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

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

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

Posted October 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A News Release from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Statement from Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

Posted October 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paramedic Memorial Bell Comes to Niagara EMS

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

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

A Prince’s Passionate Call for Immediate Climate Action

Prince William speaks out on climate emergency

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

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

Posted October 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

UN World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley

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

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

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

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

The Nobel Peace Prize is not WFP’s alone.

Continue reading

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

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

A Statement from Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Posted October 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do We Really Want to Suffer Through Another Crippling Lockdown?

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

Posted October 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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

A News Release from the Government of Canada

Posted October 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

News from the Government of Ontario

Posted October 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

We are calling for:

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

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

Another Public Meeting On The Controversial Thundering Waters Forest Project.

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

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

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

Posted October 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Andrea Horwath

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Anti-Mask Screwballs in Our Midst Are Endangering Us All

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

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and commentator Doug Draper

Posted October 4rth, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 4rth, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Foreword by Doug Draper –

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Ontario Honours Survivors of Residential School System

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

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

Posted September 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

Find Out Below How You Can Have Your Say

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

Posted September 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

50 Trees for 50 Years: Fall Tree Plantings in Lincoln

News from the Town of Lincoln

Posted September 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Tree planting locations will include:

Continue reading

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

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

A News Release from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Posted September 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information on the GNCC is available at gncc.ca

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

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

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

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

A Statement from Ontario Official Opposition and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted September 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Official Opposition and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted September 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next Ontario Election is Now Just Twenty Months Away

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

Posted September 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

Association of Niagara West endorsed the acclamation.

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

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

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

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

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

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Have Your Say On Niagara Region’s 2021 Budget Priorities

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

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

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

Culture Days Returns to St. Catharines/Niagara with New, Month-Long Format

This year Culture Days in St. Catharines will expand from its traditional weekend-long format to encompass a whole month, from September 25th to October 25th

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

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario — From the history of the Welland Canal to a vibrant and growing arts scene, there is no shortage of culture to celebrate in St. Catharines. So much so that this year it will take a whole month to celebrate as Culture Days returns.

The City is once again gearing up to participate in the Canada-wide celebration of arts and culture, that this year will expand from its traditional weekend-long format to encompass a whole month, from Sept. 25 to Oct. 25.

Every year communities across Canada participate in Culture Days, featuring hands-on activities inviting the public to participate in the cultural landscapes of their communities. This year will be no different, albeit with the introduction of more online events, and physical distancing measures for in-person events. Continue reading

A Great Exhibit For Us – North Is Freedom: The Legacy Of The Underground Railroad

A Photographic Journey By Yuri Dojc

On Exhibit in Niagara Falls, Ontario from September 26th, 2020 to January 10th, 2021

News from the Niagara Falls History Musuem in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario – This photographic journey celebrates the descendants of freedom-seekers who escaped slavery in the United States in the years before the American Civil War.

One of the photos in the exhibit of Wilma Morrison, one of the pillars of the Black community in Niagara, Ontario, who passed away earlier this 2020. Photo by Yuri Dojc

Approximately 30,000 men, women and children fled north to freedom, settling from the Canadian Maritimes to as far west as the Manitoba border. Some arrived alone; others found their way to Canada with the help of a clandestine network of “conductors” and “stations” called the “Underground Railroad.” Continue reading

Canadian Environmentalists Pleased to See PM Re-Commit to Fighting Climate Change Except for This …

“Canada has been promising climate action for years now, yet we continue to fall further behind in meeting our existing targets. There is still no vision for how Canada gets off fossil fuels or transforms our economy and energy system.”                                                    – Tim Gray, Environmental Defence Canada

A Statement from Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence

Posted September 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has always, at least, talked a good game on fighting the global climate emergency

Toronto, Ontario – We are glad to see the government reaffirm its commitment to the environment and climate change in the Speech from the Throne.

In particular, we welcome the promise to ban harmful single-use plastics next year and ensure more plastic is recycled, and the commitment to modernize the two-decade old toxics and pollution prevention law, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act .

We’re likewise happy to see commitments to immediately bring forward a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal and legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

We are also pleased to see the promise to introduce legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples before the end of this year. Continue reading

Ontario Government Expands COVID-19 Testing to Pharmacies

“As part of our plan to ensure that we are ready for future waves of COVID-19, our government is working with pharmacies to help expand testing for Ontarians,”                                                         – Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott

News from the Ontario Government

Posted September 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario government is providing people with convenient and timely access to free COVID-19 testing at pharmacies in the province. As of Friday, up to 60 pharmacies in Ontario will begin offering testing by appointment only, with further locations coming online in the coming weeks. This initiative will expand testing capacity well beyond the province’s 150 assessment centres.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“We rely on our pharmacists for our flu shots, prescriptions, and important health advice for ourselves and our families. It makes sense to engage them as key partners in delivering more COVID-19 testing,” said Premier Ford. Continue reading

Trump Move Will Allow More Dumping of Toxic Metals in the Shared Waters of Our Great Lakes

Buffalo, N.Y. Area Congressman Brian Higgins Strongly Opposes Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Rule Rollback Allowing Release of Toxic Metals Into Great Lakes and Waterways

Urges a Re-doubling of Efforts to Prioritize the Long-term Sustainability of the Environment

This Trump Rollback Affects Canadians Who Depend on Great Lakes Water for Our Survival Too!

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

Posted September 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Our shared Great Lakes. They only remain healthy and safe, if all governments in Canada and the United States work together to protect them.

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (Democrat) spoke on the House floor to strongly oppose the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s recent rule rollback allowing the release of toxic metals into our nation’s Great Lakes and waterways, and urged colleagues to re-double their efforts to prioritize the long-term sustainability of the environment.

Higgins said “For decades, communities across Western New York have been working together to bring back waterways, like the Buffalo River, that were once declared ecologically dead due to unchecked industrial pollution.” Continue reading

Niagara Groups Host Native Tree & Shrub Sale

Here Is Something Positive We Can All Do to Add More Green to our Planet

An Invite to All form the Niagara Native Gardening Club and Ontariogreen, in partnership with the Town of Lincoln

Posted September 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Fall is the perfect time to add trees and shrubs to your garden.

To help you pick a plant that will not only provide you with the shade and beauty you want, but that will also benefit our local environment, the Niagara Native Gardening Club and Ontariogreen, in partnership with the Town of Lincoln, is holding our Second Annual Native Tree and Shrub sale.

There will be more than a dozen species to choose from. A list of the trees and shrubs available, along with information about their features, size, soil requirements etc. is available here: http://www.ontariogreen.ca/tree-sale.html Payment for your tree and shrub order can be securely online through Paypal, Debit or Credit Card. Continue reading

Ontario Premier Falling Short on Action Needed to Address Second Wave of COVID-19

“There’s so much more that could be done to make people better off right now.” – a statement by Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath as daily COVID-19 case counts in Niagara rise dangerous close to 500

A News Release from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted September 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Tuesday that Ontario is in desperate need of action to help Ontario cope with the second wave of COVID-19 infections.

“Yet again (this September 22nd), (Ontario Premier Doug) Ford didn’t announce any changes to make people safer,” said Horwath.

“For people with loved ones in long-term care, for everyone waiting hours in lines for a COVID-19 test, and for parents whose child is stuffed in a class of 30 kids, Doug Ford is telling them that there are no changes coming to help them.” Continue reading

A Few Words of Tribute for Ruth Bader Ginsburg from New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

From the New York State Governor’s Office in Albany, N.Y.

Posted September 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Statement by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo –

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

“On Friday (September 18th) , we were devastated to learn that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away. Justice Ginsburg was a daughter of Brooklyn and her life was a testament to the true meaning of New York Tough — accomplishment, tenacity, conviction, all coupled with respect, grace and dignity.

“As an advocate, litigator, professor and judge, Justice Ginsburg was a singular force for justice throughout her extraordinary career, particularly in her relentless fight for gender equality. New York will honour her life and legacy with a statue in Brooklyn.

“This statue will serve as a physical reminder of Justice Ginsburg’s monumental contributions to American jurisprudence and as an inspiration to us all.”

A  Footnote from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper –

Now that is how you pay tribute to one of your great citizens – not with the disgusting garbage coming out of the mouths of Trump and his cult.

To read a commentary I wrote and posted earlier this September 21st on the Trump crowd’s shameful response to the death of this great humanitarian and Supreme Court justice, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/09/21/trumpies-already-dancing-on-the-great-justice-ginsburgs-grave/

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

Trumpies Already Dancing on the Great Justice Ginsburg’s Grave

            “Fill that seat! Fill that seat! Fill that seat!”                          – a chant from the masses at a Trump rally on September 19th, not 24 hours after the death of  U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted September 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Trump’s cult-like band of worshipers – many of them evangelical Christians – could not seem to wait for 24 hours following the death of the great U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before pressing to have her seat filled with a judge, singularly bent on saving fetus at any cost to anything or anyone else.

The late American satirist and social critic George Carlin could not have been more right about these single-issue fanatics when he put it this way –

“Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They’re all in favour of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own,” said Carlin. Continue reading

Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region Kicks off Campaign on World Alzheimer Day

“Together with the support of the community The Alzheimer Society will provide help for today and hope for tomorrow.”

News from the Alzheimer Society of Niagara Region

Posted September 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – There are 10,524 people living with progressive dementia in Niagara, with the most common being Alzheimer’s disease. Anyone may develop dementia and there is no cure.

COVID-19 is significantly impacting persons living with dementia and their care partners. People living with dementia already face deep stigmatization, and the isolation they live with every day has become so much worse. 

In Ontario, nine out of 10 residents in long term care have some form of cognitive impairment, 2/3rds with dementia – and 64.6% of all COVID-19 deaths in Ontario (as of September 17)) are among long-term care residents. Continue reading

Niagara Region Releases New App To Give Residents Waste Management Info At The Touch Of A Button

“It’s now even easier to learn about solid waste management in our community with our improved mobile app, Niagara Region Waste, and online tools.”                                                                               – Jennifer Mazurek, Waste Management Program Manager, Niagara Region

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted September 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region has launched a new waste management app, called Niagara Region Waste, which makes it even easier for residents to obtain current information about waste and recycling collection programs.

Residents can download the mobile app forApple orAndroid smartphones. In the mobile app, you will find the garbage/recycling collection schedule specific to your house address, with the ability to sign up and receive a collection day reminder. As part of signing up for a reminder, you will also receive updates in case of collection changes or delays. Continue reading

Eastdale Secondary School In Welland Reports COVID-19 Case

“Custodians will complete a deep cleaning of Eastdale Secondary School this weekend. Additionally, the school community will continue to be vigilant with preventative COVID-19 practices.”

A Media  Advisory from the District School Board of Niagara

Posted September 19th, 2020 in Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region Public Health (NRPH) has advised the District School Board of Niagara that an individual at Eastdale Secondary School has tested positive for COVID-19. For privacy reasons, the identity of the individual will not be shared.

On Monday, September 21, a Public Health Inspector and a Public Health Nurse from NRPH will visit the school.

Eastdale Secondary School and the District School Board of Niagara will work collaboratively with Niagara Region Public Health to ensure the school meets all the health and safety protocols required.  Continue reading

Niagara Health Ramps Up COVID Testing to Meet Increasing Demand

NH Teams Working To Accommodate Increase In Demand For COVID Testing

News from Niagara Health in Niagara Ontario

Posted September 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

There has been a significant increase in the number of people seeking testing over the past week at Niagara Health’s three COVID-19 Assessment Centres, with 3,484 tests performed between Sept. 11 to 17, which is an average of nearly 500 people per day.

This total includes a record 665 tests on Sept. 16.

With the increase in the number of patients coming to the Assessment Centres, walk-in patients are experiencing longer than normal wait times. Assessment Centres see walk-in patients until 4 p.m. on the days of operation. With large numbers of patients arriving for testing, it may not be possible to see all walk-in patients on the day they arrive. Continue reading

Environmentalists Ready to Face Down Conservative Party Climate Laggards in Canada’s Supreme Court

News from Environmental Defence, a Canada-wide group dedicated to protecting the environment, followed by a Footnote by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted September 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

From left to right, Conservative premiers and fellow cowpokes Doug Ford, Jason Kenney and Moe Scott are all in on fighting Ottawa’s move to put a price on carbon pollution. They are using our tax money to take their 20th century war for the continued dominance of carbon fuels all the way to Canada’s Supreme Court

Toronto/Ottawa, Ontario – On September 22 and 23, the Supreme Court will hear challenges from Alberta,Ontario and Saskatchewan to the (federal Liberal government’s) 2018 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act , along with over 25 intervenors challenging or defending the Act.

Environmental Defence is one of the intervenors defending the Act, which puts a levy on the use of fossil fuels in those provinces that do not have their own pricing system. We will be represented by the Canadian Environmental LawAssociation. Continue reading

Niagara’s Regional Council Extends Mandatory Face Mask Bylaw to April, 2021

“It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and will continue to affect our communities into next year. Regional Council’s decision to extend the Face-covering By-law reflects Niagara’s united commitment to safeguarding the health of our communities by following established public health advice”          ~ Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

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

Posted September 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

As daily COVID-19 case counts jump in Ontario – fueling concern about a possibly second, more deadly wave of the virus in the months ahead – Niagara’s Regional Council voted this September 17th to extend the Region’s mandatory mask bylaw for indoor places (due to expireOctober 1st) to April 1st of next year.

The extension was approved with an understanding that if we collectively get lucky, and this global pandemic is behind us before next spring, the bylaw could be rescinded at a sooner date.

Unfortunately, that is not the prognosis of many leading health and infectious disease experts around the world though who are already warning that with the annual flu season upon us this fall, and the COVID-19 still in the air, we could be in for some difficult times ahead. Continue reading

No Surprise Here. Canada-U.S. Border Crossings Are Staying Closed!

Like A Tin Can Border Ban Has Been Kicked Ahead Another Month – This Time Until October 21st, 2020

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

Posted September 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

It may be many more months before we see traffic like this again on the Peace Bridge crossing between Niagara, Ontario and Buffalo, New York

Niagara, Ontario – No one who has been paying attention to the Covid-19 disaster still fully in flames in Donald Trump’s America should be surprised by this news.

For the sixth month in a row, since this past March, the Peace Bridge and other Canada-U.S. border crossings in Niagara and from sea to sea across the continent will remain closed to all by essential (mostly commercial) traffic.

When the first border crossing restrictions were announced by the two countries in March, few probably imagined they would continue this long, and possibly be extended on into 2021.

“It will probably only be for a month or two,” I heard people on both sides of the border say, and I was thinking that myself, and was still hopeful that my wife and I would be able to take our annual trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts this September to visit some of our dear friends. Continue reading

Canada’s PM Celebrates Democracy at a Time When Populism and Fascism are Haunting the U.S and So Many Other Countries Around the World

“By being engaged in the democratic process, we can help safeguard our institutions and help protect democracy worldwide.” – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Statement from the Office of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Posted September 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the International Day of Democracy:

“Today, we join our international partners to celebrate the International Day of Democracy <https://www.un.org/en/observances/democracy-day>. We recognize that the respect for freedoms, human rights, and the rule of law are essential for democracies to thrive. Continue reading

St. Catharines Approves Arts and Culture Funding to Help Revitalize City, Post Pandemic

“The arts and culture sector in St. Catharines has been severely affected by COVID-19. Disruption caused by the pandemic has had a significant impact on many artists’ and arts organizations’ abilities to carry out their work.”

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

Posted September 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Downtown St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

St. Catharines City Council forges ahead in its support of the arts and culture sector by approving funding in the amount of $93,095 to 16 local artists and arts organizations through its annual St. Catharines Cultural Investment Program (SCCIP).

“This funding will provide an opportunity for local organizations to develop projects that support the sustainability of the arts and culture sector through tough times,” said Director of Community, Recreation and Culture Services Phil Cristi.

The arts and culture sector in St. Catharines has been severely affected by COVID-19. Disruption caused by the pandemic has had a significant impact on many artists’ and arts organizations’ abilities to carry out their work, especially in the audience-based performing arts sector. Continue reading

Ontario Just Recorded Highest Daily COVID Case Count Since the Outbreak of the Virus this Past Winter and Spring

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

Posted September 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Well, what is this? Should we start hording toilet paper again for a second wave?

All of a sudden, in just one day – this Monday, September 14th, to be precise – we jump from 204 daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario this Sunday to 313 cases today.

That is one of the highest daily case counts the province has recorded since this past spring when shopping malls, hair salons, entertainment venues, libraries, schools and most everything else was shut down.

Do we really want to go back to a lockdown situation like that, along with all of the emotional and economic pain it caused for so many of us?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but we have all got to collectively stand on guard folks – with masks, with social distancing and with hand-washing – or here comes a second wave that more than a few infectious disease experts say could cause even more sickness and death than the first. Continue reading

You Are Invited To the 46th Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival- A VIRTUAL CELEBRATION

“The Festival continues to be a staple in the lives of many families, local communities, and tourists alike, and while we’re not able to offer the usual experience, we are confident that festival goers will join us on this unique virtual adventure to ensure this annual tradition is not missed.”                                         – Alicia Powell, festival coordinator for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

A News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

With celebrations all over the world looking a lot different this year, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is excited to announce its virtual celebration of the Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival.

“In it’s 46th year, the festival, which was originally conceived as four days of in-person shopping, featuring delicious local food, the best in VQA wines and local brews, artisan vendors, farmer’s market, and historical tours and demonstrations, has been transformed into a virtual experience,” says Alicia Powell, festival coordinator. Continue reading

Trump’s “Slow, Sloppy & Adversarial” Pandemic Response is Keeping Canada-U.S. Border Crossings Closed

Because of High COVID-19 Death Toll in U.S., “the world is closed to Americans, and to America. Americans aren’t welcome in Canada; Americans aren’t welcome in 27 European countries.”   – Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

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

Posted September 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Peace Bridge between Niagara, Ontario and Buffalo, New York, like all Canada-US. border crossings, has been closed to all but essential (mostly commercial) traffic since March, 2020. File photo by Doug Draper

Buffalo, New York – U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) spoke during a House of Representatives Ways & Means committee hearing last week, blaming the Trump Administration’s chaotic and failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic for the ongoing U.S.-Canada border closure set to expire next week.

Higgins said “The fact of the matter is, the poor handling of this pandemic by the federal government is as clear as it could be.”

“Twenty-five per cent  25 of the deaths from COVID-19 are Americans globally, with only five per cent of the world’s population. The world is closed to Americans, and to America. Americans aren’t welcome in Canada; Americans aren’t welcome in 27 European countries.” Higgins later continued. Continue reading

Ontario’s COVID-19 Cases Now in Danger of Spiking – Again

Hey Fellow Ontarians, Are We Forgetting That This Killer Virus Is Still Out There? Now Is No Time To Let Our Guard Down Now

A Brief Comment form Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted September 13th, 2020

Hey Ontario. This is still out there.

Okay, so what’s going on in our Province of Ontario?

After going through collective hell this spring with this deadly virus, we got our act together to a point where the total daily number of COVID-19 cases in Ontario sank to below 100 and we were finally able to see businesses and at least some of our public institutions re-open, and see tens-of-thousands of people return to work.

Yet here we are in recent weeks, with report after report that the daily cases numbered more than 100, and as of this September 13th, we have had three days in a row in Ontario with the total number of cases totaling more than 200. Continue reading

Is Time Running Out for Ontario’s Cormorants?

Doug Ford’s ‘Small Game Hunt’ Could Mean the Decimation of an Entire Great Lakes Species

“If every small game hunting license holder in the province killed what they are legally allowed to kill, that would mean the death of 316 million cormorants.” – a statement from the wildlife advocacy group Zoocheck Canada

Double-crested cormorant © Colin Durfee CC BY 2.0

A Call-Out to All of Us from Zoocheck Canada to Help Stop Ford’s Cormorant Shoot Fest

Posted September 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

You might have heard the Ontario government has announced that small game hunters will be allowed to kill 15 cormorants per day beginning September 15th and ending on December 31st.

If every small game hunting license holder in the province killed what they are legally allowed to kill, that would mean the death of 316 million cormorants.

But there aren’t that many. The province estimates that there are only about 142,000 cormorants and most of them live in small colonies, often less than 50 birds, across the province. Continue reading

Niagara Centre MP Partners With Area Mayors & Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority to Advance Trade Corridors Along Welland Canal

“The idea of establishing Niagara as an active trade corridor is a notion that I took to Ottawa with me when I was first elected in 2015.” – Niagara Centre Liberal government MP Vance Badawey

News from the Constituency Office of Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey

Posted September 12th on Niagara At Large

Building the Welland Canal corridor as a major trade zone

Welland, Ontario – Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre and Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, came together with the mayors of Port Colborne, Welland, and, Thorold, and with the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) to advance the development of three Multimodal Industrial Hubs along the Welland Canal.

This initiative is a positive and practical solution to a long-held belief that many of the region’s marine assets are underutilized, and could be leveraged for positive economic impact, job creation and trade facilitation. Badawey noted.

“The idea of establishing Niagara as an active trade corridor is a notion that I took to Ottawa with me when I was first elected in 2015. Now, after years of working together with all our partners, the Transport Committee’s 2019 study on the subject seems to be gaining traction,” Badawey said. Continue reading

Arrest of Niagara Activist and Award-Winning Indigenous Journalist Karl Dockstader Gets Big Media Coverage

“It’s hard to separate my arrest with the criminalization of Indigenous people generally. …I’ve worked in court for several years. I’ve seen first hand how racist the system is.”                         – Niagara resident and Indigenous journalist Karl Dockstader, as quoted in a September 11th opinion piece in The Toronto Star

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

Posted September 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Karl Dockstader, seen here before his arrest, reporting on aland defense battle with developers in Haldimand County

The arrest and charges laid by Ontario provincial Police this past September 2nd against well-known and respected Niagara activist and award-winning Indigenous journalist Karl Dockstader continue to draw concern and outrage among members of Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike, and is also continuing to draw attention from big media outlets.

OPP officers arrested and charged Dockstader while he was covering land defence actions by Indigenous peoples on traditional lands against developers pushing to construct a housing project in the Caledonia area of neighbourhing Haldimand County. Continue reading

Seven Recipients Receive Six Prestigious Celebration of Nations Outstanding Achievement Awards

Karl Dockstader, Niagara Indigenous Journalist and Activist, and Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates are Among Winners

Celebration of Nations Continues in St. Catharines/Niagara this Saturday and Sunday

News from the Organizations of Niagara’s Celebration of Nations

Posted September 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines, Ontario  – Celebration of Nations 2020 opened on Friday 11 September with a powerful message that reflected upon the many challenges humanity currently faces while honouring a group of remarkable achievers whose accomplishments have diffused knowledge, broadened awareness, and inspired us to live lives of meaning, purpose, enjoyment, and responsibility.

The Celebration of Nations Outstanding Achievement Awards are given in six categories: Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Intellectual Advancement, Language and Culture, Empathic Traditions, and Two Row Alliance.

This year’s deserving recipients include deeply experienced, highly skilled, and seriously accomplished people who have displayed consistent dedication to their respective fields of interest and who, through their work, have sought to unite people through their common interest in securing a sustainable future for the Seventh Generation.

The 2020 Celebration of Nations Outstanding Achievement Award-winners are:

Continue reading

In Niagara, Ontario, ‘Celebration of Nations 2020 is Here!

A Weekend Full of Live Streams begins this Friday, September 11th and runs through the entire Weekend

A News Release from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted September 11, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Celebration of Nations is the annual gathering of Indigenous Arts, Culture and Tradition presented by Kakekalanicks Indigenous Consultancy and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Celebration of Nations celebrates creativity, diversity and resilience. This year we’re going virtual with live stream performances, teachings, workshops + so much more!

SEE VIRTUAL EVENT SCHEDULE(https://www.celebrationofnations.ca/2020-virtual-events/?utm_source=%21ALL&utm_campaign=c878469dd7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_05_21_06_01_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b4ea112f4d-c878469dd7-242893989)

 

Friday 11 September live stream features:

Continue reading

An Indigenous Lawyer’s Words of Defence for Niagara Activist and Indigenous Journalist Karl Dockstader

“The OPP’s actions run counter not only to well-established constitutional law protecting freedom of the press but serve to frustrate reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Arresting and charging an Indigenous journalist (Karl Dockstader) for reporting on Indigenous land occupations through Indigenous voices feels very much like systemic racism.”                                             – Dr. Pamela Palmater, an Indigenous lawyer, specializing in Indigenous and human rights law, and an associate professor and chair in Indigenous governance at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario

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

Posted September 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Karl Dockstader, at a demonstration in front of Niagara Falls City Hall a few years ago, speaking out for the preservation of the Thundering Waters Forest and its wetlands, File photo by Doug Draper

Karl Dockstader, a Niagara resident, member of the Indigenous community and a highly respected journalist and community activist, was arrested earlier this September by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers while he was covering an ongoing land defence issue in the Haldimand County area.

The arrest, along with criminal charges filed against Karl, continue to make no sense – to say the least – and have triggered a good deal of concern and anger among members of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike.

Just to mention a few, expressions and concern and support for Karl Dockstader have come from St. Catharines, Ontario Mayor Walter Sendzik, lawyers at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democratic Party.

This September 9th, 2020, another expression of support came in the form of an Opinion piece, written by Indigenous laywer Pamela Plamater and published in a respected Canada-wide journal called The Lawyer’s Daily

Immediately below are the first few paragraphs of that Opinion piece,  followed by a link you can click on to read the entire piece of The Lawyer’s Daily website – Continue reading