Category Archives: Uncategorized

PROTECING PETS – ‘PAWS’ and Think Twice Before Leaving Your Pet in a Hot Car

Call 911 if you are concerned an animal’s life is in danger

A Message from Ontario’s Ministry of the Solicitor General

Posted June 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The Ontario government is urging everyone to take the necessary precautions to keep their pets safe and protected during the hot summer months.

Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly become hotter than the temperature outside even if windows are left slightly open.

Pets can be put at risk of serious illness and possibly death due to heat exposure as a result of being left in a vehicle. If pets cannot leave the car and go with their owners, then leave them at home where they will be safe, cool, and comfortable. Continue reading

Canada-U.S. Border Crossing Ban Extended  to July 21st

A Question to Federal Governments – Is There Any Plan Afoot for Easing Border Crossing Restrictions? Or Do Border Communities Not Count As a Priority?

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

Posted June 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Canada-U.S. border crossings like this – Peace Bridge between Niagara, Ontario and Buffalo, New York – remain a bridge too far for our federal governments, even for people who have been fully vaccinated and haven’t seen loved ones on other side for more than 14 months now.

Federal governments in Canada and the United States – much to the chagrin of growing numbers of their citizens hoping there would finally be some easing of  border crossing restrictions – announced this June 18th that they would leave what is virtually a blanket ban on “non-essential” crossings in place for at least another month – until July 21st.

Earlier on in the pandemic, before there was access to a vaccine and you had a president of the U.S. in the name of Donald Trump and too many U.S. governors publicly downplaying the seriousness of the COVID-19 plague, it made all the sense in the world to continue a border-crossing ban that began in March, 2020.

This journalist was in complete agreement with keeping the border closed to non-essential then, and I was equally outraged by reports that some so-called Canadian ‘Snowbirds’ found ways to crossing anyway.

How does hiring a charter flight across the border on a helicopter and plane, and having some bogus business entity drive your car across the border, so you can get back in it and drive all the way down to Florida constitute an “essential service?” Continue reading

Niagara Region Commits $44.5 Million to Support South Niagara Hospital Site

 “The South Niagara hospital project signifies another significant investment in Niagara that will bring economic growth to our region, drive innovation and support the health and well-being for generations to come.”                                       – Jim Bradley, Chair, Niagara Regional Council

Niagara Regional Council has committed $44.5 million (of Niagara resident’s tax money) in principle to support the South Niagara hospital’s local share funding portion.

A  News Release from Niagara Health, Niagara’s system of amalgamated hospital services

Posted June 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The billboard at the site for the so-called new South Niagara Hospital – interestingly enough called the Niagara Falls Hospital here – located near the Thundering Waters Forest and its signficant wetlands in the Niagara River watershed that might very well be gutted for urban development when this hospital goes in at this location. This cutline is a comment by NAL reporter Doug Draper and not Niagara Health

Niagara, Ontario – Following thorough discussions at Niagara Region’s Budget Review, Committee of the Whole meeting on June 17th, financial commitment was approved, dependent on final budget approval. Payment of the local share portion will follow the opening of the new hospital, and over a several year payment period through tax levies.

The local share is the portion of funding for which a hospital is responsible. Hospitals are responsible for 10 per cent of the eligible construction costs of a new build and 100 per cent of the costs associated with the purchase of new and replacement furniture, fixtures and equipment. Continue reading

St. Catharines MPP Calls for Action to Stop Billionaire Corporation from Buying Up Area Homes

“This (corporate buy-up scheme) will make the dream of home ownership even further out of reach for people in my community. It will drive up housing prices. And it will force young people to leave this community to find an affordable home.”                           – St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

A News Release and Open Letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford from St Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens

Posted June 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

ST.CATHARINES/Niagara  — NDP MPP Jennie Stevens is calling on Doug Ford to take action to stop a corporation from buying up $1 billion in single family homes in St. Catharines and a handful of other cities — massively driving up the price of buying a home in St. Catharines.

Core Development Group plans to convert those single-family homes to two-family rental units.

Stevens has sent a letter to Doug Ford , demanding action, including the adoption of NDP plans to prevent housing speculators and property barons from actions just like that.

Here is St. Ctharines MPP Jennie Stevens’ Open Letter to the Premier of Ontario –

Continue reading

Doug Ford Rams Through His Attack On Our Democracy

Ford Conservatives Make Unprecedented Use of Constitutional Over-Ride Clause to Muzzle Critics in Year Leading Up to Next Provincial Election

A News Release from Ontario’s Liberal Party

Posted June 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, issued the following statement:

“Today is a sad day for our democracy. In the cover of darkness, Doug Ford has rammed through legislation that will undermine our right to free speech by silencing his critics.

Doug Ford’s power grab is nothing more than an attempt to save his own political skin while changing the rules of an election he’s already running in.

Make no mistake, Doug Ford is silencing the frontline heroes — the nurses, doctors, teachers, essential workers, and personal support workers who are speaking out against his government. Continue reading

A Young Muslim Girl Leaves the Gift of a Beautiful Message to Us All

“Shoot For The Moon. Even If You Miss, You’ll Land Among The Stars”

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted June 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

During the very moving memorial gathering in London, Ontario this June 8th, for four members of a Muslim family murdered, and a young member of that same family seriously injured, in an act of hate, we learned about one member of that family – 15-year-old Yumma Afzaal – who was an aspirring artist.

On the wall of a school she attended, she and her mother, also murdered, left the gift of the mural below.

What a beautiful gift this mural is. Just to think that a virus of hate that we have in this country wiped the future of this beautiful young lady away. What are we going to do about it?

More on this horrific event later on Niagara At Large and the words of some of Canada’s leading politicians had to do with enabling it. Stay tuned.

For more on Yumma Afzaal and the mural, click on the video screen immediately below –

Below are the members of the Afzaal family, with Umma at left, followed by her mother, grandmother and father, all wiped out by a young, white supremacist in a pick-up truck who saw them waiting at a crosswalk and ecided to drive right through them.

Yumna Afzaal, 15, left, Madiha Salman, 44, centre left, Talat Afzaal, 74, and Salman Afzaal, 46, right, were out for an evening walk when they were run over by a man who police say was motivated by anti-Muslim hate.

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

Hey Mayor Bylsma – Apologies Don’t Work If You “Continue To Be An “A-Hole”

A Brief Comment from Linda McKellar, a Fort Erie resident and retired hospital emergency ward nurse

Posted May 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Apologies don’t amount to squat if you continue to be an A-hole.

West Lincoln Mayor and Niagara Regional Councillor David Bylsma speaking out against COVID-19 protection measures at a large rally in St. Catharines, Ontario this past April. Many feel it really is time for this dangerous screwball to go.

Sadly, many people gravitate to such screwballs. He’s our own local Marjorie Taylor Greene. She equates masks to the Jewish gold stars worn during the Holocaust. I wonder if Bylsma also believes in Jewish space lasers causing forest fires as she does.

The worst pandemic right now is ignorance. Not stupidity but ignorance, simply not bothering to search out the facts.

We can’t soar like eagles if we flock with turkeys.

An Afterword from Doug Draper  at Niagara At Large –

This comment, from retired Niagara, Ontario medical nurse Linda McKellar was a response to what is so pathetically left of any response by our neighours in the United States to deal rationally with issues of hatred and COVID-19. Continue reading

Have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Victoria Day – 2021

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

Posted May 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Oops, that’s not really her. Well, what do you expect from a cat person.

She may have passed on 120 years ago, but that doesn’t mean we will still can’t celebrate her birth, way back in 1819 on the 24th day of May.

I can’t let this first warm long-weekend leading to what we hope will be a much better summer across Canada pass without playing a song by one of my favourite old bands from my teeny bopper days.

Happy Victoria Day everyone from Niagara At Large and The Kinks. (To hear and watch, click on the screen immediately below.)

Stay health and safe, and if you haven’t been vaccinated for COVID yet, please do it! Never mind what some of the wing nuts among us say about “bio-warfare” and masked fascists.

Without the vaccines, and all of the mask-wearing and social distancing we must continue to do in certain places until this killer virus is subdued, we would not be in the more positive place we are today.

Here is too a healthier, fairer, greener, post-pandemic future.

  • 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

Are You Outraged at The Ford Gov’t’s Response on Long-Term Care?

Pack The Public Galleries Of The Ontario Legislature (Virtually) – This Tuesday May 18 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Use the hashtag #FordFailedSeniors

A Call-Out from the Ontario Health Coalition, a citizens advocacy group for quality public health care across the province

Posted May 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

We can’t fill the Legislature physically during the shutdown but we can organize thousands of Ontarians to pack the Public Galleries virtually for Question Period.

– Join the Facebook livestream with live comment & send in your reaction

  • – Watch Doug Ford & his Ministers as Opposition Parties welcome all of us, demand answers, raise your questions and experiences
  • – Press conference on the livestream: noon immediately following Question Period

Pour on the pressure. Make the Ford government take responsibility & commit to finally fix LTC.
Continue reading

Ford Appoints Mike Harris’s Former Anti-Greenbelt MPP and Environmental Protection Hatchet Man to Chair Ontario’s Greenbelt Council

Appointment of former Mike Harris environment minister Norm Sterling to Greenbelt Council Spells Another Blow to Ontario’s Natural Heritage

“Putting the fox (in this case Norm Sterling) in charge of the henhouse is classic Doug Ford. Time and time again Ford has been busted trying to pave the Greenbelt as a favour to his donors. Ontarians have a right to be worried about this appointment.”                                                                                              – Sandy Shaw, Ontario NDP Environment critic

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper followed by Information circulated by Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted April 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

When the former Ontario Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty  declared almost two million acres of farmland in the Golden Horseshoe e in 2005 as a protected Greenbelt zone, the move was praised by the United Nations and by countries around the world.

Here in Ontario, though, there have always been representatives from the farming community, among them Niagara North Federation of Agriculture rep Austin Kirby, and the development industry in the province who have viewed the Greenbelt as a “nightmare” and as an unwanted obstacle to property speculation and urban sprawl.

In 2018, just a few months before the last Ontario election, Conservative leader Doug Ford was caught on a video tape, promising supporters in the development industry that he would allow the selling off of “chunks” of the Greenbelt if he were elected Premier. (click the video at the bottom of this post if you have not yet seen it.)

Since then, Ford and his Conservative government have motored ahead with one move after another that has weakened or completely eliminated rules and programs for protecting and preserving what is left of Ontario’s natural resources – so much so that last year, former Toronto mayor David Crombie and six members of his staff on the province’s Greenbelt Council, there to help preserve the greenbelt lands from north of Lake Ontario to Niagara-on-the-Lake, quit in protest.

So what does Ford and his government do?

They turn around this April and appoint former Conservative MPP Norm Sterling to Crombie’s old position as chair of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council. Continue reading

Ontario’s Paid Sick Day Program Is A Step In The Right Direction

“Our position continues to be that business, particularly small businesses, simply cannot afford the additional financial responsibility to fund sick leave at this time, which is why the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce support the notion of a temporary paid sick program that is paid for by government.”

A News Release from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Posted April 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce CEO Mishka Baisom

Niagara, Ontario – This April 29th, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce CEO Mishka Balsom and Ontario Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rocco Rossi released the following joint statement in reaction to the Government of Ontario’s Paid Sick Day Program Proposal announced today: –  

“Today’s announcement by the Government of Ontario is a step in the right direction to protect essential workers. Ontario is the only province that has committed to a paid sick day program during the pandemic.

The proposed provincial top up to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is also encouraging but is contingent on federal government participation and does not address other shortcomings of the federal program, such as processing delays.

We would like to see all levels of governments open to further adjustments of their programs – as they have been with other programs rolled out in the pandemic – to ensure programs meets the needs of workers and the market in Niagara. Continue reading

Ford’s Offer of Three Paid Sick Days Shortchanges Ontario’s Workers

A Statement from Ontario NDP Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath on paid sick days bill

Posted April 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — Official Opposition leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement in response to the passage of a bill that gives people just three paid sick days, only until September:

“The bill that passed Thursday offering people a pathetically inadequate three paid sick days is not good enough — especially not during a global pandemic that makes people sick for at least 14 days. Continue reading

Trudeau Vows to Slash Canada’s Climate-Ravaging Emissions by More than 40 Per Cent by 2030

Prime Minister’s Announcement Comes this Earth Day at Joe-Biden Hosted Climate Summit. It Also Falls After Years of Canada Falling Behind in Cutting Emissions

“Canada is a committed partner in the global fight against climate change, and together we will build a cleaner and more prosperous future for all.”                                                                       – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A News Release from the Office of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Posted April 22nd , 2021 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with U.S. President Joe Biden on screen in background, makes announcement at virtual global Climate Summit this April 22nd

Ottawa, Ontario – Climate change is the greatest long-term threat that we face as a global community, but it is also our greatest economic opportunity.

By taking bold climate action, we will create new jobs for the future, strengthen our economy, and grow the middle class, while also ensuring clean air and water for our kids and grandkids.

During today’s Leaders Summit on Climate, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, announced that Canada will enhance our emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement – known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) – by 40-45% below 2005 levels, by 2030. As a signatory to the Paris Agreement, Canada’s NDC reflects its highest possible ambition in light of its current national circumstances. Continue reading

Honouring the BME Church, Salem Chapel – A Historic Church & Heritage Site in St. Catharines Niagara

Join in an Online Tribute to this Great Places, this Thursday, April 22nd at 7:30 p.m. – Details Below

An Invite to All of Us from the Historical Society of St. Catharines

Posted April 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

On Thursdsay , April 22 at 7:30 p.m., the Historical Society of St. Catharines will have the pleasure of hosting Rochelle Bush speaking on the BME Church, Salem Chapel in St. Catharines.

Designated a National Historic Site, the Church was built to accommodate African American individuals and families fleeing slavery in the United States notably including Harriet Tubman. The Salem Chapel remains an active congregation today. Rochelle is a Church Historian and Trustee. Continue reading

Under the Cover of COVID-19 Crisis, Ford Government Passes Bill That Assault Municipal Planning Rules

Provincial Zoning Orders Mean Any Natural Heritage Site Can Be Destroyed – Without Citizens’ Input – If A Powerful Developer Can Arm-Twist the Likes of Ford and his Tory Minions

A News Release from the Canada-wide public interest groups, Environmental Defence, Ontario Nature and Ecojustice

Posted April 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

A week ago this Monday, April 19, while most citizens across Ontario were already super focused on the soaring levels of COVID-19 cases around us, the Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford used this growing health and economic catastrophe as an opportunity to pass controversial legislation that makes a mockery of open and accountability planning rules.

This Ford government – more intent on feeding the greed of the worst of the worst in Ontario’s development industry than on protecting what is left of our precious green places – passed a bill that makes it even easier for his government to slap what are called Ministry Zoning Orders (MZOs) on our communities – orders that supersede any and all municipal planning processes that allow all of us to have a say in the fate of cherished natural heritage areas like Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls or Waverly Woods in Fort Erie.

So uncaring this Ford government is around anything to do with protecting our environment, and so eager it is to satisfy the greed of developers that line the Conservative Party’s pockets with campaign donations, that it passed this totally undemocratic and despicable bill. Continue reading

Moving Wetlands for Developers – Some Know It as “Bio-Diversity Offsetting  -Is Back on the Table in Ontario

Hamilton Conservation Authority is debating policy to allow relocation of wetlands, woodlots and other natural features

“I think this is wrong for the Conservation Authority to be going in this direction and I think there’s going to be recriminations against the board as a result of it from many conservationists in the community.”                                                                                          – Hamilton City Councillor Brad Clark, who sits on the current board of directors for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)

News from Citizens at City Hall (CATCH), a Hamilton-based citizen watchdog group

Posted April 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Should developers be allowed to relocate wetlands and other natural features to advance their building plans?

That question is now squarely before a sharply divided Hamilton Conservation Authority with a draft “offsetting” that is heading out for feedback from the public, the home builders association, the city and other stakeholders.

Initiated last fall at the request of developers who want to move a wetland out of the way of a proposed warehouse, the issue has been further complicated by provincial restrictions on Conservation Authorities including imposition of Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs) that override environmental protection rules and eliminate public consultation and other planning protocols.

The draft sparked an angry exchange between two city councillors at the HCA’s April board meeting. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Turns Fascist To Deflect Blame for Dangerous COVID-19 Spikes

This Should be the Last Draw for this Awful Ford Government. Next Year, They Need to be Swept from Power 

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

Posted April 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford. The huge COVID-19 surge …. It’s not his fault. It is our fault.

Niagara At Large has been strong on the need for those among us who openly flaunt orders or laws around wearing masks or break other common-good efforts to protect all of us from the scourge of COVID-19 to have the book thrown at them.

That is why NAL joins others in congratulating law-enforcement authorities for slapping charges against West Lincoln Mayor David Bylsma, Thorold City Councillor Jim Handley, former St. Catharines regional councillor Andy Petrowski and others for a reckless and dangerous rally they participated in this past April 10th in St. Catharines. Continue reading

Earth Week to bring Niagara College community closer to nature

Connecting with nature and protecting the planet will be the focus of Niagara College’s first Earth Week celebration April 17-25.

Read Below for Details on Virtual Events You can Attend during the Week

An Invite to All from Niagara College in Niagara, Ontario

Posted April 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Kennedy Earth Week: NC president Sean Kennedy and his wife Kerry enjoy birdwatching with a little help from their species ID guide. Kerry (NC Ecosystem Restoration<; alumna) holds invasive plant species which she removed during their walk. Photos courtesy of Niagara College

Niagara, Ontario – Hosted by NC’s Office of Sustainability, a roster of virtual initiatives will take place leading up to Earth Day on April 22 and beyond.

Earth Week aims to provide an outlet for the College community to participate in sustainability-focused initiatives safely during the pandemic – in their own backyards and neighbourhoods, individually or with their families or roommates.

“At Niagara College, we strive to build a more sustainable future. It has never been more important to protect our natural habitat and reduce our carbon footprint as we take action to address climate change and help restore the health of our Earth,” said College president Sean Kennedy. “While we can’t gather in person at this time, I encourage our entire College community to get involved with Earth Week and demonstrate that we can make a difference #NCTogether.”

NC’s sustainability program and outreach coordinator Amber Schmucker noted that the initiatives are all about bringing the NC community closer to nature for the benefit of the planet, as well as the humans who inhabit it. Continue reading

Justin Trudeau’s Liberals Continue Greasing the Wheels of Canada’s Climate Ravaging Fossil Fuel Operators

New report: Federal government subsidies and financing for fossil fuels reached nearly $18 billion in 2020

In advance of the federal budget (to be tabled later this April), a new report from Environmental Defence shows that the federal government and its agencies increased financial support for oil and gas companies as country grappled with COVID-19

A Report from Environmental Defence, a Canada-wide public advocacy group for protecting the environment

Posted April 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario  –  A new report released this April 15th by Environmental Defence reveals that despite a decade of promises to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, Canada’s federal government announced a minimum of almost $18 billion to the oil and gas sector in 2020.

In contrast, the Government’s new climate plan commits $15 billion to climate initiatives – spread over ten years.

The report, Paying Polluters: Federal Financial Support to Oil and Gas in 2020, estimates federal supports either announced or provided in 2020, including COVID support programs. Continue reading

Ford Walked Ontario into another School Shutdown by Refusing to Spend on Safety

“This cycle of shutdowns is awful for families and school staff. I’m worried for the students having their education disrupted again right as exams approach, and I really feel for parents, families and teachers now scrambling for child care and deeply worried about managing at-home learning again.”                                          – Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted Aril 12th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

NDP calls for investments to finally make this schools shutdown the last

Ontario NDP MPP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath want’s Ford Longterm-Care Home Minister’s head.

QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford marched Ontario straight into yet another all-schools shutdown by refusing to spend the money needed to make schools safe, said Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath.

“Doug Ford marched us right into this all-schools shutdown by refusing to listen to experts, and refusing to invest to make schools safe. It should never have come to this. This time, he needs to spend the money to make all schools safe to return to — the health of students, teachers and education workers is worth it,” said Horwath. Continue reading

Ford and his “Pro-Life” MPPs Could Not Give a Fig About Front-Line Workers

Let Grocery Store Workers and Others Eat COVID-19 and Die from It If Necessary. Thank God, For Ford’s Sake, That They Are Not Fetuses!

A Brief News Commentary from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by a Call for Paid Sick Leave from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted April 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Comment from Doug Draper at NAL –

Let me just start by putting it this way.

If there were fetuses working the cash registers at grocery stores in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford and the extreme right-wing, evangelical nuts in his party like Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterfhoff, would be busting their balls to make sure they were afforded every degree of safety and compensation for their sacrifices possible.

That would include keeping in place bonus pay (dropped by greedy grocery store operators like the Weston family after the first wave of the virus last year) and paid sick leave.

Just about every sound expert around, including Ontario’s chief health officer, has recommended paid sick leave for essential front-line workers at grocery stores, pharmacies and other outlets we need to keep open in order to survie.

Why do they recommend paid sick days for these people? Continue reading

Ford’s Tories Pose an Existential Threat to What is Left of Ontario’s Natural Heritage

A National Observer/Torstar Investigative Story Takes a Deep Dive into Ford’s Willingness to Sell Off Ontario’s Natural Heritage to Greedy Developers

Thanks to Ford and his Friends in Ontario’s  Money-Grubbing, Morally Bankrupt Development Industry, Countless Thousands of Acres of Our Province’s Food-Growing Lands Could Be ‘Open for the Wrong Kind of Business’

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

Posted April 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Even before Doug Ford won enough seats in the June 2018 Ontario election to form a government, Niagara At Large posted commentary warning that a vote for Ford and his Tories represents nothing less than a vote against protecting and preserving what is left of our province’s precious natural heritage for present and future generations.

Indeed, this Niagara At Large publisher and veteran environment reporter went so far as to colour Ford and his fellow travelers as an existential threat to our waters, to our air, to our wetlands, woodlands, to food-growing lands and to all other natural resources that are absolutely essential to our health, and to the overall health and prosperity of the communities we live in.

Yes indeed, the warning signs were there, even back then, with klieg lights on them, and for anyone to read if they cared to. Continue reading

Niagara’s Greater Chamber of Commerce Comments on “Frustrations” of Another Ontario Lockdown

A News Release from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerice (GNCC)

Posted April 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

For the sake of all of us, the line needs to be full and has to start moving much faster

Niagara, Ontario – After a failure to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ontario will now enter a third lockdown, and frustrations continue to grow.

The GNCC calls upon all levels of government to accelerate the rate of vaccination by any means available.

Delays in distribution are heavy blows to businesses going through further restrictions and lockdowns while we watch our neighbours to the south are being inoculated at a rapid and accelerating pace. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government  Implements Provincewide Emergency Brake

All 34 Public Health Unit Regions (including Niagara) to Move into Shutdown

A News Release from the Office of Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Posted April 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, with his health minister Christine Elliott, behind him.

TORONTO —The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposingprovincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge  in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province.

The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.

Details were provided today (this April 1st) by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.

“We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern,” said Premier Ford.

Continue reading

Ontario Expanding Existing Community Paramedicine Program to Long-Term Care in Niagara

Investment Will Help More Seniors Stay in Their Own Homes Longer

“The enhancements being made to our EMS program … will make a meaningful difference to the health of our residents by providing them with the most appropriate and effective service possible.” – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

A News Release from the Government of Ontario

Posted March 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

FONTHILL, Ontario –The Ontario government is investing $8,203,800 million to expand the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program in Niagara. This initiative will help more seniors on long-term care waitlists stay safe while living in the comfort of their own homes for longer.

From left to right, Town of Pelham Mayor Marvin junkin, Kevin Smith, Chief of Niagara Emergency Medical Services, Niagara West MPP and Ontario Ford government member Sam Oosterhoff, and Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley7

Details of the new program were provided today at the Pelham Ambulance Station in Fonthill by Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West, along with Jim Bradley, Chair of the Niagara Region, and Kevin Smith, Chief of Niagara Emergency Medical Services.  MPP Oosterhoff, Chair Bradley and Kevin Smith were also joined by Marvin Junkin, Mayor of the Town of Pelham.

“The expansion of community paramedicine programming in Niagara is good news for our seniors, and the vulnerable in our region,” said MPP Oosterhoff.

“This substantial provincial investment will help provide care to many in the community, and ensure seniors are able to be supported and age in place where possible. I am grateful for the daily leadership of Niagara’s EMS as they provide excellent care and responses to the people of the peninsula.” Continue reading

Instead Of Wasting Taxpayers. Money On Failed Legal Battles, Ford Should Take Action on Climate Crisis

A News Release from the Green Party of Ontario

Posted March 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Thirty-Million Dollars!

That’s how much of our tax dollars the Ford government wasted challenging a price on pollution. Yesterday the Supreme Court decided against Ford; affirming what we already knew.


But instead of taking action, Doug Ford continues his attack on the environment by trying to pave over wetlands, increasing emissions, and driving Ontario toward more sprawl.

Continue reading

Canadian Supreme Court Decision Amplifies Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Conservative Government as Climate Deniers

“Doug Ford and his band of climate change deniers are holding Ontario back from tackling the greatest challenge of our generation.”                                                                                                  – Ontario Liberal Leader Stene Del Duca

A Statement from Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca On Carbon Tax Ruling

Posted March 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario  – Steven Del Duca, Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, issued the following statement:

“Doug Ford and his band of climate change deniers are holding Ontario back from tackling the greatest challenge of our generation. Doug Ford has spent hundreds of millions of dollars attacking the environment.

Ontario Liberals take the fight against climate change seriously and recognize the financial risks associated with inaction. Ontario cannot afford a climate change dinosaur like Doug Ford or his Conservative cousin, Erin O’Toole. Continue reading

A Victory for Our Planet – Canada’s Supreme Court Upholds Federal Government’s Carbon Pricing Program

A Brief Note from Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

Posted March 25th, 2021

Niagara At Large will have more on this great victory later today. Stay Tuned!

One Year On, Our Beloved Cross-Border Places and Friends Remain So Close, Yet So Far Away

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a limerick from a U.S. friend of mine who is also a friend of Canada

Posted March 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Peace Bridge crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York, loaded with trucks and cars, in the times before COVID-19

One full year now!

Can you believe it – a whole year has gone by since the federal governments in Canada and the United States closed our border crossings from coast to coast to everyone but “essential” traffic, whatever essential means in the eyes of a Canadian government that doesn’t seem to mind Canadian “snowbirds” hopping on a helicopter or plane to have their cars delivered to them on the other side of the border.

The skyline of Buffalo,New York from Ontario – so close and yet now so far away.

I am in my 60s going on 70 years old and I don’t think I don’t think there has been a time in my life that a whole year has gone by without crossing the border from Niagara, Ontario to the U.S.A.

On recent hikes with friends along the Ontario side of the Niagara River, I now look across the water at places like Buffalo or Lewiston, New York and think – “So near, yet so far away.Continue reading

For All of You Who Are Irish – Even for Just This One Day – HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

Please Stay Safe and We Will All Live to Gather at St. Patrick’s Day Parades and Celebrations in 2022

Niagara Falls to be Illuminated Green in Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day

The world-renown Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls, illuminated in green lights for St. Patrick’s Day. file photo courtesy of the Niagara Parks Commission

A Message from the Niagara Parks Commission in Ontario and the Niagara Falls Illumination Board

Posted March 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario and New York – The Niagara Falls Illumination Board will be illuminating both the Canadian Horseshoe and American Falls in green for 15-minutes at the top each hour, beginning at 8:00pm this Wednesday, March 17th  in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

The illumination is carried out each year on March 17th as part of Tourism Ireland’s “Global Greening” initiative which sees hundreds of iconic landmarks from around the world lit in green to mark the occasion. Continue reading

Bob Gale Running for Ford Tories in Niagara Falls Riding

Niagara Falls Regional Councillor Bob Gale to run as the Ford Tory in Niagara Falls Riding in 2022 Ontario election

The Well-Known Gales Gas Bar Man and Niagara Falls Regional Councillor will Run Against NDP MPP Niagara Falls Riding Incumbent Wayne Gates in 2022 Ontario Election

A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted March 16th, 2022

Well, okay, I guess.

But there is no guessing about this.

We are certainly in for  one hell of a  race (and possibly even a race from hell) come the winter and spring of 2022, when Bob Gale – known, at the very least, for a chain of Niagara area gas stations with his family name on them – and a member of Niagara Regional Council for the City of Niagara Falls for a few terms, runs for a provincial government seat against incumbent Wayne Gates in next year’s Ontario election.

Bob Gale, making another point at a Niagara Regional Council meeting.

Gale – I tend to think of him as “the  gas man” – was reportedly acclaimed a few days by Ford Conservative Party faithful in the Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake area which constitutes the Niagara Falls riding to run as Ford’s candidate in the 2020 provincial election.

His major rival will be incumbent Wayne Gates, the NDP representative and a former Niagara Falls city councillor and union leader, who has had a rock solid base of support in the riding for many years. Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Demands Ford Revoke Legislation That Puts Our Environment In The Hands Of Developers

“The fight to save our environment from Doug Ford is not over. The Ford government is still threatening the environment throughout the province, and rigging the planning system in favour of well-connected developers and PC donors.”

A Brief Foreword Note from Niagara At Large – WILL THUNDERING WATERS FOREST in Niagara Falls, Ontario BE NEXT in Ford’ development-at-any-cost assault on our natural heritage across our province?!!!

News from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party
Posted March 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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 a predatory development industry in Ontario..

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is demanding the Ford government immediately revoke the Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO) that threatens to destroy the Duffins Creek wetland, and to repeal legislation Doug Ford is using to re-write laws to allow developers to bulldoze over protected areas.
On Friday (march 12th, 2021), Amazon announced it would not build a giant warehouse on the site, and the City of Pickering called for a pause on the development of this wetland. Now the developer says it won’t alter the wetland, but the NDP is looking for province-wide protection.

Continue reading

Ontario Launching Provincial Booking System for COVID-19 Vaccines

Individuals 80 Years of Age and Older Will Be Able to Schedule Appointments

“The introduction of these booking systems puts in place the final piece in the  province’s infrastructure to rollout its vaccination program.” – General  (Ret’d) Rick Hillier.

A News Release from Ontario’s Ford Government

Posted March 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO, Ontario  — The Ontario government is launching a provincial booking system and  customer service desk to support COVID-19 vaccination appointment bookings. The portal will be live on Monday, March 15 at 8:00 a.m. and will be accepting  appointment bookings at mass immunization clinics, starting with individuals aged 80 and older.

“We are making steady progress in the execution of our vaccine distribution plan, and the launching of the online booking system is another major milestone,” said Premier Doug Ford. Continue reading

Niagara Residents Should Be Included In Vaccine Pilot Projects, Not Denied Vaccines Again

St. Catharines MPP says local pharmacists and doctors are ready to put shots in arms

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

Posted March 11th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines NDP MPP Jenniie Stevens

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines) demanded answers from the premier Thursday on why Niagara is yet again being treated unfairly by the Ford government, after the region was excluded from vaccine pilots for pharmacies and family physicians.

Despite Niagara being uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19, with one of the oldest populations in the province, and one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the province, Niagarans who desperately need these life-saving shots are now being told they have to wait even longer.

“We can’t turn back time, but when you diverted 5,500 Moderna doses of life-saving vaccines from Niagara we were in the middle of a crisis where we had one death every three and a half hours over the span of a week. We can’t change the past, but you can consider Niagara now,” said Stevens during question period Thursday at the Ontario legislature. Continue reading

A Warning to Us All – With Rising Temperatures, Navigating Ice on Our Rivers and Lakes is Unsafe

St. Catharines Fire Services warns no ice is safe ice after Sunday, March 7th Rescue

A Message from from the St. Catharines Fire Department in Niagara, Ontario

Posted March 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Please stop venturing out like this on our rivers and lakes. The ice is melting and it is getting very danderous.

Niagara, Ontario — The experience of two teens who became trapped on a Lake Ontario ice shelf, one of them eventually ending up in the frigid water, is serving as a reminder to residents to stay off frozen water bodies as the temperature warms.
St. Catharines Fire Services responded to a call Sunday evening after two teens ventured out onto an ice shelf at the end of Geneva Street.

Continue reading

Niagara Health To Begin Vaccinating Hospital Patients 80 Years And Older Against COVID-19

News from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospital services

Posted March 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – In the coming days, Niagara Health will begin booking appointments to vaccinate patients who are 80 years of age and older and are currently admitted to a hospital bed or have been admitted and stayed overnight in the last six months.

This will include patients at all sites of Niagara Health and at Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre.

“We are taking this interim measure, while Niagara Region Public Health completes planning for mass vaccination sites, to get vaccines into the arms of our community’s most vulnerable at the earliest opportunity,” said Linda Boich, Niagara Health Executive Vice President, Quality and Mental Health & Addictions, Executive Lead for Integrated Care and the Niagara Health COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic. Continue reading

One Last Song for Black History Month – 2021

A Brief One from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted February 28th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

This being the final day of Black History Month, I thought I would end our Niagara At Large honouring of it  with one more song.

There are so many great songs of struggle against racial hatred and for the civil rights that defeats it to choose from, but I decided to go with one from one of the most fearless American musicians and activists over the past 50 or 60 years – the late Nina Simone.

She was an accomplished classical pianist, as well as a great writer and performer of jazz, gospel and R&B oriented songs, along with being a magnetic singer. So here is a song that became an anthem for the civil rights movement.

You can hear and watch Nina Simone delivering a life performance of it by clicking on the screen immediately below –

If you can find a way of calling it up on NETFLIX or getting a copy of it, there is also a wonderful documentary on the brilliant, yet tragic life of this great artist called ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’

Meanwhile, let’s do our best to live together. On that note, here is an encore  song for the road –

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

Niagara Falls MPP Grills Ford Government Over Recent Shortfall in Vaccine for Niagara Residents

MPP Wayne Gates turns up the heat, but ministers still denying what Niagara’s doctors are saying

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

Posted February 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ford government won’t reveal the truth about what happened to Niagara’s vaccines – Wayne Gates

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates. File photo

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates continued to press the Ford government for answers Thursday (Feburary 25th, 2021)  on why vaccines were diverted away from Niagara, and demanded to know when the region will get its fair share of both Moderna and Pfizer shots.

Gates reminded the Ford government that Niagara has the third oldest population by average age in the entire country, which means it’s critical to get vaccines to Niagara urgently without more delays.

“Given that they Niagara is such a high-risk zone and given the over 200 outbreaks we’ve had across the region with over 350 deaths, it makes sense that Niagara would be given its fair share of both the available vaccines. Yet in early January we found out that a shipment of the lifesaving Moderna vaccines were diverted away from Niagara and sent elsewhere at the expense of healthcare workers and seniors,” said Gates during question period Thursday at Queen’s Park. Continue reading

‘The Last Walrus’ – A Film Exploring the Issues Around a Last Walrus at the captive animal fun park Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario – to Premier on CBC’s ‘The Nature of Things’

“Friends of the Walrus – I am happy to announce that *CBC’s The Nature of Things: The Last Walrus *is going to air in Canada on *March 12 at 9pm ET* on CBC and CBC Gem.”                                          – the film’s creator Nathalie Bibeau

A News Release from Bunbury Films, presenter of the documentary, ‘The Last Walrus’ Posted February 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Last Walrus premieres on the 60th Season of CBC’s The Nature of Things March 12 Award-winning filmmaker Nathalie Bibeau goes behind the battle lines of an explosive debate about marine mammals in human care


Toronto, Ontario – Killer whale kisses and walrus waves have been iconic experiences in modern childhood. Marine parks have long tickled the imagination of animal lovers around the world, but a seismic shift in public opinion on the captivity of marine mammals has upset the status quo

In The Last Walrus, filmmaker Nathalie Bibeau dives deep into the debate on how – and whether – to hold marine mammals ‘in human care’. Presented by Bunbury Films, the documentary premieres March 12th at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem on The Nature of Things.

Former Marineland trainer and Niagara resident Phil Demers, still faced with a SLAPP suit launched by the Niagara Falls amusement park,  being interviewed by film producer Nathalie Bibeau during production.

With trusted access to contrasting perspectives, Bibeau puts the animal at the centre of her narrative. She returns to her home region of Niagara, and to far-flung areas on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, to explore the complex questions around the capture, display and study of marine mammals. Continue reading

Niagara’s Hotel Dieu Shaver Launches New and Innovative Post-COVID-19 Rehabilitation Program

News from the Hotel Dieu Shaver health care complex in Niagara, Ontario

Posted February 22nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Hotel Dieu Shaver (HDS) is very pleased to announce that a new and innovative post-acute COVID-19 inpatient rehabilitation program has been launched at HDS. Significant research has gone into this exciting initiative.

Already, HDS has admitted four patients to this program and expects many more to follow as awareness builds.

“As the only rehabilitation hospital in Niagara, our specialized staff and physicians pride themselves on adapting to changing needs and providing the most innovative and cutting edge care possible for our community,” says Executive Vice President David Ceglie. Continue reading

Re-opening Too Soon Is Risking ‘Variant Explosion’ – Ontario New Democratic Party

Province’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Doug Ford to hear the experts’ warnings, and increase public health protections.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada and Dr. Teresa Tam released projections Friday (February 19th, 2021) that show the spread of the variants in Canada will skyrocket without more public health measures.”

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted February 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

HAMILTON, Ontario  — NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is calling on Doug Ford to hear the experts’ warnings, and increase public health protections to put the pandemic’s end in sight — rather than cutting protections and opening too fast.

Ontario NDP MPP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath want’s Ford Longterm-Care Home Minister’s head.

“The exhaustion and isolation people are feeling is painful. We all desperately want this to end,” said Horwath. “But new modelling from Dr. Teresa Tam and the Public Health Agency of Canada has put the threat of the variant into cold, terrifying reality. If we do not do more to stop the spread of the variants, we will face a longer, deeper nightmare and more lockdowns.

“We can end this. We can beat this virus. But Doug Ford’s choice to re-open too soon, including re-opening York Region, is putting politics ahead of public health. People will pay the price for that choice with a longer, deeper, deadlier third wave, driven by the variants.” Continue reading

NPCA’s CAO Remains Optimistic about Conservation Authority’s Future

Reflections On 2020 – A Year Of Change, Resilience, And Progress At The NPCA

A Message form Chandra Sharma, Chief Administrative Officer for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in Niagara, Ontario
Posted February 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

NPCA CAO Chandra Sharma

The Year 2020 started with anticipation and hope as we embarked on a journey to continue to steer the organization in the right direction. We had an ambitious agenda ahead of us!  

By any measure, 2020 was an extraordinary year.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented unforeseen challenges to the NPCA’s day-to-day operations, our staff, communities, and our watersheds. In addition to delivering on our regular business, we had to innovate on-the-go.
With ongoing ingenuity, and the resilience of our staff and support of our Board of Directors, we easily navigated through these difficult times. Our gratitude also goes out to the strong network of municipal partners and public health agencies who continue to delivery a coordinated response to the pandemic.

Continue reading

In a Pandemic, It Is About Time Canada’s Tax-Dodging Wealthiest Pay Their Far Share of Taxes

While Many of Canadians Continue to Suffer,”Canada’s top billionaires have already increased their wealth by more than $50 billion during the pandemic and many large corporations are making record profits.”                                                               – from the non-profit citizens group, Canadians for Tax Fairness

A Call-Out to All Canadians to say Enough is Enough from Canandians forTax Fairness

Posted February 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

This is the last week in federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s public consultations to tell her what you want to see in her upcoming budget!

Budget 2021-22 will be the most important budget in decades.


The federal debt is at record levels, but we need public investments to recover from the pandemic and to build back better: with pharmacare, accessible childcare, long-term care and other social supports in a more  equitable and sustainable economy. Continue reading

Niagara Chamber Calls For Coordinated Approach To Safe Reopening Ontario’s Economy

“It is never too early to start planning how our province and economy can emerge stronger while doing everything necessary to avoid further lockdowns.”                                                                      – Mishka Balsom, CEO , Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce 

A News Release from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Posted February 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Mishka Balsom, CEO, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Niagara, Ontario  – The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have jointly appealed to the Premier of Ontario, asking for a predictable and coordinated effort to ensure society reopens in a harmonized fashion that prioritizes individual safety as well as economic stability.

Each region’s experience differs significantly across the province when it comes to transmission rates, tracking and tracing capacity, and other variables. With vaccines being deployed already, the Chamber network is looking forward to the day when the economy can be safely reopened.

“In the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, it is difficult to think beyond confronting the immediate demands of COVID-19,” said Mishka Balsom, the CEO of the GNCC. Continue reading

Celebrating  Black History Month – All Thru this February – in Niagara, Ontario

A Statement from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley on Black History Month

From Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government

Posted February 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – February marks Black History Month, a time when we celebrate Black culture and recognize the many accomplishments and contributions made in Niagara, in our province, and across our country by those in the Black community.

“Here in Niagara, we have an especially rich history that intersects with that of the Underground Railroad and key figures in Black history, including Harriet Tubman, Anthony Burns and others. While we have cause to be proud of such moments, the events we have witnessed over the past year have certainly highlighted the fact that anti-Black racism is still an issue that deserves  everyone’s attention.

In September of last year, I, along with all 12 of Niagara’s mayors, signed our communities onto the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities, reflecting our shared commitment to work toward policies that eradicate racism and discrimination, and promote human rights and diversity. I am encouraged at the progress we have made as a community, however much work still remains to be done.

Remember one of Niagara, Ontario’s great resident and one of our great historians around preserving Black history in this region, Wilma Morrison, who died in early 2000, following complications from COVID-19

Please take the opportunity to virtually explore the many exhibits, displays and resources on Black history that Niagara has to offer, like Niagara Parks’ Black History Speaker Series <>, and find ways you can get involved. We owe it to ourselves to become better acquainted with these seminal moments in our history, to learn from them, and to use them to build a brighter future for us all.​”

A a few Footnotes from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

This past year, Niagara, Ontario lost one of its great citizens and a passionate recorder of Black history in our region, Wilma Morrison, who passed away early in the year from COVID-19-related complications. To read a piece Niagara At Large posted on her following her passing, click on – .

One of Niagara’s most celebrated residents, if only for a while, the late, great abolitionists, Harriet Tubman, will soon get her justice on U.S. currency. To read a recent Niagara At Large post on that development, click on –

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

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

2020 Ties with 2016 As Warmest Year Ever Recorded On Our Pleanet

Let’s Get Moving NOW – Federally and Regionally – On Climate Plans!

“The extraordinary climate events of 2020 and the data from the Copernicus Climate Change Service show us that we have no time to lose. We must come together as a global community, to ensure a just transition to a net zero future. It will be difficult, but the cost of inaction is too great.”                                                                                 – from a January, 2021 report, released by the European Union’s Copernicus Earth Observation Programme

News from the European Uniont’s (EU’s) Copernicus Earth Observation Programme

Posted  January 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

(A Brief Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – As you read this, ask yourselves where Niagara’s Regional Government and 12 local municipalities are on this? And why aren’t they taking this more seriously and moving faster to launch climate plans?)

Air temperature at a height of two metres for 2020, shown relative to its 1981–2010 average. Source: ERA5. Credit: Copernicus Climate Change Service/ECMWF

Latest data released by the Copernicus Climate Change Service show that globally 2020 was on par with the warmest year ever recorded, marking the end of the warmest decade on record, while CO2 concentrations continue to rise. Continue reading

Canada Can’t Afford To Waste Ever More Tax Dollars On Costly Nuclear Energy

Don’t Let the Trudeau Government Make The Same Mistake Again!

A Call-Out from the Ontario Clean Air Coalition, a not-for-profit, non-partisan citizens group in Ontario

Posted January 29th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Canadian government has made a number of disastrous bets on nuclear energy in the past, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on reactors that don’t work (the infamous Maple nuclear project) and ones that no one wants (Advanced Candu).

Now the government is under pressure from the nuclear industry to fund “small” nuclear reactors that they think can help them deal with the rapidly declining global interest in nuclear power. Continue reading

Niagara Falls Retirement Home Should Be Subject to “Emergency Takekover” – Niagara Falls MPP

NDP MPP Wayne Gates is calling for privately owned Greycliff Manor retirement home to be subject to an emergency takeover by the province

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

Posted January 28th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Gates calls for emergency takeover of Greycliff Manor Retirement Home

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates is calling for Greycliff Manor retirement home to be subject to an emergency takeover by the province after learning of deplorable living conditions in the facility.

Gates was given a series of disturbing photos ( ) from the family of a resident at Greycliff Manor.

The resident died in recent days of non-COVID causes, and in the final days of his life he lay in bed surrounded by faeces and urine on the floors in a filthy, unsafe room. The resident’s family, including his 10-year-old daughter, was forced to clean the room themselves prior to saying good-bye to their loved one. Continue reading

Canada Can Take A Lesson from New U.S. President Biden’s Climate Plans

A News Release from Environmental Defence Canada

Posted January 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Statement from Dale Marshall, National Climate Program Manager, Environmental Defence Canada, on President Biden’s “Climate Day” Executive Orders

Ottawa, Ontario – President Biden’s executive orders on climate change show this was never about one pipeline project or even Canada.

It’s about getting the United States off fossil fuels, transitioning to clean energy, and addressing current and historic environmental injustices.

The President’s actions confirm that that means taking care of those most affected—communities whose health is compromised by pollution, and fossil fuel workers and their communities—and doing so with fairness and justice.

Canada needs to take lessons.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( [] ): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities

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

A poster of Trudeau, drenched in tar sands oil, and one of many displayed at protests across the country a few years ago after the Prime Minister and his Liberals threw billions of dollars of our money to continue operating tar sands pipes.

Let’s hope, for the sake of our children’s future, that Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his Liberal government stop subsidizing the filthy tar sands operation in Alberta with billions of dollars of our money, and stop blowing smoke about addressing the climate crisis, the challenges facing our Great Lakes, etc., and finally begin to take these issues as seriously as they should be.

Perhaps now, with a U.S. president now in power who certainly seems to be taking climate change seriously, Trudeau and company will grow some strength on these urgent issues.

One even wonders though, if the Trudeau government understands why it might be better for Canada’s future and the planet’s future to spend billions of dollars transitioning to greener energy that throwing it down a tar sands hole.

So far we have received little proof of life on that one.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

To watch a News Briefing U.S. President Joe Biden delivered on his climate plan this January 27th, 2021, please 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

One Of North America’s Great Abolitionists – A Celebrated Citizen of Niagara, Ontario For a While – Might Finally Get Her Just Due on U.S. Currency

American’s New President, Joe Biden, Plans to ‘Step Up’ Plans to Honour Harriet Tubman on $20 Bill

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

Posted January 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

If you are looking for a bit more good news during these times, here is some.

The legendary Harriet Tubman

At least I think so.

At a White House news briefing today, it was mentioned that now U.S. President Joe Biden will be ‘stepping up’ plans to celebrate Harriet Tubman – a 19th century American abolitionist who spent some of her years living in St. Catharines/Niagara – on his country’s $20 bill.

The decision to place the image of Harriet Tubman – the first woman that would ever be highlighted on U.S. paper money – on the $20 bill was made more than four years ago by the outgoing American administration of Barack Obama. Then came the rancid administration of Trump, and all of a sudden there was some reason to fulfill that plan by 2019. Oh, geez, there might be some security problems for the money, some of Trump’s toadies said at the time. Continue reading

A Youthful Voice of Hope for the 21st Century

“When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”                                                                                                               – American poet Amanda Gorman

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

Posted January 23rdm 2021 on Niagara At Large

Amanda Gorman, a youthful voice of hope for the world

I almost wasn’t going to post this – first and foremost because it has already gone viral as the poem heard around the world.

But I just can’t help myself on this one.

Like Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist from Sweden, America’s Amanda Gorman shares with the world that offers hope for the future in a world that has recently been going through hell.

Twenty-two year old Amanda Gorman moved virtually every human being on the planet who has a heart and a willingness to listen with a poem she wrote and recited – called ‘The Hill We Climb’ – at this past January 20th’s inauguration ceremonies for U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. Continue reading

Niagara Region Expanding EMS Services to Address People Struggling with Mental Health, Addiction & Homelessness

“Niagara EMS is excited to expand the unique services offered through our mobile integrated health teams to reach a greater number of people in Niagara.”                                                                – Kevin Smith, Chief Niagara EMS

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted January 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara EMS is expanding Mobile Integrated Health services to support individuals who are struggling with mental health, addictions and homelessness through the Mental Health and Addictions Response Team (MHART).

Adding a second Mental Health and Addictions Response Team vehicle in the community will allow Niagara EMS to provide greater mental health and addictions coverage geographically to the residents of Niagara. Continue reading

Niagara Big-Box Stores Now Target of Inspections for Any Possible COVID Guideline Violations

Ontario Government Expands Big-Box Blitz to Niagara Ottawa, Windsor, and Durham Regions

“If we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action.” – Monte McNaughton, Ontario Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development

A News Release from the Ontario Government

Posted January 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Ontario government is carrying out workplace inspections in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham this weekend to ensure essential businesses that can continue to operate during the provincewide shutdown are following the public health guidelines.

The province wants to ensure workers and customers are properly protected from COVID-19.

The blitz, developed in consultation with local health units, will build on the recent provincewide inspection campaigns in the GTHA. Additionally, more than 300 provincial offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will continue to visit a variety of other workplaces such as retail establishments, restaurants providing take-out meals and essential service-sector establishments such as gas stations. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Ignoring Safe Schools Advice – NDP

Internal documents show government ignored safe schools advice. NDP demands safe schools now

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

Posted January 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — Internal government documents revealed by the Toronto Star show that the Doug Ford government was advised to have a classroom cap of 15 and a large in-school asymptomatic testing program— but Ford chose half-measures instead.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Education critic Marit Stiles are again demanding investments to make schools safe, now.

“Parents, teachers, education workers and children are living with anguish, frustration and fear about education right now. There have been more than 7,300 school-based cases of COVID-19, and thousands of families are struggling to manage at-home learning because their school is closed, or they don’t feel safe there,” said Horwath. Continue reading

Biden’s Cancellation of Filthy Keystone Tar Pipeline Project is “Devastating” – Canada’s Conservative Leader

This is the Best Canada’s Tories  Have to Offer – A Century Old Industry that is Devastating Our Planet!

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a statement from Canada’s Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole

Posted January 20th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole, sporting 19th century cowboy garb and peddling 20th century energy enterprises

The baloney that Conservative Party politicians across Ontario and Canada have tried foisting on us for as many decades as I can remember is that they are the ones that are sound economic leaders, and other parities – Liberal or NDP – would drive our economy into the ditch.

One more piece of evidence that proves that this Tory claim is pure, unadulterated baloney is the response we are getting from the likes of Canada’s Conservative leader, Erie O’Toole and Alberta’s loudmouth premier, Jason Kenney, to the news that this January 20th, 20221 – within a few hours of taking the oath of office – U.S. President Joe Biden followed through on a promise to cancel further construction of the Keystone XL pipeline between the Alberta borders of Canada and the Gulf Coast of the United States. Continue reading

Major Canadian Environment Group Applauds New U.S. Prez for Saying No to Keystone XL Pipe

“Killing the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all is a clearindication that climate action is a priority for the White House.” – Environmental Defence

A News Release from Environmental Defence Canada

Posted January 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Statement from Dale Marshall, National Climate Program Manager, on PresidentBiden cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline

Thanks Joe Biden, no more climate ravaging tar crap from Alberta through an XL pipeline, Please!

Ottawa, Ontario – U.S President Joe Biden’s first move in office sends a clear signal that Canada needs to get serious about phasing out fossil fuels, ramping up action on climate change, and implementing a transition plan for workers and communities.

 Killing the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all is a clear indication that climate action is a priority for the White House. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.

 Along with rejoining the Paris Agreement, President Biden is expected to undertake a number of climate initiatives. Continue reading

Shipments of COVID Vaccine to Niagara are Falling Short

“The interruption in supply is deeply disappointing and impacts on our plans to continue vaccinating Niagara Health staff and physicians who are on the front line against COVID-19,”                 – Lynn Guerriero, President and Interim CEO, Niagara Health

“It is frustrating that vaccines to Niagara are being reduced again, when we have only just started vaccinating.”                              – Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Acting Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner of Public Health for the Niagara Region

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

Posted January 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Reduced Pfizer shipments result in changes to Niagara’s vaccine plan

Niagara, Ontario – Supply shortages of the Pfizer vaccine are resulting in changes to Niagara’s vaccination plan. We have received provincial direction that, effective immediately, all first doses of vaccine are to be used to vaccinate residents, staff and essential caregivers in long-term care and high-risk retirement homes

This is being done to ensure there is sufficient supply to vaccinate these individuals by Feb. 15.  As a result, there will be a pause in vaccinating Niagara Health’s staff and physicians.

“It is frustrating that vaccines to Niagara are being reduced again, when we have only just started vaccinating,” said Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Acting Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner of Public Health for the Niagara Region. Continue reading

Ontario’s Largest Public Employees Union Condemns Province’s Hospital Association Over Barriers to Vaccine Rollout

“It’s unbelievable that front-line workers at some hospitals are being told they have to use vacation or lieu time to get a vaccine shot.” – Ontario Public Service Employees Uniont (OPSEU/SEFPO) President Warren (Smokey) Thomas

A News Release from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (UPSEU/SEFPO),  the largest public employees union across Ontario

Posted January 17th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Public Service Employees Union leader Warren ‘Smokey’ Thomas

Toronto, Ontario – OPSEU/SEFPO is calling out the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) for not providing clear direction to hospitals that workers should be given time to get vaccinated against COVID-19 during work hours.

OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says it’s unbelievable that front-line workers at some hospitals are being told they have to use vacation or lieu time to get a vaccine shot.

Although the union appealed to the OHA to provide direction, there has, thus far been no action, Thomas said.

“It is duplicitous for the OHA to drag their heels and fail to show any leadership while claiming to be all-in on preserving healthcare capacity,” said Thomas. “The OHA claims to exist to preserve the integrity of our healthcare system, and then they treat our frontline heroes, who keep our health system running, with contempt.” Continue reading

Join Niagara Parks’ Virtual Black History Speaker Series

An Invite from the Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara, Ontario

Posted January 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Rosemary Sadlier, one of the key speakers for this online event, is a former president of the Ontario Black History Society and a key voice in estabishing Black History Month in Canada

Niagara Falls, Ontario – Niagara Parks will host a three-part virtual speaker series exploring perspectives on Black history and culture in Canada, delivered by leading historians and commentators.

The online events will be held on the last Wednesday of the month in January, February and March.

The three-part virtual series features an incredible line-up of speakers, including the return of acclaimed author Saladin Allah and renowned historian, Rochelle Bush, both of whom presented at Niagara Parks’ Black History Symposium last February. Joining them to kick-off the series on January 27th will be Order of Ontario recipient, Rosemary Sadlier.

The interactive online sessions will each focus on a unique topic related to Canadian Black History and Culture. Continue reading

Reconciliation Advances with Niagara’s Indigenous People Are ‘Truly Extraordinary’ – Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey

“We need to encourage and support initiatives that are demonstrably making a difference by redressing the past and working to eliminate bias, prejudice, discrimination, racism, and violence against Indigenous peoples.”                                                   – Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre.

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Centre MP (federal) Vance Badawey

Posted January 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Larges

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey, file photo

“Five years since Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report and 94 Calls to Action, we need to encourage and support initiatives that are demonstrably making a difference by redressing the past and working to eliminate bias, prejudice, discrimination, racism, and violence against Indigenous peoples,” said Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre.

Among the principles established for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, mandated in Schedule “N” of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and representing a national commitment, was the need to have forward looking efforts “in terms of rebuilding and renewing Aboriginal relationships and the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.”

Many agencies of federal and provincial government as well as regional and municipal government, along with educational institutions and enlightened industries, acknowledge the need for dialogue and action but are often at a loss on how best to proceed. Continue reading

A Must-Read Globe and Mail Editorial on Ford Government’s Half-Hearted Response to COVID Pandemic

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it best: “The virus punishes half-heartedness. In Ontario, that’s an understatement.” – from an Editorial published recently in The Globe and Mail

Posted here by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted January 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

Is this man – Ontario Premier Doug Ford – and his Conservative government doing enough to get us through this hell?

Throughout the dark and troubling times we, the people  across Niagara, Ontario and the rest of the world are continuing to suffer through with this killer virus, there has been ongoing debate and discussion in Ontario over how well the Ford government has been addressing the most unprecedented health crisis we have faced in living memory.

Since the winter of 2020, when the first significant outbreaks of COVID-19 were confirmed in Niagara and other regions of Ontario, Niagara At Large has posted countless pieces of news and commentary on the pandemic and what steps the government in this province has been taking to address it. Continue reading

Moderna Vaccine May Be Better for a Niagara Urgently Needing COVID Protection – Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

“We’re happy that the Ford government has finally realized Niagara is a hot spot region, but we’re in a race against time, and the Moderna vaccine is urgently needed.”                                         – Wayne Gates, NDP MPP for  Niagara Falls, Ontario

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

Posted January 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario NDP MPP Wayne Gates

Niagara, Ontario – NDP MPP Wayne Gates has released a statement following a meeting with Niagara Health to discuss the vaccine rollout in the region:

Gates: Niagara needs Moderna vaccine urgently to protect long-term care residents

“After two weeks of pressure from the Official Opposition NDP, Ford is finally sending the Pfizer vaccine to Niagara. Of course, any vaccines coming to Niagara is a good start but public health officials and Niagara Health are making clear that we need the Moderna vaccine,” said Gates.

The Moderna vaccines can be sent to long-term care homes much more easily to protect residents in these facilities that can’t go to a hospital site. In Niagara, the Pfizer vaccine is being stored in hospital freezers, which will be more challenging for public health to deliver into long-term care homes, possibly causing further delays. Continue reading

Ontario Liberals Launch Platform for Addressing Climate Change, Education Funding, Health Care Needs and Economic Growth

A News Release from the Liberal Party of Ontario

Posted January 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Liberal Leader Stephen Del Duca

TORONTO – Ontario Liberal Party Leader, Steven Del Duca has appointed the party’s 2022 Platform Co-Chairs – Don Valley East MPP, Michael Coteau and London North Centre candidate, Kate Graham.

The Ontario Liberal plan for the next election will be built on the following pillars:

  • * Growing an economy that ensures prosperity and dignity.
  • * Reinvigorating our publicly-funded education system, to guarantee future generations’ economic success and social progress.
  • * Putting patients and their families at the centre of our public health care system; Eliminating gaps in prescription medicine and mental health care; And protecting the safety and the health of our seniors as they age.
  • * Building a real plan to help Ontario families confront climate change and protect our natural environment.

Continue reading

To Possibly No One’s Surprise, Ban on ‘Non-Essential’ Traffic on Our Canada/U.S. Border Bridges Is Extended – YET AGAIN!

A News Release from the Office of Buffalo, New York-area Congressman Brian Higgins, with a Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted January 12th, 2021 ion Niagara At Large A Foreword by Doug Draper at NAL –

This Peace Bridge – built in friendship to peoples on both sides of the Canada/U.S border – remains closed to most of us. Thanks to Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins to circulating a statement on it again. No thanks to our federal MPs on the Canadian side of the border for not releasing a statement on this … Shame on them, Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Once again, an extension the ban on non-essential traffic across the Peace Bridge, Rainbow Bridge and other border crossing bridges is being circulated in a statement from a Buffalo, New York area Congressman, and not by any federal MPs on the Niagara, Ontario side of the border.

And the question is why are our federal MPs here in Niagara, Ontario not issuing a statement containing the kind of substance that is in the one issued by Buffalo-area Congressman below.

Does all of the cost and suffering – economic, social and otherwise – not matter to them as much too.

We are going through unprecedented times and I can say that at no time, during my more than six decades on this earth, have the border bridges bonding friends on both sides of the Canada/U.S border been closed for such a long time – almost going on a whole year now. Continue reading

Families Of Loved Ones In Long Term Care Homes In Niagara And Across Ontario Are Saying Enough Is Enough.

An ‘URBENT OPEN LETTER to Ontario Premier Doug Ford from Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Posted January 11th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Dear Premier Ford:

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Families of loved ones in Long Term Care homes in Niagara and across Ontario are saying enough is enough.

Nearly three thousand have now died in these facilities and the situation is clearly spiraling out of control as we hear from more and more families desperate to get the proper care they deserve during the pandemic.

Constituent Susan Park sent me an email about the deplorable conditions her 57-year-old sister is dealing with at Extendicare in St. Catharines. Staff are overwhelmed, many at home with Covid. Continue reading