Author Archives: dougdraper

So You Say You Want A Water Festival During a Pandemic? You Got It!

 Niagara Children’s Water Festival Partners Offering 2020 Festival Online

An Invite from Niagara’s Regional Government, the City of St. Catharines, Brock University, Ontario Power Generation and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted June 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region and its Niagara Children’s Water Festival partners City of St. Catharines, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Ontario Power Generation and Brock University, are pleased to offer a virtual water festival to provide children with an interactive opportunity to learn about water.

Teachers and parents can find the festival and the activities on the Niagara Region website <https://www.niagararegion.ca/waterfestival/virtual/default.aspx?topic=1>.

The Niagara Children’s Water Festival Steering Committee worked to design a set of learning activities for a four-day virtual water festival. Each day focuses on one of four water themes from the festival:

Continue reading

Niagara’s Greater Niagara Chamber Calls on Ontario Government to make Re-Opening Decisions More Open and Transparent

Province’s Decision Leaves Many Niagara Businesses and Organizations Locked Up and Leaves Countless Niagara residents Out of Work

“We understand that this decision was undertaken at the provincial level without consulting local health authorities, which the GNCC feels was a mistake.”                                                                 – Mishka Balsom, CEO, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce CEO Mishka Balsom

A Statement from Mishka Balsom, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Posted June 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Government of Ontario has announced that on June 12, selected regions of Ontario will be allowed to move to Stage Two of the provincial re-opening framework. Niagara was not among those selected, and remains at Stage One, along with the rest of the core Golden Horseshoe.

We understand that this decision was undertaken at the provincial level without consulting local health authorities, which the GNCC feels was a mistake.

Local public health authorities are the most familiar with the reality on the ground, and could explain whether a recent spike in cases, for example, is due to generalized community transmission which needs to be contained, or to an isolated group which has already been contained. Local health authorities must be a part of these decisions. Continue reading

Niagara’s COVID Case Count Apparently Still Too High to Make Ontario’s ‘Stage 2’ List For Business Re-Openings

Niagara Is NOT One of the 24 ‘Public Health Unit Regions’ Serving Communities Across Ontario Green Lighted by Ford Government For Further Business Re-Openings this June 12th

Shopping Malls, Hair Salons, Restaurants Among Businesses in Niagara to Remain Mostly Shuttered For Now. Public Swimming Pools and Beaches in Niagara Also Missed Making the Re-Opening List

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

Posted June 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Businesses across Niagara, along with countless numbers people across the region waiting to go back to work, waited with bated breath this Monday, June 8th to find out if Niagara would be on the provincial government’s list of regions given a green light to re-open again.

But when the list of what the Ontario government dubs “public health unit regions” representing towns and cities across the province was released this June 8th, at a news briefing hosted by Premier Doug Ford, a total of 24 regions made the list for “State 2” re-openings and for reasons that has at least a little bit to do with still having too many COVID 19 case outbreaks, Niagara was not on it. Continue reading

A Song, a Book and a Film Documentary for Our Turbulent Times

“God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, the fire next time!”       – from the late American author and civil rights activist James Baldwin’s  classic 1960s book-size essay ‘The Fire Next Time’, about the racism that continues to poison life for so many in his native land

“Finally the tables are ready to turn. Talkin’ bout a revolution,”                   – from a song Tracy Chapman  wrote in the 1980s, but that could serve as a soundtrack for the demonstrations continuing  in countries around the world today.

A Brief One from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted June 8th, 2020 on NAL

They have filled streets around the world, black and white and every other colour, and so many of them young and fighting for a decent future. There seems no stopping them now. Finally, the tables may be ready to turn.

Since the shocking death of African American George Floyd late this May under the cruel knee of a white police officer, I have heard and read and talked to many people who have been turning to songs, books and movies that speak to the growing call in the United States, Canada and other countries around the world for an end to racial and economic injustice, backed up by cops in riot gear, firing tear gas and rubber bullets, and wielding big clubs.

There are so many meaningful songs, books and films to choose from, and I will only start here with a video performance of one song by American singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman that was released in the 1980s but seems more relevant today.

To hear and watch Tracy Chapman perform the song, click on the screen immediately below –

Now along with his classic book ‘The Fire Next Time’, there is a must-see film documentary called ‘I Am Not Your Negro’, based on the draft for a book James Baldwin did not completely finish and release before his untimely death at the age of 63 in the late 1980s.

Watch this film, including the footage from the 1950s, 60s and 70s of police beating civil rights protesters in the streets and white supremacists waving signs boasting Nazi swastikas and hate-filled words, and you would almost think you were watching the news today.

Here is a trailer for that critically-acclaimed film which I hope you kind find a full copy of. Watch the trailer by clicking on the following screen –

Let all peace-loving people hope that when it comes to racial and economic injustices, the tables are finally ready to turn.

My heart and soul is with the millions of people of all ages, colours, sexual orientations and faiths, marching peacefully in the streets. I hope yours is too.

Trump and his morally bankrupt, hate-filled kind can’t kill us all.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

(I might just as well mention a contemporary follow-up book to The Fire Next Time that has also received critical acclaim. It was originally published in 2016 and is called; ‘The Fire This Time – A New Generation Speaks Out’ by Jesmyn Ward and a host of contributors. Jesmyn Ward has recently been interviews a number of times over the demonstrations taking place around the world right now.)

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

Trudeau’s Long Silence on Trump’s Revolting Conduct Has Many Defenders

“He has to advance Canada’s interests and that is what he’s doing.”                                                                                                           – former Ontario NDP Premier and now retired Liberal MP Bob Rae, in defense of the Prime Minister’s long pause after being asked to comment on  Trump’s authoritarian-like response to anti-racist demonstrations south of the Canadian border

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted June 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Prime Mnister, this June 2nd, 2020, after being asked by a reporter to comment on Trump’s anti-democratic conduct across the border. Twenty-one seconds and counting, and we are still waiting for an answer.

As one Canadian news commentary put it recently, the 21 seconds of absolute silence that followed a reporter recently asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to comment on the iron fisted way Trump has been responding to the Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the United States serve as a kind of Rorschach test for those who watched during those 21 seconds and waited for the PM’s answer.

In other words, there is so much a person can read in to the 21 seconds that the Prime Minister of Canada stood there during one of his COVID-19 news briefings this June 2nd and said nothing the day after Trump had public space near the White House violently cleared of peaceful protesters so he could walk across a park to the front of a church that never invited him and do a photo-op of himself wielding a copy of The Bible like a sword of wrath for his mostly white evangelical base. Continue reading

Assault Charges Filed Against Two Buffalo Police Officers In Violent Incident Involving 75-Year-Old Demonstrator

An Update by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted June 7th, 2020 on  Niagara At Large

A 75-year-old man – now we know him to be long-time peace activist Martin Gugino – on the pavement with blood running from his head after video shows police officer pushing him down near Buffalo City Hall. As of this June 7th, 2020, Mr. Gugino reportedly remains in hospital in serious condition.

Unless you have just come back from another planet or don’t care about the anti-racism marches and protests encircling the world right now, you have probably already seen the video of a 75-year-old man in Buffalo, New York, bleeding from the head area after looking very much like he was pushed to the pavement by police.

You have most likely seen this video because it went viral this past June 4th, on the day this very disturbing incident occurred.

Since Niagara At Large last posted news on this incident, two of the Buffalo police officers involved appeared in an Erie County District Court this past Saturday, June 7th where they were charged with second-degree assault, a charge where, if they were found guilty, reportedly carries a sentence in the State of New York of up to seven years. Continue reading

A Beautiful Tribute to One of Niagara’s Best

A Celebration of the Life and Times of Wilma Morrison Makes the National News

You Can Watch this Tribute, Aired June 2nd on CBC TV’s The National, Below

A Brief Foreword Note from Doug Draper

Posted June 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Wilma Morrison

After residents across this Niagara region learned of the death this past April 23rd of Wilma Morrison, the tributes began rolling out from long-time friends, from area politicians, from Brock University where she received an honorary degree a decade ago, and from members of the news media.

Each and every tribute for Wilma, who died at age 91 of complications from COVID-19, were well deserved for her many decades of work as a heritage advocate, as an archivist of Black history in the Niagara area, and as a dedicated contributor to the good of her community in Niagara Falls and the communities around her. Continue reading

Parks Police Rescues Teen from Rapids of Lower Niagara River

News from the Niagara Parks Police Service in Niagara, Ontario

Posted June 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

At approximately 1 p.m.on Saturday June 6th, 2020 the Niagara Parks Police Service along with Niagara Regional Police Service 2 District (Niagara Falls) uniform officers were called to the area of the Lower Niagara River Gorge in the City of Niagara Falls.

Rescue in progress over the churning waters of the Lower Niagara River. Photo courtesy of Niagara Parks Police

Parks Police responded following the report of a 16 year old male in distress in the swift waters in the vicinity of the Whirlpool. Continue reading

Canada’s PM Pays Tribute to Bravery of WWII Veterans on Anniversary of D-Day Invasion

Were Was the Prime Minister’s Bravery This Week?

“The bravery and selflessness demonstrated by Canadians on that day in Normandy, and throughout the war, remind us of the incredible cost of defending freedom, human rights, and democracy.”                                                                                                  – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

‘Excuse me, Mr. Prime Minister. Where is your bravery when it comes to defending the principles of democracy against a fascist like Donald Trump?’                                          – Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Canadian soldiers on D-Day, 76 tears ago this June 6th, 2020

A Statement by the Prime Minister on the 76th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, followed by a Brief Critique by Doug Draper on Justin Trudeau’s 21 seconds of silence

Posted June 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement today on the 76th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy:

“Today (this June 6th, 2020), on the 76th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, we remember and honour the brave Canadians and Newfoundlanders who fought, and those who gave their lives, alongside Allied forces in a battle that became a turning point in the Second World War and changed the course of history. Continue reading

Ontario Government Extends Emergency Orders to Support Its Reopening Efforts

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Province Extends the Suspension of Limitation Periods and Time Periods for Legal Proceedings until September

“It is critical that we keep these emergency orders in place so we can continue to reopen the province gradually and safely. “We are not out of the woods yet”                                    – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted June 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The Ontario government, after consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 19, 2020.

Extending these emergency orders will give employers of frontline care providers the necessary flexibility to respond to COVID-19 and protect vulnerable people and the public as the province gradually and safely reopens.

Current emergency orders that have been extended include those that enable frontline care providers to redeploy staff where they are needed most, allow public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support case management and contact tracing, and prohibits long-term care and retirement home employees from working at more than one home or for another health service provider. Continue reading

In Wake of George Floyd Killing, Niagara Regional Chair Affirms Council’s ‘Rejection of All Forms of Exclusion and Intolerance’

“First, our thoughts are with the friends and family of George Floyd. …It is important to remember that Mr. Floyd was a real person, with the same hopes and dreams and concerns that each of us have. … On behalf of Niagara Region, I want to offer a full and unequivocal condemnation of racism and discrimination, regardless of what form it takes.”                                                           – Jim Bradley, Chair of Niagara’s Regional Government

People continue to gather at a shrine created at the spot where the life of an African American man, whose name, George Floyd, is now known to the world, was taken under the weight of now fired and charged Minneapolis, Minnesota police officers. His killing has triggered calls for racial justice in communities all over the world, including her in the greater Niagara region and Greater Toronto Area

A Statement from Niagara Regional Chair, Jim Bradley in support of diversity and inclusion

Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley issues statement in wake of George Floyd killing

At last night’s (June 4th, 2020) special meeting of Regional Council, Regional Chair Jim Bradley offered the following statement to councillors rejecting racism and supporting diversity and inclusion:

“First, our thoughts are with the friends and family of George Floyd. Much has been reported about this incident over the past 11 days and it can become easy to lose sight of the individual at the core of this case. It is important to remember that Mr. Floyd was a real person, with the same hopes and dreams and concerns that each of us have.

Second, on behalf of Niagara Region, I want to offer a full and unequivocal condemnation of racism and discrimination, regardless of what form it takes. Whether it is overt or systemic, there is no place for this type of behaviour in our region, province or country. This council, I know, rejects all forms of exclusion and intolerance. Continue reading

Violent Police-Related Incident Shines Light of Shame on Buffalo

A 75-year-old man on the pavement with blood running from his head after video shows police officer pushing him down near Buffalo City Hall

“The completely unwarranted use of force by police in front of Buffalo City Hall last night (this June 4th) is a call to action for our city and country.”                   – Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by a Statement released this June 5th by Brian Higgins, U.S. Congressman for the Buffalo area

Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

How disappointing and disturbing it was to flip to American news networks this June 4th and watch video of a 75 year old man being pushed to the ground, apparently by a Buffalo police officer wearing riot gear, and being left there on the ground, with blood running from his skull, while other officers marched by.

All of this unfolding before sunset outside of the front steps of the city’s grand old city hall. Continue reading

What Real Leadership Looks Like In A Time of National Crisis

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

Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The late U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy

Fifty-two years ago this June 5th – on a sunny Friday just like this in 1968 – the world woke up to the news that U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy had been shot in the early morning of that day following what had been a joyous campaign gathering in Los Angeles, California.

In the early morning hours of the following day, June 6th, 1968, he was pronounced dead,

By 1968, Robert Kennedy or Bobby as many preferred to call him, had become a powerful voice for peace and for economic and racial justice and one can only imagine how much better his country and the world would be today had he, who was running for president that year, won, as it appeared he might do.

I thought of Bobby again in recent weeks as the world watched the current occupant of the White House threaten to militarize the streets of America to push away mostly young black, white and brown people protesting the murder of another African American at the hands of the  police. Continue reading

Are We On the Eve of Destruction?

Faced with a Killer Virus, Economic Meltdown, A Climate Emergency and Growing Strife in Cities South of the Border        – There Are Days When One Can’t Help But Wonder

A Brief One by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted June 3rd, 2020

“Any you tell me over and over and over again my friend, ah you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”

When ‘Eve Of Destruction’ first exploded onto the charts in the summer of 1965 – at a time when short of Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul & Mary and a few others, The Beatles and most of the other big-name artists were then still singing songs about falling in and out of love – it became an immediate soundtrack for a growing nightmare that was our concern, at the time, over a global nuclear war, a growing war in Vietnam, racial strife and an environmental crisis at the time that sparked the first Earth Day in 1970.

That song was written by a guy named P.F. Sloan, a popular songwriter at the time, but it was sung and made famous by Barry McGuire.

I remember Barry McGuire playing at a bar in Niagara, Ontario in the 1980s, and people who had devolved from being hippies and yippies, to the yuppies (young urban and suburban professionals) all about their careers and making money, making fun of him appearing here in a lowly bar and maybe singing that song at that point.

Barry McGuire had gone from having a blockbuster song that defined the times, to – ‘who cares about a song like that now.’

Speed forward to some  30 years later.

If anything, that song is as bang-on now as it was when it first hit the charts and some radio stations across North American actually banned it because, in their view, it was not in keeping with fanning the flames of mindless patriotism.

So here is ‘Eve Of Destruction’, with a rather contemporary video accompanying it, that you can hear by clicking on the screen below –

Thank You to Barry McGuire – now, believe it or not, more than 80 years old – for leaving us with this now so timely song.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

 “A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Beware the Signs of Racism in the U.S.A, and in Canada Too!

‘Each and every one of us must be vigilant. We must be ready to call out abuse of power and the mistreatment of others whenever we see it.’

A Commentary by Gary Screaton Page, Welland, Ontario

Posted June 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Sadly, there is nothing new in what we are now witnessing south of the border here.

In the mid-50s my two eldest brothers, in their late teens at the time, were approaching Chattanooga, Tennessee. As they drew closer, they came upon the roadside, the body of a black man who had been recently lynched: no charges, no trial, no justice, only death without mercy or regard to his humanity.

The late Eugene “Bull” Conner, a notorious racist who, believe it or not, was a ‘Commissioner of Public Safety in the State of Alabama, turned on fire hoses and sicked dogs on African American civil rights activists during the 1960s. These Bull Connor episodes came to mind for some again in recent days when Trump threatened to turn “vicious dogs” on people protesting the murder of George Floyd.

“Lynchings” continue in the United States today! Continue reading

On Local Food Week, Ontario Celebrates Local Agri-food Heroes

Local food report highlights those who are keeping food on store shelves and kitchen tables during COVID-19 outbreak

A News Release from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Posted June 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – The Ontario government is celebrating local agri-food heroes who have stepped up to ensure the province’s food supply chain remains strong during the COVID-19 outbreak. Individuals, businesses and organizations are highlighted in 2020 Local Food Report: Ontario Spirit – A Celebration of Local Food Collaboration.

“Ontario’s agri-food supply chain is one of the strongest in the world and COVID-19 has just reinforced that fact,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The commitment shown by our farmers, food processors, grocery store workers, truck drivers, restaurateurs, and everyone across the agri-food sector during the COVID-19 outbreak is inspiring.” Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Extends Declaration of Emergency until June 30

Extension Key to Protecting Ontarians as Province Safely Reopens

News from the Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO ― In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario is extending the provincial Declaration of Emergency to June 30.

The decision supports the government’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the health and safety of Ontarians as the province reopens in a measured and responsible way. The extension, under s.7.0.7 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, was approved by the Ontario legislature earlier this June 2nd. Continue reading

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Expresses Solidarity with Black Community

Join BPO this Tuesday, June 2nd for its Next Archival Live Concert Broadcast on WNED Classical

A Message from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in Niagara’s neihbouring City of Buffalo,New York

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Tonight – this Tuesday, June 2nd – on WNED Classical: your BPO plays Tckhaiovsky and Prokofiev

Join us tonight at 7pm for our next archival live concert broadcast on WNED Classical!

Tonight’s program features Tchaikovsky’s romantic Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring pianist Hye-Jin Kim; and Prokofiev’s powerful and life-affirming Symphony No. 5. This broadcast was originally recorded on September 29, 2018 as part of the M&T Bank Classics series.

The seats in Kleinhain’s Music Hall may be temporarily empty, but the BPO plays on.

These archived concert recordings will be available each Tuesday at 7pm for the next several weeks by tuning in to 94.5 FM, or by streaming at wned.org/classical (https://t.e2ma.net/click/akr36c/enoe5t/ef2r2l), via the WNED Classical mobile app, or by listening to WNED Classical on a smart device. 

CLICK TO LISTEN (https://t.e2ma.net/click/akr36c/enoe5t/u72r2l)

For more on the BPO and any future online or radio or TV broadcasting performances, click on  https://bpo.org/

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 Ombudsman to Investigate Government’s Oversight Of Long-Term Care Homes During Pandemic

“The Canadian Armed Forces report painted a stunning portrait of the situation in long-term care during this crisis; our investigation will look at the systemic issues that led to it, and will make constructive recommendations for corrective action”    – Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé

A Brief Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by a News Release from the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A report from Canadian Armed Forces personnel on the conditions inside at least some of Ontario’s long-term care homes was described as “gut-wrenching” by Premier Doug Ford when it surfaced this May

Coming on the heels late this May of the Ontario Ford Government’s decision to carry out an “independent review” of the operations of long-term care homes across the province, the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman, an officer independent of the provincial legislature, is now also weighting in with an investigation of its own.

Given the shocking findings in a Canadian Armed Forces report, obtained by the news media late this May, this is welcome news.

The Armed Forces report graphically described horrific conditions for seniors residing in at least some privately and publicly run homes across the province, including residents suffering with open bed wounds and begging for help, residents eating rotting food, left unattended for hours on end, living with cockroaches, and the list of nightmare items goes on and on. Continue reading

Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir To Conclude Their Concert Season Online

You Are Invited to a Virtual Concern on Sunday, June14th, at 3 P.M. Circle the Date on Your Calendar!

News from Chorus Niagara in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir (CNCC) wraps up its 2019-2020 season on a virtual stage. The end of the year presentation will air as a Facebook Watch Party on Sunday, June 14th at 3:00PM on the CNCC Facebook Page.

Niagara Chorus’s Children’s Choir in  performance. File Photo coutesy of Jeff Baker, Chorus Niagara

This presentation, a stand-in for their spring concert originally planned for May 18, will conclude two months of online choral programming offered to young singers since the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools and cancelled in-person choral events. Continue reading

Niagara College Kicks Off Pride Month With Rainbow Flag Raising

“The Rainbow Flag raising is a collaborative partnership with Niagara College that is symbolic of our unwavering support for not only the LGBTQ2+ community, and other marginalized communities, but for all students, faculty, support staff, administrators, and visitors at the College. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we work together as a community to strengthen and support each other.”           – Niagara College Student  Council president Tom Price

News from Niagara College in Niagara, Ontario

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At large

Niagara, Ontario – Rainbow flags will fly over Niagara College campuses this June, to celebrate equality, inclusivity, and acceptance in support of the College’s LGBTQ2+ community during Pride Month.

From left to right, Niagara College Student Administrative Council president Tom Price, Niagara College president Sean Kennedy, and Dalton Bird, NC student and vice president of the NC Student Administrative Council’s Loving Out Loud Club, celebrate the raising of a rainbow flag at the Welland Campus in recognition of Pride Month

With physical distancing measures in place, Niagara College president Sean Kennedy and Niagara College Student Administrative Council president Tom Price led a flag-raising ceremony at the Welland Campus on the morning of June 1. A flag was also raised at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Continue reading

Niagara’s Hospital System Joins in Celebrating Nation Pride Month

‘We are proud to recognize the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate National Pride Month this June.’

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

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Health is committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect in order to provide a safe space to all staff, physicians and members of the Niagara community. We will be using this year’s Pride Month to learn more about issues and experiences of the LGBTQ+ community and promote acceptance and inclusion.

We work alongside our Inclusivity and Diversity Committee to help educate staff and share resources about reducing stigma and how to better support the LGBTQ+ community. We will be demonstrating our support with Pride displays, digital signage, stickers and resources at all our sites, with the proper infection prevention and control protocols in place to ensure proper physical distancing and hand-hygiene. Continue reading

PM Announces Support to Niagara, other Communities Across Canada to Create Jobs, Restart Economy

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“From coast to coast to coast, Canadians are feeling the economic impacts of COVID-19, while they do what they can to protect the health and safety of their families and communities. That is why we are taking action to restart the economy, get Canadians back to work, and come out of this stronger.”                                         – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of Canada’s Prime Minister

Posted June 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – As we continue to focus on the health and safety of all Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also taking immediate action to support small towns and big cities across the country to restart the economy, and create good, well-paying jobs.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be accelerated this year to help communities as quickly as possible while respecting public health guidelines. Continue reading

A Message to Canadians about the Racism in our Midst

We must put a stop to racism wherever it is – Canada’s New Democratic Party

A Statement from NDP MPs Lindsay Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe) and Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre)

Posted June 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“As we watch the reaction to the injustice and the murder of George Floyd by police south of the border, Canadians still haven’t come to terms with the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, the killing of D’Andre Campbell, an unarmed black man, by police, and other injustices right here in Canada.

Today, Indigenous and racialized people in Canada are facing a frightening evolution of hate. In communities across the country, discrimination remains a reality.

Anti-Black racism, racism against Indigenous Peoples, Anti-Asian racism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate are not only allowed to exist, but flourish. This is because of decades of policies that have systematically discriminated against minorities. Continue reading

Niagara Health Officials Investigating COVID Outbreak at Farm Operation in St. Catharines

Niagara Region Public Health confirms COVID-19 workplace outbreak at Pioneer Flower Farms

News from Niagara’s Region Government

Posted June 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services is investigating 20 confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in employees of Pioneer Flower Farms in (west) St. Catharines. The ill employees have been isolated as part of the  usual response to COVID-19 cases.

Similar to other outbreaks, Public Health is facilitating testing of other employees who have symptoms or are at increased risk. All employees who have been exposed to the infection have been isolated or are working separately from others to prevent further spread. Continue reading

It’s Back To Normal With Parking Fees at Niagara’s Hospitals

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

Posted May 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Parking fees at the Welland hospital site and at other hospitals around the Niagara region kick back in this June 1st.

Well, at least some things are going back to normal.

According to the news release circulated late this May by Niagara Health, the region’s amalgamated system of hospitals, parking fees at all Niagara hospital sites will go back to normal, effective this Monday, June 1st, after being suspended for several weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

So now here we go back to the years leading up to this pandemic when the parking fees are charged for people visiting their loved ones at our hospitals and they just kept getting hiked higher and higher. Continue reading

The Horror in Trumpland – “It’s My Face Man. … I Can’t Breathe.”

“I can’t move. … Mama, Mama, …Please Sir I Can Breathe.”          – the final words of George Floyd, on Monday,, May 25th, 2020 in Trump’s America

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Posted May 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Here are the final words of another unarmed black man, murdered in a culture of anger and hate that is stoked with relish by the monster holding the highest office of the land –

“It’s my face man

I didn’t do nothing serious man

please

please

please I can’t breathe

please man

please somebody Continue reading

One Black Activist’s Powerful and Pointed Message to Trump’s America

American activist Tamika Mallory

“We are not responsible for the mental illness that has been inflicted upon our people. …We learned looting from you. . … We learned violence from you. So if you want us to do better, then dam it, you do better.”                                                                               – Tamika Mallory, an American activist and one of the organizers of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in 2017

A Brief One from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Posted May 31st, 2020

These words, delivered by Tamika Mallory at a press conference shortly after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past May 25th, speak for themselves.

To listen and watch a video of her address, click on the screen 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

Put People First, Demand Over 150 Canadian Organizations With The Launch Of Six Principles For A Just Recovery

“The choices we make now about how to recover from this pandemic will shape not only our health and economic future, but also the future of human life on this planet.”                                 – Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff

A News Release from Laura Bergamo,  Greenpeace Canada

Posted May 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

As governments prepare recovery plans amidst the COVID-19 crisis, an informal alliance of over 150 civil society groups, representing collective memberships of millions in Canada, are demanding these plans move us toward a more equitable and sustainable future, with the release, (this May 25th), of six Principles for a Just Recovery.

United in support of the Principles, endorsing organizations span sectors and communities across the country, including the Canadian Labour Congress, Indigenous Climate Action, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec and the Canadian Health Coalition. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Opens Up COVID-19 Testing Across the Province

Strategy Expands Testing for General Public, Frontline Workers, First Responders and Workplaces

A COVID-19 Update from the Offfice of Ontario’s Premier

Posted May 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — As the province carefully and gradually reopens the economy, the Ontario government is implementing the next phase of its COVID-19 testing strategy to detect and quickly stop the spread of the virus. Testing will now be available to more people in more locations across the province.

Today, Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, released the next phase of the province’s COVID-19 testing plan, Protecting Ontarians Through Enhanced Testing, which includes three branches of testing: Continue reading

Marine Mammal Captivity Has Thrived With the Money Millions of Us Paid at the Gates of Parks like Marineland

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” – from Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted May 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The first time I went to Marineland was back in or around 1970 for a date with a girl I was going out with at the time.

Inside the gates there was the ‘King Waldorf Theatre’ with the big cement pool surrounded by bleachers and stage props where dolphins and seals and whales and walruses swam and performed an assortment of tricks, and there was a pen where you could go and feed deer and another where bears stood begging for an ice cream cone or any other food a part visitor might toss down to them.

Marine mammals enthrall the masses at at the King Waldorf Theatre in the Marineland Park in Niagara Falls, Ontario

And that was about it.

The Niagara Falls amusement park had only been open about eight or nine years at the time and was not anywhere near as elaborate as it came to be in later years with all of the amusement park rides on and around a man-made mountain at the back, and a larger pond, dubbed ‘Friendship Cove’, where they exhibited beluga whales. Continue reading

A Gripping Look At One Citizen’s Epic Battle with Marineland in Niagara, Falls, Ontario

 DON’T MISS  ‘The Walrus and The Whistleblower’

This Thursday, May 28th at 8 P.M. on CBC Television – Channel 6 on Cogeco

A Reminder to all of our Niagara At Large readers to check out the Premier of this great CBC HOT DOCS Film 

Posted May 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

See a trailer for this full-length documentary by clicking on the screen immediately below –

If you have wondered what all the years of controversy over the keeping of whales, dolphins and other marine mammals at amusements parks like Marineland or SeaWorld has been all about, you have got to watch this film                                                   – Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

To read more on the documentary, posted on Niagara At Large this May 25th, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/05/25/new-film-focuses-on-former-marineland-trainer-and-whistleblower-phil-demers-his-epic-battle-with-an-iconic-niagara-falls-amusement-park/

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

In Trumpland, Death Count Is Now 100,000 and Counting!

Thank You Mr. Prime Minister, for Your Part in Keeping the Canada-U.S. Border Closed to Non-Essential Travel At Least Until June 21st

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

Posted May 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A profile of two “leaders” at U.S. Memorial Day services – Trump with no mask, and the Democratic Party’s presidential hopeful, Joe Biden, wearing one.

The United States has passed another tragic milestone in this time of COVID-19 – one that doesn’t appear to rattle – not even a wit – the millions of mask-shunning Trumpies across the “land of liberty” where, so the thinking seems to go; ‘To hell with the common good. I should be able to do whatever I want.”

“And oh, by the way, how is my investment portfolio doing?”

The startling front page of this Sunday, May 24th, New York Times. No pictures and the names of the COVID victims just goes on and on, spilling over to inside pages of the newspaper

Barely more than three days after a Sunday edition of The New York Times, under a headline that read; ‘U.S. Deaths Near 100,000, An Incalculable Loss’, and just two days after American cable networks broadcast split screen images of U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his wife Jill, wearing masks as they laid a wreath for Memorial Day in their home state of Delaware, and of Trump and his water boy, Mike Pence, at Arlington National Cemetery, not wearing one, the COVID death toll in America has, as of the afternoon of this May 27th, 2020 surpassed that grim six digit figure.

“One hundred thousand, “ read an editorial in the New York Times that accompanied four pages of the names, ages and short tributes to a mere 1,000 of the deceased.  “The immensity of such a sudden toll taxes our ability to comprehend, to understand that each number adding up to 100,000 represents someone among us just yesterday.” Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Action Taking Action at High Risk Long-Term Care Homes

In Wake of Shocking Canadian Forces Military Report In Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes, Government Deploying Inspection Teams To Homes, Starting Process To Take Over Management Of Five Long-Term Care Homes

At a press briefing this May 26th, Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the contents of a whistleblower report by Canadian Armed Forces members assisting in the province’s long-term care homes during the pandemic “heartbreaking,” “horrific” and “gut-wrenching.”

“I made a commitment to our long-term care residents and their families that there would be accountability and justice after receiving the military’s heart-breaking report on the state of five of our homes.”                                                                                              – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

News from the Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — Today (this May 27th), the Ontario government is taking additional immediate action at high-risk long-term care homes, following the disturbing allegations outlined by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  Continue reading

A Happy 75th Birthday to one of Canada’s Finest

Singer/Songwriter Bruce Cockburn Turn 75 this May 27, 2020

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

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Bruce Cockburn

He’s always made me proud as a Canadian and I’m pleased to say I’ve seen him in concert at least three or four times.

He is Bruce Cockburn, one of Canada’s most talented and intelligent singer/songwriters, whose engaging lyrics are only matched by his fabulous guitar playing.

He is also a real activist who has put his money and his body where his mouth is when it comes to standing up for a more just and peaceful world, and for a healthy environment.

Believe it or not, Bruce Cockburn turned 75 this May 27th, and I will leave you with one of his great songs that seems fitting for the perilous times we are all living through now.

It is “Lovers in a Dangerous Time’ and you can hear it by clicking on the screen below –

Visit Bruce Cockburn’s Official Website for more on his 75th Birthday and other news by clicking on – https://brucecockburn.com/news/

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

West Niagara Municipalities United In Strong Support Of New Hospital

Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan

“This is a very significant investment in the community and will provide much-needed health care to our region. Local residents have been advocating for the new hospital for almost two decades and this is an exciting step in advancing the project.”       – Jeff Jordan, Mayor, Town of Grimsby

A News Release from the Town of Lincoln in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln Ontario – The Councils of Lincoln, Grimsby and West Lincoln have voted unanimously to commit to the local share of funding for the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

One computerized rendition, from years ago now, of what a new West Lincoln Hospital might look like. Movement on building it seemed to grind to a near stop when the new super hospital was opened a decade ago in west St. Catharines.

The Province of Ontario will fund most of the $200-million hospital, but local communities must fund about 30 per cent of the project. In order to move to stage three of the redevelopment, Infrastructure Ontario set a May 31 deadline for letters of commitment from the three municipalities to fund the local portion. Continue reading

Niagara Loses a Tireless Champion for Working People

Ed Gould – 1953 – 2020

Words of Tribute from a Bruce Allen, a friend and fellow unionist in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ed Gould in 2013, with one of the many awards he received over the years for his humanitarian work and advocacy on behalf of working people

This Tuesday, May 26th,  the working people of Niagara lost one of its most outstanding militants and leaders. Ed Gould was an active trade unionist and leader for nearly three decades dating back to 1990 when he was a Skilled Trades Shop Committee person and member of the CAW – GM Master Bargaining Committee.

Over the following two decades Ed was a major figure in the local labour movement including the St. Catharines & District Labour Council. Ed was its President in 1998 at the time of the St. Catharines Day of Action/General Strike putting him at the forefront of that mass mobilization.

In his later years Ed went on to become the Chair of the Unifor Niagara Skilled Trades Council, member of the CAW Local 199 Executive Board and a Health and Safety Rep for several years. Continue reading

Niagara Region, 12 Local Municipalities Call on Senior Levels of Government for Financial Relief

Niagara submits joint request for COVID-19 financial relief to the provincial and federal government

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

“The financial effects of COVID-19 on municipalities is significant and will likely have a lasting impact for some time. … While these are challenging times, I am confident we will emerge on the other side a stronger and more resilient community.””                              ~ Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

News from Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara’s 12 municipalities, in close partnership with the Region, have formally submitted a request to the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada for financial relief for the costs incurred from the COVID-19 crisis.

The region has projected the gross costs related to COVID-19 will be nearly $50 million by the end of June. While some costs have been accommodated through the current budget and a number of strategic mitigation efforts, there is still a significant deficit that is only expected to increase as a clearer picture of the crisis unfolds. Continue reading

For Sake of Public Safety, Ford Government is Extending Emergency Orders

Ontario Extending Emergency Orders During COVID-19 Outbreak

Ontario government decides to extend ‘state of emergency’ for some activities. See details below

Public health and safety remain top priorities

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The Ontario government continues to protect the health and safety of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak by extending all emergency orders in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Current emergency orders include the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery. Continue reading

SHAME ON US!

‘Horrific, Disgusting, Heartbreaking and Gut-Wrenching’, says Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted May 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large.

Sometimes you ask yourself; ‘What is the point? What is the fucking point?’

Why bother reporting anything more  on economic injustice, our environment, or on anything else if we don’t treat some of the most vulnerable among us – our senior citizens – like anything less than human garbage.

Another hearse pulls out from a long-term care home in Ontario

We just went through the rituals of observing – at least some of us did – the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War when what we collectively pretend to remember as “the greatest generation” fought and sacrificed for the freedoms we have today.

Yet this is the way that we collectively in Ontario treat them – like human garbage, crying for help, dying in dirty diapers with cockroaches crawling around. And why? Continue reading

Like Many Colleges and Universities Around the World, Brock U. to Hold VIRTUAL Spring Convocation

On-Line Convocation Scheduled for Friday, June 19th

“We know that Convocation will look very different this year, but we recognize that this is one of the biggest moments in a student’s life. … We may not be able to come together in person, but … we want to make this something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”                                                                                                    – Geraldine Jones, Brock University Registrar and Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services

News from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Convocation is a monumental occasion in the life of any post-secondary student, and Brock University won’t let the Class of 2020 go uncelebrated.

With large gatherings banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, post-secondary institutions around the world have been coming up with creative ways to mark the occasion.

In-person ceremonies are on hold, so Brock University’s 107th Convocation, originally scheduled for the second week of June, will move online. A future in-person celebration is also planned when it’s safe to do so.

In the meantime, the University’s 2020 Virtual Convocation will launch on Friday, June 19. Continue reading

New Film Focuses on Former Marineland Trainer and Whistleblower & His Epic Battle with an Iconic Niagara, Falls Amusement Park

See the World Premier of “THE WALRUS AND THE WHISTLEBLOWER” on Hot Docs @ Home on CBC and CBC Gem on Thursday, May 28th at 8 pm ET

You can also watch it on the same night at 9 p.m. on the Documentary Channel at 9 p.m. ET

A Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by more information about the film.

Posted May 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I was originally planning to do my own news story and commentary leading up to the premier this May 28th of this film but found myself backing away from that idea.

Animal activists staged another in a series of demonstrations in front of Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario – this one on Labour Day 2018. File photo by Doug Draper

I have decided to leave any write-ups of the film in the days leading up to its televised debut to other media outlets, although I will likely have something to post about the film, and about Marineland’s past and ongoing existence as a keeper and displayer of wild animals in the days and weeks following the debut.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I apparently appear in this film as one of a number of talking heads, and I shared some of my information and thoughts about Marineland and its practice of keeping whales and other animals in captivity with the film’s director Nathalie Bibeau. Continue reading

Just When We Thought It Was Safe to Begin Re-Opening Again

Brace Yourselves Folks. It’s Time to Get Ready for a More Lethal Second Wave of this Killer Virus

Dr Bonnie Henry of British Columbia, one of Canada’s most respected voices during this pandemic

You know what? We’ve never had a pandemic in recorded history that has not had a second wave.”                                                      – Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Chief Health Officer who, like New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to the south of us, has earned kudos around the world for her honest leadership during this COVID-19 nightmare

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

Posted May 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I went out for a short drive to a garden centre this weekend, and I don’t think it was just my imagination when I thought I saw the amount of traffic around the Pen Centre shopping mall and just a little further east near a mall that boasts an LCBO and a Sobey’s grocery store as busy as it might be on any “normal” weekend this time of year.

Traffic on our roads in Niagara seems to be getting back to normal again. On this stretch of Glendale Avenue in St. Catharines, there was barely a car on the road earlier this May. All this, while we are hearing that cases of COVID in the province are ticking up again. Photo by Doug Draper, taken May 23rd, 2020

Just a couple of weeks earlier, stretches of this same area along Glendale Avenue near the Highway 406 interchange were so void of traffic that a bunch of kids could have played a game or road hockey on it, if team sports were allowed at the time.

I don’t think it is just my imagination though.

I turned on the CBC this May 24th to reports of crowded sidewalks, beaches and parks this weekend, and this Sunday’s front cover of The Toronto Sun, a conservative-leaning paper that has not shown a report of being as much of an advocate for lockdowns and social-distancing as, let’s say a newspaper like The Toronto Star, featured a park in Toronto packed with people, many of them not appearing to be wearing masks or keeping two metres apart.

“T.O.’s COVIDIOTS” reads the headline Toronto Sun editors burned in big letters above an image of a mass of ‘Covidiots’ in one of the city’s parks.

All of this while, in Ontario alone, the province’s Premier Doug Ford has had to report, as recently as this May 24th, that for a number of days in a row, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario are actually going up. That after watching the numbers go down for a while. Continue reading

Paying Tribute to Our Front-line Paramedics and Communications Officers at the onset of Paramedic Services Week in Canada

“Throughout this pandemic, paramedics have shown up for Canadians, and they have  shown us the very best of courage, compassion, and dedication. And we’re determined to be there for them too.”                                                                                              – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Statement from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

Posted May 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today(this May 24th)  issued the following statement on Paramedic Services Week, which runs from May 24 to 30:

Niagara Region’s Parademics have been their, doing their job with courage, throughout these perilous times. Photo courtesy of Niagara Region

“Today marks the start of Paramedic Services Week. It’s a time for all of us to celebrate and thank the women and men on the front lines of our healthcare system.

“Across the country, more than 40,000 paramedics and communications officers  stand ready to help Canadians in need. Day in and day out, they answer our calls for help and put themselves in harm’s way to save lives. And this year, we’re particularly grateful for their sacrifice and their service in the face of COVID-19. So to all the paramedics across Canada: thank you. Continue reading

Fear Not Parents: Kids Can Learn Lots While At Home

“In general, we need a better appreciation for the fact that learning is happening everywhere especially within families – in every conversation, exchange, meal preparation, routine, backyard game children are learning,”                                                      – Debra Harwood, Associate Profession of Education Studies, Brock University and an expert in Early Childhood Education

One of a number of images produced by the Ontario government, in the wake of the COVID-19 oubreak, on learning at home

News from Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted May 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – As parents adjust to the announcement that in-school classes will not resume in Ontario for the rest of the school year, a Brock University expert says several key steps can be taken to keep kids learning until the end of June and throughout the summer.

Associate Professor of Educational Studies Debra Harwood says it’s necessary for parents to start with what kids need most.

“I think what’s important is remembering the basics of what children need, such as the sense of belonging within family, safety, and mental health and well-being,” she says. Continue reading

Protect Ontario’s Farmland from Urban Sprawl. Support Ontario Grown Food

A Message from Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner

Posted May 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner

Being stuck at home these last few months and seeing some bare shelves at the grocery store has me thinking more about Ontario’s food supply and whether we’re prepared for bigger shocks down the road, like climate change.

Last week, in our largest online event ever, I was joined by five food experts who came to a similar conclusion about the lesson from COVID-19: LOCAL FOOD IS KEEPING US FED.  Support Ontario-grown food.

When global supply chains are cut off or big processing plants are overrun by disease, it is local food supplies that we depend on.

And that’s why COVID-19 has more people turning to community gardens, to local egg farmers, and to vegetable delivery boxes. Continue reading

For All the Political Junkies Out There – Here is a Five-Star Ad for our Post-Apocalyptic Times

This One Goes Down As NAL’s Best Political Attack Ad of the Week (not that we routinely do political attack ads of the week.)

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

Posted May 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The political ad I am featuring here may not be Canadian content in the sense that it eviscerates a character holding elected office in Trump’s America.

Yet, it is an ad that we Canadians in the middle to left side of the political ledger – the more progressive among us, if you will – should learn from for future elections because small-l liberals, lefties and progressives have had a history of being far too nice in the face of bullies and attack dogs on the right.

We prefer to fight elections by offering up detailed plans and  policies, and then look as though we have are genuinely caught off base when the right wing creeps on the other side, verbally punch is so hard,  we crumble to the ground, sitting on our better intentions. Continue reading

City of St. Catharines Council Waives Fees For Seasonal Patios In Bid To Support Businesses

“This is a simple way for the City to support our establishments who are being hit hard by this pandemic. We have to be proactive instead of waiting”                                                                                     – St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik.

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

Posted May 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines, Ontario  – As the economy slowly begins to restart, St. Catharines City Council is directing support to local restaurants.

Downtown St. Catharines, where sidewalk patios have become more popular in recent years

Recognizing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses such as the restaurants in the City’s downtown core, on Wednesday Council voted to waive all fees associated with patios operated seasonally in outdoor areas adjacent to businesses. The decision will allow businesses with seasonal patios to be prepared once the Ontario government allows them to reopen. The process to apply for a patio remains the same. Continue reading

As Ontario Reopens, People Urged to Continue Following Public Health Advice

Face Coverings Now Recommended When Physical Distancing is a Challenge

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“Now that we are in Stage 1 of our Framework for Reopening the Province, more people will be returning to workplaces, going to stores and parks, and using public transit. I strongly urge everyone to continue following the public health advice, such as physical distancing and restricting gatherings to five people or less. Although we are making progress, COVID-19 is still a risk that we must guard against. Please stay safe and protect yourself and others.”               – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted May 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — As the Ontario government carefully and gradually reopens the province, those taking public transit, returning to work or going out shopping are being urged to continue to adhere to public health advice as the best line of defence against COVID-19.

To assist the public,Ontario  the Ministry of Health this week released specific recommendations on how to choose, wear and care for appropriate face coverings used in public where physical distancing is not possible, along with additional safety measures for provincial transit agencies. Continue reading

With U.S.-Canada Border Restrictions Extended, Buffalo, New York area Congressman Asks Governments to Examine Essential Travel Allowances

Congressman Brian Higgins Encourages Planning for a Reopening that Protects Public Health While Reinvigorating Commerce

Canada-U.S Governments Announce Decision This May 19th to Extend Border Closing to all but Essential Travel until last week of June

News from the Buffalo, New York Office of Democratic Party Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted May 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), who serves as Co-Chair of the House of Representatives’ Northern Border Caucus is asking U.S. and Canada leaders to re-examine the scope of those provided essential travel status as communities on each side of the border begin reopening measures.

On March 24 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) imposed travel restrictions at Land Ports of Entry between the United States and Canada, limiting crossings to “essential travel” due to the ongoing pandemic. A second notice extended travel restrictions through May 20. Earlier this week the U.S. and Canada agreed to extend northern border restrictions through 11:59pm on June 22, 2020.

Under the current order, “essential travel” includes: Continue reading

‘Unconscionable’ – Ontario NDP Opposition Leader on Ford Blocking Long-Term Care Inquiry

Ford’s PC MPPs voted unanimously against NDP Leader Andrea Horwath Motion To Launch Find-And-Fix Public Inquiry

A Statement from Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted May 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Official Opposition and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement after the Ford government voted down an NDP motion (tabled this May 19th) calling for a full, independent public inquiry into Ontario’s long-term care system:

“It’s unconscionable for the Ford government to refuse to launch a full, independent public inquiry into how badly Ontario’s long-term care system has failed vulnerable seniors, and how to fix it.

“Voting no to a public inquiry is salt in the wound of families grieving the loss of loved ones to COVID-19 in long-term care, and for health care heroes who are run off their feet and still pleading for personal protective equipment. It is a cause for us all to worry that the painful, dangerous, decades-in-the-making problems in long-term care are not going to change. Continue reading

A Belated Goodbye to Wilma Morrison, a Niagara, Ontario Treasure

Wilma Morrison, a champion for heritage preservation, the go-to person on Black History in Niagara, and a beautiful human being, died this April. She was 91.

A Brief Tribute by Doug Draper, reporter and publisher, Niagara At Large

Posted May 20th, 2020

Wilma Morrison

I’m so sorry, Wilma, I am late again.

The first time I met this wonderful lady, more than 20 years ago, she was waiting for me in her beloved BME Church, Nathaniel Dett Memorial Chapel on Peer Street in Niagara Falls, and I was a reporter, still working for a daily newspaper in Niagara, assigned to do a story on Black History Month, and I was late.

I was late because the newspaper by then expected what few reporters they had left to do four stories at the same time, but when I got there and apologized for keeping her, Wilma Morrison greeted me with such a kind smile and said it was okay. Continue reading

New York State Turns Down Enbridge’s Fracked Gas Pipeline. Ontario Should Too

“It’s time for Ontario to take a page from the New York playbook and make it clear that a new gas supply pipeline through southern Ontario is going nowhere, permanently.”

Sign The Petition At The Bottom of This Post

A Call-Out from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a non-profit citizens advocacy group for a clean environment

Posted May 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

New York State is giving Ontario a lesson in weighing the costs and benefits of new natural gas infrastructure.

The State just refused to approve a new fracked gas pipeline stating “New York is not prepared to sacrifice the State’s water quality for a project that is not only environmentally harmful but also unnecessary to meet New York’s energy needs.”

The exact same statement could be made about Enbridge’s proposal to build a new fracked gas pipeline through Hamilton, Ontario. Continue reading

Niagara’ Greater Chamber of Commerce Hosts Webinar On Future of Post-Secondary Education

Join the Webinar, in a Q&A Featuring the Presidents of Niagara College and Brock University, this Thursday, May 21st from 10 to 11 A.M.

An Invite to You from the host of this Webinar event, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Posted May 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Participate in a Webinar  with Brock President & Vice-Chancellor Gervan Fearon and Niagara College President Sean Kennedy

The moderator of this webinar even is Niagara Greater Niagara Chamber CEO Mishka Balsom

Featuring: Brock University President & Vice-Chancellor Gervan Fearon and Niagara College President Sean Kennedy, and moderated by Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) President and CEO  Mishka Balsom.

What: A webinar interview and Q&A with the presidents of Niagara’s post-secondary institutions on the impact of COVID-19 on their operations, on Niagara, and on the future of post-secondary education.

When: May 21st, 2020, 10am-11am.

Where: The webinar can be accessed here (https://connect.gncc.ca/e2t/sc2/Mm-nFbjTcKwW7brW8j8B6rddW7VkCZD9dMQ_3W6B8Qgr5NpBb2f1HVPN203 ) . Attendance is free and open to anyone. Continue reading

School’s Out in Ontario – As In Going to Brick & Mortar Classrooms – For Remainder of this Academic Year

Classes Will Continue On-Line

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“Nothing is more important than protecting our kids in this province, bar none over anything.”                                        – Ontaro Premier Doug Ford.

A News Release from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted May 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Health and Safety Top Priority as Schools Remain Closed

Government unveils plans for reopening child care, day camps and initiatives to strengthen learning into the summer

TORONTO — The Ontario government is protecting the health and safety of students during the COVID-19 outbreak by keeping schools closed for the rest of this school year.

This decision was made after consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, and medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children.

At the same time, the government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

Continue reading

Canada-U.S. Border Remains Closed to Non-Essential Travel

Prime Minister Announces Border Will Remain Closed for at least Another 30 Days

Canada-U.S. border crossings like this will remain this void of traffic now until at least the last week of June

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

Posted May 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Major border crossing like the Peace Bridge have been closed to all but essential, mostly commercial trucking traffic since the last week of March

With less than two days to go to the latest May 21st deadline, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced during his COVID news briefing this May 19th that an agreement has been reached with the United States to keep the shared border closed to non-essential traffic for at least another 30 days.

That now takes us to on or about June 21st – a full three months after the border crossings were first closed to all but essential, mostly commercial-oriented traffic – before the earliest possible re-opening of the Peace Bridge, the Rainbow Bridge and other border crossings to those of us who would like to go back to visiting our friends and relatives, and some of our favourite places in each other’s countries.

I don’t know about your thoughts on this (and if you want you can share them below), but I have my own mixed feelings. Continue reading

A Look at the Rich Beauty of Our Wetlands and Why We Must Work to Preserve Them

Protecting Snapping Turtles and Other Wetland Species

By Jocelyn Baker, a professional in the field of conservation, living in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Wetlands are beautiful habitats where many unique species of animals can be found. We are all able to help protect and conserve these critically important ecosystems.

We are still fortunate enough to have some provincially significant wetlands in the Niagara River watershed. We need to work together as communities to protect and  preserve them for future generations.

In Ontario, most of our important wetlands have been mapped and are protected through various regulations. Wetlands that support critical habitat and species are called Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSW) and are protected from development and disturbance.

However, simply drawing a line around a wetland and saying it is “protected” is not enough to ensure the protection and survival of the species it contains. Continue reading

Ontario Government Announces Independent Commission into Long-Term Care

Government Commits to Improving System Following COVID-19 Outbreak

News from the Ontario Ministry of Long-Term Care, with an Afterword from Niagara At Large reporter Doug Draper

Posted May 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — This Tuesday, May 19th Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, issued the following statement in response to the impact of COVID-19 in Ontario’s long-term care homes:

“Our government has been clear that we will review the long-term care system to get a better understanding of the impacts and responses to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Today (this May 19th), I am announcing that we will be launching an independent commission into Ontario’s long-term care system beginning in September. Continue reading

FINALLY – Some Good News for Our Neighbours in the Buffalo, Western New York Area

Amid Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, Governor Cuomo Announces Sixth Region Hits Benchmark to Begin Reopening (this May 19th)

New York State Governor brings some hopeful news to the Buffalo area during a news conference at Roswell Park Hospital this May 18th

News from the Office of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

Posted May 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

Buffalo, New York – State Department of Health has Granted Erie County Medical Center a Waiver to Restart Elective Procedures.

  • Announces New Efforts to Bring More Tests to Nursing Home Facilities to Help Meet New Guidelines Requiring All Nursing Home Employees Be Tested Twice Per Week
  • Encourages Major Sports Teams to Plan Reopening Without Fans
  • Confirms 1,250 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State – Bringing Statewide Total to 351,371; New Cases in 44 Counties

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo announced that Western New York has met all seven metrics required to begin phase one of the state’s regional phased reopening plan starting tomorrow, joining the Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions. Continue reading

Trump, COVID-19 and a Profile In Naked Madness and Stupidity

Featuring a Video Produced by The Atlantic called; ‘Donald Trump – A Study in Leadership’

Letting loose between toilet tweets

A Brief Commentary, followed by a Video that is a Must-Watch for all Canadians Wondering If And When We Should Re-Open the Canada-U.S. Border  

Posted May 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Atlantic has recently come out with what should be a disturbing video to many in his own country and around the world titled; ‘Donald Trump – A Study in Leadership.

Not a very flattering portrait of the self-describe “stable genius,” but a very generous title, in Canadian border area resident’s view. Continue reading

An Urgent Lesson for Niagara on How Destroying Nature’s Biodiversity Promotes Pandemics

Watch The Interview Below, Then Try to Make the Case for Urbanizing Havens for Biodiversity in Niagara Like Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls and Waverly Woods in Fort Erie

A Few Words of Introduction from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted May 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Award-winning science reporter and her 2016 book Pandemic. She makes the case for why we have to save places like Thundering Waters and Waverly Woods in Niagara, Click on the link for the interview below.

This May 17th , on his weekly CNN program, GPS (an acronym for Global Public Square), American journalist and political scientist Fareed Zakaria featured as one of his guests Sonia Shah, an investigative journalist who has spent years covering infectious diseases and pandemics, and whose 2016 book ‘Pandemic’ should have been a warning call to our political leaders before the nightmare of COVID-19 came along.

During her interview with Fareed Zakaria, Sonia Shah spent time talking about how the loss of natural habitat and biodiversity promotes the spread of infectious diseases like the one that is ravaging the health and economies of the world now. Continue reading

A Proud Cross-Canada Flyover for Snowbirds Turns Tragic

“For the past two weeks, the Snowbirds have been flying across the country to lift up Canadians during these difficult times. … Their flyovers across the country put a smile on the faces of Canadians everywhere and make us proud.”                                     – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper followed by a Statement issued this May 18th, 2020 by Canada’s Prime Minister

Posted May 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Commentary by Doug Draper

I’ve never been much for shows of military or para-military strength. Often, they have even repulsed me, and even if it is our own Canadians forces, have left me with thoughts like; “Okay, this sure looks awesome. But what if some leader with an authoritarian bent decides to turn it on us? It’s not as if there aren’t truckloads of historic precedence for that.”

Canada’s Golden Hawks, flying over the lower Niagara River, sometimes more than 50 years ago.

Yet, I have to make a confession. Since I was a wee little kid, there has always been a proud spot in my heart for Canada’s great air show or aerobatic teams which like it or not, were military based.

My introduction to the great Canadian air show was an Air Force team of breathtaking daredevils, soaring through the skies in Korean War-vintage Sabre Jets, called ‘The Golden Hawks’. Continue reading

A Statement by Canada’s Prime Minister on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves the rainbow flag as he attends the annual pride parade in Montreal, Sunday, August 14, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

“Today, … we join Canadians and people everywhere to support LGBTQ2 rights, and speak out against the stigma, discrimination, and violence that continue to affect LGBTQ2 communities here in Canada and around the world.”                         – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Posted May 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia:

“Today (this Sunday, May 17th), on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, we join Canadians and people everywhere to support LGBTQ2 rights, and speak out against the stigma, discrimination, and violence that continue to affect LGBTQ2 communities here in Canada and around the world.

“This year’s theme in Canada, ‘Family support is essential: Send love to your LGBTQ+ relatives,’ recognizes the importance of support networks for LGBTQ2 individuals who continue to face stigma and discrimination for simply being themselves. Continue reading

Happy Birthday To One of Niagara’s Most Decent Public Servants

Happy Birthday Bill Hodgson

A Brief Tribute and Happy Birthday Wish to former public school board member, then former Lincoln mayor, then former Niagara regional councillor for Lincoln, and a former member of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board of directors, censored by the former NPCA board of Sandy Annunziata, but remembered in the eyes of Niagara’s public at large as a board member of high principle – BILL HODGSON

From Doug Draper

Posted May 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

So courtesy of those pop-up Facebook messages I receive, which I normally find quite annoying because, on so many levels, I don’t like Facebook has done to real newspapers and to the civility of public discourse, I am going to let Sylvester, one of my all-time favourite cats, out of the bag, and wish one of my all-time favourite public servants in Niagara, Ontario a Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday, this May 16th, to Bill Hodgson. And Bill, I have no idea how old you are but, in this journalist’s view anyway, you are never too old to take a run for another term in any public office you choose.

I am sure that many Niagara residents who care about honesty and decency in public office would welcome you back. Continue reading

What A Fucking Evil Madman Trump Is!

Some of You Dispute My Argument That We Canadians Should Keep The Canada-U.S. Border Closed Indefinitely?

Just Watch The Video Below. I Rest My Case

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted May 15th, 2020

I’ve had more than a few comments already to a commentary I put on Niagara At Large earlier today, almost pleading to our Prime Minister that he keep the Canada-U.S. border closed, possibly until the end of this year.

Not till the end of the year, some have responded to me. I want to cross.

My response is so do I, but I’m more worried about the Trump nuts that don’t give a shit about social distancing and might come over here, to Canada, and trigger an outbreak of this nightmare again.

The self-described “stable genius” in the White House, gives those of us who choose to disagree with anything he says or does the you know what.

If you think I am wrong, just watch this recent madness from Donald Trump, talking about moving forward with business – pandemic or no pandemic – and actually speaking out against testing because testing my reveal that there are more COVID-19 cases.  

To watch something far less funny than Dr. Strangelove and far more dangerously insane, yet remains something that the millions of screwballs in America who continue support this nut actually see as perfectly okay, click on the screen below –

A Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – Here is the link to the Commentary I posted on NAL earlier, on the need to keep the Canada-U.S. border indefinitely closed – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/05/15/dear-mr-prime-minister-please-keep-the-canada-u-s-border-closed-all-year-if-necessary/

Further to this, and if you need any further information on how dangerous the United States has become under Trump, in this age of COVID-19, here is a piece I saw on the MSNBC pr0gram this Friday, May 15. Later on, Linda Babb posted it on her great Niagara area onside Facebook page, The Peoples’ Platform.

Please watch it right through to the end so you can here what a renown expert on international affairs, Dr. Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University in New York City has to say, and once again, I rest my case on my plea to keep the Canada-U.S. border closed.

To watch the Morning Joe segment, click on the screen below –

Okay, now come tell me we shouldn’t keep the Canada-U.S. border closed to Trumpies.

We need to keep our entrance ways to Canada from Trumpland closed.

There is no damn way that Canadians, who have sacrificed so much over the past many weeks to drive the Coronavirus curve down, should allow people who think this killer virus is some kind of a hoax or joke to drive it across our border.

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