Be a Contributor

Niagara At Large will either soar in cyberspace or fall on the strength of people willing to contribute content to this site for nothing more than the possibility that maybe – just maybe – we can provide a forum for the kind of informative and engaging news and analysis that has crashed and burned in too many of our chain-owned newspapers.
And when we say “for nothing,” we mean that everyone up to and including the publisher of Niagara At Large is launching this project for no monetary compensation whatsoever, but on a dream that maybe that will come someday if this site proves worthy enough to draw funding from people who believe in it.
Fortunately, there are already good people willing to contribute to Niagara At Large that are willing to accept those terms, and we thank them, in advance, for their passion in trying to get a truly independent news and commentary site for the greater Niagara region off the ground.
There may be more of you who would like to contribute and you can begin to do that by contacting Niagara At Large’s publisher at
Contributing an article or commentary piece to Niagara At Large could mean anything from sharing the odd piece of news and commentary for the site to more regularly producing columns. You may be a young person who is still attending high school, college or university, looking for one more venue for communicating your generation’s concerns about your ups and downs, and concerns for the future. Or you may be someone who has lost a job or is a senior on a fixed income, or member of a not-for-profit organization working for the betterment of our binational Niagara/Buffalo region.
If you have news or viewpoints all of us in the greater Niagara region may benefit from, then this site may be one you agree we can all build on.
Doug Draper, publisher, Niagara At Large,


33 responses to “Be a Contributor

  1. This looks great, Doug. I’m going to spread the word to everybody I know.


  2. Jolly Good Show! Cheers! Your voice catches the essence of excellent reporting and obviously it creates a wonderful newsletter/e-paper. Perhaps you’ll accept some sort of financial underwriting such as a donation ? Even us old 60’s radicals turned capitalists can be stirred into providing support if you offer a venue.

    Best of Luck and Thank you. Steve and Michele


  3. How about an indepth article on the Water/sewer issue in Wainfleet which is going to bankrupt a lot of the homeowners and force them to sell off property they worked hard to pay for for thier retirement years. How fair is this for something that the residents have offered a solution to that won’t cost the rest of the taxpaying base any money, and has the support of the majority of the lakeshore residents.

    Any coverage that has been in the local papers has been biased to the regional point of view naturally as they spend a lot of money placing ads in the papers so why would the newspapers question anything the region does?

    Betty Konc
    President Wainfleet Ratepayers Association


  4. “Health care” has become an oximoron in the NHS (better known as the SCHS) and now we have the HIP! How can closing beds and firing much needed staff be an “improvement”? If that bunch (NHS) had to work for their salaries instead of feeding at the public trough) they would all be fired in a heart beat. They will do whatever it takes, including closing all south Niagara hospitals and leaving a token small emergency dept. at Welland, to claw back the stipends allocated to these hospitals for their new St. Catharines hospital (doesn’t that make four in total for that city????). This is greed and theft at its finest; and we get to pay for it from our taxes. When is someone “important” going to have a red light moment and stop the insanity? Never until it impacts them directly.

    Re: Letter to The Leader from J. Biro

    “Health care” has become an oximoron in the NHS (better known as the SCHS) and now we have the HIP! How can closing beds and firing much needed staff be an “improvement”? If that bunch (NHS) had to work for their salaries instead of feeding at the public trough) they would all be fired in a heart beat. They will do whatever it takes, including closing all south Niagara hospitals and leaving a token small emergency dept. at Welland, to claw back the stipends allocated to these hospitals for their new St. Catharines hospital (doesn’t that make four in total for that city????). This is greed and theft at its finest; and we get to pay for it from our taxes. When is someone “important” going to have a red light moment and stop the insanity? Never until it impacts them directly.


  5. William Lidkea
    310-37 Rykert St.
    St. Catharines, ON L2S 3S5


    There has been a lot of controversy over this proposed new tax. While there is a lot of detail over what items will be taxed, not much has been said about what the proceeds would be spent upon.

    Before I could support such a tax, I would need reassurance that the proceeds would be spent by the Provincial Government on creating new fruit processing facilities in the Niagara Region and other parts of Southern Ontario. I recall that back in the 1960s and 1970s we had as many as 6 canning factories in the Niagara Region providing well paid employment to thousands of our local residents.

    I become infuriated whenever I want to buy a tin of peaches and I have to choose between Greece, South Africa and China to buy such products. My anger becomes more intense when I think of the huge amounts of carbon put into our atmosphere to ship those products to our local grocery shelves when we could be growing and processing these products on our own local farms and canning factories.

    My perception is that our present fruit processing is far too focused on the winemaking industry. The dumping of 7500 tons of grapes and the continuation of our green space disasters should show us that we have reached the point where we are producing far more wine than our population can possibly consume safely.

    In my view, if the expectation is not met for balancing our regional fruit processing production, I would be joining those who firmly oppose the HST as a bad tax that hits most heavily at those with moderate and fixed incomes – with no other purpose than to stockpile a future pay increase for MPPs to be announced shortly after the fall election.


  6. Premier McGuinty

    I am writing to voice my displeasure at your recent announcements, regarding the sale and privatization of the LCBO, OLG and Ontario Hydro. Even a hint of selling off these publicly- owned assets is tantamount to gifting away, what rightfully belongs to the citizens of Ontario. Haven’t you learned from history the shameful act of our previous government, selling off the 407 and the problems it has created? If you follow through with this, you are bordering on the side of insanity.

    I am certain that many Ontarians hope you come to your senses.


    David Boese
    2A Wood St.,
    St. Catharines, On. L2N 2A9
    905 646 9143


  7. I am sorry I am such a late commenter and congratulator.

    I am so happy that some one who actually knows a lot about the Niagara region can now write about his knowledge.

    I look forward to an exiting time in information.

    Thanks Doug. We all owe you!


  8. I meant “exciting,” of course. You can always tell when I compose on line.


  9. Hi Doug
    Congratulations for taking this step. With your reputation you should be getting a large following. Something about your site looks familiar and now I see why. We both have good taste in choosing WordPress as our medium. My blog address is Maybe we can lean on each other from time to time?

    Happy writing
    David Boese


  10. A great new voice for Niagara. Refreshing to say the least.


  11. I would like to thank Doug Draper for posting PALS’s brief against the Canadian Motorway Speedway in Fort Erie. Since this time, the proposal has been endorsed by Fort Erie Council, and is expected to be approved by the Niagara Regional Council on February 8th. At this time people should be urging that the province government, following the expected February 8th action of Niagara Regional Council, appeal this approval to the Ontario Municipal Board. Unless this is done the residents of Fort Erie will be forced to engage in a horrible battle of uncertain outcome at the Ontario Municipal Board, similar to that which was attempted unsuccessfully, by the PROUD group against the Port Tower.

    The Fort Erie motorway speedway is the biggest threat we are now facing to our environment in Niagara. It is a violation of the Ontario Growth Management Plan, which is intendeed to curb urban sprawl. Attempts to violate this plan in West Lincoln and Niagara Falls have resulted in an OMB appeal by the province which is schedluled to begin on February 17th.

    It should be noted that a very courageous provincial civil servant, Victor Doyle, edited a report which indicated that the proposed motorway’s plans to build a bridge over a provincially significant wetland was a violation of provincial policy. This is completely contrary to what the developer’s planning consultant, Rick Brady, told the Fort Erie Council at the meeting at which it approved the speedway.


  12. Roseanne Skinner

    Thanks Doug for this forum of discussion. I encourage everyone in Fort Erie to learn more about the Canadian Speedway complex proposed for us.Car racing is dirty, noisy, wasteful, polluting,harmful to health and risky business for a quiet stable town such as Fort Erie. Call Kim Craitor our mpp and object to this development.


  13. George Jardine

    Dear Doug,you are one of the few voices in Niagara who has any credibility ,I still have articles that you wrote over 25 years ago about the toxic stew pouring into the lower Niagara river,I think you are doing a great service to Niagara and Canada,even though it may seem like a voice in the wilderness,sometimes..


  14. Hi Doug,
    I agree with David, we’d appreciate an article encouraging public funds for food processing plants, and especially if a cooperative is involved. In the late 60’s, at the closing of the Boese canning factory, my parents and friends counted 34 food processing plants in Niagara including bottling plants, canning plants, and such for ice cream, 5 dairies, pop, popsicles, canned orchard fruit plus jams and jellies, frozen pies, canned and frozen veggies, dried and roasted nuts …
    Selling off publicly owned assets is tantamount to the foolishness of selling the store and still expecting an income. While we’re focussing on food, we need the country of origin restored to our food labels.


  15. Our Canadian Investment Review Agency is a useless entity since the advent of NAFTA they have helped foreign companies take over and close our canning plants take our brand names pocket millions of taxpayer money and import tomatoes from China, I am talking about the St. Davids canning plant known as Can Gro.they have only stopped one sale that was CanadaArm which was a highly srutinized and political hot potato. our grapes go to rot because that grape juice closed its doors, any one for free trade? like lead in your canned foods how about nice dose of E-Coli.for desert? buy local,


  16. Responsible Vigilance

    Democracy’s continued success depends on vigilance. Without vigilance, democracy will always deteriorate into undemocratic rule. As democratic transparency diminishes, open and honest democracy turns to secrecy and conspiracy. Ample evidence is on display by the outrageous outcome of expensively funded and government protected agencies that answer to no one.

    Planning behind closed doors and behind the voters back is, by its very definition, conspiracy. Conspiratorial autocrats are motivated to exclude the public, the very public which they have sworn to serve, from our public forum, from our televised council chamber where we can both speak and be heard.

    Only a jaded autocrat would consider it ‘intolerable’ and ‘rude’ for a citizen to publicly present opposing views or open and honest criticism of autocratic decisions. This was evidenced by the CORC Chairman’s devious assertion that ‘long-winded presenters’ were causing late-night council meetings. The truth is that presenters are strictly limited to 10 minutes, whereas ‘in-camera’ sessions go on for hours forcing delegations to wait until 1 to 2 in the morning to be heard. Obviously the three (3) week schedule is inadequate for an $800-plus million municipal government. Citizens have the right to deliver a non-repetitive address to council unimpeded by ANY type of government censor.

    Cynicism accepts that it is easier to pass laws against the citizen in the middle of the night!

    Forty years of inadequate oversight has manifested undesirable change to our Niagara Regional Government. The gag order, which blocked the public from presenting their views at council, was a conspiracy hatched in a clandestine meeting of the CORC committee and agreed to unanimously by the entire council.

    Too comfortably imbedded media reporters no longer find anything wrong with the questionable activities of governance. As an example, they had to be dragged into reporting on the deliberate and unanimous decision by our region councillors to exclude the public from our public forum.

    Following our exposé of the imminent danger of the Burgoyne Bridge, a secret emergency meeting of the St. Catharines’ contingent of regional councillors was hastily convened to get their political narrative in line for public consumption, which passed without media attention. The press was incorrectly barred from this secret meeting.

    Reports from the imbedded media reporters suggests little or no concern with the Niagara Region’s pretense of holding the line on property tax by stacking part of the infrastructure costs onto our water bills with all the inequities this deception entails.

    It was the Niagara Winners Circle that twice asked the Niagara Economic Development Corporation, and asked every Niagara Regional councillor, three times “Would you kindly describe some of NEDC’s achievements and successes as they have related directly to NEDC’s ability to attract specifically how many companies and employees to the Niagara Region?” The fact that no one could answer the question regarding the $2 million economic boondoggle called NEDC did not stop the Regional Chair from ruling us out of order for what the chair termed was ‘unfounded allegations’. What did the comfortably imbedded media report?

    Where was the media when the Regional Government spent over $100K to run a business-busting Ponzi scheme by the ‘Culture Committee’ to acquire a few thousand dollars worth of ‘free’ photographic images, with nothing going to ‘Culture’, ‘artists’ or the ‘Arts Community’?

    Did the media recognize the successful effort of citizen Andrew Petrowski {Now Regional Councillor} when he reminded Regional Council that the $1.7 million dollars in a “surplus” account belonged to the citizens of Niagara and not for the indiscriminate use by the councillors of the Niagara Regional Country Club?

    It is no longer enough for the citizen to assume they have done their duty by simply casting a ballet. When you do vote, how do you know who to vote for if your councillor hides behind process, deceptive rules, prevarication and tries to conceal their voting record?

    To preserve our precious democracy, for the future of our children and grandchildren, citizens have the awesome responsibility of remaining ever vigilant of their government.
    Preston Haskell
    Campaign Manager
    Niagara Winners Circle


  17. According to the MUNICIPAL ACT it is illegal to siphon money out of the water and sewer accounts,if Region is doing that then they are breaking the law, you cannot use these funds for any other purpose, it is not a slush fund, or a means to finance other projects, is it any wonder our rate payers are getting soaked by these outrageous water and sewer charges.


  18. Own Up Or Keep Quiet!

    Have you heard of Web sites “Rate Your Teacher,” “Rate Your Doctor,” or the like? There is only one word to describe them: cowardly! Ranting and raving at anyone through a public forum without giving one’s real name is spineless. Lacking the courage to comment and own up to those comments is low. Why does anyone take them seriously? Are their sights set so low that these comments pass for entertainment?

    Honest commentary demands honest ownership. The right to speak freely comes with a responsibility to accept full responsibility for saying it. However, responsibility and certainly courage are in glaring absence with many, if not most, of the commentators ascending on these sites. The authors of the many anonymous diatribes that appear there are, in short, pathetic. Some are little more than mealy-mouthed character assassinations!

    Take more specifically, “Rate Your Teacher.” Many simple-minded students, disgruntled because they do not get their way in some classroom, take pot shots at the educators who have the gumption to call them on their conduct or grades. If honest comment if warranted, surely ought to require the commentator to be mature enough to own the remarks. Indeed, if they were sincere, they would approach the teacher, and work out their differences. That, of course, is the grown up way! Cowards are a dime a dozen. Real courage to speak the truth is a rare commodity.

    What galls me most about such sites is not simply the cowardice of many of the authors, but the greater cowardice of the site owners. They cop out of their responsibility to be fair and just to all parties affected by the various comments. Instead, the site owners hide behind the caveat that they “are not responsible for the comments of our contributors.”

    Yet, we should hold them accountable! They decide what will go in and what will not. They need to be responsible for that decision just as if they had made the comments themselves, IF, and I stress IF, those commentaries are to remain anonymous. Only they have control over what appears on their sites but them!

    One of the many things I admire about Editor Doug Draper is he will not allow anonymous comments to appear on “Niagara At Large”. If one wishes to have his/her voice heard, he/she must own the remarks. There is no hiding behind a wall of anonymity. No cowardly sniping from cyberspace allowed. They must own up or not comment! When the owner’s name appears, Doug is off the hook! He provides an open forum and contributors are accountable for what they submit.

    Three cheers for those who have the courage to stand by what they say. Many “boos” to those who cower and hide behind the by-line “Anonymous”!

    Own up, or shut up!


  19. Gary Screaton Page

    Shock and disbelief. Despite his illness, Jack Layton was supposed to get better. Sadly cancer won the battle. Still, Jack Layton may have won the war. His passion, idealism, congruency, and courage will live on, perhaps with grudging respect, in the minds of even his political enemies.
    Canadians have yet to fully understand the contribution Mr. Layton has made to our nation’s politics. One didn’t have to believe in his views to respect and admire his love for the nation he served. After winning an astounding victory in the polls last election, Jack Layton gave underserved Canadians new hope.

    In time we may understand what big shoulders he had and how much of a burden he carried for the poor, the weak, the least protected of our society.

    Rest in peace Mr. Layton, your country will miss you!


  20. I am not NDP anymore Bob Rae cured me of that ! I think Jack Layton did an excellent showing in the spring election and brought our Quebec people back into the fold, quite an accomplishment. I loved his upbeat spirit we need people like him in Canada, I am a Greenie these days as everybody is ignoring our Great Lakes which has been in trouble for a long time. God bless Jack Layton and comfort his wife and family. Elizabeth Chow my condolences.


  21. David Boese and Shirley Hunt

    My wife and I wish to express our complete sadness and condolences to Mrs. Layton and their children and also to the wider NDP family. Jack was an icon and will be greatly missed. His death is the biggest loss since the death of Tommy Douglas. We must all carry on to continue his legacy.
    David Boese and Shirley Hunt


  22. Don’t miss Catherine Swift, the President of the CFIB.
    She will present ‘The Big Lie’ expose’ on just how much unfunded liability we Canadians have for our pensions and other obligations at every level of government. The Federal government will admit to over $200,000,000,000. That’s $200Billion! But, further investigations show that there is considerably more than that.
    Catherine and her financial and monetary experts have research to back up their claims and it is not pretty. If we don’t start addressing this “iceberg” today our children, grand children and great grand children are going to be radically affected!
    The time to start addressing this is now! We can start, by all attending a luncheon that the FMP Group is holding on September 8th at the Holiday Inn & Suites-Parkway Conference Centre, 327 Ontario St., St. Catharines, registration at 11:30 and finish by 2:00.
    Ms Swift will present her findings and some possible solutions to get the situation under control.
    Cost to attend this very important event is only $30.00 (Including Lunch) and you can get more information if you wish by Calling or emailing Stan Pride at 905 714 1515, or Frank Sheehan at 905 708 2103, If you would like to book your tickets on line go to and search for “FMP Presents Catherine Swift Pres of CFIB”.
    The opportunity is here now let’s not let it get away.


  23. Preston Haskell

    The Niagara Health Coalition has held 5 town hall meetings throughout Niagara regarding the quality of health care in our hospitals including the C Difficile and other serious infections plaguing the Niagara Health System.
    At each and every meeting the local politicians and health care authorities were invited.
    For the most part there was a fairly good turnout of MPP’s, Mayors and Councillors present to hear, speak and mingle with concerned citizens and those who have lost love ones.
    The exception was St. Catharines were only councillor Stack attended and ‘got an ear full’.
    Councillor Stack stated “My heart goes out to all those families who had to endure such severe abuse in a place where you would normally think you’re safe.”
    With dozens of deaths in the St. Catharines General Hospital would you not expect St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan would be in attendance? How about the 11 missing councillors? Even our Liberal MPP for St. Catharines Jim Bradley was a no show!
    These missing politicians sent their regrets that they had other engagements!
    What other engagements could be more imperative than so many deaths of their constituents in their St. Catharines General Hospital?

    Those who did attend heard alarming stories that elicited shock, tears and anger.


  24. Niagara at Large follow Doug Draper he will keep you informed


  25. Canada’s Machiavellian Politician

    “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; fool me three times …”
    Bob Rae with his Social Contract – which was most surely a one-way contract – fooled the people of Ontario. Coming into power as the 21st Premier of the province from October 1, 1990 to June 26, 1995, almost immediately he bit the hand that fed him by turning on the very union supporters who helped put him into office. He didn’t have the chutzpah to “social contract” with big business. The people of Ontario did wise up and Rae’s NDP crashed in the poles.

    Subsequently, in April 5, 2006, Rae applied for membership in the Liberal Party of Canada and abandoning the NDP and the principals he claimed so adamantly for so many years to support. Only the blind could not see that this was only a step toward his eventual run for the leadership of the Federal party that year now that he was clearly out of favour with Ontario’s voters.

    Rae soon found that even federally he was not to be so well received. Coming only third, Rae lost his bid for the leadership in the third round of Convention balloting behind two other soon-to-be has-bins of the Federal Liberal party. Now he is established as a third-placed candidate in a third-placed party.

    But, give him credit, Rae is no quitter. Machiavellian, yes, but no quitter. When offered the “interim” leadership of the Liberals, Rae “humbly” assumed the role with the clear understanding among Liberal brass that he would not run for the leadership when the leadership convention is held. At the recent policy convention, however, Rae appeared to be preening himself for an eventual run at the leadership notwithstanding.

    Does anyone really believe Bob Rae will not run for the leadership? Indeed, does anyone really believe the Federal Liberals, lacking any other serious leadership material at this time, having, in the last federal election, placed lower than ever before in their history–well behind the NDP–will not make him their next leader? Certainly he can’t run for any other party!

    While Machiavelli has been more vilified as unscrupulous than he deserves: after all in The Prince he merely reported the facts of how political power is obtained and kept. Bob Rae, on the other hand, seems to have mastered the art of grasping for power. When he gets it, will he be able to keep it? Or, will Canadians wise up to this modern-day Machiavellian politician?


  26. Bob Rae has spent his whole life in politics and knows nothing about working people, his imperious attitude and abuse of tax payers funds left a toxic taste in the minds of all Ontario, He put a curse on any chances of another NDP government, coming to power, Bob Rae made the Province easy pickings for Mike Harris, to destroy the under pinnings of our social contract.(our hospitals and our schools) plus, downloading just about everthing to the local municipalities, Sheila Copps has a better record than Bob Rae, Sheila got the Canada Day festivals started, by giving seed money to groups to get them going, also thousands of Canadian flags donated to every civic or community service group that had a flag pole, Sheila did something promote a sense of national pride.every July the first.


  27. Tom & Tammy Rietveld, Parkdale Cres, Fonthill

    I’m writing from the Town Of Pelham and wondering if any other media other than our local Voice Of Pelham newspaper has heard of the proposed “Power Of Entry” bylaw that our council is trying to pass? This bylaw will give town employees and bylaw officers permission to enter onto any landowners property in our town without any request for permission at any time. It also states they will be allowed to search any shed, pool shed, outbuilding, barn, garage, etc. on the property at will. This seems overly invasive and downright wrong! Has anyone heard of such a bylaw being passed elsewhere? Or proposed? And how does one go about fighting this other than letting councillors know your feelings, which I did through e-mail. I feel that this will be yet another issue that will be passed through no matter if people are against it or not, it seems to be the norm with most government agendas these days. Just looking for some feedback and opinions. Thanks!!


  28. Larry Sztogryn

    This is directed to Tom & Tammy : Check out the Toronto Sun, yesterday for the write up about the bylaw. Search power of entry bylaw pelham. I am drafting another letter to the editor calling Pelham residents to form a rate payer’s association, to force mayor and council to be accountable to residents. This is needed to protect our property rights………Larry


  29. Perhaps all those who graduated journalism school with high hopes that were dashed should gather and produce an exemplary publication of their own.


  30. Congratulations Doug – and I hope this is a great success for you and the public and people who need and deserve the truth and real news! A former journalist myself, my focus and passion is getting to the reality of the truth of these times on earth; the environment we live in and changes and challenges we face, through my photography and articles. I hope to contribute to your wonderful project and hope everyone gets on board with this!
    Thank you for your service to all,
    Bonita (Bonnie) Harris


  31. karen lucinda

    I am making a documentary on the survivors of the titantic for Turkey Id like to reach Donna Krekorian if anyone can help? My mail Thanks


  32. William F Hogg

    NAL is first class. I’ve been selectively reading and always enjoying it since its inception. Will Hogg


  33. Perhaps now the oil industry will be forced to use their considerable resources to develop a new re-newable source of energy that doesn’t rape the land and bully people off their land. Well done PM Trudeau–Jim


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