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

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

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

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

Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

Violent Police-Related Incident Shines Light of Shame on Buffalo

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

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

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

Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

What Real Leadership Looks Like In A Time of National Crisis

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

Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The late U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Commentary by Gary Screaton Page, Welland, Ontario

Posted June 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted June 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Extension Key to Protecting Ontarians as Province Safely Reopens

News from the Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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