Category Archives: Uncategorized

Here Is To One Super Spooky Halloween

By Doug Draper,  with Halloween Eve  Jitters

Posted October 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Off they go, to the haunted forest.

This Halloween I find myself feeling nostalgic for those Halloweens long ago when one of the most frightening things for me  was sitting in front of the TV and watching Dorothy and her friends being attached by lying monkeys during the haunted forest scene in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’.

Then there was Halloween night back in my old neighbourhood in Welland when in a group of kids dressed in our costumes, we dared each other to walk down a long driveway lined with gnarly old trees and dried up corn fields on either side to a big brick farm house to do a little trick or treating with the family that lived there, the Wilsons, who were actually quite nice. Continue reading

Popular Niagara Falls Restaurant Suffering Undue Wrath Over Oosterhoff’s Maskless Photo

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

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates defends Betty’s Restaurant in Ontario Legislature where Niagara West Tory MPP appeared early this October in a maskless group photo shoot

The Decent Thing for Niagara West Tory MPP Sam Oosterhoff to do it go back to the Restaurant – Mask On and in Front of the Media – And Issue a Public Apology to the Restaurant’s Family Owners and Staff!

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, followed by some brief comments about Oosterhoff’s irresponsible conduct by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted October 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates rose this October 29th)  to defend Chippawa restaurant Betty’s, following the controversy that arose when a photo surfaced of (Niagara West and Ford government) MPP Sam Oosterhoff and his family at the restaurant in close quarters without a mask.

“As the MPP who represents Chippawa where Betty’s Restaurant is located. I’ve seen the backlash caused by the story about the member from Niagara West this week,” said Gates.

“I want to add my voice on behalf of my community. I know the restaurant’s owner, Joe Miszk, who is a friend of mine. He’s a good man, a good father and a great community leader. I know he’s doing everything he can to keep Betty’s safe and his staff. Continue reading

On the COVID-19 Front, Canada is Looking Damn Good Compared to U.S.

“Look at the contrast (in case counts). ….. What have they (Canadians) done right?”                                                                         – Veteran American news broadcaster Brian Willians , on the MSNBC cable news channel, this October 29th, 2020

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a report on MSNBC’s, The 11th Hour with Brian Williams

Posted October 30th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Donald Trump Jr., seen here at right and who refers to the ongoing spike in U.S. COVID-19 cases as “almost nothing,” gets up close and personal with big daddy.

In my vast collection of bumper stickers, I have one I picked up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts last year that reads  – “Looking Good, Canada!”

The words on that bumper sticker are a generous nod from Americans to their neighbours to the north that compared to the dark and dangerous place many of them feel Trump has been taking their country, our side of the border is looking pretty damn good.

And that bumper sticker salute to Canada came at least half a year before the arrival of a pandemic that has caused so much suffering in both countries, and vastly more illness and death  in the United States where the malignant-narcissist and psycho of a leader continues to close his eyes and pretend that it isn’t there. Continue reading

Report Paints Dark Picture of Migrant Worker Treatment on Canadian Farms

Migrant care workers expose exploitation ‘Behind Closed Doors’ during COVID-19 in new report

A News Release from the Migrant Rights Network of Canada

Posted October 28th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario  — Migrant care worker organizations are releasing a report today documenting the experiences of hundreds of racialized migrant domestic workers during COVID-19.

The report, “Behind Closed Doors: Exposing Migrant Care Worker Exploitation During COVID-19”, features shocking stories of abuse including working every day without a break, thousands of dollars in stolen wages, workers being trapped in employers’ homes for months, and being laid off and evicted.

The report documents how these crises threaten workers’ ability to unite with their families and access permanent residency, and calls for full and permanent immigration status for all migrants as the only solution.  Continue reading

Our New York State Neighbour Is Saying It Right – “Wear A Mask!”

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

“Particularly now, as the virus surges in parts of the country, it’s critical that we continue to wear masks and take the simple everyday measures that reduce the spread — stay distant and wash your hands often.”                                                                – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo

A Brief Foreword by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by a Message from a real warrior against COVID-19, New York State’s Governor

Posted October 27th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

During these perilous times, as we watch an upswing – bearing all the earmarks of a second wave – in the number of daily COVID-19 case counts in our own Province of Ontario, we can also turn on cable news and watch the madness in Trump’s America where, for Republicans, wearing a mask is a sign of weakness and betrayal to the dear leader, and where COVID cases are flaming into a third wave there.

Yet not all has morphed into a sequel of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”  south of the border.

Here in Niagara, Ontario, we are blessed to have, as our nearest American neighbour, a U.S state  with a governor who has earned praise around the world (if not from Trump Republicans in his own country), for rallying citizens from Manhattan to Albany to Buffalo, New York to exercise the protective measures necessary to beat the COVID-19 curve down. Continue reading

Never Mind “Pandemic Fatigue.” Let’s Not Let Our Guard Down, Folks!

The COVID-19 Case Count Is Rocketing Up in Ontario and the Second Wave is Here

How Bad It’s Going to Be & How Long It Lasts Is Up to Us

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted October 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

It’s pretty sad when you find yourself breathing a sigh of relief when the daily COVID19 case count over the past 24 hours in this Province of Ontario comes in at  851 – almost 200 lower than an all-time high of 1,042 cases recorded the day before.

That’s no “hoax” and it is not “fake news,” my fellow Ontarians.

The anti-maskers and their willing enablers out there can try to twist and bend the advice we receive from health experts all they want, but when they try to argue that two plus two does not add up to four, it is hard to argue with raw statistics.

So this  past Sunday, October 25th, as we in Canada are obviously now on the up-swing of a second wave in the more than 10-month history of this killer virus, CBC broadast news division issued the following report  – “Ontario reported a record 1,042 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking the first time cases have surpassed 1,000 a day since the outbreak began in late January.”

In Niagara, we can breathe some relief in knowing that on the same day of October 25th that Ontario recorded its highest overall daily case count, the count here was 23, although the highest number of new positives came from the Greater Toronto Area, and to the extent that people from there continue to visit tourist venues in the Niagara Falls area, that might pose a problem.

In the meantime, there are those basic, very simple things we can all continue doing to help stave off another round of spikes in case numbers and very costly lockdowns of private and public services here – where masks or face-coverings in indoor places, social distance and wash hands.

It is not an infringement on our liberties and freedoms. It is about looking after ourselves and each other. Never mind the nuts that cry about liberty and freedom, when what they are really doing is liberating this potentially lethal virus and demonstrating how ill-informed and selfish they are.

One of my favourite cats – a celebrity of a cat named Tigger in a local pet supply store in Thorold called Pet Valu – has a message for us all. You can see it in the photo immediately below.

Tigger, the great celebrity and mascot cat at the Pet Valu store at the Pine Plaza on Pine Street in Thorold, Niagara, is wearing his mask. What is wrong with those who don’t. Photo by Joe Krawchuk at that Pet Valu store in Thorold

To read the full CBC October 25th story on case counts in Ontario, click on – https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-coronavirus-ontario-october-25-numbers-report-1.5776198

To keep up to date on the case counts in Niagara, Ontario, click on Niagara Region’s COVID19 page https://www.niagararegion.ca/health/covid-19/statistics/statistics.aspx

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 NDP Leader Calls Out Ford on Record-High COVID-19 Case Count in Province

Despite completing barely over 44,000 tests, Ontario has counted a record-high 978 cases of COVID-19 this Saturday, October 24th

A Statement from Ontario Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted October 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Party Leader Andrea Horwath

TORONTO — Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement:

“It never should have come to this.

(Ontario Premier) Doug Ford’s refusal to invest in stopping the growth of the second wave is costing us so much more – it’s costing people their health and their lives, it’s hurting small businesses and it’s making the second wave longer and deeper.

Mr. Ford is sitting on more than $9 billion in pandemic support funding. More than $7 billion of that came from the federal government to help Ontario cope with COVID-19. Mr. Ford doesn’t want to spend the money. And cases are skyrocketing as a result.

Right now we need a massive expansion of public health for testing and contact tracing in every community in the province. We need real protections in long-term care, including hiring thousands of PSWs and putting infection control experts in every home. We need a 15-student class cap in schools. People can’t afford to have Mr. Ford delay another day.”

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

Join a Virtual Brock Event – Exploring People’s Behaviour During the Pandemic

A Free Public Webinar on Tuesday, October 27 the from 12:30 to 2 P.M.

“Young adults are at the centre of this second wave. Understanding what personal and demographic factors help them cope is critical, as is understanding what measures are likely to make them take proper precautions.”                                    – Tony Volk, Professor of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University

An Invite from the Centre for Lifespan Development Research at Brock University

Posted October 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Brock researchers will share their findings on how the global pandemic is shaping lives at a free public webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

The Centre for Lifespan Development Research at Brock University will host “COVID-19 and the Community: Learning more about people’s behaviour and experiences during the pandemic.”

The live virtual event will address topics such as lying about symptoms, the effects of lockdown on active Canadians and the pandemic’s impact on young people’s lives. Continue reading

Progress Made To Restore & Protect Great Lakes At Risk Of Unravelling

As United States  Marks  48th Anniversary of Clean Water Act, Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Brian Higgins Leads Effort to Protect Its Progress

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

Posted October 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Great Lakes Task Force Members Press to Safeguard the Fresh Water System Which is Vital to the Environment & Economy

Our shared Great Lakes from space. A source of life-sustaining fresh water to tens-of-millons of Canadians and Americans, and a wealth of wildlife.

This week (October 19th thru October 25th), as the United States marks the 48th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) and colleagues on the Great Lakes Task Force warned the progress made to restore and protect the Great Lakes is at risk of unravelling.

In the letter encouraging continued investments and highlighting the threats posed by recent environmental rollbacks, the Great Lakes Task Force Members write: –

“The Great Lakes contain 84% of North America’s fresh water, see 200 million tons of cargo per year, and are home to over 30 million people in their basin. Efforts like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement have made significant strides to revitalize the Great Lakes, reverse decades of industrial pollution, and create action plans to continue to on this course. Continue reading

St. Catharines MPP Calls On Ontario Government to Expand Testing for Toxins on Abandoned GM Property

“We must expedite this testing. Residents deserve up to date information.” – St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens

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

Posted October 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK – St. Ctharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens is urging the province to immediately expedite and expand testing of the former GM plant site in St. Catharines.

Once a major industrial force and source of good-paying jobs in St. Catharines, Niagara, what is left of the General Motors plant off Ontario Street in that city, has become an unwelcome eyesore for neighbours and is a source of citizens’ concerns about harmful contaminants possibly lurking on and migrating off the site.

The residents of St. Catharines had to wait almost six months for the results of the first round of testing which found high levels of carcinogenic PCB leaking into a creek. Stevens says the community needs the second round of testing to be analyzed without delay.

“We must expedite this testing. Residents deserve up to date information,” said Stevens at the Ontario legislature Thursday. Continue reading

Exploring the Ongoing Affordable Housing Crunch In Niagara

Why Are People Still Spending Years on a Waiting List for An Affordable Place to Live in this Region?

A Report from Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory  in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Niagara Community Observatory’s latest brief, written by Assistant Professor of Political Science Joanne Heritz, explores factors that cause an imbalance in affordable housing supply and demand, steps being taken to increase affordable housing and whether these measures will be enough to meet future need in Niagara.

Niagara, Ontario – Anyone hoping to rent an affordable one-bedroom apartment from Niagara Regional Housing can be facing wait times of a decade or more, anywhere from nine years in Lincoln to 17 years in Niagara Falls.

And as the gap between supply and demand keeps growing, so does the number of people on the waiting list — by 20 per cent between 2017 and 2019 alone — making the search for affordable housing a frustrating experience, especially for Niagara’s poor and vulnerable.

The latest policy brief from Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory — “Looking Ahead and Looking Up: Affordable Housing in Niagara” — explores factors that cause this imbalance in affordable housing supply and demand, steps being taken to increase affordable housing and whether these measures will be enough to meet future need. Continue reading

A Good Lovin’ Tribute to British Invasion Legend Spencer Davis

Founder of 1960s Spencer Davis Group Died This October 19th at Age 81

Spencer Davis was “like a big brother to me … He was influential in setting me on the road to becoming a professional musician, and I thank him for that.” – Steve Winwood, who rose to  stardom as lead singer and keyboard player in The Spencer Davis Group

A Brief Tribute by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted October 21st. 2020 on Niagara At Large

Spencer Davis, photographed here at the height of his fame in the 1960s

When The Beatles conquered the North American music scene in 1964, a wealth of musical talent followed in their way in what became known at the time as ‘The British Invasion.”

Among the many great groups that were part of this invasion’s first wave were The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals featuring Eric Burdon, The Yardbirds, featuring a young Eric Clapton and later Jeff Beck, The Hollies featuring Graham Nash, Them featuring Van Morrison, The Kinks, The Dave Clark Five and The Spencer Davis Group featuring an amazing teen singer and keyboard player, Steve Winwood.

Of course, there would be no Spencer Davis Group or venue for Steve Winwood to continue on with a successful solo career of his own if it were not for the guy who founded the group in Birmingham, England in 1963 – Spencer Davis. Continue reading

Buffalo, New York Area Congressman Calls Latest Extension of Canada-U.S. Border Closing “Heartbreaking”

Buffalo, New York area Congressman (Democrat) Brian Higgins

“As long as the U.S. President rejects scientific facts, calls medical experts ‘idiots’ and politicizes masks and other common sense health and safety protocols, coronavirus cases will rise, lives will be unnecessarily lost, and Americans will be seen as unwelcome health threat to our allies around the world.”          – Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

A Statement by Congressman Brian Higgins on Extension of the US-Canada Travel Ban Through November 21

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Those were the days, before late March of this year when the Peace Bridge and other Canada-U.S. border crossings were closed to all but essential traffic due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) who serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, released the following statement in response to the continued closing of the U.S. – Canada border:

“This week Canada has extended its ban on Americans crossing the Northern border for the seventh time. It’s heartbreaking to have the door to our closest neighbor closed for eight months but easy to see why Canada continues to make this decision.

“As long as the U.S. President rejects scientific facts, calls medical experts ‘idiots’ and politicizes masks and other common sense health and safety protocols, coronavirus cases will rise, lives will be unnecessarily lost, and Americans will be seen as unwelcome health threat to our allies around the world. Continue reading

Ontario NDP Leader Calls for Getting For-Profit Corporations Out Of Long-Term Care

Andrea Horwath Is Forcing A Vote This October 20th On A Motion To Get For-Profit Companies Out Of Long-Term Care, And Replace Them With A Non-Profit And Public System

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

Posted October 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

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

QUEEN’S PARK — This Tuesday, October 20th, Andrea Horwath will force a vote in the Ontario legislature on a motion to get for-profit companies out of long-term care, and replace them with an all non-profit and public system.

“COVID-19 revealed a disaster behind the walls of long-term care homes. More than 1,900 people have died, shattering thousands of families. And a second wave is upon us. We need to take action to protect seniors this time, and we have to do it now,” said Horwath.

“Then, after we make it out of this nightmare together, we need to fix the system for good. This pandemic ravaged long-term care homes because the system is a disaster – and it’s been getting worse for decades.” Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Falls Short on its ‘Draft Blue Box Regulation’ Announcement

“As drafted, the proposed regulation locks Ontario into years of poor performance. Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise, as the province has underdelivered on every other waste regulation it has passed to date.”

A News Release from Environmental Defence, the Canadian Environmental Law Association and other Citizen Groups across Ontario
Posted October 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
Toronto, Ontario — The best and most important opportunities to improve recycling are missing from Ontario’s draft Blue Box regulation.

While shifting the cost of the Blue Box program to producers is vital, this regulation does little more than that.

Its narrow scope, low targets, and long transition period will mean millions of more tonnes of single-use products and packaging ending up in Ontario parks, lakes, landfills, and incinerators—an outcome that is out of step with public sentiment and the province’s own commitment to reducing litter and waste. Continue reading

Ontario Government Developing a “Stronger, More Effective” Blue Box Program

Province consulting on plan to increase recycling in more communities and help divert more waste from landfills

News from the Government of Ontario

Posted October 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — Ontario is kicking off Waste Reduction Week by unveiling regulations to improve the blue box program. The enhancements include expanding the items that can be recycled and making producers of products and packaging fully responsible for the waste they create.

“We’re creating a stronger and more effective Blue Box program that actually works,” said Minister Yurek. “By harnessing the innovation and ingenuity of industry and expanding recycling opportunities for people and businesses across the province, we can divert more waste away from landfills by finding new purposes for products and reinserting them back into the economy.” Continue reading

Key Changes to Niagara’s Waste Collection Start This Monday, October 19th

“The new waste collection contract coincides with Canada’s Waste Reduction Week and includes changes intended to help increase diversion (of household and commercial waste) from landfill.” – Niagara Region

 

 

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted October 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region’s new waste collection contracts start Monday, Oct. 19, coinciding with Waste Reduction Week, a national environmental campaign to build awareness around sustainable and responsible consumption, and promote actions to divert more waste from disposal and conserve natural resources.

As part of the new waste collection contracts, Niagara Region is transitioning to a new every-other-week garbage collection frequency, which will affect next week’s curbside waste collection. Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP Calls on Ontario Government to Fund More MRI Services in Niagara

“Our (Niagara) population requires more access to MRI services, not less. … Niagara’s MRI wait-times has severely increased and is now not in a position reasonably accommodate the residents of Niagara’s immediate medical needs leaving residents with an unreasonable wait as their health deteriorates.”                                – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates in an Open Letter, dated October 14th, 2020, to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott

An Open Letter from Niagagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

Posted October 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

To Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier of Ontario & Minister of Health Ministry of Health from Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

I am writing to you today regarding an urgent request from Niagara Health to fund a third MRI machine and operating hours to provide 16 hours of service, 7 days per week.

This request comes from the fact that Niagara’s MRI wait-times has severely increased and is now not in a position reasonably accommodate the residents of Niagara’s immediate medical needs leaving residents with an unreasonable wait as their health deteriorates. In 2016, the House unanimously adopted my motion to provide funding to clear Niagara’s MRI backlog.

Currently, there are only two machines that service Niagara’s population of 450,000. In 2016 the average wait-time for an MRI was 134 days. Continue reading

Niagara MPP Urges Ontario’s Ford Government to Embrace Niagara River as ‘Global Treasure’ and ‘Wetland of International Importance’

“I was shocked to see (Ontario’s) Niagara Parks Commission decided not to endorse this extremely important initiative that has been in the works for years by groups on both sides of the Niagara River.”                                                                                              – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Why can’t our public leaders in Niagara, Ontario do what our neighbours in Western New York have already done? – Approve a global desiignation on the Niagara River as an internationally important wetland. Photo by Doug Draper

This Open Letter circulated from MPP Jeff Burch’s Niagara Centre Constituency Office in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

An OPEN LETTER from Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch to – John Yakabuski, Ontario Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Lisa MacLeod, Ontario Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and Jeff Yurek, Ontario Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Dear Ministers Yakabuski, MacLeod and Yurek:

OPEN LETTER

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

Given the drastic changes we see every day with climate change, I believe any initiative that promotes the protection of our wetlands including the Niagara River Corridor is imperative. The Ramsar Convention is a voluntary Treaty, committed to promoting the conservation and wise use of water-based ecosystems through international engagement and collaboration. 

The Treaty was signed in Ramsar, Iran; in 1971. Canada signed it in 1981, the United States in 1987.

Niagara Falls and Fort Erie endorsed the Ramsar Designation in 2015 along with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Ontario Power Generation. It’s still under review by Niagara Regional Council but endorsed by its Planning and Economic Development Committee. Continue reading

Environmentalists to Province – “Stop Sprawl and Grow the Greenbelt”

Saving What is Left of Ontario’s Green Legacy Should be Part of COVID-19 Recovery

A News Release from  the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance

Posted October 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Regional and Provincial groups launch a new program to say to governments: COVID-19 recovery should “Stop Sprawl and Grow the Greenbelt”

Hamilton, Ontario – On the heels of York Region Council’s attempt to get the provincial government to open the Greenbelt to development, the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance (OGA) today (this October 15th, 2020) launched a program to do the exact opposite: stop sprawl-style development and bring more lands into the protected Greenbelt as part of government COVID-19 recovery plans.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, people have been relying more and more on natural spaces and farmland to make it through the crisis,” said Lynda Lukasik, Executive Director, Environment Hamilton.

“These lands are key to our physical and mental well-being, the source of healthy, local food and the source of thousands of jobs. It’s time governments did more to better protect these lands and grow the Greenbelt.”

Continue reading

More Than 3,000 Canadians Urge American Tissue Paper Giant To Treat Ontario’s Forests With More Respect

“COVID-19 showed us that we care about toilet paper – a lot – but it doesn’t need to come directly from forests that are home to vulnerable wildlife species.”                                                                             – Dr. Julee Boan, Ontario Nature’s Boreal Program Manager based in Thunder Bay.

A News Release from Ontario Nature, a public-interest group advocating for the protection and preservation of Ontario’s green places

Posted October 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

In partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation, we (at Ontario Nature) sent a letter signed by more than 3,000 Canadians to Procter & Gamble in advance of its annual shareholder meeting today in Cincinnati, Ohio. The letter calls for American product companies be more responsible with Ontario’s forests.

From forests like this in Ontario …..

Procter & Gamble is an American multinational corporation with sales exceeding $60 billion per year. It is one of the largest buyers of Ontario pulp, producing a vast array of single-use, disposable products, from diapers to toilet paper. The company needs to do more to protect wildlife habitat and support Indigenous-led conservation.

Toronto / Thunder Bay, Ontario — Today (this October 13th) , a letter signed by more than 3,000 Canadians was submitted to Procter & Gamble in advance of its annual shareholder meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio. Continue reading

Let’s Give Thanks This Thanksgiving that We Live in Canada

 … And Not on the Other Side of the Canada-U.S. Border Where All Hell is Running Loose

A Brief Thanksgiving Note from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Posted October 11th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

This note might come across to at least some as sounding a bit too patriotic or ‘Pollyanna’, but I am prepared to live with that.

In my more than six decades of life on the Canadian side of the Canada-U.S. border, I have hardly ever felt more relieved and happy to be a Canadian rather than a citizens of a country that unabashedly sold itself to the rest of us as “the greatest democracy on earth.”

Well, something akin to our good friend Toto has pulled the curtains open to expose that illusion.

We now know that all it takes is a reality TV con man with a reptilian genius for stirring the latent anger, racism and love of guns and violence in far too many millions of Americans to see that so-called great democracy fall like a house of cards.  Continue reading

St. Catharines Citizens Call Out Ontario Environment Ministry’s Lack of Action on Toxic PCB Concerns

“Contaminants (including PCBs) entering Twelve Mile Creek , a tributary of Lake Ontario, is significant in terms of international efforts to protect Great Lakes habitats. (Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks testing shows) that a number of other contaminants like Poly Hydrocarbons (PHCs) and metals hazardous to human health and the environment were also leaking off the site.”

A News Release from the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines, a grassroots, citizen group  in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Today (this October 9th), the Coalition for a Better St. Catharines, a citizens’ advocacy group, challenged the conclusions of the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP) regarding contaminants leaking off the former GM Property in St. Catharines.

Once a major industrial force and source of good-paying jobs in St. Catharines, Niagara, what is left of the General Motors plant off Ontario Street in that city, has become an unwelcome eyesore for neighbours and may be a source to the Twelve Mile Creek and Lake Ontario of PCBS and other industrial poisons. Where it the government will to address it?

In a letter to Gary Wheeler, Ministry Spokesperson, the Coalition pointed out that PCBs were indeed leaking into Twelve Mile Creek from the former GM Property at levels at least 90% over the guidelines set by the Ontario government to prevent adverse effects to the environment and human health.

“MECP seems to downplay the situation at the former GM Property’, said Coalition spokesperson Dennis Van Meer,‘ despite clear evidence, to date they have not displayed any willingness to protect the environment or the community” Continue reading

Environmental Group Applauds Federal Government’s Pledge to Address Plastic Pollution

“Single-use plastics are one of the largest contributors to plastic waste and pollution in Canada, degrading ecosystems, harming wildlife, and, in many cases, are difficult to collect and recycle. It only makes sense to ban plastic items that we don’t really need and that wreak havoc on the environment.”

 

Statement from Environmental Defence’s Plastics Program Manager Ashley Wallis

Posted October 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario — We congratulate the federal government for announcing (this October 7th) its intention to regulate plastic production, use, and disposal using the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA).

Duck tangled in discarded plastic rings used to hold beverage cans together.

This is a critical next step in the government’s plans to address plastic pollution and is a justified response to the plastics crisis in Canada.

Industry’s demand for a new plastics law is a blatant attempt to delay or block federal action, and we applaud the federal government’s refusal to bow to the chemical lobby. Continue reading

National Poll Shows Over 40 Percent of Canadians Are Self-Described Climate Voters

COVID-19 Crisis and Climate Crisis both important,  finds Friends of the Earth

 

News from Friends of the Earth, one of the world’s longest lasting environmental organizations

Posted October 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

In releasing a new national poll, Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth said, “Despite COVID-19, climate is clearly on the minds of Canadians. Forty-two percent of respondents described themselves as climate voters.

The findings of this poll point to a caring Canadian society that wants immediate pandemic relief while understanding that climate action is needed now to save future generations from grave harm”

The COVID-19 pandemic is seen as the most important issue that will have long term consequences by an equal number of males (36%) and females (35%). But women put climate change at the same level of concern (34%) as COVID-19 while men (22%) see it as the second most important issue. Continue reading

Canada One Step Closer To Zero Plastic Waste by 2030

Comprehensive plan includes banning harmful single-use plastic items like bags and straws

News from Canada’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

Posted October 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Plastic is polluting our rivers, lakes, and oceans, harming wildlife, and generating microplastics in the water we use and drink. Every year, Canadians throw away 3 million tonnes of plastic waste, only 9%of which is recycled, meaning the vast majority of plastics end up in landfills and about 29,000 tonnes finds its way into our natural environment.

 

 

 

Canadians expect the Government to take action to protect the environment and to reduce plastic pollution across the country.

This October 7th, 2020 , Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the next steps in the Government of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030.

The plan will protect wildlife and our waters, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs. Continue reading

A Possibly Once In a Lifetime Chance for Niagara Residents to Preserve Our Region’s Natural Heritage.

Niagara’s Regional Government Is Giving Citizens Until This Coming Friday, October 9th – Just a Couple More Days – to Offer Their Feedback

An Urgent Message to All of Us from Liz Benneian, a Niagara, Ontario resident and member of the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee, a citizen-based conservation and environmental organization in Niagara

Posted October 6th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

We cannot allow vital natural resources like this, in Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario, be compromised or destroyed by narrow-minded politicians who march to the tune of the greediest in the development industry, in this Niagara region.

In the coming months, Niagara’s Regional Council will have a once in a lifetime chance to vote to preserve Niagara’s natural heritage for the future or to continue to allow it to be destroyed and paved over, leaving a devastated ecosystem to our children and grandchildren.

Niagara’s citizens also have a once in a lifetime opportunity to have their say. Given the development pressure Niagara Region is under, if the right choice isn’t made now, there will be nothing left to protect.

Public feedback on the options must be in by October 9th. Feedback can be as simple as saying you want the system that is most protective of our remaining natural environment and water resources.Feedback can be sent to Regional Planner Sean Norman at sean.norman@niagararegion.ca

As part of the Official Plan review, the Region must develop a Natural Heritage System (NHS) and a Water Resource System (WRS). The HNS and WRS plans will be brought to Council in the next couple of months. Continue reading

Discarded Black Kitten Named ‘Midnight’ is Now in Caring Hands

“While black cats are sometimes difficult to re-home, dumping a kitten in a park, or anywhere other than bringing it to someone who can provide care, is unacceptable and cruel.”                                  – Kevin Strooband, Executive Director of the Lincoln County Humane Society

A cruelly discarded kitten, now named Midnight by  rescuers. Photo from the Lincoln County Humane Society

News from the Lincoln County Humane Society in Niagara, Ontario

Posted October 1st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A cold-hearted individual visited the Murray Street Park in Grimsby this October 1st and discarded something valuable.

Shortly after, Lisa, who lives in Grimsby, was walking her dog in the park and noticed a cat carrier.  Lisa investigated and quickly realized, a small, less than 1 kilogram black kitten, was left in the park with nothing but the cat carrier.  Lisa picked up the kitten and promptly delivered it to the Lincoln County Humane Society.  Continue reading

Could New Niagara Falls Hospital Seal Fate for Thundering Waters Forest?

If All of The Development that Unfolded Around the West St. Catharines Hospital Serves as Any Example, the Answer May be ‘YES’

Niagara’s Hospital System to Hold Zoom Webinar for Public – This Thursday, October 1st, on Plans to Move Foreword with “South Niagara Hospital”

 

 

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher               Doug Draper

Posted September 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The original billboard, erected about seven years ago, way out at the southwest end of Niagara Falls at the proposed site for a new “Niagara South Hospital.” How many people in south Niagara really think this is a good site for a new hospital for the region’s southern tier munincipalities?

When I visited Niagara Health’s website earlier this September and read a notice that it is planning to hold an online “information session” this October 1st on the South Niagara Hospital project, my heart sank.

My first thought was this –

If Niagara Health (formerly known as the Niagara Health System (NHS), created by the former Ontario Mike Harris government to amalgamate Niagara’s system of hospitals), moves forward with this new “South Niagara Hospital” at this site – way out in the woods and fields lands in  the south-western end of Niagara Falls – all of the green areas in between that site and already developed areas closer to the upper Niagara River and Falls, will be urbanized in no time flat. Continue reading

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Introduces Bill to Support Ontario’s Wineries

Wayne Gates Introduced A Bill At The Ontario Legislature To Create An Exemption For VQA and 100 Per Cent Ontario Wine From The 6.1 Percent Basic Tax 

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

Posted September 30the, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) introduced a bill Wednesday at the Ontario legislature to create an exemption for VQA and 100 per cent Ontario wine from the 6.1 percent Basic Tax paid on wine sold at winery retail stores.

“The wine industry is an incredibly important part of our community here in Niagara and the economic impact of COVID-19 has dealt a massive blow,” said Gates. “This legislation is an important step in creating a level playing field and assisting our wineries and growers during a difficult time.”

Gates’ bill, the Supporting Economic Recovery and Renewal in the Niagara Region Act, would create the tax exception for all on-site retail sales of VQA and 100 percent Ontario wine for all wineries in the province. Continue reading

A Message to Niagara, Ontario Residents – “The Second Wave of the Virus is Here”

“We now have confirmation of what we have suspected for the last several weeks with the rise in COVID-19 infections.”

A Message from Niagara Health President Lynn Guerriero about the second wave of COVID-19

Niagara Health is the body that operates Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted  September 29th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – On the advice of his provincial experts, Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirmed yesterday that we are in the second wave and is cautioning that it may be more challenging than the first wave.

At this point in time, we have a higher number of daily infections in Ontario than we did with the first wave, including a single-day record of 700 cases reported on Monday. At Niagara Health, we have two patients in our care who are being treated for COVID-19.

Thankfully, we are in a strong position to respond to the second wave because of the hard work of our teams over the last six months. Continue reading

An American Aviation Hero Joins Growing Call to ‘Vote Trump Out’

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

“For the first time in American history, a president has repeatedly shown utter and vulgar contempt and disrespect for those who have served and died serving our country. …. We owe it not only to those who have served and sacrificed for our nation, but to ourselves and to succeeding generations to vote him out.”                                                                                                        – Retired Airline Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted September 29th, 2020

Retired Captain Chesley ‘sully” Sullenberger with an image of that jet he glided safely to the waters of the Hudson River on January 15th, 2009.

Every time this Canadian finds myself feeling really down about what is going on south of the border with Trump and his cultish followers, there is at least a little something that gives me hope.

This September 29th, that hope came in the form of a newly released ad, produced by ex-Republican Party operatives calling themselves The Lincoln Project and by a U.S. military veterans organization called Vets Vote.

The ad, which will apparently be widely circulated on social media and American television networks features retired commercial airline Captain Captain Chesley Sullenberger – also known as ‘Sully’ – who, in January, 2009, became an overnight hero after he was forced to glide a crippled jet with 155 people aboard onto the cold waters of the Hudson River between the shores of New Jersey and Manhattan. Continue reading

Niagara’s Ontario NDP Reps Roll Out Their Party’s “Save Main Street” Plan

An NDP Plan For Jobs And Financial Security Will Support Working People In Niagara

From left, Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch, St. Catharines resident and downtown worker Adelodun Olusola-Ajayi, St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens, St. Catharines resident and downtown worker Andrea Connely-Miele, and Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates. Photo by Doug Draper

News from the Constituency Offices of Niagara NDP MPPs Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines), Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) and Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre)

Posted September 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines, Ontario’s downtown has been undergoing a positive makeover in recent years that has been drawing more people to the city centre. File photo by Doug Draper

Niagara, Ontario – Ontario NDP MPPs Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines), Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) and Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) held a press conference in downtown St. Catharines this past Friday, September 25th to discuss “Save Main Street: A Plan for Jobs and Financial Security for Working People.”

Full details of the plan were released earlier in the day by Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath.

It’s a plan to help people and small businesses weather the second wave of economic challenges, and ensure working people are positioned to drive Ontario’s economic recovery, and bounce back healthier and more prosperous than ever. Continue reading

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates Calls on Ford Government to Provide OHIP Coverage for Prostate Cancer Testing

“We have universal health care coverage but somehow don’t cover this test which can save lives.”                                                     – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

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

Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates. File photo

QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) tabled a motion in the Ontario legislature Thursday calling on the Ford government to provide OHIP coverage for prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer.

“Early detection of prostate cancer saves lives. When detected early, the survival rate for prostate cancer is close to 100 per cent. Ontario is currently one of only two Canadian provinces that do not cover the cost of the PSA test for men upon physician referral,” said Gates.

“We have universal health care coverage but somehow don’t cover this test which can save lives. Now, more than ever, we see the importance of access to health care. When people can’t spare the money they choose not to get tested, we can put an end to that and make sure everyone can get the test. This will catch more cases of prostate cancer early and save lives.” Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Needs To Make Class Size Decisions Based On Evidence

With COVID-19 Still Very Much in the Air, Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch Urges Province’s Minister of Education to follow the evidence and Cap Class Sizes in Schools at 15 Students

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

Posted September 24th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) was at the Ontario legislature this week to urge the Minister of Education to follow the evidence and cap class sizes at 15 students, following an outcry from parents in Niagara.

Burch shared the story of a local parent, Angela Gamsby, whose two children attend elementary school in Port Colborne.

“Angela is a front-line health care worker and unable to keep her children home from school because she is busy being a hero at work. Her son’s class has 29 students. Her daughter’s has 28 students. The Kindergarten class has 30 kids in one classroom,” said Burch during question period this Thursday, September 24th.

“Will the Minister listen to the people in Niagara and across Ontario, stop fudging the numbers, and commit to keeping our children safe by capping class sizes at 15 students?” Burch asked the Minister of Education. Continue reading

Canada’s Liberal Government Vows to Make Action on Climate Change More of a Priority in these COVID Troubled Times

“The Government will immediately bring forward a plan to exceed Canada’s 2030 climate goal. The Government will also legislate Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.”                   – from the Liberal Government’s September 23rd Throne Speech

The following is For the Record, rom the Transcript of the Trudeau Liberal Government’s September 23rd, 2020 Throne Speech

Posted September 23rd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“Taking action on extreme risks from climate change

“Climate action will be a cornerstone of our plan to support and create a million jobs across the country.

This is where the world is going. Global consumers and investors are demanding and rewarding climate action.

Canadians have the determination and ingenuity to rise to this challenge and global market opportunity.

We can create good jobs today and a globally competitive economy not just next year, but in 2030, 2040, and beyond.

Canadians also know climate change threatens our health, way of life, and planet. They want climate action now, and that is what the Government will continue to deliver. Continue reading

United Nations Releases Troubling Report on ‘Environmental Racism’ in Canada

Environmental And Physicians Groups Urge Canada’s Prime Minister To Swiftly Introduce Amendments To Strengthen Key Environmental Protection Law

“It was clear from the visit (by UN Human Rights Council representatives) that many communities in Canada continue to be exploited by toxic exposures. ….. The prevalence of discrimination in Canada’s laws and policies regarding hazardous substances and wastes is clear. There exists a pattern in Canada where marginalized groups, and Indigenous peoples in particular, find themselves on the wrong side of a toxic divide, subject to conditions that would not be acceptable elsewhere in Canada.” – from a newly released United Nations Human Rights Council report

A News Release from Environmental Defence, Ecojustice, The David Suzuki Foundation and the Canadian Association Of Physicians For The Environment

Posted September 22nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

One of the warning signs in Grassy Narrows First Nation communities in northern Ontario where industry generated mercury has contaminated the waters and fish there for decades. Maybe if this was an affluent area in the Toronto area, governments would have ordered this cleaned up by now.

Toronto, Ontario – A report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics tabled at the 45th session of Human Rights Council presents troubling findings about the state of environmental racism and disparate health risks caused by toxic chemicals and pollution in Canada.

The report [http://www.srtoxics.org/resources/reports/canada/] , which summarizes the observations of the Special Rapporteur during an official visit conducted in the spring of 2019, brings to light the deep rooted and grave failures of federal laws, including the cornerstone Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), in protecting Indigenous communities and vulnerable populations from the harmful impacts of toxic chemicals and pollution.

“This report powerfully lays bare that Canada’s toxic pollution problem is a racial and environmental justice problem that Indigenous people and other marginalized communities have borne the brunt of,” says Muhannad Malas, Toxics Program Manager at Environmental Defence. Continue reading

Canada-Wide Environment Group Slams Trudeau for Embracing Doug Ford’s Lame System for Cutting Climate-Ravaging Carbon Gases

“The federal government stated last week that it needs to act more aggressively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Today’s approval of a weaker pricing system for industrial polluters in Ontario will do the opposite.”

A Statement from Sarag Buchanan, Environmental Defence’s Clean Economy Program Manager, Sarah Buchanan

Posted September 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Are Canada’s Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford now partners in going soft on climate-ravaging carbon pollution?

Toronto, Ontario. – We are extremely disappointed by the federal government’s decision today to accept Ontario’s proposed carbon pricing system for industry.

By pricing a smaller share of industrial carbon emissions, Ontario’s proposed system is clearly weaker than the federal system currently in place, and should not have been accepted.

Ontario’s system lets industrial polluters off the hook for more of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the federal government’s system and should have never been granted equivalency. Continue reading

Niagara Centre MP to Play Key Role on New Great Lakes Taskforce

Niagara, Centre MP Vance Badawey and PEI Senator Diane Grffin Chair New All Party Taskforce With Special Cross-Border Focus On The Economic, Social, And Environmental Impacts Of The Great Lakes And St. Lawrence River

News from Canada’s Federal Government

Posted September 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Our Great Lakes- a wondrous, life-sustaining treasure to millions of us who live around them. Let’s work together to protect and preserve them.

Ottawa, Ontario – After months of collaboration, PEI Senator Diane Griffin and Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey are pleased to announce the establishment of a new all-party, bicameral Great Lakes St. Lawrence Taskforce by the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group.

The Taskforce will informally link with and mirror the US-based Great Lakes Task Force to ensure constant and meaningful attention to all matters relating to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence. Continue reading

In Trumpland, 200,000 COVID-19 Deaths and Counting

And a President of the United States who now says that maybe the solution is “herd mentality”

 

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

Posted September 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

As tragic as they may be for every stricken family, it is almost as if roughly 1,000 COVID-19 deaths each day in the United States of Trump have become nothing more than background noise.

Yet there should be no escaping the fact – in a country where, for tens of millions of Trump worshippers, facts don’t matter anymore – the United States reached a jarring milestone this past Saturday, September 20th of 200,000 deaths, confirmed to be caused by this highly-infectious plague over a period of just six months since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global healthy emergency.

Two-hundred thousand and counting, in just six months! In a country where, just six months ago, said it would soon disappear “like a miracle,” and where he later suggested to the populace that drinking bleach, shooting up Lysol or having ultra-violet light bulbs implanted in the body would inoculate people against this plague. Continue reading

Brock University To Extend Online Classes Through Winter Term

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, Brock has made the health of our students, staff and faculty our priority and we will continue to do so.”                                                                                                – Lynn Wells, Provost and Vice-President, Academic, Brock University

News from Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted September 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

The Brock Tower at Brock University in Niagara, Ontario

Niagara, Ontario – Following a decision by the University Senate, Brock University announced (this September 18th) it will continue with primarily online classes for the full academic year, extending the current academic model through the Winter Term that runs from January to April.

As a result of this decision, the current timetable for the Winter Term will be reviewed. A revised timetable should be available to students in November.

While courses will continue to be delivered primarily online in the Winter Term, a limited number of courses for which no online alternative exists will be offered on campus, as was the case in the Fall Term. Continue reading

As If Things Aren’t Bad Enough in Trumpland, The Irreplaceable Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has Died

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”       – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A Brief One by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

The great human rights Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Posted September 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large For all of us on the Canadian side of the border who understand – and we should understand that what happens in and to the United States affects us too – here is some dark and disturbing news – as if there hasn’t been enough awful news coming out of the United States in recent times. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court and possibly the most powerful liberal voice for women’s rights, civil rights and related issues around fairness and justice for all, has died this September 18th at age 87.

Shortly after the Clinton administration appointed her to the U.S. Supreme Court

I don’t know how many of my more liberal, progressive-minded friends in the United States, knowing Ginsburg has been continually battling complications from cancer in recent times, have been praying that the great lady would at least hold on until Trump is gone.

But Trump isn’t gone, and one can almost imagine that this monster of a man and his enablers are working now to see if they can wedge in a new appointment to the Supreme Court before this November’s presidential election – a person who will be totally loyal to Trump and a Republican Party that shows total disdain for the rights of everyday people and the institutions of democracy.

I feel the same way about the loss right now of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as I do about the loss earlier this summer of American civil rights icon John Lewis – ‘You are among the last people in this mad world that we can afford to lose right now.’

God help us all.

Here is one account of this sad news, just posted by Rolling Stone magazine –https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/ruth-bader-ginsburg-dead-777835/

Here is a great trailer for a documentary on Ruth Bader Ginsgurg, called RBG, that my wife and I were fortunate enough to see when it came out with some friends of ours on a big screen on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. To watch it, 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 Sander

Ford Conservatives Vote No to NDP Motion to Cap Classes at 15 Students

Ontario’s Ford Government Restricts Gatherings While Allowing Huge Class Sizes – All While Daily COVID-19 Counts in Province Spike Above 400

News from Ontario’s Official Opposition NDP Government

Posted September 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Andrea Horwath ihomes

QUEEN’S PARK — Amid rising COVID-19 numbers and 62 schools with cases of the virus, the NDP MPPs have voted in favour of capping class sizes at 15, and Ford’s Conservatives blocked that from happening by voting no on a motion by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

“Doug Ford announced (this September 17th)  that it’s no longer safe to have more than 10 people gather indoors, yet he’s still forcing classrooms to be jammed full, with 25 or 30 kids, and school busses to be packed with up to 70 kids,” said Horwath.

“Parents, education workers, teachers and students themselves are filled with anxiety. They’re wondering if their school is next. They’re wondering if their family is next.” Continue reading

Niagara’s Regional Chair, Mayors Sign on to Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities

“As president of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, I am thrilled that the Niagara Region has joined this network, which includes cities, regional governments, and smaller communities across the country.”                                                                                            ~ Dr. Liette Vasseur, President, Canadian Commission for UNESCO

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted September 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley signing declaration. Photo courtesy of Niagara Region

Niagara, Ontario – This September 18th, Niagara’s Regional Chair and Mayors signaled their resolve to make Niagara a more diverse and welcoming community on Sept. 18, as they jointly signed a declaration marking Niagara as a member of the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities.

Over the past year, Regional Council, along with all 12 municipal councils, voted to join the Coalition <https://en.ccunesco.ca/networks/coalition-of-inclusive-municipalities>, a network that brings together municipalities that want to improve their policies against racism, discrimination, exclusion and intolerance.

The joint declaration demonstrates a shared recognition that Niagara is not immune to systemic racism and other forms of discrimination, and that real action must follow to build Niagara’s identity as a truly welcoming community. Continue reading

Regional Chair Comments on Decision to Postpone 2021 Canada Summer Games in Niagara

A Statement from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley on the postponement of the 2021 Canada Summer Games

Posted September 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

Niagara, Ontario – In light of the recently announced decision of the 2021 Canada Summer Games Host Society to postpone the games to 2022, Regional Chair Jim Bradley offers the following statement:

“As we allare abundantly aware, COVD-19 has had an unprecedented impact on all aspects of our society. The 2021 Canada Summer Games has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic, with the coronavirus negatively affecting the timeline for games-related construction projects, the ability to recruit volunteers and the ability to secure vital sponsorship and fundraising dollars.

The pandemic has also prevented athletes from training and qualifying in many sports, and the limitations currently in place regarding the gathering of large groups pose numerous challenges. Continue reading

Niagara’s Conservation Authority Receives Federal Funding To Continue Work On Niagara River Remedial Action Plan

“Since the late 1980s, the Niagara River has been identified as one of 43 severely degraded locations in the Great Lakes, called Areas of Concern, (leading to) the development of locally driven Remedial Action Plans (RAPs).”

News from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is pleased to announce the receipt of federal funding through Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Great Lakes Protection Initiative.

The NPCA will receive $140,000 throughout the next two years to support collaboration, coordination, and involvement toward improving the Niagara River’s water quality and ecosystem health.

“The Government of Canada is pleased to support projects like these that lead to innovation and action on the ground, and positive, measurable results in our Great Lakes. We value these efforts to ensure Canadians have safe and secure fresh water, which is critical for human health, the environment, and the economy,” said The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Continue reading

Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission Says NO to Global Wetland Designation for Canadian side of Niagara River

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

Posted September 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission – a body created in the late 1800s with a mission to protect and preserve natural features of the river corridor on the Ontario side – has thrown a wrench into efforts to recognize the Ontario side, internationally, as a wetland of global importance

Niagara, Ontario – Almost a year after municipal, state and federal leaders joined citizens on the New York State side of the Niagara River to celebrate the designation of that side of the waterway as a “wetland of international importance,” Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) board members have said NO to moving forward with such a designation on the Ontario side.

One of numerous slide images produced over the years in support of a Ramsar designation for the Niagara River

The NPC board’s decision came at a September 10th meeting – not open to the pubic and held by board members via teleconference  – and just one day after members of Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee voted to approve such a designation for the Ontario side of the Niagara River under the framework of a Ramsar Convention, agreed to by 170 nations around the world, including Canada, at a summit held in Ramsar, Iran in 1971.

In a note obtained by Niagara At Large and circulated to Niagara, Ontario area municipal representatives and others in the days following the NPC board’s September 10th meeting, the Niagara Parks Commission’s CEO (chief executive officer) David Adames wrote the following – Continue reading

IMPORTANT CORRECTION!

Re: An Earlier September 15th post in Niagara At Large, headlined: ‘Canada’s PM Celebrates Democracy at a Time When Populism and Fascism are Haunting the U.S and So Many Other Countries Around the World’

A Brief Note to Readers from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted September 15, 2020 on Niagara At Large

In a piece I posted on the Niagara At Large news and commentary site earlier this Tuesday, September 15th, I left a very important (one might even say key or critical) word out of a sentence I wrote about the current state of democracy in Canada, the United States and other parts of the world.

The word I left out in a point I was making about the state of democracy in Canada versus what has been happening in the United States under Trump was the word NOT –  as in (and here goes the whole sentenc,e) – ‘Let’s hope that we are NOT slowly moving in the same direction in Canada.’ Continue reading

Ontario’s Official Opposition (NDP) Party Calls Cop’s Treatment of Niagara Activist and Indigenous Journalist Karl Dockstader ‘Chilling’

Reports of the OPP’s arrest of and laying charges against Karl Dockstader – a journalist with 610 CKTB – are deeply disturbing

“The arrest and charges speak to two broader, unacceptable patterns. The first is a longstanding colonial pattern of criminalizing Indigenous people. The second is a more recent pattern of police laying charges against journalists for covering land disputes between the Crown and Indigenous people.”             – Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democrats

A Statement from Official Opposition NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa

Posted September 6th on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP statement regarding OPP arresting and laying charges against First Nations journalist           Karl Dockstader

Karl Dockstader, at a demonstration in front of Niagara Falls City Hall a few years ago, speaking out for the preservation of the Thundering Waters Forest and its wetlands, File photo by Doug Draper

QUEEN’S PARK – Official Opposition NDP MPPs Sol Mamakwa, critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Kevin Yarde, critic for Community Safety and Correctional Services, released the following statement regarding reports that the Ontario Provincial Police have pressed charges against Karl Dockstader, a journalist covering a developing story in Caledonia who is also a member of the Oneida Nation of the Thames:

“Reports of the OPP’s arrest of and laying charges against Karl Dockstader – a journalist with 610 CKTB and a co-recipient of the 2020 CJF-CBC Indigenous Journalism Fellowship – are deeply disturbing. Dockstader is an award-winning Indigenous journalist, who was covering an ongoing land dispute between members of Six Nations, the band council, and a development company over the Haldimand Tract.

The arrest and charges speak to two broader, unacceptable patterns. The first is a longstanding colonial pattern of criminalizing Indigenous people. The second is a more recent pattern of police laying charges against journalists for covering land disputes between the Crown and Indigenous people.

These charges, which ban Mr. Dockstader from the site in question, effectively undermine his established constitutional right as a member of the media to be present to cover matters of public interest. Unchecked, these charges could put a disturbing chill on journalism and freedom of expression.

We will be monitoring Mr. Dockstader’s case and the surrounding land dispute closely. We call on the Solicitor General – whose role also includes overseeing anti-racism strategies in the province – and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs to monitor this situation closely as well. We urge the Ford government to take this seriously.”

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

Here are some of the many hundreds of missing Indigenous women and girls across Ontario and Canada that the cops have not managed to get to the bottom of and charge and convict anyone for yet. Don’t you kind of wonder if the number of charges and convictions would be greater if these women were white? But the cops sure don’t mind arresting and charging a Niagara area Indigenous activist and journalist Karl Dockstader alright.

If police departments across Canada, including our own Niagara Regional Police Service, wonder why so many people are now asking for fundamental reform in policing, including defunding, in some cases, they need to take e a look at what they are doing right now to Indigenous journalist Karl Dockstader.

Indeed, if police departments in this country and province are now  wondering why they are being accused of  “systemic racism” and on going down on ordinary citizens like some kind of para-military goon squad for governments and corporations that, at the end of the day, they really serve , this incident involving a good person in the name of Karl Dockstader exemplifies the reason why.

You want to go back to the 1960s, when citizens protesting in the streets for peace and justice took to calling the cops that beat the crap out of them “PIGS,” then keep on going down on us for your political and corporate masters

At the end of the day, that is who you really serve, isn’t it. Mr. Police Man!

We have  a situation right here in Niagara where our Niagara Regional Council and Niagara Regional  Police Board  approved spending more than a quarter of a million dollars on what looks to us like a military tank.

What do we need this militarized tank for on the streets of Niagara – paid for this more than $250,000 of our tax dollars. Thanks Niagara Region for bringing this on. Would this have caught Paul Bernardo earlier? My guess is that more intelligent police work would. – Doug Draper

What are they going to use that piece of military shit on? Us?

Another Karl Dockstacer if he happens to get in the way of some powerful developer who wants to destroy more of our natural heritage?

Did you ever stop to think that there might be some white collar criminals out there that you could bust? Apprently not, for the results we have so far seen.

More of the disturbing  state of policing in our province and country later.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

For another story Niagara At Large posted on Karl Dockstader’s arrest, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2020/09/04/indigenous-journalist-and-niagara-activist-karl-dockstader-arrested-while-reporting-on-land-defense-issue-in-haldimand-county/

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 NDP calls on Province’s Ombudsman to Assess School Readiness

“We’re asking for an urgent and independent review of Ontario’s back-to-school plans to ensure that the province is doing its best to implement the measures necessary to meet the highest standards recommended by medical, scientific and education experts.” – Ontario NDP Education Critic Marit Stiles

News from Ontario’s NDP/Official Opposition Party

Posted September 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube is being asked to review safety of province’s back to school plans

QUEEN’S PARK, Toronto  — The Official Opposition has asked Ombudsman Paul Dubé to assess the safety of the province’s back-to-school plan.

“We have all heard the anxiety, fear and frustration that parents, education workers, teachers and kids have about the back-to-school scheme as is stands today,” said NDP Education critic Marit Stiles.

“Time is running out. In just a couple weeks, the government plans to have more than 30 kids jammed into many classes. School busses could be filled with more than 70 kids and no physical distancing. It’s not clear in most schools how many additional custodians, if any, have been hired to enhance cleaning and sanitizing, and how many classrooms lack proper ventilation. Continue reading

Happy Birthday to the ‘Bird’

Legendary Jazz Sax Player Charlie Parker Would Have Turned 100 this Saturday, August 29th, 2020

A Brief One by  Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted August 29th, 2020

Jazz giant and all-time music innovator Charlie Parker

They called him “Bird” – apparently because of the way his fingers flew across the keys of his alto saxophone.

Charlie Parker was and is – without doubt, in the minds of virtually every musicologist in the world – one of the true revolutionaries in the field of Jazz and in the field of music in general.

In the late 1940s, moving on into the 1950s, he broke all the rules in a world of jazz that was then mostly big bands playing swing music.

He fronted a free-wheeling sound that became known as “bop” or “bebop” in smaller groups that blew listeners away with off-beat time structures and with solos that, outside of some of the great trumpet lines Louis Armstrong pulled off decades earlier that blew listeners minds, like a guitar solo by Jimi Hendrix would do a few decades later. Continue reading

Join A Social Media Event Today – Wednesday, August 26th – to Press Governments in Ontario and the U.S. to Act on Lake Erie Algae Pollution

A Call-Out from the citizen advocacy groups, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE, CANADIAN FRESHWATER ALLIANCE, AND FRESHWATER FUTURE CANADA

Posted August 26th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

(A Brief Foreword Note from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – We would have posted this call-out on this urgent issue sooner but the groups just circulated it this August 26th morning. Sooner would have been far better, but hopefully not too late for people to get involved.)

TODAY Ontario and U.S. residents are invited to share why #WeAreLakeErie

The 4th annual social media event draws attention to the challenges Lake Erie is currently facing.

Algae in Lake Erie threatens the life of a major fishery

Toronto, Ontario – As western Lake Erie continues to be plagued by annual—and sometimes toxic—algal blooms, Ontarians and Americans are being asked to join in a social media rallying cry for urgent action to protect the lake and, along with it, drinking water for millions of people.

TODAY is the 4th #WeAreLakeErie Day on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. During the day, social media users are invited to share their Lake Erie stories and photos by using the hashtag #WeAreLakeErie to help create a virtual wave of support for the lake. The event is a chance to demonstrate to decision-makers the important role the lake plays in the lives of so many people. Continue reading

Fight the Ontario Ford Government’s Climate Denial

A Call-Out from the Green Party of Ontario

Posted August 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Hot enough for you?

That’s the question we ask as we enter the dog days of summer.

However, this year we’re asking the question much earlier in the season and a lot more often.

Relentless heat waves coupled with overheated and rising water levels in our Great Lakes are threatening what amounts to one fifth of the world’s fresh water.

This is the consequence of climate change.

Continue reading

Ontario Government Answers Back To School Anxieties With Additional Safety Steps for Students & Staff

Ford Government makes further investments to ensure a safe return to school in September

“We have demonstrated throughout this outbreak that we will deliver the strongest and safest plan in Canada for Ontario students, with a recognition that we will continuously strengthen it over time.”                                                                                                  – Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce

News from the Government of Ontario

Posted Ausgust 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing more than half a billion dollars in supports to school boards to ensure schools across the province will reopen safely in September and to protect students and staff.

These supports will enable school boards to provide more physical distancing in classrooms and direct funding to utilize non-school community spaces, and will allow boards to make adjustments based on their local needs.

Details on these important updates for the 2020-2021 school year were provided today by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, following extensive consultations with leading medical experts across Ontario. Continue reading

Ontario Doesn’t Need Another 400-Series Highway!

So Why Do So Many of Our Politicians Keep Pushing to Build Them?

A Commentary by Niagara At large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a Statement from the Canadian citizens group, Environmental Defence

It’s disturbing how many of our elected people across Ontario, including some right here in Niagara, are still chomping at the bit to construct more great big, honkin’ multi-lane highways.

How much more of this do we need in a 21st century marked by a global climate emergency and other threats to life on this planet?

Even in an era where we face, among other crises, a full-out global climate emergency, we have politicians out there, stuck waist-deep in the asphalt of the last century, determined to build more highways in the name of liberating more space for petroleum-guzzling trucks and cars.

Never mind the woodlands, wetlands and farmlands that are destroyed, we need more multi-lane highways, they argue, to address the congestion on highways that are already there. Continue reading

Region-Wide Mandatory Mask By-Law Kicks In This Friday, July 31st

Niagara Regional Council adopts mandatory mask by-law to combat the spread of COVID-19

News from N iagara’s Regional Government

Posted July 31st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

(All we can say here at Niagara At Large is that it is about time for this. Please read details about the bylaw and how it applies to those of us who live here and to those that visit our region below.)

Niagara, Ontario – On July 23, 2020,as part of their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, Niagara Regional Council approved a by-law making it mandatory to wear a face covering or non-medical mask in enclosed public places.

The by-law comes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 31, 2020 and will remain in effect until Oct. 1, 2020 unless extended by Regional Council.

The by-law applies to the following enclosed indoor places:

Continue reading

Niagara Among Ontario Regions Not Yet Moving to State 3 Re-Openings

Maybe Niagara Will Move to Stage 3 Next Week, hints Ontario Premier. And Why Does Moving to Stage 3 Scare the Crap Out of Me?

A Brief News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper, followed by a news release from the Ontario government

Posted July 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Well, some might say; ‘Here we go again.” They may feel disappointed, if not angry.

As per an announcement made this July 13th by Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Conservative government, Niagara, along with Hamilton, Windsor, Toronto and a few other regions of the province, is once again lagging behind a majority of other Ontario regions is being held back, at least temporarily, from moving to the next stage of re-opening businesses and other favourite old gathering places to the public.

A month or so ago, it was word that Niagara was not quite ready to join a majority of other Ontario regions to move to Stage 2 of re-openings, which included opening the doors to shopping malls and hair salons. That lag in our entry to Stage 2 status was obviously disappointing to many businesses, the people who depend on them for employment and to many of the rest of us who frequent those businesses as customers. Continue reading

A Few of the Niagara Voices Speaking Out for Keeping That Canada/U.S. Border Closed

“I haven’t had another human face in my house since mid-March and did not go to all of that effort and sacrifice so people can come over the border from highly infected areas, disobey quarantine rules and party irresponsibly like I’ve seen in the US.” – Linda McKellar, Fort Erie, Ontario

You want to play fast and loose with a killer virus in the United States. They stay out of Canada.

“Canada’s infection rate has been, and continues to be, exceptionally low while the numbers in the U.S. are the highest in the world and growing exponentially rendering your country and the Trump administration the butt joke of the world sufficient to have Europe close its borders to the U.S.A.”                 – Carla Rienzo, Niagara Falls, Ontario

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher            Doug Draper

Posted July 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

America’s Trumpies may not give a damn about COVID-19, but for the sake of Canadian’s health, keep the border crossings closed.

This July 8th, I posted a news commentary I wrote on Niagara At Large, questioning the call by a number of border area U.S. Congressional representatives, including the good Congressman from the Buffalo, New York area, to draft a phased-in border opening plan for at least those Americans and Canadians on both sides who own property in the other country and have relatives they want or need to visit there.

While I sympathize with those who have property and relatives they want to visit or attend to on either side of the border – I have good friends in that position, myself – my conclusion was that due to world-record increases of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States, it would be reckless and dangerous for Canada to agree to re-open border crossings to anything but essential traffic now.

In response to my commentary I received the following comment from an American citizen who identified himself as Bob O. –

“Totally ridiculous article,” he said. “Completely clueless to what is really going on in the states. I have paid my property taxes for 68 years for my Canadian property. I don’t have coronavirus and have been very careful the entire time. There is absolutely no reason that I should not be able to access my remote property.”

It is a position that totally goes against almost everything I have heard from so many fellow Canadians on this side of the border, who look at the flaming COVID increases in the U.S. and the asinine way that Trump and his enablers are handling it and say; ‘No damn way to re-opening that border now or anytime soon. Continue reading

Ontario’s Niagara Parks to Join Municipalities in Virtual Canada Day Celebration

Canada Day the Niagara Way; kicks off at 11 a.m. on July 1

Country star and Niagara native Tim Hicks to headline event

Traditional Canada Day fireworks and celebration in Queen Victoria Park will not take place

An Invite to a Virtual Canada Day Celebration from the Niagara Parks Commission

Posted June 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario – Niagara Parks is proud to collaborate with Niagara’s 12 municipalities and the Niagara Region to hold &lsquo;Canada Day the Niagara Way;, a virtual celebration of Canada&rsquo;s 153rd birthday on July 1.

Katie FitzGerald will kick things off with the national anthem, along with signature Niagara-based entertainment Juliet Dunn, Avenue Inn of Niagara Falls, Spencer Burton of Pelham and Great Lake Swimmers of Wainfleet performing throughout the program. Continue reading

In a Time of Pandemic, Can We Still Have a Summer Where ‘The Livin’s Easy’?

Let’s Begin this Summer with a Collective Pledge to Chart a more healthy, prosperous future for ourselves and for generations to come

Let’s Stand Up for an Environment healthy enough to Fight Off Pandemics!

A Call-Out for a Summer we might re-image our way through to a Better Future by Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Posted June 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

This summer say Yes to places like Waverly Woods in Fort Erie, where this wonderful one lives, and to places like Thundering Waters Forest in the Niagara River watershed in Niagara Falls, and to other places like them in our region, and say ‘NO’ to the greedy developers and the political toadies among us who wish to destroy them for some bucks.

Hello again to everyone I am privileged enough to speak to each day through to this totally independent, online news and commentary site.

How are you doing in these post-apocalyptic times? I hope you are at least doing okay at a time when so many among us and around us have suffered sickness and loss of life in their families.

With strength and wisdom, we can collectively, as communities, see one of these darkest of times through to a better future. We can sweep aside those who have backed plans to destroy even more of what are left of our wetlands and woodlands and farmlands.

With strength and wisdom, we can work with political leaders in this Niagara Region and at the provincial and federal government levels who will chart a healthier, more prosperous future for our future and for the future of our children. Continue reading

Niagara College Community Unites to Celebrate Class of 2020

First virtual convocation ceremony draws more than 10,000 viewers from around the world

News from Niagara College in Niagara, Ontario

Posted June 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – June 15 was a day of many firsts at Niagara College – the first day of its first-ever Virtual Convocation ceremonies, to celebrate its first class of graduates who completed their studies remotely at a time in history like no other. But for 1,270 students who marked the special milestone from their homes, it was the first day of the rest of their lives.

Niagara College graduates zoom in for virtual convocation ceremonies from all over the world. Niagara College Community Unites to Celebrate Class of 2020

While they may not have been able to gather in person, the Niagara College community joined together online and in droves, from Niagara and around the world, to celebrate its graduating class of 2020. Continue reading

What Is West Lincoln Mayor David Bylsma Thinking?

And What An Embarrassment Bylsma Is To Our Niagara Region!

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

Posted June 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

West Lincoln Mayor and Niagara Regional Councillor David Bylsma

Less than two weeks ago today, Niagara’s Regional Chair Jim Bradley – in the wake of the horrific death of another African American that set off world-wide demonstrations against racism – did us all proud by beginning a meeting of the Region’s council with these words –

“First,” said Bradley, “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,” Niagara’s Regional Chair continued, “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. …

“As we all can recognize, we are not immune to the effects of racism in Canada.”

Apparently, we are not immune to racism on Niagara’s Regional Council either.

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

Are We On the Eve of Destruction?

Faced with a Killer Virus, Economic Meltdown, A Climate Emergency and Growing Strife in Cities South of the Border        – There Are Days When One Can’t Help But Wonder

A Brief One by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted June 3rd, 2020

“Any you tell me over and over and over again my friend, ah you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction.”

When ‘Eve Of Destruction’ first exploded onto the charts in the summer of 1965 – at a time when short of Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul & Mary and a few others, The Beatles and most of the other big-name artists were then still singing songs about falling in and out of love – it became an immediate soundtrack for a growing nightmare that was our concern, at the time, over a global nuclear war, a growing war in Vietnam, racial strife and an environmental crisis at the time that sparked the first Earth Day in 1970.

That song was written by a guy named P.F. Sloan, a popular songwriter at the time, but it was sung and made famous by Barry McGuire.

I remember Barry McGuire playing at a bar in Niagara, Ontario in the 1980s, and people who had devolved from being hippies and yippies, to the yuppies (young urban and suburban professionals) all about their careers and making money, making fun of him appearing here in a lowly bar and maybe singing that song at that point.

Barry McGuire had gone from having a blockbuster song that defined the times, to – ‘who cares about a song like that now.’

Speed forward to some  30 years later.

If anything, that song is as bang-on now as it was when it first hit the charts and some radio stations across North American actually banned it because, in their view, it was not in keeping with fanning the flames of mindless patriotism.

So here is ‘Eve Of Destruction’, with a rather contemporary video accompanying it, that you can hear by clicking on the screen below –

Thank You to Barry McGuire – now, believe it or not, more than 80 years old – for leaving us with this now so timely song.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

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

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

Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Expresses Solidarity with Black Community

Join BPO this Tuesday, June 2nd for its Next Archival Live Concert Broadcast on WNED Classical

A Message from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in Niagara’s neihbouring City of Buffalo,New York

Posted June 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Tonight – this Tuesday, June 2nd – on WNED Classical: your BPO plays Tckhaiovsky and Prokofiev

Join us tonight at 7pm for our next archival live concert broadcast on WNED Classical!

Tonight’s program features Tchaikovsky’s romantic Piano Concerto No. 2, featuring pianist Hye-Jin Kim; and Prokofiev’s powerful and life-affirming Symphony No. 5. This broadcast was originally recorded on September 29, 2018 as part of the M&T Bank Classics series.

The seats in Kleinhain’s Music Hall may be temporarily empty, but the BPO plays on.

These archived concert recordings will be available each Tuesday at 7pm for the next several weeks by tuning in to 94.5 FM, or by streaming at wned.org/classical (https://t.e2ma.net/click/akr36c/enoe5t/ef2r2l), via the WNED Classical mobile app, or by listening to WNED Classical on a smart device. 

CLICK TO LISTEN (https://t.e2ma.net/click/akr36c/enoe5t/u72r2l)

For more on the BPO and any future online or radio or TV broadcasting performances, click on  https://bpo.org/

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