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Save Niagara’s Green Spaces – Speak Now or Risk Losing Them Forever!

We, As Citizens, Don’t Have Much Time Left to Act – To Stop Ford and his Government from Further Threatening Our Natural Heritage

A Call-Out from Ed Smith, St. Catharines community activist and member of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Board of Directors

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Long-time St. Catharines citizen activist and Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board member Ed Smith makes a plea to fellow Niagara citizens to speak up for Conservation Authorities and our green spaces. File photo by Doug Draper

We are days away from the greatest environmental catastrophe to be unleashed on Niagara by a sitting government. Once it occurs there will be no undoing the damage and it will result in mortal consequences to Niagara’s last few remaining wilderness areas.

Ontario’s Ford government has bundled into its recent budget legislation a section called Schedule 6.

Schedule 6 of the Budget Bill deals specifically with the 36 Conservation Authorities across Ontario, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

Since taking office  more than two years ago, the Ford government has tried to take control of our environment away from any strict protections and hand it over to causes more sympathetic to the needs of developers. Continue reading

Another Appeal to Save Our Conservation Authorities from a Group of Canada’s Top Environmental Lawyers

“We hope (the Ford Government) will listen to the chorus of voices asking them to protect the vital role of conservation authorities in Ontario”                                                                                     – April Weppler, Canadian Environmental Law Association

A Message from the Canadian Environmental Law Association

Posted November 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Dear Fellow Ontarians

Thank you for your continued support for conservation authorities. We promised you an update on the province’s omnibus budget measures Bill 229 that is threatening Conservation Authorities, and here it is – the government is fast-tracking passage of Bill 229.

The Ford government’s legislation would purge Conservation Authorities across the province, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in this region, of citizen voices on its board of directors. Ford is moving to block citizens from sitting on these boards. His pals in the development community don’t want citizens to have a say.

Through a time-allocation motion that passed Monday, the government has sent the Bill to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs for an expedited review (https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/committees/finance-economic-affairs/parliament-42/notice-hearings/2020-nov-23-notice-hearings-standing-committee-finance-economic-affairs) .  While the timelines are very tight, there is a small window for public comment, through both in-person presentations and written submissions. Continue reading

For Doug Ford, Ontario’s Front-Line Health Care Workers Are ‘Heroes’ Until They Test Positive for COVID-19

Then – After Risking Themselves Caring For Others – Ford’s Tories Reward Them by Cutting Their Pay

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Demands Ontario Health Minister Immediately Reverse Directive That Denies Pay to Health Care Workers Who Need to Self-Isolate

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

Posted November 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) has demanded the Ford government reverse a directive from the Ministry of Health that tells hospitals to stop paying frontline heath care workers who self-report when they are exposed to COVID-19 and are forced to go into isolation.

“This government likes to talk about the hard work done by nurses, doctors, personal support workers and other frontline health care workers, correctly calling them ‘heroes’. Yet the actions of this government put them in an impossible situation, having to choose between reporting an exposure and feeding their family,” said Burch during question period at the Ontario legislature Tuesday.

“Will this Minister investigate, reverse this disgraceful directive, and ensure that front-line health care workers in Ontario’s hospitals receive their full pay when they are mandated by the employer to self-isolate due to COVID-19?,” Burch asked Health Minister Christine Elliott. Continue reading

Raise Your Voice to Save Our Conservation Authorities!

Doug Ford’s Conservatives are Shameless in their Assault on the Environment

A News Release from the Green Party of Ontario

Posted November 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

You might never have heard of a conservation authority.

That’s OK.

They quietly keep us safe by regulating development in watershed areas (including the Niagara area)- where 95 per cent  of Ontarians live.

Most importantly, they hold the line against reckless projects in flood-prone areas. Continue reading

NPCA Applauds Growing Interest In & Support For Ontario’s Conservation Authorities

Ford Government’s Plan to Gut Role of Conservation Authorities May Be Getting More Media Attention Than The Premier and Company  Bargained For

A Statement from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)

Posted November 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

MEDIA COVERAGE ON (Ford Government”s BILL 229 & CONSERVATION AUTHORITIES

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority takes this opportunity to thank members of the media for their dedication to ensuring that our communities are well aware of the potential impacts that Bill 229 will have on conservation authorities across Ontario.

Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board in session in early 2019 . File photo by Doug Draper

These proposed changes to the Conservation Authorities Act will greatly impact the NPCA’s role in land use planning and will completely change the role of conservation authorities in protecting Ontario’s environment and ensuring people and property are safe from natural hazards.

We are proud to serve and support our community, and are grateful for the amount of support that has been shown. Continue reading

Opposition Grows “Massive” to Ford Government Plans to Gut Ontario’s Conservation Authoritie

Local Conservation Authorities, including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and Hamilton Conservation Authority,  and many citizen organizations are fighting Ford government legislation gutting Conservation Authorities.

A News Release from CATCH, the Hamilton-based group Citizens At City Hall
Posted November 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large
There is massive opposition to the Ford government’s legislation that slashes the powers of conservation authorities and makes life easier for developers. It would also convert the Hamilton Conservation Authority into a sub-committee of city council.
All local conservation authorities and dozens of citizen organizations are demanding withdrawal of the changes, including a local climate group that is holding a public on-line webinar (https://hamiltoncatch.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=8ffda5515733a1dd97a7b21fa&id=534b78f4d8&e=a31ab29d46) and “phone zap” on Tuesday afternoon (November 24th at 1 p.m.).
Conservation Halton, which oversees several watersheds in Hamilton, says the Ford government move is a “cause for alarm” while Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) says it “would reduce [its] ability to protect the natural environment and our watersheds.”

Continue reading

Times When November 22nd was Synonymous with the Kennedy Assassination are Over

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

Posted November 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

U.S. President John F. Kennedy and wife and First Lady Jackie arrive in Dallas, Texas on November 22nd, 1963. Shortly after this photo was taken, Kennedy was murdered on the streets of that city.

You know that time is flying by (dare I say, at warp speed) and that you are approaching the fossil stage of your life when the date November 22nd comes around and hardly anyone mentions the assassination of John F. Kennedy any more.

There was a time, not so many decades ago, when it was said that virtually everyone over a certain age remembered exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news, on that fateful day of November 22nd, 1963, that then U.S. President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas.

Many heard about the assassination of the president for the first time from one of the most respected television news anchors at the time, legendary CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, who barely ever lost his professional composure, but did on this one when his voice began to shake and tears welled up in his eyes.

You can watch Cronkite announcing that news to the world by clicking on the screen immediately below

Open up the obituary pages of your local newspaper now and you l see the growing numbers of people age 70 years and older who are passing on and taking their memories of that shocking news and it meant for those times and for times moving forward with them. Continue reading

Niagara Region’s Council Votes to Support Conservation Authorities Against Assault from Province

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

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln Regional Councillor and NPCA board member Robert Foster

Thank You Lincoln Regional Councillor Robert Foster!

And Thank You also to Pelham Regional Councillor Diana Huson.

This November 19th, at a meeting of the whole Niagara Regional Council, Foster tabled and Huson seconded a motion asking the Region’s Chair, Jim Bradley, to send a letter to Ontario’s Ford Government, urging it to eliminate a clause – already known infamously to many across the province as Clause 6 or ‘Schedule 6’ – that would go a long way toward eliminating the role of Conservation Authorities in such areas as flood management and commenting on development plans that might impact negatively on our natural heritage. Continue reading

Niagara West MPP Defends His Government’s Controversial Plans for Conservation Authorities

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff

“As a local MPP, I appreciate the work of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and believe Bill 229 will help strengthen and further define the core mandate of local conservation authorities.”                                                                                                 – Niagara West MPP and Ford Government representative   Sam Oosterhoff

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

A week after Ontario’s Ford government tabled a 2020 Budget on November 5th with a clause embedded in it that – if it received final passage in the days ahead – will radically diminish the role our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and other Conservation Authorities across the province play when it comes to protecting and preserving our natural heritage, I reached out to Niagara’s only Ford government MPP, Sam Oosterhoff, to ask him for his take on this controversial action.

Without any further commentary from me, I want to share with our Niagara At Large readers, for the record, my note to Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff earlier this month, and his response. Continue reading

Ford’s Oh-So-Bad Plans for Conservation Authorities Create Potential For “Cumulative Negative Environmental Impacts”

Province Tying Conservation Authorities Up in Red Tape – Repeal Schedule 6 of Ford Government’s Budget Measures Act

A News Release from Conservation Ontario, the umbrella body for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority aned 35 other Conservation Authroties across Ontario

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario

NEWMARKET Ontario  – Conservation Ontario (CO) recommends the Province repeal (remove) Schedule 6 which amends the Conservation Authorities Act and the Planning Act because the changes being proposed will create more red tape and higher costs for Ontario taxpayers as well as threaten the independent watershed-based approach used by conservation authorities (CAs) in land use planning.  

There are a number of proposed changes contained in Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID 19 Act (Budget Measures Act)  which Conservation Ontario believes will have the potential to add significant delays and costs in conservation authority enforcement, planning and permitting processes as well as ultimately have the potential for significant impacts on Ontario’s ability to provide cost-effective flooding and natural hazards management/protection and drinking water protection to Ontarians.  Continue reading

New Ford Government Legislation Will Let Developers Build on Wetlands

Ontario’s NDP is calling on Doug Ford to scrap troubling new legislation that would gut the role of Conservation Authorities in protecting and preserving our Natural Heritage

A News Release from Ontario’s Official Opposition Party

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

When it comes to preserving our natural heritage for future generations, Doug Ford and his legion of Tory MPPs are proving they simply couldn’t give a damn. Who needs Trump when we have this rabble running Ontario like a dictatorship.

QUEEN’S PARK — Ontario’s Official Opposition NDP is calling on Doug Ford to scrap troubling new legislation that paves the way for developers to build on the province’s wetlands by stripping conservation authorities of their powers.

The changes, buried in the government’s budget bill, would let the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry override the conservation authorities responsible for protecting Ontario’s wetlands and keeping people and property safe from floods.

“By attempting to help his developer friends skip checks and balances, Doug Ford is undermining conservation authorities and recklessly endangering communities,” said NDP Environment Critic Ian Arthur. “We should be protecting our wetlands and keeping people safe from floods, not dragging Ontario backwards in the fight against the climate crisis. Continue reading

Canada-U.S. Border Closure Extended Until At Least December 21st

With COVID-19 Case Counts Soaring, No Surprise Here

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

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Who knows when we see traffic like this again on the Peace Bridge crossing between Niagara, Ontario and Buffalo, New York

As if the latest word from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the status of travel across Canada-U.S. border crossings come as any surprise, of course the ban on crossings for all but essential travel has been extended for yet another month.

We are now going on 10 months since the Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and other crossings between Canada and the United States were first closed to most of us due to the global pandemic, and it is almost getting to a point where this is the new norm.

As someone who loved day visits to favourite people and places in Buffalo, New York, this Niagara, Ontario resident has all but completely accepted this state of affairs as a new norm with no end in sight. Continue reading

Ontario’s Official Opposition Leader Calls For Additional Support for Small Businesses, Workers

Ford Government Needs to do More to Help Ontario Through a Second Wave of COVID-19

“If I were premier today, I’d be providing direct, concrete financial help to small businesses, workers would have paid sick days so no essential worker has to go to work sick, and we would have launched an aggressive recruitment strategy to (properly) staff up long-term car homes.”                                                               – Andrea  Horwath, NDP Leader and Leader of the Official Opposition Party in Ontario

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

Posted November 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Andrea Horwath in St. Catharines this August 8th to press for more resources to safeguard province’s long-term care homes

QUEEN’S PARK — After Doug Ford relaxed public health protections in recent weeks, additional lockdown measures now seem inevitable. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Doug Ford to include specific measures to make sure people and small businesses make it through.

Horwath is calling for:

  • * Immediate direct concrete financial support to compensate small businesses and help with costs like rent and payroll
  • * Paid sick days for every Ontarian
  • * An immediate and urgent recruitment plan to hire at least 10,000 PSWs, with a permanent $5 per hour raise

Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP Demands Emergency Funding for Niagara Restaurants and Bars

Wayne Gates has demanded Premier Doug Ford immediately release emergency funding for restaurants and bars in Niagara

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

Posted November 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) has demanded Doug Ford immediately release emergency funding for Niagara restaurants and bars, after new restrictions were introduced by the local public health unit.

“The premier knows Niagara is a tourist destination. We depend on our restaurant and bar industry.

In fact, 13 per cent of all jobs in Niagara are tied directly to this sector which doesn’t include thousands of spin-off jobs. These businesses cannot survive without financial help – the premier holds that power in his hands,” said Gates in the Ontario legislature Tuesday.

Will the premier stand up today, tell the restaurant and bar owners of Niagara that he hears their cries for help and immediately announce emergency funding to ensure they can weather the storm of these new mandatory public health restrictions?,” asked Gates during question period. Continue reading

Join A Public Meeting On Police Responses to Emergency Mental Health Calls in Niagara

A Zoom Meeting, Hosted by the Niagara District Council of Women, this Wednesday, November 18th at 7:30 P.M.

An Invited from the Niagara District Council of Women

Posted November 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Join us for a Public meeting on –

EMERGENCY RESPONSES WHEN MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES & RACE CONVERGE

  • ·       What is the Niagara Regional Police Force  plan to  improve its responses  to emergency mental health  calls?
  • ·       What other service providers  should be involved ?
  • ·       Who would benefit from a better system ?

Continue reading

Niagara Centre MPP Expresses Outrage Over Ford Tories’ Plans to Gut Ontario’s Conservation Authorities

“The people of Niagara ask that you (Ontario Premier Doug Ford & Company) stop using this devastating pandemic as cover to suspend laws and impede conservation authorities that exist to protect our environment. This short-sighted decision is irresponsible and disrespects the people of Niagara.”                       – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

An OPEN URGENT LETTER to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek

Posted November 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Dear Premier Ford and Minister Yurek:

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

I am sending this letter to express my outrage as well as the deep disappointment of Niagara citizens with the recent actions of your government with respect to local conservation authorities.

At a time when we are all dealing with a worsening deadly coronavirus pandemic, you have chosen to accelerate an ongoing harmful agenda to strip the NPCA and conservation authorities across Ontario of its citizen appointees, in direct opposition to the recommendations of the 2018 Ontario Auditor General’s Report.

That report concluded that part of the problem with the NPCA was that it’s board was only made up of politicians.

As people stay home and frontline workers put their lives on the line during the COVID-19 crisis, your government imposes new regulations buried in the Ontario 2020 Budget gutting our Conservation Authorities by rolling back environmental oversight at the local level. Continue reading

NPCA/Environment Canada Issue Flood Warning for Lake Erie

Warning Covers this Sunday, November 15th at Noon Thru Mid-Day Monday, November 16th

An Urgent Notice from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Conservation Authorities in the Grant River & Long Point Areas, and Environment Canada

Posted November 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

For Sunday November 15, 2020, this notice is intended to update the public and local municipalities of the condition of the Lake Erie Shoreline as it relates to the Niagara Peninsula and the eastern portion of Haldimand County.

Niagara is currently under a Wind Warning as issued by Environment Canada, calling for very strong southwesterly winds gusting to 100+km/hr. These winds will significantly increase water levels and waves along the Lake Erie Shoreline. Continue reading

ACTION ALERT – We Need Our Conservation Authorities

Don’t Let Ontario’s Ford Government Gut the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and 35 other Conservation Authorities Across Our Province

‘The Ford Government’s Bill 229 is the most recent in a disturbing trend of using omnibus budget measures bills to make substantial changes to environmental laws, thereby side-stepping the public’s right to comment under Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights.’ – Canadian Environmental Law Association

 An Urgent Call-Out to All of Us from the Canadian Environmental Law Association

Posted November 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

On November 5, 2020, the Ontario government tabled omnibus budget measures Bill 229 in the Ontario Legislature, Schedule 6 of which proposes fundamental changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and to the conservation authorities’ role in land use planning.

Bill 229 is the most recent in a disturbing trend of using omnibus budget measures bills to make substantial changes to environmental laws, thereby sidestepping the public’s right to comment under the Environmental Bill of Rights.

In CELA’s view, the proposed changes to conservation authorities in Bill 229 will not achieve the crucially important goal of building climate resilience for Ontario. To the contrary, the package of amendments as proposed are likely to set back watershed planning and implementation of an ecosystem based approach by decades. Continue reading

Niagara College Awarded Grant for COVID-19 Related Research Equipment

News from Niagara College in Niagara, Ontario

Posted November 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara College will advance its COVID-19 related research after being granted close to $50,000 for the purchase of a biomedically compatible 3D printer for its Research & Innovation division.

Samantha Jemison, a student in NC’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program, calibrates an FDM 3D printer as a research assistant with the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC). The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) award will fund the purchase of a biomedically compatible 3D printer for the Research & Innovation division for COVID-19 related research. Photo courtesy of Niagara College

The state-of-the-art 3D additive manufacturing equipment will be used by researchers at NC’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC)<https://www.ncinnovation.ca/specializations/walker-advanced-manufacturing-innovation-centre> at the Welland Campus.

The award, which is part of a special fund of $28 million in research infrastructure support, was announced on November 6 by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Losing Pandemic Battle As COVID-19 Cases Soar

New modelling data Released This November 12th Shows Ontario needs to take Powerful, Decisive, Immediate Action to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

Daily COVID Cases in Ontario now Hitting Record Levels Surpassing 1,400 and Counting

A Statement from Ontario’s Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted November 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Grim projections show action is necessary to stop the spread – Ontario Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Is this Ontario Premier and his Tories letting us down on the battle against COVID-19?

QUEEN’S PARK — New modelling data released this Thursday, November 12th  shows that Ontario needs to take powerful, decisive, immediate action to stop the spread of COVID-19, or cases will reach 2,000 to 6,000 per day, and hospitals will be overwhelmed.

Official Opposition leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement in response to the new information –

“This data modelling is horrific, and shows that Doug Ford’s choice to overrule expert advice, and cancel public health protections was gambling with people’s lives, and condemning us to live with COVID longer. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Is Moving To Gut Our Conservation Authorities

Say Goodbye to Bodies Like The NPCA Playing A Key Role in Science-Based Flood Management, Input on Development Proposals and Restoration and Preservation of our Natural Heritage

A Commentary Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a link to a Must-Read Report in The Toronto Star

Posted November 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford moves forward with is plans to deconstruct the province’s Conservation Authorities as voices for environmental protection

As we have been learning since Premier Doug Ford and his Conservatives released their 2020 Budget this November 5th, embedded in that budget are plans to radically diminish the role that the province’s 36 Conservation Authorities, including our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, play in environmental protection in our precious watersheds.

If and when Ford and company carry through with this demolition plan, all citizen voices on Conservation Authority boards, with the exception of representation from the agricultural industry, will be purged and Conservation will have little left to do but to maintain and manage the conservation areas they currently have under their control.

Any further role we need them to play – especially in an era of climate emergency and relentless pressure from developers to continue with low-density sprawl over natural lands – will be weakened to a point where citizens will have few, if any, bodies left to turn to with concerns over environmental protection. Continue reading

Prime Minister Pays Tribute to a Much-Beloved Canadian Alex Trebek

Jeopardy Host Alex Died at Age 80 This November 8th. He Was Diagnosed in 2019 with late-stage Pancreatic Cancer.

A Statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the Death of Alex Trebek

Posted November 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Camada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement this November 8th  on the death of Alex Trebek:

“This November 8th, we lost a proud Canadian and beloved TV star who was a familiar face to millions of people across North America and around the world.

“For many of us, Alex Trebek was a daily part of our lives. As the host of /Jeopardy! /for almost four decades, he hosted more episodes of a single  television game show than anyone else in history. We looked forward to his quick wit and wry jokes – and the questions about Canada he’d sneak into the show. Continue reading

For the Sake of the World, Hallelujah. Joe Biden Will Be Next President of the United States

At Long Last, Our Long Day’s Journey Into Night with the Monster – Donald Trump – is Almost Over!

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted November 7th, 2020

Can we now finally have a decent night’s sleep now!

At long last, this Saturday, November 7th morning, the world received the breaking news that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have received enough votes to be declared the next President and Vice-President of the United States.

Finally, GOOD RIDDANCE TO THIS GUY.

May he and members of his morally-bankrupt  crime family, and all those who enabled him face the full weight of whatever consequences come their way.

I leave you with a very moving moment from a young boy who received support from Joe Bidden and who endorsed him this past summer during the Democratic National Convention. To watch it, click on the screen immediately below –

Joe Biden is on his way in and the monster is on his way out. Hallejuh!

And to all of my friends and neighbours in the United States, and to your – friends and neighbours who have fought so hard to vote Trump and all of the hate and destruction he stands for out of office – THANK YOU.

I hope you can finally have a good sleep tonight.

  • 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 Regime Targets Ontario’s Wetlands, Woodlands and Endangered Species for Destruction in 2020 Budget

Ontario budget accelerates attacks on the environment on behalf of developers and other  special interests

A News Release from Environmental Defence, one of Canada’s premier environmental protection groups

Posted November 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

In Ford Nation, Ontario apparently can’t proper and grow unless we gut what is left of our natural heritage. That is the FALSE CHOICE Ford and his minions give us – for them it is either economic growth or our environment.

Toronto, Ontario  – Legal changes hidden in the budget show the Ontario government is accelerating its attack on the environment on behalf of developer and industry interests at the expense of the public and future generations.

Proposed changes include:

  •  * Creating a mechanism to override the science-based decisions of Conservation Authorities regarding the protection of wetlands, woodlands, endangered species habitats and flood protection
  • * Permanent exemption of the forest industry from compliance with the Endangered Species Act

“The Ontario government is busy taking apart 75 years of progress in preventing and mitigating the impacts of flooding, preserving forests, wetlands and protecting our sources of clean drinking water,” said Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence. Continue reading

One of Canada’s Major Federal Leaders ‘Hopes to See Trump Lose’

A Message from Canadian NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s Twitter Feed

Posted November 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

So far, Canadian political leaders – especially Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – have been mum on the subject of the presidential election south of the border.

While it is understandable why Trudeau would want to stay away from expressing any view, one way or the other, on the U.S. election, at least until all of the votes are counted, one major party leader in Canada minced no words in a Twitter message this November 3rd.

That leader was the federal NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, who had this to say on Twitter –

VOTE HIM OUT

In 4 years Donald Trump has:

  • • Placed kids in cages
  • • Fanned the flames of hatred and division
  • • Failed 230,000 Americans, left dead because of COVID-19

Trump makes the world a more dangerous place for all of us and I hope to see him lose.

A Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

Okay, that is what Canada’s NDP leader had to say. How do you feel?

Here is a FOX News clip on one of Canada’s many ugly moments with Trump and his minions in the White House. Click on the scree  immediately below to watch –

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

General Motors Canada/Unifor Tentative Deal “Great News” for St. Catharines/Niagara

A Statement from St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik on tentative agreement between GM, Unifor

Posted November 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

St. Catharines, Ontario  – The announcement (this November 5th) of the tentative agreement between Unifor and GM Canada is great news for St. Catharines, and Ontario’s automotive manufacturing industry.

Clearly both sides worked hard to reach a deal that is both fair to the employees of GM in our community, and in strengthening GM Canada’s position within a highly competitive global environment.

The planned $109-million investment in St. Catharines to support added engine and transmission production reinforces the plant’s position as one of the most efficient and highly productive plants within the GM North American manufacturing framework. Continue reading

Ford Government is Coming After Ontario’s Precious Wetlands

Urge the Government of Ontario to respect and uphold protections for Provincially Significant Wetlands and to stop its misuse of Minister’s Zoning Orders

Could the Provincially Significant Wetlands in the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls Be Next?

A Call-Out from Ontario Nature, a citizens advocate for natural heritage preservation in Ontario

Posted November 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Government of Ontario is showing its true colours with recent moves to ride roughshod over protections for Provincially Significant Wetlands (PSWs).

The first sign of trouble was a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) to demolish three PSWs on agriculturally zoned land in Vaughan so that a Walmart distribution facility could be constructed.

Don’t let Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the worst in the development industry take out places like this – provincially significant wetlands in the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario. What is left of our natural heritage and the health benefits natural spaces offer are worth far more than the narrow-mindedness of far too many in government and the development industry.

The second was a decision to destroy a large coastal PSW in the City of Pickering to make room for a warehousing facility, again through an MZO. The next domino may be five wetlands within the provincially significant East Humber River Wetland Complex in Vaughan.

What is going on? Is the government declaring open season on PSWs?

Continue reading

Niagara Centre MPP’s Bill To Protect Vulnerable Persons In Supportive Living Accommodations Receives Unanimous Support

“I welcome today’s (November 2nd) unanimous support. … Ontarians in supportive living accommodations can finally get the protection they need to keep them safe.”                                       – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

A Statement from  Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Posted November 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Jeff Burch’s private member’s bill, Protecting Vulnerable Persons in Supportive Living Accommodation Act, 2020 (Bill 164), was passed unanimously

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) has released a statement after his private member’s bill, Protecting Vulnerable Persons in Supportive Living Accommodation Act, 2020 (https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/bills/parliament-42/session-1/bill-164)  (Bill 164), was passed unanimously at second reading in the Ontario legislature this Monday, November 2nd, 2020:

“Supportive living accommodations fill a critical need in communities all over the province but the lack of proper regulation with no minimum standards has resulted in suffering, deplorable conditions, and even death. Stories of a lack of food, cockroach infestations, fire hazards and other dangers have been documented.

”This bill is designed to fix that, and to make supportive living accommodations a safe option for people who need help to live independently. Continue reading

Niagara, Ontario Military Veteran Hosts Concert in Support of Canadian Veterans Facing Homelessness

Sunday, November 8th, 3 P.M., at the Greg Frewin Theatre in Niagara Falls, Ontario

“My fellow soldiers who encounter difficulty after service due to traumatic stressors are developing PTSD at an alarming rate. Some so severe they cannot cope or take care of themselves. In most extreme cases this leads to homelessness”   – Retired Canadian Forces  Sergeant Garrick Halinen

Posted November 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Local Veteran Garrick Halinen holds concert in support of VETS Canada and Canadian Veterans facing homelessness on November 8th , at the Greg Frewin Theatre.

Niagara Falls, Ontario – Retired Sergeant Garrick Halinen was stationed in Germany when the Berlin wall came down.

He served for 18 years in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and was posted in the Special Service Forces, where his dedication to Queen and Country earned him a Canadian Armed Forces Chief of Defense Staff Commendation for Courage and Professionalism.

 

 

After his tours, Halinen worked at the Canadian Recruiting Centre in Toronto for over a decade, where he provided expertise at various training and leadership centres including the Leadership School at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. Continue reading

Canada Pressed to Ramp Down Climate-Ravaging Methane Emissions

Environmental Groups Call On Canadian Government To Fix Methane Regulations Before Finalizing Agreements With Alberta And Saskatchewan

Canada Is At Serious Risk Of Failing On This Important Climate Measure

A Call-Our from the Clean Air Task Force, David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence Canada And Environmental Defense Fund

Posted October 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – Our organizations call on the federal government to not finalize equivalency agreements with Alberta and Saskatchewan until regulations can be shown to achieve Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas facilities.

Draft agreements that allow those provinces to apply their own methane regulations instead of federal rules may be finalized soon, despite the inadequacy of both the provincial regulations and the federal regulations they will replace.

The federal government has known for at least four months that the sum of methane regulations in Canada will not achieve the promised methane reductions of 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 by 2025. Far from it. Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) own model shows emission reductions will only be reduced by 29 per cent. Continue reading

NPCA And Partners Take Action To Restore And Improve Niagara Peninsula Watershed

Geoff Verkade, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

“The past year and a half has seen tremendous success as we’ve worked hard to foster collaboration among many partners with the same mission—to protect and restore water quality and diverse habitats in our watershed.”                                  – Geoff Verkade, Senior Manager, Integrated Watershed Planning and Information Management, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority )NPCA)

A News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted October 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The application period to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authorities’ 2021 Restoration Grant Program is now open and seeking projects for consideration.

One of many wetlands the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and its commmunity partners have worked on restoring and protecting in the Niagara watershed. Photo courtesy of NPCA

The selected restoration projects will work to improve habitat, water quality, and agricultural practices, as part of ongoing efforts to restore the Niagara Peninsula watershed’s natural heritage and water resources.

“The past year and a half has seen tremendous success as we’ve worked hard to foster collaboration among many partners with the same mission—to protect and restore water quality and diverse habitats in our watershed,” says Geoff Verkade, Senior Manager, Integrated Watershed Planning and Information Management at NPCA. Continue reading

Bad News, Calls For Resignation Continue to Dog Oosterhoff Following Maskless Photo Shoot

Niagara West MPP and Ford Government member is being called out again for going maskless in a group photo as Ontario surges into a second wave of the pandemic

“This (maskless photo gathering) was more than a mistake; it is a serious breach of trust for the students, parents and educators he serves. Masking rules apply to everyone and it is hypocritical for the Ford government to excuse his (Niagara West MPP Same Oosterhoff and parliamentary assistant to Ontario’s Education Minister) behaviour.”                                                                                 – Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario

Oosterhoff has set “such a bad example that removing himself (from his role as parliamentary assistant for education )at least for some period of time would reflect the seriousness of his actions.”                                                                                                              – Harvey Bischof, President of the Ontario Secondary Teachers’ Federation

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

Posted October 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Since a photograph surfaced in recent days, showing Niagara West Ford Government MPP Sam Oosterhoff in a tightly gathered group of people – none of them wearing masks – things have turned a little turbulent for the MPP who also serves as a parliament assistant for an Education Ministry that has been working overtime to encourage students and others to wear masks in the province’s elementary and secondary schools.

Here is the group photo, maskless and no social distancing. Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff is identified in the circle in the upper left-hand corner of the photo

This past Monday, October 26th,  coverage of the maskless photo shoot began in Niagara area print and online news venues, and CBC Radio weighed in with repeated on-air reports. Continue reading

Ford Slammed for Drawing Public Accountability Shield Around Private, For-Profit Long-Term Care Homes

Ontario’s NDP Leader  urges Premier to listen to grieving families and stop shielding privately owned and operated  long-term care chains and his own government from accountability

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

Posted October 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — Grieving families are speaking out against Doug Ford’s move to shield long-term care chains and his own government from accountability, and Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the premier must scrap the legislation that would deny them justice.

The Ford government introduced new legislation last week that would make it much harder for families to seek accountability for the suffering of their loved ones at the hands of for-profit long-term care companies. To date during the pandemic, more than 1,900 seniors have lost their lives. Continue reading

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff Slammed Over Maskless Photo in Clustered Gathering

This Incident – Captured in the Middle of a Rapid Upsurge in COVID-19 Cases in Ontario – Has Some Calling for Oosterhoff’s Resignation As Assistant to the Province’s Education Minister

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

Posted October 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff, member of Ontario’s Ford Government and assistant to the province’s Education Minister, finds himself in a bit of hot water – again.

This first term in the Ontario legislature is turning out to be quite a learning experience for the province’s youngest elected member – 23-year-old Niagara West MPP and Ford Government member Sam Oosterhoff.

Among other things, Oosterhoff – who grew up as a home-schooled kid who now, quite interestingly, serves as an assistant to the Ford Government’s Education Minister in charge of our public schools  – has learned that it is not necessarily good public optics to have the police called on a peaceful group of seniors protesting public library cuts at his Beamsville constituency office.

Nor is it the best of public optics to celebrate your wedding at a Conservation Area managed by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority at a time when the Ford government you seem to hold such allegiance to is thinking of winding down some of the environmental protection activities of Conservation Authorities across the province.

Now Oosterhoff who, don’t get me wrong, seems like a nice young man to the extent I have met him, finds himself in hot water again after posting a photo on social media, featuring himself and and numerous others, gathered together, void of any social distancing or mask wearing – right in the middle of a pandemic unlike any the world has seen in a century, and even while daily cases of Ontarians diagnosed with COVID-19 are hitting record highs. Continue reading

Niagara Region Extends Mandatory Face-Covering By-Law To Include Common Areas Of Apartments And Condominiums

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – As part of its continued response to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Council passed a by-law (this past Thursday, October 22nd) to amend Niagara’s temporary Face-Covering By-law to include common areas of residential apartment buildings and condominium buildings, including lobbies, elevators and other common-use facilities.

Niagara’s temporary Face-Covering By-law (2020-46) requires residents to wear face-coverings in all enclosed public places and on Regional and municipal transit. On Sept. 17, the by-law was extended to remain in effect until April 1, 2021 in recognition of the ongoing threat posed by the pandemic. Continue reading

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

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

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

Posted October 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A News Release from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Statement from Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

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

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

Posted October 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paramedic Memorial Bell Comes to Niagara EMS

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

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

A Prince’s Passionate Call for Immediate Climate Action

Prince William speaks out on climate emergency

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

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

Posted October 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

UN World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley

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

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

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

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

The Nobel Peace Prize is not WFP’s alone.

Continue reading

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

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

A Statement from Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Posted October 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do We Really Want to Suffer Through Another Crippling Lockdown?

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

Posted October 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading

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

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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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

A News Release from the Government of Canada

Posted October 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

News from the Government of Ontario

Posted October 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

We are calling for:

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

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

Another Public Meeting On The Controversial Thundering Waters Forest Project.

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

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

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

Posted October 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Andrea Horwath

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Anti-Mask Screwballs in Our Midst Are Endangering Us All

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

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and commentator Doug Draper

Posted October 4rth, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 4rth, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Foreword by Doug Draper –

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted October 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Ontario Honours Survivors of Residential School System

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

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

Posted September 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

Find Out Below How You Can Have Your Say

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

Posted September 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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