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Canada’s PM Pays Tribute to Bravery of WWII Veterans on Anniversary of D-Day Invasion

Were Was the Prime Minister’s Bravery This Week?

“The bravery and selflessness demonstrated by Canadians on that day in Normandy, and throughout the war, remind us of the incredible cost of defending freedom, human rights, and democracy.”                                                                                                  – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

‘Excuse me, Mr. Prime Minister. Where is your bravery when it comes to defending the principles of democracy against a fascist like Donald Trump?’                                          – Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Canadian soldiers on D-Day, 76 tears ago this June 6th, 2020

A Statement by the Prime Minister on the 76th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, followed by a Brief Critique by Doug Draper on Justin Trudeau’s 21 seconds of silence

Posted June 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement today on the 76th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy:

“Today (this June 6th, 2020), on the 76th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, we remember and honour the brave Canadians and Newfoundlanders who fought, and those who gave their lives, alongside Allied forces in a battle that became a turning point in the Second World War and changed the course of history. Continue reading

Ontario Government Extends Emergency Orders to Support Its Reopening Efforts

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Province Extends the Suspension of Limitation Periods and Time Periods for Legal Proceedings until September

“It is critical that we keep these emergency orders in place so we can continue to reopen the province gradually and safely. “We are not out of the woods yet”                                    – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted June 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The Ontario government, after consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 19, 2020.

Extending these emergency orders will give employers of frontline care providers the necessary flexibility to respond to COVID-19 and protect vulnerable people and the public as the province gradually and safely reopens.

Current emergency orders that have been extended include those that enable frontline care providers to redeploy staff where they are needed most, allow public health units to redeploy or hire staff to support case management and contact tracing, and prohibits long-term care and retirement home employees from working at more than one home or for another health service provider. Continue reading

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

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

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

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

Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

Violent Police-Related Incident Shines Light of Shame on Buffalo

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

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

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

Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

What Real Leadership Looks Like In A Time of National Crisis

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

Posted June 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The late U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Commentary by Gary Screaton Page, Welland, Ontario

Posted June 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted June 3rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

Extension Key to Protecting Ontarians as Province Safely Reopens

News from the Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

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

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

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

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

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

Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir To Conclude Their Concert Season Online

You Are Invited to a Virtual Concern on Sunday, June14th, at 3 P.M. Circle the Date on Your Calendar!

News from Chorus Niagara in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Chorus Niagara Children’s Choir (CNCC) wraps up its 2019-2020 season on a virtual stage. The end of the year presentation will air as a Facebook Watch Party on Sunday, June 14th at 3:00PM on the CNCC Facebook Page.

Niagara Chorus’s Children’s Choir in  performance. File Photo coutesy of Jeff Baker, Chorus Niagara

This presentation, a stand-in for their spring concert originally planned for May 18, will conclude two months of online choral programming offered to young singers since the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools and cancelled in-person choral events. Continue reading

Niagara College Kicks Off Pride Month With Rainbow Flag Raising

“The Rainbow Flag raising is a collaborative partnership with Niagara College that is symbolic of our unwavering support for not only the LGBTQ2+ community, and other marginalized communities, but for all students, faculty, support staff, administrators, and visitors at the College. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we work together as a community to strengthen and support each other.”           – Niagara College Student  Council president Tom Price

News from Niagara College in Niagara, Ontario

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At large

Niagara, Ontario – Rainbow flags will fly over Niagara College campuses this June, to celebrate equality, inclusivity, and acceptance in support of the College’s LGBTQ2+ community during Pride Month.

From left to right, Niagara College Student Administrative Council president Tom Price, Niagara College president Sean Kennedy, and Dalton Bird, NC student and vice president of the NC Student Administrative Council’s Loving Out Loud Club, celebrate the raising of a rainbow flag at the Welland Campus in recognition of Pride Month

With physical distancing measures in place, Niagara College president Sean Kennedy and Niagara College Student Administrative Council president Tom Price led a flag-raising ceremony at the Welland Campus on the morning of June 1. A flag was also raised at the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Continue reading

PM Announces Support to Niagara, other Communities Across Canada to Create Jobs, Restart Economy

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“From coast to coast to coast, Canadians are feeling the economic impacts of COVID-19, while they do what they can to protect the health and safety of their families and communities. That is why we are taking action to restart the economy, get Canadians back to work, and come out of this stronger.”                                         – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of Canada’s Prime Minister

Posted June 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – As we continue to focus on the health and safety of all Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also taking immediate action to support small towns and big cities across the country to restart the economy, and create good, well-paying jobs.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be accelerated this year to help communities as quickly as possible while respecting public health guidelines. Continue reading

A Message to Canadians about the Racism in our Midst

We must put a stop to racism wherever it is – Canada’s New Democratic Party

A Statement from NDP MPs Lindsay Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe) and Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre)

Posted June 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“As we watch the reaction to the injustice and the murder of George Floyd by police south of the border, Canadians still haven’t come to terms with the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, the killing of D’Andre Campbell, an unarmed black man, by police, and other injustices right here in Canada.

Today, Indigenous and racialized people in Canada are facing a frightening evolution of hate. In communities across the country, discrimination remains a reality.

Anti-Black racism, racism against Indigenous Peoples, Anti-Asian racism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate are not only allowed to exist, but flourish. This is because of decades of policies that have systematically discriminated against minorities. Continue reading

Niagara Health Officials Investigating COVID Outbreak at Farm Operation in St. Catharines

Niagara Region Public Health confirms COVID-19 workplace outbreak at Pioneer Flower Farms

News from Niagara’s Region Government

Posted June 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region Public Health and Emergency Services is investigating 20 confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in employees of Pioneer Flower Farms in (west) St. Catharines. The ill employees have been isolated as part of the  usual response to COVID-19 cases.

Similar to other outbreaks, Public Health is facilitating testing of other employees who have symptoms or are at increased risk. All employees who have been exposed to the infection have been isolated or are working separately from others to prevent further spread. Continue reading

The Horror in Trumpland – “It’s My Face Man. … I Can’t Breathe.”

“I can’t move. … Mama, Mama, …Please Sir I Can Breathe.”          – the final words of George Floyd, on Monday,, May 25th, 2020 in Trump’s America

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Posted May 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Here are the final words of another unarmed black man, murdered in a culture of anger and hate that is stoked with relish by the monster holding the highest office of the land –

“It’s my face man

I didn’t do nothing serious man

please

please

please I can’t breathe

please man

please somebody Continue reading

One Black Activist’s Powerful and Pointed Message to Trump’s America

American activist Tamika Mallory

“We are not responsible for the mental illness that has been inflicted upon our people. …We learned looting from you. . … We learned violence from you. So if you want us to do better, then dam it, you do better.”                                                                               – Tamika Mallory, an American activist and one of the organizers of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in 2017

A Brief One from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Posted May 31st, 2020

These words, delivered by Tamika Mallory at a press conference shortly after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota this past May 25th, speak for themselves.

To listen and watch a video of her address, click on the screen immediately below –

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

Put People First, Demand Over 150 Canadian Organizations With The Launch Of Six Principles For A Just Recovery

“The choices we make now about how to recover from this pandemic will shape not only our health and economic future, but also the future of human life on this planet.”                                 – Canadian Labour Congress President, Hassan Yussuff

A News Release from Laura Bergamo,  Greenpeace Canada

Posted May 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

As governments prepare recovery plans amidst the COVID-19 crisis, an informal alliance of over 150 civil society groups, representing collective memberships of millions in Canada, are demanding these plans move us toward a more equitable and sustainable future, with the release, (this May 25th), of six Principles for a Just Recovery.

United in support of the Principles, endorsing organizations span sectors and communities across the country, including the Canadian Labour Congress, Indigenous Climate Action, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Fédération des travailleurs et travailleuses du Québec and the Canadian Health Coalition. Continue reading

Marine Mammal Captivity Has Thrived With the Money Millions of Us Paid at the Gates of Parks like Marineland

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” – from Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted May 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The first time I went to Marineland was back in or around 1970 for a date with a girl I was going out with at the time.

Inside the gates there was the ‘King Waldorf Theatre’ with the big cement pool surrounded by bleachers and stage props where dolphins and seals and whales and walruses swam and performed an assortment of tricks, and there was a pen where you could go and feed deer and another where bears stood begging for an ice cream cone or any other food a part visitor might toss down to them.

Marine mammals enthrall the masses at at the King Waldorf Theatre in the Marineland Park in Niagara Falls, Ontario

And that was about it.

The Niagara Falls amusement park had only been open about eight or nine years at the time and was not anywhere near as elaborate as it came to be in later years with all of the amusement park rides on and around a man-made mountain at the back, and a larger pond, dubbed ‘Friendship Cove’, where they exhibited beluga whales. Continue reading

A Gripping Look At One Citizen’s Epic Battle with Marineland in Niagara, Falls, Ontario

 DON’T MISS  ‘The Walrus and The Whistleblower’

This Thursday, May 28th at 8 P.M. on CBC Television – Channel 6 on Cogeco

A Reminder to all of our Niagara At Large readers to check out the Premier of this great CBC HOT DOCS Film 

Posted May 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

See a trailer for this full-length documentary by clicking on the screen immediately below –

If you have wondered what all the years of controversy over the keeping of whales, dolphins and other marine mammals at amusements parks like Marineland or SeaWorld has been all about, you have got to watch this film                                                   – Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

To read more on the documentary, posted on Niagara At Large this May 25th, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/05/25/new-film-focuses-on-former-marineland-trainer-and-whistleblower-phil-demers-his-epic-battle-with-an-iconic-niagara-falls-amusement-park/

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

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

Ontario’s Ford Government Action Taking Action at High Risk Long-Term Care Homes

In Wake of Shocking Canadian Forces Military Report In Ontario’s Long-Term Care Homes, Government Deploying Inspection Teams To Homes, Starting Process To Take Over Management Of Five Long-Term Care Homes

At a press briefing this May 26th, Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the contents of a whistleblower report by Canadian Armed Forces members assisting in the province’s long-term care homes during the pandemic “heartbreaking,” “horrific” and “gut-wrenching.”

“I made a commitment to our long-term care residents and their families that there would be accountability and justice after receiving the military’s heart-breaking report on the state of five of our homes.”                                                                                              – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

News from the Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — Today (this May 27th), the Ontario government is taking additional immediate action at high-risk long-term care homes, following the disturbing allegations outlined by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).  Continue reading

A Happy 75th Birthday to one of Canada’s Finest

Singer/Songwriter Bruce Cockburn Turn 75 this May 27, 2020

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

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Bruce Cockburn

He’s always made me proud as a Canadian and I’m pleased to say I’ve seen him in concert at least three or four times.

He is Bruce Cockburn, one of Canada’s most talented and intelligent singer/songwriters, whose engaging lyrics are only matched by his fabulous guitar playing.

He is also a real activist who has put his money and his body where his mouth is when it comes to standing up for a more just and peaceful world, and for a healthy environment.

Believe it or not, Bruce Cockburn turned 75 this May 27th, and I will leave you with one of his great songs that seems fitting for the perilous times we are all living through now.

It is “Lovers in a Dangerous Time’ and you can hear it by clicking on the screen below –

Visit Bruce Cockburn’s Official Website for more on his 75th Birthday and other news by clicking on – https://brucecockburn.com/news/

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

West Niagara Municipalities United In Strong Support Of New Hospital

Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan

“This is a very significant investment in the community and will provide much-needed health care to our region. Local residents have been advocating for the new hospital for almost two decades and this is an exciting step in advancing the project.”       – Jeff Jordan, Mayor, Town of Grimsby

A News Release from the Town of Lincoln in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln Ontario – The Councils of Lincoln, Grimsby and West Lincoln have voted unanimously to commit to the local share of funding for the new West Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

One computerized rendition, from years ago now, of what a new West Lincoln Hospital might look like. Movement on building it seemed to grind to a near stop when the new super hospital was opened a decade ago in west St. Catharines.

The Province of Ontario will fund most of the $200-million hospital, but local communities must fund about 30 per cent of the project. In order to move to stage three of the redevelopment, Infrastructure Ontario set a May 31 deadline for letters of commitment from the three municipalities to fund the local portion. Continue reading

Niagara Loses a Tireless Champion for Working People

Ed Gould – 1953 – 2020

Words of Tribute from a Bruce Allen, a friend and fellow unionist in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ed Gould in 2013, with one of the many awards he received over the years for his humanitarian work and advocacy on behalf of working people

This Tuesday, May 26th,  the working people of Niagara lost one of its most outstanding militants and leaders. Ed Gould was an active trade unionist and leader for nearly three decades dating back to 1990 when he was a Skilled Trades Shop Committee person and member of the CAW – GM Master Bargaining Committee.

Over the following two decades Ed was a major figure in the local labour movement including the St. Catharines & District Labour Council. Ed was its President in 1998 at the time of the St. Catharines Day of Action/General Strike putting him at the forefront of that mass mobilization.

In his later years Ed went on to become the Chair of the Unifor Niagara Skilled Trades Council, member of the CAW Local 199 Executive Board and a Health and Safety Rep for several years. Continue reading

Niagara Region, 12 Local Municipalities Call on Senior Levels of Government for Financial Relief

Niagara submits joint request for COVID-19 financial relief to the provincial and federal government

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

“The financial effects of COVID-19 on municipalities is significant and will likely have a lasting impact for some time. … While these are challenging times, I am confident we will emerge on the other side a stronger and more resilient community.””                              ~ Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

News from Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara’s 12 municipalities, in close partnership with the Region, have formally submitted a request to the Province of Ontario and Government of Canada for financial relief for the costs incurred from the COVID-19 crisis.

The region has projected the gross costs related to COVID-19 will be nearly $50 million by the end of June. While some costs have been accommodated through the current budget and a number of strategic mitigation efforts, there is still a significant deficit that is only expected to increase as a clearer picture of the crisis unfolds. Continue reading

For Sake of Public Safety, Ford Government is Extending Emergency Orders

Ontario Extending Emergency Orders During COVID-19 Outbreak

Ontario government decides to extend ‘state of emergency’ for some activities. See details below

Public health and safety remain top priorities

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted May 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The Ontario government continues to protect the health and safety of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak by extending all emergency orders in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Current emergency orders include the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery. Continue reading

SHAME ON US!

‘Horrific, Disgusting, Heartbreaking and Gut-Wrenching’, says Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted May 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large.

Sometimes you ask yourself; ‘What is the point? What is the fucking point?’

Why bother reporting anything more  on economic injustice, our environment, or on anything else if we don’t treat some of the most vulnerable among us – our senior citizens – like anything less than human garbage.

Another hearse pulls out from a long-term care home in Ontario

We just went through the rituals of observing – at least some of us did – the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War when what we collectively pretend to remember as “the greatest generation” fought and sacrificed for the freedoms we have today.

Yet this is the way that we collectively in Ontario treat them – like human garbage, crying for help, dying in dirty diapers with cockroaches crawling around. And why? Continue reading

Like Many Colleges and Universities Around the World, Brock U. to Hold VIRTUAL Spring Convocation

On-Line Convocation Scheduled for Friday, June 19th

“We know that Convocation will look very different this year, but we recognize that this is one of the biggest moments in a student’s life. … We may not be able to come together in person, but … we want to make this something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”                                                                                                    – Geraldine Jones, Brock University Registrar and Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Services

News from Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Convocation is a monumental occasion in the life of any post-secondary student, and Brock University won’t let the Class of 2020 go uncelebrated.

With large gatherings banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, post-secondary institutions around the world have been coming up with creative ways to mark the occasion.

In-person ceremonies are on hold, so Brock University’s 107th Convocation, originally scheduled for the second week of June, will move online. A future in-person celebration is also planned when it’s safe to do so.

In the meantime, the University’s 2020 Virtual Convocation will launch on Friday, June 19. Continue reading

New Film Focuses on Former Marineland Trainer and Whistleblower & His Epic Battle with an Iconic Niagara, Falls Amusement Park

See the World Premier of “THE WALRUS AND THE WHISTLEBLOWER” on Hot Docs @ Home on CBC and CBC Gem on Thursday, May 28th at 8 pm ET

You can also watch it on the same night at 9 p.m. on the Documentary Channel at 9 p.m. ET

A Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by more information about the film.

Posted May 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I was originally planning to do my own news story and commentary leading up to the premier this May 28th of this film but found myself backing away from that idea.

Animal activists staged another in a series of demonstrations in front of Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario – this one on Labour Day 2018. File photo by Doug Draper

I have decided to leave any write-ups of the film in the days leading up to its televised debut to other media outlets, although I will likely have something to post about the film, and about Marineland’s past and ongoing existence as a keeper and displayer of wild animals in the days and weeks following the debut.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I apparently appear in this film as one of a number of talking heads, and I shared some of my information and thoughts about Marineland and its practice of keeping whales and other animals in captivity with the film’s director Nathalie Bibeau. Continue reading

Just When We Thought It Was Safe to Begin Re-Opening Again

Brace Yourselves Folks. It’s Time to Get Ready for a More Lethal Second Wave of this Killer Virus

Dr Bonnie Henry of British Columbia, one of Canada’s most respected voices during this pandemic

You know what? We’ve never had a pandemic in recorded history that has not had a second wave.”                                                      – Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s Chief Health Officer who, like New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to the south of us, has earned kudos around the world for her honest leadership during this COVID-19 nightmare

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

Posted May 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

I went out for a short drive to a garden centre this weekend, and I don’t think it was just my imagination when I thought I saw the amount of traffic around the Pen Centre shopping mall and just a little further east near a mall that boasts an LCBO and a Sobey’s grocery store as busy as it might be on any “normal” weekend this time of year.

Traffic on our roads in Niagara seems to be getting back to normal again. On this stretch of Glendale Avenue in St. Catharines, there was barely a car on the road earlier this May. All this, while we are hearing that cases of COVID in the province are ticking up again. Photo by Doug Draper, taken May 23rd, 2020

Just a couple of weeks earlier, stretches of this same area along Glendale Avenue near the Highway 406 interchange were so void of traffic that a bunch of kids could have played a game or road hockey on it, if team sports were allowed at the time.

I don’t think it is just my imagination though.

I turned on the CBC this May 24th to reports of crowded sidewalks, beaches and parks this weekend, and this Sunday’s front cover of The Toronto Sun, a conservative-leaning paper that has not shown a report of being as much of an advocate for lockdowns and social-distancing as, let’s say a newspaper like The Toronto Star, featured a park in Toronto packed with people, many of them not appearing to be wearing masks or keeping two metres apart.

“T.O.’s COVIDIOTS” reads the headline Toronto Sun editors burned in big letters above an image of a mass of ‘Covidiots’ in one of the city’s parks.

All of this while, in Ontario alone, the province’s Premier Doug Ford has had to report, as recently as this May 24th, that for a number of days in a row, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Ontario are actually going up. That after watching the numbers go down for a while. Continue reading

Paying Tribute to Our Front-line Paramedics and Communications Officers at the onset of Paramedic Services Week in Canada

“Throughout this pandemic, paramedics have shown up for Canadians, and they have  shown us the very best of courage, compassion, and dedication. And we’re determined to be there for them too.”                                                                                              – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Statement from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

Posted May 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today(this May 24th)  issued the following statement on Paramedic Services Week, which runs from May 24 to 30:

Niagara Region’s Parademics have been their, doing their job with courage, throughout these perilous times. Photo courtesy of Niagara Region

“Today marks the start of Paramedic Services Week. It’s a time for all of us to celebrate and thank the women and men on the front lines of our healthcare system.

“Across the country, more than 40,000 paramedics and communications officers  stand ready to help Canadians in need. Day in and day out, they answer our calls for help and put themselves in harm’s way to save lives. And this year, we’re particularly grateful for their sacrifice and their service in the face of COVID-19. So to all the paramedics across Canada: thank you. Continue reading

Fear Not Parents: Kids Can Learn Lots While At Home

“In general, we need a better appreciation for the fact that learning is happening everywhere especially within families – in every conversation, exchange, meal preparation, routine, backyard game children are learning,”                                                      – Debra Harwood, Associate Profession of Education Studies, Brock University and an expert in Early Childhood Education

One of a number of images produced by the Ontario government, in the wake of the COVID-19 oubreak, on learning at home

News from Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted May 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – As parents adjust to the announcement that in-school classes will not resume in Ontario for the rest of the school year, a Brock University expert says several key steps can be taken to keep kids learning until the end of June and throughout the summer.

Associate Professor of Educational Studies Debra Harwood says it’s necessary for parents to start with what kids need most.

“I think what’s important is remembering the basics of what children need, such as the sense of belonging within family, safety, and mental health and well-being,” she says. Continue reading

Protect Ontario’s Farmland from Urban Sprawl. Support Ontario Grown Food

A Message from Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner

Posted May 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner

Being stuck at home these last few months and seeing some bare shelves at the grocery store has me thinking more about Ontario’s food supply and whether we’re prepared for bigger shocks down the road, like climate change.

Last week, in our largest online event ever, I was joined by five food experts who came to a similar conclusion about the lesson from COVID-19: LOCAL FOOD IS KEEPING US FED.  Support Ontario-grown food.

When global supply chains are cut off or big processing plants are overrun by disease, it is local food supplies that we depend on.

And that’s why COVID-19 has more people turning to community gardens, to local egg farmers, and to vegetable delivery boxes. Continue reading

For All the Political Junkies Out There – Here is a Five-Star Ad for our Post-Apocalyptic Times

This One Goes Down As NAL’s Best Political Attack Ad of the Week (not that we routinely do political attack ads of the week.)

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

Posted May 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The political ad I am featuring here may not be Canadian content in the sense that it eviscerates a character holding elected office in Trump’s America.

Yet, it is an ad that we Canadians in the middle to left side of the political ledger – the more progressive among us, if you will – should learn from for future elections because small-l liberals, lefties and progressives have had a history of being far too nice in the face of bullies and attack dogs on the right.

We prefer to fight elections by offering up detailed plans and  policies, and then look as though we have are genuinely caught off base when the right wing creeps on the other side, verbally punch is so hard,  we crumble to the ground, sitting on our better intentions. Continue reading

School’s Out in Ontario – As In Going to Brick & Mortar Classrooms – For Remainder of this Academic Year

Classes Will Continue On-Line

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“Nothing is more important than protecting our kids in this province, bar none over anything.”                                        – Ontaro Premier Doug Ford.

A News Release from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted May 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Health and Safety Top Priority as Schools Remain Closed

Government unveils plans for reopening child care, day camps and initiatives to strengthen learning into the summer

TORONTO — The Ontario government is protecting the health and safety of students during the COVID-19 outbreak by keeping schools closed for the rest of this school year.

This decision was made after consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, and medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children.

At the same time, the government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

Continue reading

Ontario Superior Court Shoots Down Ford Government’s Case Against Wind Farm

“Moving forward, we hope that the Ontario government will take the time to consult the evidence and experts when considering clean energy projects.”  – Sarah Buchanan, clean energy program manager for the Canada-wide citizens group Environmental Defence

News from Environmental Defence, a Canada-wide advocacy group for the environment

Posted May 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Statement from Sarah Buchanan, Clean Economy Program Manager, Environmental Defence, on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court) ruling quashing the Minister of Environment Conservation and Park’s cancellation of the Nation Rise Wind Farm

Toronto Ontario –,  This Thursday, May 14th’s  court ruling quashing Minister Yurek’s hasty cancellation of a wind power project is a victory for the rule of law and the environment.

How much is the Ford government’s failed battles against green energy costing Ontario’s taxpayers?

Jeff Yurek, Ontario Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, cited concern for local endangered bats as the reason for the abrupt cancellation of the Nation Rise Wind Farm in late 2019.

Scientists disputed his claim, concluding in expert testimony that there was no undue risk to endangered bats or to the surrounding environment.

This Thursday May 14th, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court) agreed, ruling that the Minister’s rationale was riddled with errors and lacking in evidence. Continue reading

Climate Action Hero Greta Thunberg Featured this Thursday, May 14th on 8 P.M. ‘GLOBAL TOWN HALL

World renown climate activist Greta Thunberg

If You Can Access the American Cable News Network CNN, Watch the Town Hall this Thursday, May 14th, 2020 at 8 P.M.

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

Posted May 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old climate activists from Sweden who, has perhaps done more than more than any other single individual today to mobilized a world movement to address the other life-and-death emergency we face – the global climate crisis – will be one of the featured guests on a ‘Global Town Hall’ that CNN is televising live this May 14th at 8 p.m.

At a time when many of us fear that COVID-19 has taken too much attention away from the other existential threat life on our planet faces, kudos to the producers at CNN for having Greta Thunberg on to remind us that the climate crisis is still very much alive. Continue reading

Enjoy #NiagaraPerforms Free Online Concerts and Events LIVE!

New artists announced for #NiagaraPerforms

Check Out a new list of movies Niagara’s Film House has to offer too

A Call-Out to All Concert and Film Lovers from the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre & Film House in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted May 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Through this unprecedented time of physical separation, the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre continues to strive to find ways to bring our community together through the arts. #NiagaraPerforms<https://firstontariopac.ca/online/Article/NiagaraPerforms> was launched as an online series in mid-April as a platform to connect local artists and audiences and has attracted more than 15,000 livestream patrons to date. Continue reading

Shame on Ford Government for Taking This Long to Issue “Emergency Order” for Ontario’s Long-term Care Homes

Order Comes Almost Two Months After Ford Declares a General Emergency for Province and After Several Weeks of Disproportionate Numbers of COVID Cases and Deaths in these Homes

Another hearse pulls out of the parking lot at the ill-fated Pinecrest long-term care home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario more than a month ago. What took so long for an “emergency order” from Ontario’s Ford government?

 

 

Hello Mr. Premier – It is Time to Stop Treating Our Seniors and Those who Care for Them like For-Profit, Human Garbage

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a News Release from Ontario’s Ford Government

Posted May 13, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

I have been hesitating to post a commentary of praise for Ontario Premier Doug Ford for the way he has been conducting himself since the black clouds of this killer plague arrived in the skies over our province.

As much as I continue to hope that Doug Ford and his Ontario Tories are turfed from power in the next provincial election for their record on cutting and gutting environmental protections alone, I was thinking – in a spirit of fairness – that he might deserve some praise for seeming to push his inner bully boy aside during this terrible health disaster we’re facing and show some genuine support for the public services we need and for those who have been risking their health – people he would normally be crapping on, like teachers, health care workers and others – to provide them. Continue reading

This National Nursing Week, Niagara Health Recognizes Its More Than Region’s More Tnan 2,100 Nurses

The mother of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, was born 200 years ago this May 12th

This National Nursing Week, Niagara Health Recognizes Its More Than Region’s More Than 2,100 Nurses

This Tuesday, May 12th, the roaring waters of Niagara Falls and the Main Street Bridge in the Niagara, Ontario City of Welland will be lit up in Blue in Honour of Our Nurses (See more details below)

A Tribute to Niagara’s Nurses on 200th Anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday

A Message from Niagara, Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted May 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

We are sending a very special thank you this year to our nurses during National Nursing Week (May 11 to 17).

In addition to 2020 being the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, this May 12th marked the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale – the founder of modern nursing. Niagara Health’s more than 2,100 nurses work hard every day, amidst the challenges presented by COVID-19, to provide patients and families with extraordinary care.

“Nurses work as part of interprofessional teams across Niagara Health providing high-quality patient care and working to maintain a safe environment for everyone at our sites,” says Derek McNally, Executive Vice President Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive. “We want to thank our nurses for their resiliency and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Continue reading

Declaration of Emergency Extended While Ontario Gradually Reopens the Economy

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

“We are making steady progress to flatten the curve and get more people back to work safely, including our legislators, but we still have far to go in defeating COVID-19.”        – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

New legislation will allow for more virtual or remote transactions during COVID-19

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted May 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO, Ontario  — The Ontario government is extending the Declaration of Emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This additional time will ensure the province has the necessary tools and health care capacity to contain COVID-19, while gradually reopening businesses, services, and amenities safely.

Passed during a special sitting of the Ontario Legislature today, the Declaration of Emergency has been extended until June 2.

The declaration will allow Ontario to continue to enforce current emergency orders, such as restricting retirement and long-term care home employees from working in more than one facility and prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people. \

Since the emergency was first declared on March 17, the government has taken over 150 actions to help protect individuals, families, and businesses from the impacts of COVID-19. Continue reading

Niagara College Responding to Need for Face Shields and other Critical Health Supplies

Niagara College-Led Network For Manufacturing Innovation Mobilizes In Fight Against COVID-19

News from Niagara College in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara College researchers are providing innovative solutions to help those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and are leading a network of Ontario academic institutions who are mobilizing to do the same.

Research associate Brock Husak (graduate of NC’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program) works inside Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, to assemble face shields.

The NC-led consortium under the umbrella of the Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) is answering a call from the federal government to provide a high-quality, rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis and meet the need for critical health supplies. Continue reading

FACT CHECK – Ontario Behind Other Jurisdictions on COVID Testing

A News Brief from Ontario Official Opposition New Democratic Party

Posted May 12th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Earlier this May 12th Ontario Premier Doug Ford stated, “I also have to remind everyone we’re leading the country now in tests, overall and per capita. We’re going to continue on this pace. We’re one of the leaders in testing globally worldwide per capita.”

A review of testing data shows that Ontario is behind many other countries and provinces when measured on a per capita basis:

Continue reading

Ontario Government Memo Asks Frontline Care Workers to Downgrade to Non-Medical Cloth Masks

“The government’s job is to do everything in its power to get our workers the PPE they need, not to water down the safety recommendations so they don’t have to,” – Andrea Horwath, Leader of Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democrats

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted, May 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK, Ontario  – The Ford government is now encouraging staff in residential facilities, like care homes for people with disabilities, to downgrade to non-medical cloth masks, even where there’s an active COVID-19 outbreak.

“For basic prevention, staff should wear cloth (non-medical) masks at all congregate care sites regardless of infection status. All suspect (symptomatic) and confirmed cases should be isolated in a single room and enhanced precautions must be deployed.”

All staff should use Droplet and Contact Precautions if they come within 2 metres of a suspected or confirmed case, this means enhanced PPE must be worn (surgical mask, eye protection, gown, gloves).”from a May 8 Memo from the Ontario Ministry of Children Community and Social Services obtained by the NDP.

“The government’s job is to do everything in its power to get our workers the PPE they need, not to water down the safety recommendations so they don’t have to,” said Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats”. Continue reading

City of St. Catharines Preparing Community Gardens to Open

“We are certainly happy to be opening the community gardens, not only do they provide an important source of sustainably-sourced food in our community, but many user groups really look forward to getting in there and tending their individual plots.”                                                                                                                   – Ilyse Norton, City of St. Catharines’ Horticultural Technician

News from the City of St Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Even if the virus is till around, and it likely will be for a while, many people are still looking forward to this.

With new direction from the Province of Ontario the City is moving to open community gardens, focusing first and foremost on the safety of residents and garden users during the ongoing COVID-19 State of Emergency.

On April 25, following requests from the City of St. Catharines and other municipalities, the Province lifted restrictions prohibiting the operations of community gardens under current emergency orders introduced in response to COVID-19. Continue reading

During Economic Development Week, ShopLincoln.ca is Supporting Local Businesses

Initiative aims to assist local businesses during COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

News from the Town of Lincoln in Niagara, Ontario

Posted May 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Lincoln Ontario – The (recently) launched ShopLinlcoln.ca (http://shoplincoln.ca) will help Lincoln’s businesses to continue providing their goods and services during COVID-19 restrictions.

The website provides the community with a simple, direct link to local businesses offering food delivery and takeout, e-commerce, gift cards and live streamed classes and events.

ShopLincoln.ca is a Town of Lincoln-led initiative, in partnership with the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Bench Beamsville BIA, the Twenty Valley Tourism Association, and Ontario Craft Wineries. Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP Demands Immediate Inquiry Into Niagara’s For-Profit Care Homes

“As COVID-19 has hit, our parents and grandparents have been left exposed to this deadly virus and with underpaid staff (in long-term care homes)having to manage impossible workloads without the personal protective equipment they need.”                                          – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

‘Privatization of long-term care in Ontario increased dramatically in the 1990s under Premier Mike Harris. Harris is now chair of the board at Chartwell Retirement Residences, a massive long-term care for-profit corporation.’

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

Posted May 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK, Ontario — NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) says the NDP’s call for a full public inquiry into long-term care is critical to Niagara care homes — to find out why the system was in crisis before the pandemic hit; how the pandemic response left seniors homes so vulnerable; and examine the future of for-profit homes in the Niagara region.

“For years families and advocates have been ringing alarm bells about the crisis in long-term care homes, especially in for-profit homes. We’ve heard harrowing stories of understaffed homes and underfunded facilities. As COVID-19 has hit, our parents and grandparents have been left exposed to this deadly virus and with underpaid staff having to manage impossible workloads without the personal protective equipment they need,” said Gates. Continue reading

Greater Niagara Chamber Not Optimistic Over Regional Labour Market Data

Niagara, Ontario’s Jobless Rate for Month of April Falls Just Short of 10 Per Cent

‘Among the hardest-hit industries (in Niagara, Ontario) have been accommodation and food services, healthcare and social assistance, and retail trade. More than half of all retailers have laid off at least 80% of their workforce. 64% of healthcare and social assistance organizations have done the same, as well as 69% of accommodation and food service businesses.’

A Statement from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) on the release of April’s labour force survey data

Posted May 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario  – This past May 8th, 2020, Statistics Canada released its monthly labour force data for April, the first full month since the impact of COVID-19 began to be felt.

The national unemployment rate is 13%, up from 5.6% in February. This is the second-worst rate recorded since 1976, when comparable data was first available.

When you have a parking lot this empty at Niagara’s largest shopping mall – the Pen Centre in St. Catharines – you can bet that the region’s jobless rate is going to be staggering. File photo by Doug Draper

Niagara’s unemployment rate officially stands at 9.9%. Continue reading

Canada’s Prime Minister Pays Tribute to the Front-Line Heroics of Nurses on National Nursing Week

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“During this difficult time, when we must stay apart to be safe, nurses are playing a dual role: delivering critical health care while providing a bridge to our loved ones. They’re showing up for us, and we need to do the same for them.”  – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (the May 11th, 2020) issued the following statement on National Nursing Week, which runs from May 11 to 17

Posted May 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“Nurses work hard day and night, serving Canadians and protecting our health and well-being. They support us through some of our best and worst moments, providing their skills, expertise, and care when we need them the most.

“Today, as we mark the first day of National Nursing Week, we recognize the work and sacrifices of nurses, and their contributions to our health care system and our lives.”

“This year’s theme, ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead — Nursing the World to Health,’ reminds us of the invaluable work that these health care professionals are doing across our country, and around the world, as we face this pandemic.” Continue reading

Canadian Scholar, Academic Leader to be Brock’s Next Provost

Lynn Wells will become Brock University’s Provost and Vice-President, Academic on July 1.

”With Canada’s universities working to address major challenges resulting from the global pandemic, Brock’s role is even more vital to Niagara and to Ontario, and I am honoured to be joining the institution and the community.”                                  – Lynn Wells, Brock University’s new Provost and Vice-President Academic, effective July 1st, 2020

News from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted May 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Lynn Wells, an accomplished scholar and academic leader, will be Brock University’s new Provost and Vice-President Academic, effective July 1, 2020.

Brock President Gervan Fearon made the announcement Monday, May 11, welcoming the scholar and researcher to Niagara. Continue reading

A Few Thoughts for Mother Earth on Mother’s Day

A Brief Commentary by Derek Jones, a resident of Niagara Falls, Ontario and Friend of Thundering Waters Forest

Posted on Mother’s Day, May 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

As if there’s not enough to worry about these days.

Unfortunately a theory/prediction I made around a month ago, once I started seeing stories of cleaner air around the globe due to decreased Human activity, seems to be manifesting before our eyes.

I predicted that the abrupt shift and significant decrease in Human activity would have a sudden jarring effect on Global Climate. You’ve probably seen the news stories of how people from India can see the Himalayas for the first time many years.

What we’re not seeing, and I don’t see being reported, is how the sudden shift is likely to affect Global Climate. Continue reading

A Few Thoughts on the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day

By Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper, followed by a Statement issued on this milestone Anniversary by Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

Posted May 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“Is this really the beginning of the long-awaited liberation? The liberation we’ve all talked so much about, which still seems too good, too much of a fairy tale ever to come true? …

“Oh, Kitty, the best part about the invasion is that I have the feeling that friends are on the way. Those terrible Germans have oppressed and threatened us for so long that the thought of friends and salvation means everything to us! Now it’s not just the Jews, but Holland and all of occupied Europe. Maybe, Margot says, I can even go back to school in October or September.”

Anne Frank. More than almost anyone else, Anne Frank, through the words in her enduring diary, put a human face on the terrible loss of human life during the nightmare years of Nazis occupation in Europe.

The author of the above words was Anne Frank and ‘Kitty’ was the name she gave the immortalized diary she wrote them in. Margot was her older sister.

Anne Frank penned those words on June 6th, 1944, after she heard on a BBC radio broadcast about the D-Day invasion of allied troops along the cost of France – an event that  marked the beginning of the end of the War in Europe against the then German Nazi occupiers.

Tragically, Anne Frank would not go back to school the following September, nor did she live long enough to see victory achieved in Europe 75 years ago this May 8th. She and her sister Margot died, apparently of typhus, in a Nazi concentration camp in late March 1945, just week before that camp was liberated. Continue reading

Aside

To Hell With Jason Kenney. Let Him Yell And Scream All He Wants. Let’s Help The People of Alberta Transition To Industries That Hold A Promise For Good Jobs And Prosperity For The Province In The 21st Century A News … Continue reading

There Should Be No COVID Assistance for Corporations that Dodge Taxes

‘We need to focus our spending on workers, their livelihoods and our collective goals as a society. Strict conditions should be placed on large loans or other significant financial support going out the door to big corporations.’

Five tests to make sure bailouts benefit people, not corporations

By Katrina Miller, Program Director, Broadbent Institute

Posted May 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s corporate bailouts need to cut out tax dodgers and profiteers, and show long-term commitments are attached to the money.

The great recession of 2008 was an expensive lesson for governments around the world. Specifically, why providing large corporate anbanking industry bailouts with little to no enforced conditions is a terrible idea.

Massive loans and grants were used too often to rack up profit, pad executive pay, buy back shares to further inflate profit margins, and shell out even larger dividends to shareholders.

Adding insult to injury, some of these corporations then moved their operations offshore, taking much needed jobs with them and extending one of the most detrimental impacts of the recession: the loss of full-time well-paying work.

Since then, we’ve discovered the wide use of tax havens. It begs the question of how many of corporations we were bailing out were partaking in such schemes to avoid having their publicly funded profit taxed. Continue reading

They’re Right! It’s Mourning in America

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” – from Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address, January 2017

“Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.” – Donald Trump, during a media scrum on the White House lawn in June of 2019

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, including one of the most powerful ads to date on Trump’s failure of leadership

Posted May 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

To think that it was five years ago this June that the self-declared “stable genius” and his pole dancer of a bride road down that escalator in the atrium of Trump Tower where the ‘genius’ announced he was embarking on a crusade to “make America great again.”

At the risk of sounding like a wise guy, I don’t think it took a real stable genius to predict then that if Trump were to actually win what still was, at the time, the most powerful office on the planet; it wasn’t going to end well. Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Saddened to Learn of Death of Another Personal Support Worker to COVID-19

This is the Third Death of a Personal Support Worker in Ontario in About as Many Weeks

A Statement from Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted May 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement of condolences following the loss of a Personal Support Worker (PSW)  who worked at Madonna Care Community in Orleans to COVID-19:

“The loss of this health care hero to COVID-19 weighs heavily on all our hearts, and my thoughts are with his family, friends, and union brothers and sisters at this painful time. While they can’t come together to comfort one another as they mourn, I do hope they find some solace in their shared memories. Continue reading

We’re in a Planetary Emergency & We Need ‘Youth-Led Movements’ to Address It

“We need new blood! Fresh ideas! People who won’t be co-opted!”

A Commentary by Documentary Filmmaker and Journalist Michael Moore, from his Facebook Page

(Michael Moore has  made headlines in recent days for his involvement in a new film called ‘Planet of the Humans’, which has drawn heat for, among other things,  taking a critical look at the infiltration of corporate money into some of the older, more mainstream ranks of the environmental movement. If you have not yet seen the film, you can click on it at the bottom of this post.)

Posted May 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

By Michael Moore – 

We are in a planetary emergency.

And I’m not talking about the coronavirus. Viruses are part of nature. This is their planet, too. They are a form of life. And like another species I know well, they are killers. The current pandemic is simply acting as a gentle warning from Mother Nature.

Gentle?? Over 3 million infected worldwide, and a quarter million dead? Gentle?

Yes, it is truly awful. But take it as the Earth’s slap on our collective face: nature telling our species to back off, slow down and change your ways.

For many years, we have been in the middle of what scientists call the world’s Sixth Extinction Event. This planet can remove us all in a snap of its fingers. Thank god it doesn’t have fingers. Nonetheless, if you think Covid-19 has been a bummer, well, trust me, you literally can’t imagine just how awful Earth’s revenge is going to be against us for trying to choke it to fucking death.

Yes, we are in a serious, multi-level planetary emergency – and it involves climate, water, food, topsoil, overconsumption, missing species, ocean life and humans. Mostly humans, and our various nonsensical greed-induced behaviors and systems.

Now for the bad news.

Continue reading

Canada’s Prime Minister Announces Agreements to Boost Wages for Essential Workers

A COVID-19 Update from Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada,

With an Afterword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted May 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

From the Prime Minister –

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

While many of us are being asked to stay home, millions of Canadians are being called on to go to work every day. These Canadians are providing us with essential services, so we can continue to keep our families safe and healthy. We are relying on them now more than ever, and that is why the Government of Canada is working with provinces and territories to provide them with a much-needed wage boost.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that all provinces and territories have confirmed, or are in the process of confirming, plans to cost share wage top-ups for their essential workers.

The Government of Canada will provide up to $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low-income essential workers. Each province or territory will determine which workers would be eligible for support, and how much support they will receive. Continue reading

COVID-19 Deaths in Ontario Significantly Higher in Long-Term Care Homes That Are For Profit, Privately Run

To Date Figures Show Publicly-Owned Care Homes for Seniors Have Lower Death

“The outbreaks resulting in deaths are still increasing across the long-term care sector as a whole. … But the death rate is significantly higher in the for-profit homes and is increasing more quickly” – from a new Ontario Health Coalition analysis of available provincial data

A New Analysis by the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide citizen group advocating for quality, public health care

Posted May 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario – A new analysis released this May 6th, 2020  by the Ontario Health Coalition shows a significantly higher death rate as a result of COVID-19 in long-term care homes that are owned by for-profit corporations as compared to non-profit and public (municipal) homes.

The research, done by Rabbi Shalom Schachter, LL.B., executive member of the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition and member of the Ontario Health Coalition, analyses the death rates in 93 Ontario long-term care homes with outbreaks of COVID-19 that have resulted in death.

The total number of deaths tracked in the data is 1,057, with 700 in for-profit homes, 275 in non-profit homes and 82 in municipal homes that have outbreaks resulting in death. Continue reading

Ontario Government Further Eases Restrictions on Retail Stores and Essential Construction During COVID-19

Retailers to follow health and safety guidelines

“As the trends improve, we can move forward with reopening more and more of our economy and getting people back to work.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

A COVID-19 UPDATE from the Office of Ontario’s Premier

Posted May 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO ― The Ontario government is allowing all retail stores with a street entrance to provide curb-side pickup and delivery, as well as in-store payment and purchases at garden centres, nurseries, hardware stores and safety supply stores. The business owners should review the health and safety guidelines developed by the province and its health and safety association partners.

Today’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. Continue reading

Now For Some Good News – Garden Walk Buffalo Is Not Letting COVID-19 Shut It Down

We Plan A Different Kind Of Garden Sharing For 2020

News from Garden Walk Buffalo, organizers of one of North America’s most popular urban garden tours

Posted May 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York – Garden Walk Buffalo will not be held as a two-day walking tour this year. Gardens Buffalo Niagara and the Garden Walk Buffalo committee are planning a different kind of garden sharing – transforming the 2020 Garden Walk to adapt to these unprecedented times.

One of the countless great displays that may still be available at Garden Walk Buffalo 2020, with social distancing. Photo by Doug Draper

In light of current national and local social distancing restrictions, Garden Walk Buffalo will become Buffalo Garden Views: Sharing in July, a “virtual garden month.” Continue reading

Ontario Government Extends Electricity Rate Relief During COVID-19

Residential, farm and small business customers continue to benefit from temporary relief measure

Government has also decided to extend “Emergency Orders” for Playgrounds and a Host of Other Locations and Activities.        See Details Below

A COVID-19 Update from the Office of the Ontario Premier

Posted May 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The Ontario government is extending emergency electricity rate relief to families, farms and small businesses until May 31, 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Customers who pay time-of-use electricity rates will continue to be billed at the lowest price, known as the off-peak price, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This electricity rate relief, initially provided for a 45-day period starting on March 24, 2020, has been extended by an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. The rate relief is intended to be in place for an additional 24 days.  

“During this extraordinary period, many people are struggling to pay the bills as they do the right thing by staying at home, as well as our farmers and those whose businesses have closed or suffered reduced customer traffic,” said Premier Doug Ford. Continue reading

The Niagara Jazz Festival is Playing On and You Can Enjoy the Performances – Virtually

Read On to Find Out More About Live-Streamed Events

A Message from Juliet Dunn, Executive Director / Artistic Producer of Niagara Jazz Festival
Posted May 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – I do hope that you are keeping well and staying safe during these uncertain times.  As we are still in lockdown we are doing live-streamed events every Friday and Saturday from 7 pm – 8 pm.

We are also performing for the #NiagaraPerforms series presented by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.  Please include in your listings and we’ll look forward to having public events and gatherings soon!

Thank you and stay safe!

Kind regards, Juliet Dunn, Niagara Jazz Festival

*1* SHADY-ACRES STUDIO  (Live-Streamed event)  #NiagaraPerforms presented by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre – The Shea D Duo featuring Peter Shea and Juliet Dunn-  Thursday, May 7, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. – 1-844-LIV-JAZZ (548-5299 www.niagarajazzfestival.com  WATCH THE EVENT HERE: www.youtube.com/channel/UCMuVejMBEj8r0suvIP7YPtA Continue reading

Sad News for Buffalo Philharmonic Fans on Both Sides of Border

The BPO – in a “difficult decision” – has suspended its remaining 2019-2020 season concerts

The BPO at Kleinhain’s Music Hall . No concerts in the theater for now but see link below for info about the Orchetra and how you can watch performance broadcasts.

News from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO)

Posted May 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York – The BPO has made the difficult decision to extend its previously announced suspension of concert activity at Kleinhans Music Hall through June 13, the end of the the regular 2019-2020 season. 

The BPO musicians, staff and board are extremely disappointed that we will not be able to finish out the season.

We held hope that we would be able to return to the Kleinhans stage sooner rather than later, but we continue to follow governmental guidelines and it became clear last week that any return will take much longer than anyone had anticipated. Continue reading

Canada and International Partners Launch Coronavirus Global Response Initiative to Defeat COVID-19

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“Earlier this morning (May 4th, 2020), I joined leaders from other countries, and from civil society and industry, to work together on accelerating the global development of COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and testing. …We all share a common goal – ending this pandemic.”                                      – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Meanwhile, United States So Far Gives the Finger to this Global Initiative, As It Prepares to Declare Itself “Open For Business”

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by a News Release from the Government of Canada

Posted May 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Commentary by Doug Draper – 

As doctors, nurses and medical researchers around the world work frantically to save lives and develop treatments and ultimately a cure for the killer virus that continues to plague us, how positive and promising it is to see Canada join dozens of other countries in Europe and elsewhere in a global effort to combat COV ID-19, and to find a vaccine that may forever grant us immunity from it.

That is what the mission of the recently created and launched international initiative, Coronavirus Global Response that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed in the following news release is all about.

Not so surprisingly, Trump and the purveyors of an “America First” brand of xenophobia around him – just as they have abandoned the international movement to address climate change, and have insulted and threatened many of America’s long-time friends and allies – is so far not listed as one of the countries participating in the Coronavirus Global Response initiative. Continue reading

Canada and the Nettherlands ‘Will Always Have a Special Bond’

A Comment from Niagara resident Linda McKellar, on the 75th Anniversary of Canadian Forces Liberating the Netherlands

Posted May 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Children from Holland welcome back Canadian veterans during 70th anniversary, in 2015, of the liberation of the Netherlands

A dear late friend, Douglas Peeler from Welland, volunteered although he was under age and fought to liberate the Netherlands. He was a big, cheerful man and in his later years with his white hair and beard he looked like a jolly Santa Claus.

Decades after the war a citizen he met there located him, invited him back and he took part in a parade as the star attraction leading the parade in a Jeep. He was featured in newspapers there and his wife has the photos and clippings.

One evening I was hosting Doug, his wife and another couple for dinner and he said about that honor; “I must have done something good”.

INDEED! Continue reading