontario – Two people from Niagara Region are part of a new documentary photography exhibition, launched today online, which showcases Canadians’ deep personal connections with Lake Erie and highlights why the lake needs to be protected.

North of Long Tail , a collaboration between Environmental Defence and documentary photographer Colin Boyd Shafer, contains 20 stories from the north side of the lake.

“Lake Erie is more than just a body of water. So many people rely on the lake for so many things — to support their business, for drinking water, recreation, or just a place to unwind and relax,” said Keith Brooks, Programs Director with Environmental Defence. “When Lake Erie’s health is impacted, so are the lives of the people who live near and love the lake. We wanted to show that through this project.” Continue reading

Citizens Alliance Urges Incoming Biden/Harris Administration to Focus More Attention on Great Lakes and Clean Water

‘We look forward to working with President-elect Biden to create a Great Lakes region with thriving, healthy ecosystems and communities.’ – the Alliance for the Great Lakes

A Statement from the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a U.S.-based citizens coalition in the Great Lakes region

Posted November 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Our Great Lakes from space.

Engaging in the democratic process is one of the most powerful ways people throughout the Great Lakes region can have a voice.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. Now that the votes have been counted, we must respect the vote and the work of election officials who have led a fair and transparent process.

President-elect Biden, in partnership with the Great Lakes region, has the opportunity to place safe and clean water at the center of our communities and make them healthier and more equitable than before. Continue reading

NPCA Applauds Growing Interest In & Support For Ontario’s Conservation Authorities

Ford Government’s Plan to Gut Role of Conservation Authorities May Be Getting More Media Attention Than The Premier and Company  Bargained For

A Statement from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)

Posted November 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

MEDIA COVERAGE ON (Ford Government”s BILL 229 & CONSERVATION AUTHORITIES

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority takes this opportunity to thank members of the media for their dedication to ensuring that our communities are well aware of the potential impacts that Bill 229 will have on conservation authorities across Ontario.

Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board in session in early 2019 . File photo by Doug Draper

These proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act will greatly impact the NPCA’s role in land use planning and will completely change the role of conservation authorities in protecting Ontario’s environment and ensuring people and property are safe from natural hazards.

We are proud to serve and support our community, and are grateful for the amount of support that has been shown. Continue reading

You Are Invited To A Virtual Conference on Contamination Concerns at Former GM Site in St. Catharines

Join Us On Wednesday, November 25 At 7 PM. For A Virtual Public Information Session About The Situation At The Former GM Site.

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 also  be a source of pollution to the area, including the nearby Twelve Mile Creek, a tributary  Lake Ontario

Hosted by the citizen-based Coalition for a Better St. Catharines

Posted November 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Call-Out from the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines

St. Catharines, Ontario – We’ve Learned A Lot About Conditions At The Former GM Site And Why It’s So Important To The Community To Clean It Up Now. We’ll Be Sharing That Information With You At A Virtual Information Session On Wednesday, November 25 At 7 P.M..

Dozens Of Highly Toxic Industrial Contaminants Are Present On And Under The Former GM Factory Site On Ontario Street. Recent Evidence Has Indicated That Some Of These Industrial Chemicals Including Pcbs And Asbestos May Be Leaking Off The Site And Possibly Exposing The Community To A Dangerous Health Hazard. Continue reading

Opposition Grows “Massive” to Ford Government Plans to Gut Ontario’s Conservation Authoritie

Local Conservation Authorities, including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and Hamilton Conservation Authority,  and many citizen organizations are fighting Ford government legislation gutting Conservation Authorities.

A News Release from CATCH, the Hamilton-based group Citizens At City Hall
Posted November 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large
There is massive opposition to the Ford government’s legislation that slashes the powers of conservation authorities and makes life easier for developers. It would also convert the Hamilton Conservation Authority into a sub-committee of city council.
All local conservation authorities and dozens of citizen organizations are demanding withdrawal of the changes, including a local climate group that is holding a public on-line webinar (https://hamiltoncatch.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=8ffda5515733a1dd97a7b21fa&id=534b78f4d8&e=a31ab29d46) and “phone zap” on Tuesday afternoon (November 24th at 1 p.m.).
Conservation Halton, which oversees several watersheds in Hamilton, says the Ford government move is a “cause for alarm” while Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) says it “would reduce [its] ability to protect the natural environment and our watersheds.”

Continue reading