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St. Catharines MPP Calls On Ontario Premier to Crack Down on Anti-Vaxxers Harassing Parents & Children at Vaccination Clinics

“As you can imagine, (a parent and child) being told (during one incident at a vaccination clinic in Niagara) “…the government is experimenting on you” and “You are going to die” at 7 years old only causes immense anxiety on a child.”                                             – Jennie Stevens, NDP MPP for St. Catharines

An Open Letter to Premier Doug Ford from St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

Posted December 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

One of the many signs anti-vaxxers have been holding up at demonstrations across Ontario

As COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out in Ontario late this November for children age 5 to 11, members of the anti-vaxxer cult went straight to work, verbally harassing parents and children at vaccination clinics across the province.

During at least one recent incident reported to St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens at a clinic in Niagara, anti-vaxxers outside warned a mother going in with a seven-year old, that she was allowing her child to be experimented on and that the child will die from the vaccine.

In another egregious case of harassment in the North Bay, Ontario area, a mother taking her young son into a clinic was told by anti-vaxxer demonstrates that she was participating in an act of “genocide” by vaccinating her child because she was “murdering” him. Continue reading

Ford’s Vaccine Certificate End Date Is A Dog-Whistle To Anti-Vaxxers

“(Ontario Premier Doug) Ford’s message (to anti-vaxxers) is: ‘It’s ok to wait it out instead of getting a vaccine.’”                                    – Andrea Horwath, Ontario NDP Leader

A Statement from Ontario NDP Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted December 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement in response to Doug Ford refusing during question period Monday to cancel his Jan. 17 end date for vaccine certificates:

“Vaccine certificates help to protect Ontarians and small businesses hard-hit by the pandemic — they’re a critical part of avoiding more lockdown measures.

“Doug Ford’s end date for vaccination certificates always was a dog whistle to anti-vaxxers. Mr. Ford’s message is: it’s ok to wait it out instead of getting a vaccine. Continue reading

Have You Eaten Your “Magic Dirt” Yet Today?

Forget About COVID-19 Vaccines. Eating or Bathing Yourself in this Dirt May be Just What You Need to Remain Virus Free, Say at least some Anti-Vaxxers

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

Posted December 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Who needs a vaccine when you can ingest or bathe yourself in “magic dirt”

For anti-vaxxers looking for anything but a vaccine to ward off COVID-19 and its growing number of variants, they’ve turned to everything from simply placing faith in their God-given immune systems to chemical concoctions like chloroquine phosphate (a drug used to combat malaria and sometimes use to clean fish tanks) and cleaning fluids like Lysol and bleach, and more recent favouites like a drug for de-worming horses and cows.

Then there is “magic dirt” – something fringe members of the anti-vaxxer movement also refers to as BOO, which is short for “Black Oxygen Organics.” Continue reading

Ford Gov. Awarding Thousands of Long-Term Care Beds to For-Profit Chains with Ghastly Records of Death and Suffering

‘Ontario is at a critical juncture. …The Ford government is on the cusp of privatizing an entire new generation of long-term care beds unless public outrage stops them.’

A New Report from the Ontario Health Coalition, a citizens group advocating for quality health care across the province

Posted December 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Toronto— The Ford government has been awarding tens of thousands of long-term care beds to for-profit operators and 30-year licenses paid by Ontario taxpayers. The Ontario Health Coalition warned the Ford government is on the cusp of privatizing an entire new generation of long-term care beds unless public outrage stops them.

The Ontario Health Coalition was joined by families members of loved ones in for-profit long-term care in a press conference late this November to release a new report, Public Money Private Profit: The Ford Government & the Privatization of the Next Generation of Ontario’s Long-Term Care.

They are launching a province-wide virtual tour to issue a call to action. Continue reading

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey Appointed Parliamentary Secretary to Indigenous Services

“I’ve spent my career in public service working to build better communities. As an Indigenous Member of Parliament, I am honoured the Prime Minister has entrusted me to work with Minister (of Indigenous Services Patty) Hajdu to bring real progress to Indigenous communities across Canada and ensure they are given the same opportunities every Canadian enjoys.”                                                                          – Niagara Centre Liberal MP Vance Badawey

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Centre Liberal MP Vance Badawey

Posted December 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – Niagara Centre Member of Parliament Vance Badawey has been chosen by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to serve as Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu.

Niagara Centre MPP Vance Badawey, a former Mayor of Port Colborne and former Niagara Regional Councillor, is also a proud member of the Métis Nation,

The Prime Minister said the new team of Parliamentary Secretaries will be focused on working closely with the Liberal team to find real solutions to the challenges that Canadians face as the country finishes the fight against COVID-19 and builds a better future for everyone. Continue reading

Ford Government Has Failed Ontario’s Species At Risk

Call on the Government to Take Action to Protect Ontario’s Most Vulnerable Species.

An Important Message to All of Us from Ontario Nature, a citizens group advocating for the province’s wildlife

Posted December 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The November 2021 report of the Auditor General of Ontario (Bonnie Lysyk), Protecting and Recovering Species at Risk, lays bare the provincial government’s utter failure to do what is needed to improve the outlook for Ontario’s most vulnerable plants and animals.

 

The audit’s biggest eye-opener is the government’s slipshod approach to implementing the law.

For example, approvals for harmful activities have gone up by 6,262 percent; the government has never inspected any of these approved projects to ensure compliance; and enforcement has been almost non-existent since 2018. Continue reading

Ford’s Conservatives Deny Ontario Workers Better Pay

Doug Ford’s Conservatives vote down NDP bid for buck-a-year raise in minimum wage, Ontario Liberals also refuse to vote in support NDP bid

“It’s not enough to call the people who clean our hospitals heroes, or to say thank you to the workers who stock our grocery shelves. We need to show them respect by paying them a wage that pays the bills.”          – Andrea Horwath, Ontario NDP Leader

News from the Office of Ontaro NDP Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted December 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — On Friday (this December 3rd), Doug Ford’s Conservatives denied workers better pay by voting down an NDP amendment that would have put Ontarians on the path to a $20 minimum wage.

Andrea Horwath and Ontario’s New Democrats have committed to a schedule of stable, predictable $1-an-hour increases to the minimum wage over each of the next five years.

Ford’s Conservatives rejected that schedule, defeating an amendment to replace the low-wage policy set out in the Fall Economic Statement, while the lone Liberal in attendance, MPP Amanda Simard (Glengarry—Prescott—Russell) refused to take a position, abstaining from the vote. That means the minimum wage will stagnate at $15 an hour as the cost of everything goes up. Continue reading

Niagara Health Foundation Launches “It’s Our Future Campaign” for the New South Niagara Site of Niagara Health.

A News Release from the Niagara Health Foundation, the fund-raising arm for Niagara Health, the region’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted December 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario  – The Niagara Health Foundation is excited to announce the launch of the It’s Our Future campaign for the new South Niagara Site of Niagara Health. 

The Foundation is honoured to announce that the campaign will be led by co-chairs Jim Diodati, Mayor of Niagara Falls and Mr. Harry Oakes.

The long-standing billboard sign off the QEW at the southwest corner of Niagara Falls where the so-called “South Niagara” hospital will go.

The Foundation held its campaign kick-off event on December 1, 2021, at Arpad Park Hall in Niagara Falls.  Community members, provincial, regional and local elected officials and a group of Founding Donors were in attendance.  Continue reading

Niagara Region’s Public Health Takes Further Steps To Keep Schools Safe And Open

Public Health Issues Instructions To Indoor Sports & Recreational Facilities

A News Release from Niagara Region Public Health

Posted December 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – As COVID-19 infections increase across Ontario, with school-age children now having the highest risk of COVID-19, Niagara Region Public Health has issued a letter of instructions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections in sporting and recreational fitness facilities. Niagara joins 26 other local public health jurisdictions in Ontario to have issued a letter of instructions to these facilities.

A letter of instruction is issued under Section 2, Schedule 1 of Ontario Regulation 364/20 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act. This letter of instruction creates legally binding requirements for anyone responsible for a business or organization that operates indoor areas of facilities within the Niagara Region that are used for sports, athletic and recreational fitness activities.

The instructions require the following:

Continue reading

Niagara Regional Councillors Vote Overwhelming for Stronger Measures to Protect our Natural Heritage

After Many Months of Council Debate and Lobbying by Citizens Across Niagara, “Option 3C” – Offering More Robust Protection for Niagara’s Natural Environment – Is Approved

“I think (passing Option 3C) really represents putting our environment first in terms of our planning. What an amazing legacy we can leave for generations to come.”                                    – Diana Husson, Regional Councillor for Pelham and Chair of Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee

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

Posted December 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines Regional Councillor George Darte

“We don’t want to be singing; ‘They paved paradise, put up a parking lot’,” said St. Catharines Regional Councillor George Darte as he tabled a motion at the Region’s December 1st’ Committee of the Whole meeting in support of including Option 3C – a stronger set of measures for protecting Niagara’s natural environment – in an Official Plan that will guide urban growth for years to come.

“What we are about to vote on tonight is forever, it is for eternity,” continued Darte. “What we are being asked to do tonight is to help decide the fate of our dear Mother Earth.”

“We need to give the next hundreds of generations ….and our successors a chance to survive on this planet. We owe it to them and that can be our legacy as one seemingly significant bunch of councillors,” Darte said. Continue reading

Auditor General Report Confirms Ontario’s Ford Government Couldn’t Give a Damn About Protecting Our Environment

“Today’s (December 1st) audit of Land-Use Planning in the Greater Golden Horseshoe confirms that this (Doug Ford) government has simply abandoned the goal of curbing suburban sprawl in southern Ontario. … with full knowledge they would undermine the long-term vision of (Ontario’s) Growth Plan, (and would) lead to widespread loss of farmland and natural areas, put stress on water resources and increase car-dependency that fuels climate change.”

A Statement from Environmental Defence, one of Canada’s top public advocates for protecting and preserving our environment

Posted December 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Statement from Phil Pothen, Ontario Environment Program Manager, Environmental Defence, on the Ontario Auditor General’s finding that government’s 2020 Amendments and Sprawl MZOs and have “undermined” the Growth Plan’s “long-term vision” – 

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – Today (this December 1st, 2021), Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk lent her authoritative voice to the chorus of citizens, Environmental NGOs, land use planning experts, and non-partisan civil servants who have sounded the alarm about the government’s approach to land-use planning in Ontario.

Ontario Auditor General has released a scathing report on, among other things, the Ford government’s awful environmental record

According to Lysik, the government’s changes to Growth Plan policies, together with its unprecedented overuse of Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) have “undermined” the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe’s “long-term vision” of reining-in sprawl in the region. She notes that Minister Clark ignored warnings from within the provincial civil service itself, regarding the risks his approach to land-use would create. Continue reading

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch Calls on Ford to Solve ‘Critical Ambulance and EMS Shortages’ in Niagara

“Niagara families deserve to know that if they need emergency medical services, it will be available to them. Right now in Niagara, there aren’t enough ambulances or paramedics to help people experiencing medical emergencies.”                                            – Jeff Burch, NDP MPP for the Niagara, Ontario Riding of Niagara Centre

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

Posted November 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Niagara, Ontario – As Niagara Region faces a critical shortage in ambulance and EMS services, MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) called on Doug Ford to take action and make sure families in Niagara can access the timely care they need.

“Niagara families deserve to know that if they need emergency medical services, it will be available to them,” said Burch.

“Right now in Niagara, there aren’t enough ambulances or paramedics to help people experiencing medical emergencies. Families should not have to face the anguish of waiting for long periods of time by their sick or injured loved ones, wondering when the ambulance will finally arrive.”

Niagara Region Public Health and Social Services Committee has said the current situation is critical. There are often not enough ambulances to provide emergency coverage for all of Niagara, or to meet response times for critical patients. CUPE 911, the union that represents Niagara paramedics, state that they are understaffed, under-resourced and burnt-out as the demand for emergency services continues to rise. Continue reading

Ontario NDP Leader Commits to $20 Minimum Wage by 2026

NDP lays out a predictable, stable increase schedule for first term in office

A News Release from the New Democratic Party of Ontario

Posted November 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced Tuesday her plan for a $20 minimum wage, reached within her first term through steady, stable increases.

“Whether you are stocking grocery store shelves or cleaning a hospital you deserve respect. All workers deserve respect.

“Respect is not just saying thank you and calling someone a hero. Respect means paying people a wage that pays the bills,” said Horwath.

Continue reading

Call Your Mayor and Regional Councillors NOW and Urge Them to Vote for a Healthy Future

Urge Them to Vote ‘YES’ This Wednesday, December 1st for the Measures in ‘Option 3C’ – the Measures We Need to Protect What is Left of Niagara’s Natural Heritage

“We (in Niagara) have a pretty unique area …. and it is incumbent on us to protect it. …. I think (Option) 3C is best for the environment and the future.”                                                                          – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley at a council meeting earlier this year.

“Our natural heritage is Niagara’s brand. … Our watershed is our brand. That’s how we are known internationally. We should be embracing that.”                                                                                   – Pelham Regional Councillor and Chair of Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee Diana Huson at a council meeting earlier this year.

A Call-Out from Doug Draper, reporter and publisher of Niagara At Large

Posted November 29th on Niagara At Large

Places like this in Niagara are not only good for our soul, they are necessary havens for other living species and they help biodiversity and they are protective zones in the battle against the destructive impacts of climate change. photo by Doug Draper

This coming Wednesday, December 1st, our Regional Council is expected to make a decision that could determine the fate of what’s left of our natural heritage in Niagara for generations to come.

Will our municipal leaders vote in favour of the strongest measures possible (in Option 3C) to protect and preserve what is left of the irreplaceable natural places in Niagara or will they opt for weaker measures (in Option 3B) that  see even more of our green places covered over in asphalt?

For the sake of our own health, the health of our communities, and the nature systems we need to help combat the climate crisis we face today, we cannot allow the same-old, same-old, business-as-usual asphalt option to continue into the indefinite future. Not if we want to have a future that is livable and survivable for our kids!

Continue reading

Ford Government’s Record on Protecting Ontario’s Species at Risk is Abysmal

“The facts are staggering. The number of species at risk in Ontario has grown by 22 percent since 2009. The number of approvals for harmful activities has gone up by more than 6,000 percent.” – Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature

A Statement from Ontario Nature, one of the province’s most respected advocacy groups for protecting our natural heritage

Posted November 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Queen’s Park, Ontario – The Government of Ontario is failing Ontario’s most vulnerable plants and animals, according to a report released this week by Ontario’s Auditor General.

The Blanding Turtle. One of many species at risk in Ontario under assault by a Ford government more interested in pandering to greedy developers than to protecting what’s left of our natural heritage

The reportProtecting and Recovering Species at Risk, reveals the abysmal record of misdirection and mismanagement by a government prepared to undermine environmental protections at every turn. Continue reading

Niagara Falls Area New Democrats Embrace Wayne Gates for Another Term in Ontario Legislature

“I’m very proud to represent the people of Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie at Queen’s park, and I’m grateful for the trust families in the riding have placed in me.”       – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

A News Release from the Campaign to Re-Elect Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

Posted November 26th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

NIAGARA — (This November 25th) New Democrats in Niagara Falls have selected incumbent MPP Wayne Gates to be their NDP candidate in the 2022 provincial election.

He has represented Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake at Queen’s Park since 2014. Gates currently serves as a key voice for workers in the party where he is the NDP’s critic for Workplace Health and Safety, Training, Trades and Apprenticeships, and Auto Strategy.

Gates’ nominators included Burdett Sisler, a 106 year old Second World War veteran living in the riding (see video (https://vimeo.com/649224238/31548d951c) ). Continue reading

At Long Last, Niagara’s Regional Council Votes for One Seamless Public Transit System for Niagara

“Regional council made an historic, progressive and courageous decision this afternoon which will set into motion that process that will hopefully strengthen public transit across Niagara for generations to come.”                                                                                    – Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

Support Is Still Needed from a Majority of Niagara’s Local Municipalities

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted November 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

At its November 25th meeting, Niagara Regional Council made an historic move to improve and modernize public transit, voting in favour of combining all of Niagara’s existing services into one single, integrated transit commission serving all of Niagara.

The Moving Transit Forward <http://www.movingtransitforward.ca/>proposal would bring together independently operating local transit systems in Fort Erie, St. Catharines, Welland, and Niagara Falls, as well as Niagara Region Transit and NRT OnDemand, in order to offer consistent operating hours and fares, new digital payment technology, and better connections for riders across Niagara. Continue reading

Niagara Region Supports ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence’

“We must work to address the social norms and power imbalances that, in-part, allow gender-based violence to occur. Finally, we need to ensure our law enforcement agencies and judicial system holds perpetrators accountable.”                                  – Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

A Statement from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley on behalf of Niagara’s Regional Council

Posted November 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

“Today (this November 25th) marks the start of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. This is an international campaign that starts on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

Based on a motion passed by the Region’s Women’s Advisory Committee, and endorsed by Regional Council, Niagara Region will be formally supporting this year’s campaign. Just this morning, I joined other community leaders from around Niagara to raise flags that are designed to build awareness of gender-based violence, as well as the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada. Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP Tables Legislation for OHIP to Cover Prostate Cancer Screening Tests

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

Posted November 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) has re-tabled a motion calling on the government to provide OHIP coverage for prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer as November comes to an end.

“We know that early detection of prostate cancer saves lives. When detected early, the survival rate for prostate cancer is close to 100%, when it is caught at stage 4, the survival rate is 28%,” said Wayne Gates.

“We have universal healthcare coverage but somehow don’t cover this test which can save lives. Now, more than ever, we see the importance of access to healthcare. When people cannot spare the money they choose not to be tested. We can stop that from happening and we can save lives.”

Continue reading

Fort Erie Could Become First “Bird Friendly” Community in Niagara

An Article submitted to Niagara At Large by Lynda Goodridge

Posted November 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

 

 

Niagara, Ontario – This past October, Deb Sherk (a fellow Fort Erie resident and President of the Fort Erie-based Bert Miller Nature Club) and I made a presentation to our local Fort Erie Town Council (in Niagara, Ontario) asking them to consider working towards becoming a Bird Friendly City.

The Great Egret and the Great Blue Heron are able to co-exist with one another, but will they be able to continue to exist in waterways which are increasingly congested by human traffic and polluted by human activities? Photo by Ron Goodridge

At a council meeting this November 22nd, we were pleased to see Fort Erie Council approve a motion, directing the town’s staff to “provide a memorandum offering suggestions on how staff can investigate and provide recommendations on becoming a Bird Friendly Municipality.”

This initiative is actually a process that leads to certification, under guidelines developed by Nature Canada.  It recognizes the efforts made by cities to save birds and to acknowledge the important role that they play in maintaining our ecosystems.

A major study done by Cornell University, specifically the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, shows a cumulative loss of nearly *three billion* birds since 1970, across most North American biomes (aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, tundra).

This new study finds steep, long-term losses in virtually all groups of birds in Canada and the U.S.  Another way to phrase this is from the Audubon Society which states that North America has lost more than 1 in 4 birds in the last 50 years.

About 90 percent of the missing birds came from 12 distinct and widespread bird families – including warblers, sparrows, blackbirds and finches. Grasslands in particular posted the biggest losses, with more than 700 million breeding individuals lost across 31 species since 1970. Continue reading

Ontario Liberals Pledge Incentives on Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations

“Creating a new electric vehicle incentive program is a win-win for Ontario families. It will advance the fight against climate change, create good paying jobs and deliver needed pocketbook relief.” – Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca.

A News Release from the Liberal Party of Ontario

Posted November 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – Ontario Liberals will give families an incentive of $8,000 on the purchase or lease of eligible electric vehicles and $1,500 on charging equipment. Ontario Liberals will end Doug Ford’s stubborn fight against climate action.

“Creating a new electric vehicle incentive program is a win-win for Ontario families,” said Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca. “It will advance the fight against climate change, create good paying jobs and deliver needed pocketbook relief.” Continue reading

Environmental Defence Experts Respond to Climate Promises (or lack thereof) in 2021 Speech from the Throne

“The need for urgent action to address the climate crisis was front and centre in the 2021 Speech from the Throne. Now we need to see that same urgency in plans for implementation – concrete and swift measures to reduce carbon emissions, end plastic pollution and remove toxic chemicals from our daily lives.”                                                                         – Tim Gray, Executive Director of the citizens advocacy group, Environmental Defence Canada

A News Release from Environmental Defence Canada, a national network of advocates for protecting and preserving our environment

Posted November 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

“While the Speech from the Throne made nods to both reconciliation and fighting the climate crisis, the government continues to support oil and gas projects which violate Indigenous rights, including the Coastal Gas Link pipeline, where the RCMP just arrested Wet’suwet’en land defenders to protect corporate interests, and the Trans Mountain pipeline. We’re also compelled to note the huge levels of public spending the government continues to provide to climate culprits, including for false solutions like carbon capture and fossil hydrogen.” – Julia Levin, Senior Climate and Energy Program Manager Continue reading

Canada’s PM Promises “Bold Climate Acton”

“Now we must go further, faster. …. We cannot afford to wait.”    – From the Speech from the Throne, Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

From a Statement by Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Posted November 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking earlier this November at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland

(A Brief Note from NAL reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

What follows is an excerpt that deals with climate change from a Statement Prime Minister Justin circulated this November 23rd following the reading of the Speech from the Throne.

You can click on links to review the whole statement and the Speech from the Throne at the bottom of this post.)

“To create a more resilient economy, create jobs, and grow the middle class, Canada must take strong and bold climate action.

“That’s why we’re moving forward to cap and cut oil and gas sector emissions, investing in public transit, and mandating the sale of zero-emissions vehicles. Continue reading

Coming Out of This Pandemic, a New Relationship to Wildlife Is Needed For Nature And People

“At the root of the current (COVID-19) crisis, and fundamental to the solution, are our relationships with the other species that share our planet.”

Something Our Niagara Regional Councillors Should Consider Before Voting on New Measures to Protect What is Left of our Region’s Precious Natural Heritage

An Article by Dan Krause for the Nature Conservancy of Canada (with permission from the Nature Conservancy to share it on Niagara At Large)

Posted November 23rdd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

As our Niagara Regional Council, including the mayors of Niagara’s 12 municipalities, prepare to decide how far our Regional government should go in protecting and preserving what is left of our natural heritage, all of our municipal leaders should take what scientists around the world have to say about the bond between healthy natural heritage systems and the health of you and I, our families, our friends and our communities.

What is at stake? Why do we need new measures to protect our remaining woodlands, wetlands and other natural places from predatory developers? It is for places like this -Waverly Woods, now a target for condos, along the Lake Erie shores in Fort Erie, Ontario. File photo by Doug Draper

Our Regional Councillors, including Niagara’s local mayors, are scheduled to consider how far they should go in protecting what is left of our natural heritage at a special meeting of the Region’s council this coming December 1st. Continue reading

Damming Auditor General Report Shows Ford Could Care Less About Our Environmental Future

A News Release from Ontario’s Green Party

Posted November 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk releases damming report on Ford government’s environment record

This November 22nd,  Ontario’s Auditor General released the Annual Report of Environmental Audits, and unsurprisingly, Doug Ford got an ‘F’ on his report card.

The damning report said that for the third year in a row the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (Environment Ministry), has not provided leadership on protecting and restoring the environment.

Not only has Ford failed to protect the environment, he’s actually making the situation worse. Continue reading

Ontario’s Auditor General Rakes Ford’s Environment Record Over Hot Coals

Ford Government has Deliberately Ignored Public’s Right to be Heard on Significant Environmental Issues – Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk

A News Release from the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario

Posted November 22nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk

TORONTO – Some Ontario ministries – including the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks – deliberately avoided consulting the public on environmentally significant decisions in 2020/21, bypassing the Environmental Bill of Rights, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk says in her Annual Report of Environment Audits.

“The Environment Ministry’s actions amount to undermining the Environmental Bill of Rights, a law that we would expect the Ministry to be championing,” Lysyk said.

“This has been consistent over the last three years.”

The law provides Ontarians with rights to information and public consultation on environmentally significant decisions, and the right to ask for a review or to appeal environmental decisions.

These rights are enshrined in law, similar to human rights, employment rights and French language rights.

Continue reading

November 22nd, 1963 – The Day JFK Was Assassinated

A Brief Remembrance by Doug Draper

Posted November 22nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie arrive in Dallas, Texas on Friday, November 22nd, 193 where within about an hour, he would be assassinated.

I was going to grade school at the time in my hometown of Welland in Niagara, Ontario. It was Friday, November 22nd, 1963 and my classmates and I had just come in from the lunch break.

A few minutes later, the schools vice principal arrived at our classroom door, his voice shaking and his eyes wet. “They shot President Kennedy,” he said. “We are asking you to go home.”

That was it. Our school, like so many others across Canada and the United States, were shut down for the rest of the day, and home we went to our grieving parents, watching the bulletins coming in on TV.

That is how well regarded U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Jackie were regarded on both sides of the border at that time. We felt like we had lost a great, youthful future who inspired so many to have hope for the future.

I doubt anyone who was old enough and still alive today forgets where they were when Kennedy was shot and killed on that autumn day.

To watch a brief video, featuring the eye witness account of  Clint Hill, a retired secret service officer, who was closer to Kennedy than any other officer at the assassination scene, click on –

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

A ‘Rally for Freedom’? More Like a Rally for Liberating COVID-19

Anti-Maskers and Anti-Vaxxers Unite for “Choice” and “Freedom” in Niagara Falls, Ontario

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

Posted November 22nd. 2021 on Niagara At Large

Signs like this began appearing earlier on, as governments and health authorities moved to limit travel from our homes during periods of high case counts

Some people in Niagara and other regions across Canada and the United States seem determined to keep liberating the virus.

That may not be their intention.

From what comes out in their rhetoric, their mission is to liberate themselves from any more lockdowns and from all of the mandates around mask wearing and taking the vaccine.

So it was that hundreds gathered at Oakes Garden in Niagara Falls, Ontario this November 20th to, in so many words, let their freedom flags fly.

They marched up Clifton Hill where, with a statue of King Kong waving and a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not sign looming in the background, they chanted; “Together united. We’ll never be divided.” They carried  signs reading (just to quote a few); ‘No Vax Mandates, ‘My Body, My Choice’, ‘Freedom is Mandatory’, ‘Hands Off’ and ‘The Lying Media is the Virus’. Continue reading

Hamilton Saves its Farmland: Will Meet Housing Demand through Zoning Reform, Not Sprawl

“Hamilton’s decision will have positive ripple effects across the Greater Golden Horseshoe and should embolden citizens who also are fighting to save their natural heritage from the big sprawl.”

A News Release from Environmental Defence, Environment Hamilton, Stop Sprawl Hamont

Posted December 20th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

If we don’t say NO to more sprawl, everything we have left in the way of farmland and green space for woodlands, wetlands and other wildlife will be lost under pavement for every. Sure that is not what we want.

A Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

Let’s urge our municipal leaders in Niagara to take note of what City of Hamilton concillors (as outlined in the news release immediately below) were brave enough to do – even in the face of intense lobby pressure from the plunderers of green space still driving this province’s development industry.

This coming December 1st, our Niagara Regional Councillors are scheduled to hold a special meeting to decide whether or not to support something called Option 3C, which is code for a higher level of protection we need to save what is left of our region’s natural heritage, including its woodlands and wetlands. Continue reading

Effective Nov. 30th, Testing Requirement for Short-Term, Canada-U.S. Border Crossers Will Be Dropped

Buffalo, New York Area Congressman  Responds to Canada’s Announcements Related to Border COVID-19 Testing Measures

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

Posted November 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) provided the following statement in response to announcements made by the Canadian government related to planned changes to border management policies.

Higgins said, “Of course we welcome action that removes obstacles to cross border travel for those fully vaccinated, but changes from both the U.S. and Canadian governments, have come at a frustratingly slow pace, in a disjointed manner, and with puzzling reasoning that doesn’t follow the science.

“Today’s (November 19th) announcement is no different. The public is again left confused and waiting for more information. The same standard should be applied to all vaccinated travelers regardless of which side of the border you are crossing into or where you live.” Continue reading

Niagara Region Public Health is Ready to Vaccinate 5-11 Year Olds

“In the coming days we will learn the timeline of receiving the vaccine in Niagara, and will be sharing when bookings will open and our clinic schedule.”

News from the Niagara Regional Government’s Public Health Department

Posted November 19, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region Public Health is excited that Health Canada has approved a vaccine for age 5-11 year olds.

This age group currently has by far the highest rate of COVID-19 infection in Niagara, and the vaccine will provide them with very welcome protection.

The age 5-11 version of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine approved today is a different formulation to the vaccine used in adults and children age 12 and older. The version approved for younger children is just as effective as the previous version, but with fewer side effects, ensuring children will have a great vaccination experience. Continue reading

In the Wake of Calls for his Resignation, Making a Case for Niagara’s Acting Medical Officer of Health

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted November 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara’s acting Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji

Niagara’s acting Medical Officer of Health, Mustafa Hirji,  appears to be  having a Dr. Fauci moment.

Dr. Anthony Fauci – most of us by now would know – is an American medical doctor, recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts on infectious disease. Throughout the past, almost two years of this COVID-19 pandemic, he has also been a rock-solid presence, recommending the most up-to-date measures we need to take to protect ourselves and our communities against this deadly virus, based on science.

For his efforts, Dr. Fauci found himself being vilified as “Dr. Gloom and Doom” and other negative titles by a segment of the population who wanted government to fire him from whatever positions he was holding for recommending precautionary measures they viewed as an assault on their freedoms. Continue reading

Faced With a Possible Climate Meltdown, Do We Humans Care Enough to Save Ourselves?

“Our fragile planet is hanging by a thread. We are still knocking on the door of climate catastrophe.” – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

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

Posted November 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Even before the COP26 global climate summit (what one of NAL’s readers took to calling COP Out 26) was drawing to a close in Glasgow, Scotland this November 13th, climate activists around the world – young and old – expressed concern that the pact agreed to by almost 200 nations around the world, including Canada, would not be enough to avert a planetary disaster.

The political leaders of many countries that signed this pact tried to explain that this pact comes a long way, but you can’t move the needle to something approximating zero use of climate-ravaging fossil fuels that fast.

This excuse for doing less than what is now necessary to defuse a bomb ticking ever closer to midnight for our future ignores the fact that one generation of political leaders after another, including the people they represent, have been warned for decades that the severe droughts, windstorms and wildfires, not to mention the devastating flooding and mudslides on Canada’s west coast that are playing out now, were coming if we did not change our ways.

At least as far back as the first Earth Day in 1970, an ‘Environmental Handbook’, prepared by Friends of the Earth for the event said; “Scientists are becoming worried about increasing CO2 levels because of the greenhouse effect, with its possible repercussions on the world climate.” Continue reading

Canada Expected to Drop Testing Requirement for Fully Vaccinated Day Trippers Crossing Border by End of Month

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins Meets with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Responds to Changes to Canadian Government Testing Policy at Northern Border

“Testing is not only unnecessary, it is prohibiting a cross-border exchange critical to fostering economic recovery in both nations.” – Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

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

Posted November 17th, 2021 on Niagara Atl Large

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins has been a leader in pushing for the end of the testing requirements for fully vaccinated people crossing the Canada-U.S. border

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) was among a bipartisan group of approximately a dozen members of the House of Representatives meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, November 17.

Prime Minister Trudeau is visiting the United States Capitol for North American Leaders meetings with U.S. President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Last week Higgins sent a letter to President Biden suggesting priorities for U.S. – Canada discussion and collaboration should include: trade, dropping the border testing requirement, passenger rail, and the exemption of Americans from the non-citizen property tax increase.

According to published reports, the Canadian government is planning to drop the PCR COVID testing requirement for fully vaccinated Canadians returning to Canada after a trip abroad for less than 72-hours. Continue reading

Niagara At Large Is  No Longer Going to Take Bylsma’s Bait

Every Time The Mainstream Media Shines Light on the West Lincoln Mayor’s Controversial Conduct, One  Suspects That He Loves It. It Plays To His Ultra-Right-Wing, Christian Heritage Party Base

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

Posted November 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

So here we go again.

Niagara Regional Councillor and West Lincoln Mayor David Bylsma.His screwball conduct has wasted enough of the precious time that should be dedicated to addressing issues that should be of  concern to all of us.

Dave Bylsma, who serves on Niagara’s Regional Council by virtue of his current position as Mayor of West Lincoln, openly engages in another episode that is controversial or insulting to others, and he makes front page news in daily newspapers.

In the past, I have posted commentary on such episodes on Niagara At Large, with calls for Bylsma’s resignation from elected office or failing that, my hope that he might be turfed out of office in next year’s municipal elections.

But no more.

Like however many others in Niagara who sent me emails reading; “Have you seen this,” I most certainly saw the front-page story in Niagara’s daily newspapers this November 16th about Bylsma – this time talking about some highly objectionable language he used to discuss employment at his family business. Continue reading

Honouring One of Canada’s Great Champions for Social Justice – The Late Métis Leader Louis Riel

A Statement by Canada’s Prime Minister on Louis Riel Day
Posted November 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

While Louis Riel’s stature is now such that a national day of tribute for him is now on the calendar, the stature of John A. Macdonland, Canada’s first prime minister who oversaw Riel’s execution is such that statues of him like this one, in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario, are being removed from public spaces across the country.

(A Brief Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper – As Canada observes Louis Riel Day this November 16th, I think back on some of the crap (to paraphrase Paul Simon) we have been taught in high school.

Among the crap I was taught when I was going to high school in Ontario back in the 1960s was that Louis Riel was a treasonous, murderous rebel who had to be hung, which he was on November 16th, 1885 with the blessing of Canada’s great ‘Father of Confederation, then Prime Minister John A. Macdonald.

Now Louis Riel is portrayed in official circles as a bonafide Canadian champion for social justice and equality, while statues of Macdonald, including one this past September in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario, are being removed from public places in response to his role as a supporter of residential schools engaged in the cultural genocide of our country’s indigenous peoples. Continue reading

Ford Government Not Doing Enough to Protect Ontarians from Fifth Wave, More Closures

“Doug Ford seems to be doing nothing to stop yet another deadly, but preventable fifth wave of COVID-19.”- Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca

News from Ontario’s Liberal Party

Posted November 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO, Ontario – COVID-19 case counts have been on the rise in Ontario and the Science Advisory Table projects that this will likely result in increased ICU occupancy.

Several jurisdictions around the world are already experiencing deadly resurgences, with many European countries having to re-impose restrictions as they try to deal with the surge of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Continue reading

Niagara’s Regional Government Launches Survey To Help Improve Diversity, Equity And Inclusion

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

“Everyone in Niagara has the right to live in a safe, welcoming and respectful community. Listening to the lived experiences of our community members is the first step in making that happen, and we want as many individuals as possible to speak up and have their voice heard. This information will be invaluable as we work to create Niagara’s first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan.”                     ~ Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

News from Niagara’s Regional Government in Niagara, Ontario

Posted November 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Individuals from all backgrounds across Niagara are being asked for their input to help make Niagara a more welcoming and inclusive community for everyone.

From now until Dec. 1, Niagara residents can take a short online survey to share experiences of discrimination they have witnessed or experienced in Niagara, and their ideas to eliminate that discrimination. Continue reading

Honouring a Canadian Scientific Breakthrough That Continues to Save Countless Millions of Lives

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I invite all Canadians to join me in recognizing World Diabetes Day and the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin.”                                               – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Statement by the Prime Minister on World Diabetes Day and the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin

Posted November 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this November 14th) issued the following statement on World Diabetes Day and the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin:

“Diabetes is a chronic health condition experienced by hundreds of millions of people in Canada and around the world. Today on World Diabetes Day <https://www.un.org/en/observances/diabetes-day>, we unite with the global community to raise awareness about this disease and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin.

“In 1921, insulin was discovered by a team of four scientists at the University of Toronto – Sir Frederick Banting, Dr. Charles Best, Dr. James Collip, and Dr. John Macleod. Two years later, in recognition of this major scientific breakthrough, Frederick Banting and John Macleod were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Continue reading

You Are Invited to a Zoom Public Meeting on Affordable Child Care and Decent Pay for Workers in Niagara

Niagara District Council of Women tp host Zoom  Public  Meeting  Panel  on “Affordable Child Care and Decent Pay for Workers”  at 7:30 p.m., this coming  Wednesday November 17th . 

An Invite to All from the Niagara District Council of Women

Posted November 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Across Ontario, while   the Covid-19 pandemic lingers, parents are struggling harder than ever  to find affordable child care ,and non-profit and institutional care givers are challenged to  provide services .

As panelist  Dr. Kate Bazanson, Associate Dean , Faculty of Social Sciences & Associate Professor of Sociology  of Brock University  notes, “The tension between high fees and low wages results in inaccessible space for parents (especially mothers) and recruitment and retention struggles for providers.  The continued presence of COVID also affects enrolment and costs.” Continue reading

Former Niagara Regional Councillor and Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn Running for Ontario NDP in Niagara West Riding

Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was in the Niagara region this Friday, November 12th,  to Welcome Dave Augustyn to the Team of Ontario New Democrats.

In Spring, 2022 Provincial Election, Augustyn will be Running Against Ford Conservative Incumbent Sam Oosterhoff

A News Release from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted November 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Former Pelham mayor, regional councillor running for the Ontario NDP in the Niagara West Riding

“Just as the cost of everything is being driven through the roof, we’re facing cuts in education, public health and long-term care again. That’s not right — Niagara families deserve so much better. And with the NDP, I know we can deliver better.”    David Augustyn

PELHAM, Ontario  — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was in the Niagara region this Friday (November 12th)  to welcome Dave Augustyn to the team of Ontario New Democrats running for provincial election in 2022.

Augustyn was the mayor of Pelham for 12 years, as well as regional councillor. He’ll be running for the NDP in Niagara West.

As mayor, Augustyn worked with the community to design and build Pelham’s Meridian Community Centre. He also had a particular focus on health care, orchestrating the donation of land to Wellspring Niagara for the Regional Cancer support centre and attracting a new long-term care home and retirement residences to the Town. Continue reading

Town of Lincoln Develops Single-Use Plastics Strategy as Part of Climate Adaption Plan

“The Town is taking important steps to address climate change and encourage more sustainable and environmentally conscious practices in Lincoln. … We all have a part to play in mitigating the effects of climate change”                                                                  – Town of Lincoln Councillor Paul MacPherson, who introduced the motion for a Single-Use Plastics Reduction Strategy

News from the Town of Lincoln in Niagara, Ontario

Posted November 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln, Ontario – Town of Lincoln Council have given staff the green light to proceed with a pilot study in the Rittenhouse Library Branch and waste audits in the Fleming Centre and Town Hall that will help inform a corporate-wide, Single-Use Plastics Reduction Strategy.

This initiative supports the Town’s Corporate Climate Adaptation Plan which was approved by Council in March 2021.

“As a municipal government, we have a responsibility and are making a commitment to protecting Lincoln’s economy, ecosystems, and community from climate change,” said Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton.

“Council recognizes the need to work cooperatively to take action on climate change, and this initiative is just one of the ways we’re moving towards a more sustainable future.” Continue reading

Join a Letter Writing Drive to Save Waverly Woods in Niagara, Ontario

Lend Your Voice to a Citizens Campaign to Save One of Niagara’s Most Precious Green Places from Destruction

A red-headed woodpecker. One of the many species of birds that like Waverly Woods just the way it is.

A Call-Out from Community Voices of Fort Erie, a citizens group in Fort Erie, Ontario

Posted November 11th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – 

Long live Waverly Woods!

If you don’t know about Waverly Woods, it is a jewel of a green place – lush with trees and other vegetation and rich with wildlife – located along the shores of Lake Erie, just in from the opening of the Niagara River, in Fort Erie, Ontario.

Inside Waverly Woods in Fort Erie, Ontario. Places like this been good for peoples’ souls during this pandemic. Let’s not allow them to be stolen away.

Go visit it any day of the year, and you will find families and couples, young and old, hiking around it or venturing a short distance into the woods until they are stopped by “no trespassing” signs nailed, unceremoniously, to the trunks trees.

Those signs were put there by a developer bent on taking buzz saws to the heart and soul of this gem of a place because, of course and wouldn’t you know it? In their mind there is no other place in the region to build condos than on one of the last few remaining tracts of natural heritage left along Niagara’s Lake Erie shoreline. Continue reading

On This November 11th, Remembering and Honouring Those Who Served Our Country

A Remembrance Day Statement from Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted November 11th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement to mark Remembrance Day:

A monument to those who fought and died in the World Wars of the last century, standing proudly in Chippawa Park in Welland, Ontario. File photo by Doug Draper

“Today we remember and honour the many Canadians who have courageously served our country, in times of conflict and in times of peace, so that we may live in freedom and safety.

We express gratitude for the brave sacrifices of those who served and continue to serve, who have willingly faced great hardship and selflessly put the safety of others before their own.

I join all Ontarians in mourning those who have made ultimate sacrifice to safeguard peace and our shared values, and in honouring their loved ones who have endured so much. We will never take for granted their immeasurable contributions.

On Remembrance Day, we also recognize our duty as a province to care for those who have made extraordinary sacrifices for our country. Continue reading

Ontario Government Funding a New MRI Machine for Niagara Health

Investment Will Help Ensure Patients and Families Have Access to High-Quality Health Care

“As a local MPP, access to quality healthcare has been one of my top priorities.” -Sam Oosterhoff, Ford Government MPP for Niagara West.

A News Release from Ontario’s Ford Government

Posted November 10th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

An MRI machine, a vital medical tool for saving lives

ST. CATHARINES, Ontario – The Ontario government is taking further action to end hallway healthcare and address wait times for diagnostic imaging by investing in the operation of a new MRI machine at Niagara Health.

“As a local MPP, access to quality healthcare has been one of my top priorities,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

“The investment in operationalizing a new MRI machine for Niagara is a key part of our government’s plan to end hallway healthcare, cut hospital wait times and build a better, more connected health care system that puts patients and their families first.” Continue reading

Ford Government is “Building Ontario” by Pushing Forward with Controversial  Highway 413

Government says New 400 series highway will relieve gridlock, create jobs, improve movement of goods, and save drivers commuting time

“This project is a key part of our plan that’s building Ontario.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A News Release from Ontario’s Ford Government
Posted November 10th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is highway happy. Let’s just go on building more and more highways through the province’s greenbelts. That ought to trigger more urban sprawl.

The Ontario government is moving forward with building Highway 413, a new 400-series highway and transit corridor across Halton, Peel and York regions.
The highway will bring relief to the most congested corridor in North America and play a vital role in the province’s plan for economic recovery, growth, and job creation.
“With Halton, Peel and York regions all set to grow at incredible speed, our government is saying yes to building the roads and highways that will keep these communities moving,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Highway 413 will create thousands of jobs while saving commuters hours of gridlock every day. This project is a key part of our plan that’s building Ontario.”

Continue reading

With Our Future Survival on this Planet at the Tipping Point, Ford’s Assault on the Environment Continues

Doug Ford’s vision for Ontario’s future

“Just days after (his Minister of Environment), returned from COP26 (the global climate change summit taking place in Glasgow, Scotland), (Ontario Premier Doug) Ford presented a plan to build more highways in Ontario, which will put more cars on the road and drive up emissions.”                             – Green Party of Ontario

News from Ontario’s Green Party

Posted November 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Climate emergency? What climate emergency? Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Conservatives show little or no sign that they are concerned

Last week (during the first week of November), Ontario Greens presented their plan for climate action to the world, at COP26 in Glasgow.

Deputy Leader Dianne Saxe joined Kitchener Centre Green MP Mike Morris for a talk about _Roadmap to Net-Zero: The Ontario Greens’ Climate Plan. and why it is critically important that we reduce carbon emissions now.

BUT DOUG FORD’S GOVERNMENT DOESN’T CARE ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION.

Just days after (Ontario) Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, David Piccini, returned from COP26, Ford presented a plan to build more highways in Ontario, which will put more cars on the road and drive up emissions.

                        Tell Ford we need climate action now

Saxe told COP26 attendees that if we don’t get serious about climate, the science says we’ll be facing more chaos, bigger challenges and much more suffering in the future.

Ontario Greens are working hard to create workable solutions to the biggest problem of our lifetime, but instead of taking it seriously, Ford wants to line the pockets of his developer friends.

WE NEED YOUR HELP TO STOP FORD’S ENVIRONMENTAL ASSAULT.

Hundreds of protesters rallied at Queen’s Park on the weekend. Just like you, they’re concerned that Ontario isn’t doing enough to combat climate change. To get Ford to take action, we need to make our voices heard.

Join us in telling Ford to take action and make a plan now to reduce emissions in Ontario, before it’s too late.

  • Green Party of Ontario

To watch Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s announcement this November 8th to construct even more highway lanes in the province to accommodate ever more low-density sprawl in the countryside, click on the screen immediately below –

A Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – Here is one last thought on all of this from one of the 20th centuries great thinkers, the late Lewis Mumford. I am sure that Doug Ford has never heard of him and may never understand what the quotation below means –

 

 

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

A Citizens’ Call to Protect the Integrity of the Twelve Mile Creek Valley Ecosystem

A Commentary on Plans to Construct a Mountain Bike Racecourse for the 2022 Canada Summer Games in the Riverview ravine portion of the Twelve Mile Creek valley in       St. Catharines, Ontario

Commentary submitted to Niagara At Large by St. Catharines residents Helen Staal and Peter Ramm

Posted November 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Twelve Mile Creek, flowing through St. Catharines to Lake Ontario. It ‘s rich ecology has suffered many man-made assaults over the past 50 or more years. Do we really now need to cut a mountain bike race tracks through its wooded valleys?

(The following commentary was originally posted by Niagara At Large under an October 8th, 2021 piece we featured on this issue. NAL has decided to posted it again here as a stand-alone piece.)

We recently learned that the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) started a review of the 2022 Canada Summer Games mountain bike racecourse.

The NPCA stated that it was not previously aware of the construction of this course, that work had been done without a required permit, and that new trails had been cut in areas where there were no existing ones.

As local residents for almost 30 years, we are familiar with the area where this course is being built and with the environmental destruction that is occurring.

We have followed many of the online conversations from those who are opposed or in favour of the course. We would like to raise some information that is sometimes overlooked. Continue reading

Canada/US Border Communities Call for Scrapping Testing Requirement For Border Crossing

Test Targets Canadians and Americans that can least afford to travel

“Hockey stadiums are now open at 100 percent capacity but a fully vaccinated family of four faces an $800 testing bill just to drive over the border in their own car. This unscientific approach must end given that random testing over the past few months has demonstrated there is no risk to ending the pre-testing.”

A News Release from the Office of Buffalo, New York Area Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins, in concert with other officials form the United States and Canada

Posted November 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Peace Bridge crossing between Niagara, Ontario to Buffalo, New York. OThis November 8th, fully vaccinated Canadians can now cross after more than a year and a half of so-called “non-essential travelers being banned from crossing. But how many will, if they have to pay up to $300 for a COVID test?

OTTAWA, Ontario  – Today (this November 8th) , in a virtual press conference, four border city mayors – three Canadian and one American – along with New York District 26 Congressman Brian Higgins, and two voices of border businesses, celebrate the US opening of the land border, but call on the Canadian federal government to drop the unnecessary PCR test requirement for travellers crossing into Canada.

The border closure order was originally enacted 20 months ago and border communities, border residents and border businesses have paid the heavyiest price. With the border reopening, the border community leaders spoke passionately about the need to return to normal and the need to eliminate Canadian PCR tests that are unfair, expensive and not justified by science. Continue reading

Buffalo, New York Area Officials Welcome Canadians Back

Elected Officials and Economic Development Agencies Welcome Canadians Back to Buffalo Offering a Warm Welcome to Friends, Colleagues and Customers as Border Reopens this November 8th

A News Release from the Office of Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted November 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

“Buffalo Loves Canada”

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz were joined by Patrick Kaler of Visit Buffalo Niagara, Tom Kucharski of Invest Buffalo Niagara and Mary Roberts of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House in welcoming Canadians back to Western New York as the border reopened to land travel after being closed for nearly twenty months.

Holding a “Buffalo Loves Canada”, from left to right are, Erie County Executtive Mark Poloncarz, Tom Kucharski, President of Invest Buffalo Niagara, Congressman Brian Higgins, Patrick Kaler, President of Visit Buffalo Niagara, and Mary Robert’s, Executive Director of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House

 

 

 

 

The event, held in the Greatbatch Pavilion on the Martin House estate, commemorated the long-awaited resumption of bi-national travel and commerce that officials had advocated on behalf for months.

“The interconnected relationship between Western New York and our Canadian neighbors cannot be overstated,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. Continue reading

Canada’s Prime Minister Pays Tribute to Civil Rights Icon Viola Desmond

A Statement by the Prime Minister on the 75th anniversary of Viola Desmond challenging racial segregation and discrimination

Posted November 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this November 8th) issued the following statement on the 75th anniversary of Viola Desmond challenging racial segregation and discrimination:

“On this day in 1946, Viola Desmond, a successful Black Canadian businesswoman, refused to leave the segregated whites‑only section of the Roseland Theatre in  New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. Ms. Desmond simply wanted to watch a movie that day, and to do so in dignity. Instead, she was forcibly removed from the theatre, then jailed, convicted, and fined. Continue reading

Ontario Snoozes As The World Works To Address Climate Change

To Ontario Energy Minister Smith: It’s time to take climate change seriously and to give the IESO a firm deadline for ending gas power.

A Call-Out from the Ontario Clean Air Coalition a province-wide citizens group advocating for cleaner energy

Posted November 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

With climate change alarms screaming and  world leaders meeting in Glasgow in what may be our final chance to take  real action to avoid the  worst impacts of climate heating, Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith decided to roll over and hit the snooze button on phasing out gas in the Ontario electricity system. 

In remarks to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) Stakeholder Advisory Committee, the minister repeated some of most  over-the-top assertions from the IESO’s recent report on the feasibility of  phasing out gas in defence of not setting any sort of deadline for ending burning fossil fuels to produce electricity in Ontario.

In fact, the Minister said a gas phase-out would “paralyze” efforts to electrify our economy, seeming not to understand that the IESO’s plan to  ramp up gas use by 300-500% will hugely undermine the value of efforts to electrify homes, buildings and transportation. Continue reading

A Voice from Mesozoic Times Urges Us Not to Choose Extinction

A Brief One from Doug Draper at NAL

Posted November 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

As the first full week of the global COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland draws to a close, I want to bring back a new friend I discovered – I call him DINO the dinosaur of Flintstone fame –  to tell us something we all need to hear.

To listen to what Dino has to say, courtesy of a brief film produced by the United Nations, click on the screen immediately below –

PLEASE TAKE HEED. We are rapidly running out of time to take the action needed to save ourselves.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

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

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

Ford’s “Building Ontario” Plan Is Just More Pavement

“Paving over more wetlands and farmland to supercharge urban sprawl will only make the climate and housing crisis worse.”

A Message from Ontario’s Green Party

Posted  November 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ford says he’s “building Ontario,” but his plan paves over what makes our province special

This week’s Fall Economic Statement (tabled by the Ford government this November 4th) features more of the anti-climate, anti-affordability policy we’ve come to expect from the Ford government; an announcement that was as much a rally cry against the environment, as an economic statement.

Instead of giving Ontarians the climate action and affordable housing we so desperately need, Ford fully committed to funding Highway 413 and the Holland Marsh Highway (Bradford Bypass). Continue reading

St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens Pays Tribute to Canada’s Veterans

NDP Critic for Veterans, Legions and Military Affairs Jennie Stevens delivers Remembrance Day Statement on behalf of the Official Opposition

“It is an important pledge, and honourable pledge, to match the words of honouring our veterans, our military, our front line with acts that ensure they are better taken care of. We owe so many generations the promise of health care when they need it, shelter to avoid homelessness and a system of long-term care that honours the aging process with dignity.”   – Jennie Stevens, NDP MPP for Riding of St. Catharines, Ontario

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

Posted November 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario Official Opposition NDP Critic for Veterans, Legions and Military Affairs, Jennie Stevens, led her caucus (this November 4th)  to mark Remembrance Day at the Ontario Legislature, honouring veterans and reminding that recognition needs to include action:

“Today we honour the many Canadians who have fought for our country, serving overseas or closer to home….

We remember the women and men, families, and communities that were forever changed by the First and Second World Wars. And we acknowledge the bravery, sacrifice and heart of all who served our nation during all other wars, conflicts, peacekeeping and even within our borders against COVID-19. We must never take for granted the immeasurable sacrifice they made to serve our country, and never forget the tragedy of each lost life. Continue reading

Ford’s Fall Economic Statement is Road Map for More Highways & Sprawl

A Statement from Environmental Defence’s Programs Director, Keith Brooks, on Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement

Posted November 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – While the world is talking about “building back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario seems committed to building more highways and sprawling car-dependent communities, and creating a lot more pollution.

The fall economic statement commits $ 2.6 billion for highways and bridges, and specifically mentions the Bradford Bypass and Highway 413, though the full costs of these projects have still not been made public. It looks as though the government is trying to downplay those costs. Continue reading

Ontario NDP/Liberal Leaders Say Ford’s 2021 Economic Statement Fails to Address Needs of Province’s People

News Releases from the Ontario NDP Official Opposition Party and the Ontario Liberal Party

Posted November 11th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ford’s budget update has none of what Ontarians need now –  NDP

Horwath says she’ll never stop fighting for investments in people

“In a province where Mr. Ford’s buddies get whatever they want, Ontarians are getting none of what they need and deserve.”          – Ontario NDP Leader  Horwath.

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath condemned Doug Ford’s budget update for including none of what people need now, and promised she’ll never stop  fighting for investments in people.

“It’s getting harder and harder for Ontarians to afford the life they’re working hard for as skyrocketing prices squeeze their budgets,” said Horwath.

“The cost of child care, auto insurance, gas, and groceries are rising, and pay cheques aren’t. And it was already getting tougher for everyday folks to get the health care they need, and to get their kids the education they deserve. Continue reading

Ford Government Releases ‘BUILD ONTARIO’ 2021 Fall Economic Statement


News from the Ontario Conservative Government of Doug Ford

Posted November 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford. file photo

TORONTO — Today (this November 4th), Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy released the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario.

The plan lays out how the government will build the foundation for Ontario’s recovery and prosperity by getting shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure, attracting increased investment, and restoring leadership in auto manufacturing and other industries.

The plan also protects Ontario’s progress against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we continue to protect the hard-won progress against the pandemic, our government is looking forward with our plan to build a better and brighter future for families, workers and businesses in Ontario,” said Minister Bethlenfalvy. Continue reading

NCPA’s 2022 Grant Program Aims at Improving Water Quality in Wildlife Habitat in Niagara

Restoration & Water Well Decommissioning Cost-Sharing Grant Programs Aim To Improve Water Quality

News from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted November 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is seeking applications for its Restoration and Water Well Decommissioning grant programs for projects in 2022.

Selected projects will help improve water quality and wildlife habitat as part of ongoing efforts to restore and preserve the Niagara Peninsula watershed’s natural heritage and water resources.

“The Restoration Grant Program is one of several ways the NPCA works to improve the health of the Niagara Peninsula watershed’s natural features, as research has shown it is highly degraded,” says Geoff Verkade, Senior Manager of Integrated Watershed Planning and Information Management at NPCA. Continue reading

Ontario Opposition Leader Slams Ford’s Refusal To Mandate Vaccines For Health Workers

A Statement from Ontario Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted November 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

This is outrageous. At this point in a pandemic that has killed more people in a year and a half across Canada and the United States than we lost soldiers in the First and Second World Wars, any health care worker in Ontario who still refuses to get vaccinated for the good of the patients they are sworn to serve SHOULD BE FIRED!

Shame on the Ford government for not not showing enough care for the health and safety of the rest of us to do it.

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement in response to the Ford government’s refusal to mandate vaccines for health workers: Continue reading

Ontario Government to Raise Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

Government working for workers by enhancing wages and take-home pay

News from the Office of Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Posted November 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

TORONTO — As part of the 2021 Fall Economic Statement, the Ontario government will introduce legislation that, if passed, would raise the general minimum wage from $14.35 to $15.00 per hour effective January 1, 2022.

Under the proposed changes, the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers would be eliminated and they would be entitled to the general minimum wage. Students under 18, homeworkers and hunting, fishing and wilderness guides would also see an increase in their special minimum wage rates.

Details were shared today by Premier Doug Ford, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. Continue reading

Canada’s New Environment Minister Seem to Have Made All the Right Enemies

If Climate Laggards Like Canada’s Conservatives and Alberta’s Tar Sands Premier Jason Kenney Don’t Like Steven Guilbeault, Maybe He’s the Right Person for the Job

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

Posted November 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The late Mel Swart, a long-time NDP MPP for Niagara and a champion for working people, made all the right enemies.

When Mel Swart – a true champion for social justice and one of Niagara’s most progressive politicians, serving as an NDP member in the provincial legislature – passed away in 2007, some of his political colleagues and friends, including then Niagara Centre NDP MPP Peter Kormos and then St. Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley (now Niagara’s Regional Chair) eulogized him by saying he made all the right enemies.

And Mel Swart certainly did that.

Mel Swart found himself facing opposition from almost every individual or organization working to defend a status quo that favoured the rich and privileged or that exploited people, communities and our natural heritage for short-term gain.

And what made Mel Swart such a bonafide working-class hero is that he never let the opposition stop him. If anything, he wore it as a badge of honour.

That brings me to the subject of Quebec Liberal MP Steven Guilbeault and his recent appoint as the Canada’s new Minister of Environment and Climate Change in the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau. Continue reading

A Passionate Plea to Us from One of the World’s Great People – Sir David Attenborough – to Do Whatever is Necessary Now to Save Ourselves

Posted this November 1st, 2021 by Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

One of the world’s most dedicated environmentalists and making of films about our atural world, Sir David  Attenborough, said everything that needs to be said about the climate emergency rocking our planet today this November 1st 2021 at the global climate summit (COP26) now underway in Glasgow, Scotland.

I urge you to please listen to his address by clicking on the screen immediately below –

 

Saving natural areas like Waverly Woods in Fort Erie from urban sprawl should be a priority in any climate action plan for our Niagara region. It is time to tell the rogues and bottom feeders in the development industry that enough is enough.

Now do what you can to contact our municipal representatives in Niagara, Ontario and our provincial and federal representatives and urge them to do whatever is necessary to prevent any further paving over of what is left of our wetlands and woodlands and other natural heritage places in this region.

These green places, scientists around the world will tell you, play a vital role in absorbing the excessive carbon that is wreaking havoc on the climate and of cushioning us in so many other ways from damaging weather conditions.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

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

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

Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Urges Canada to Drop COVID Test as Requirement for Fully Vaccinated People to Cross Border Bridges

Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

“The cost to being tested varies depending on location and federal, state, provincial, and local policies – in some cases, the tests required to gain entry to Canada can cost over $300 CAD with no guarantee of appointment availability. … The expectation that fully vaccinated Canadians and Americans will be able to afford multiple tests … for the indefinite future to go about their business ignores the economic reality and is financially unsustainable for working families.”                                    – Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins, in his letter to Canada’s Ambassador to the United States Kirsten Hillman

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

Posted November 1st. 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Peace Bridge crossing between Niagara, Ontario to Buffalo, New York. On November 8th, fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to cross after more than a year and a half of so-called “non-essential travellers being banned from crossing. But how many will, if they have to pay up to $300 for a COVID test?

In Letter to Ambassador, Congressman Higgins Asks Canada to Consider Dropping COVID Testing Requirement for Travelers Crossing the Northern Border

Higgins Says Testing for the Vaccinated is Redundant & Impedes Binational Economic Recovery

As the United States prepares to welcome Canadian neighbors back across the border on November 8, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is urging the government of Canada to drop its COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers crossing the Northern Border. Continue reading

Hail, Hail, Carole King – One of the All-Time-Great Singer/Songwriters of Our Time

The Queen of the Great Album ‘Tapestry’ Once Again Gets Her Just Due

A Brief Tribute (I Just Can’t Help Myself When It Comes to this Great Human Being) from Doug Draper

Posted November 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Carole King’s Tapestry, one of the biggest selling albums of all time, celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year.

This past Saturday, October 30th, Carole King, one of the greatest singer-song writers of the past 50 or more years, received yet another just reward with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a performer.

She has previously been inducted in the same Hall of Fame, based in Cleveland, for her songwriting power, along with her late husband, Gerry Goffin, for countless classics that have been covered by every artist from The Beatles to you name the individual artist or group.

This latest award was great to see for her talent as an on-stage performer.

Here she is in what , in my opinion, is one of her hottest live performances, doing a song she and her husband originally wrote for a popular girl group from the early 1960s called The Chiffons. Click on the screen below to hear it and check out what a totally hot piano player she is while you are at it –

In Case you don’t know, Carole King as consistently been a strong voice over many years for environmental protection and for other issues around making life better for people and other species on this planet.
She is one of the very good ones – Doug Draper, NAL
For more on Carole King, click on the following links – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2021/02/24/celebrating-50-earth-moving-years-of-tapestry/

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