Category Archives: Uncategorized

Ford Tories Rush Through Bill to Protect Their Corporate Pals from Liability in For-Profit Long-Term Care Home Industry

“To the families who are directly impacted: we feel your heartbreak and your anger. We promise to continue to do everything we can do to improve care, protect those who rely on our health care system for their care, and finally achieve some accountability and justice for all that has happened”                         – Natalie Mehra, Executive Director, Ontario Health Coalition

A Message from the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide citizens group advocating for quality public health care

Posted November 17th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Health Coalition Executive Director Natalie M

Dear all members and supporters,

The Ontario Legislature just voted on Bill 218, the law that indemnifies for-profit long-term care homes among other for liability for their negligence in the pandemic. The Ford government MPPs voted for Bill 218 and the NDP and Liberals voted against it. The Bill passed.

One of the Opposition Parties requested a recorded vote: the result was 52 ayes and 38 nays.

The NDP had brought an amendment earlier in the Standing Committee to carve out long-term care and retirement homes that the Conservative MPPs used their majority to vote down.

The message to the long-term care industry is that they will not be held legally liable for negligence and that they are not required even to act with the normal requirement which, prior to this law, would have required a reasonable and competent effort to protect residents from harm from COVID-19. Continue reading

Ford Tories Moving To Shield Ontario’s Private Long-Term Care Home Operators from Liability

Ontario Health Coalition Calls for Probe  Into Ford Government’s Alleged Financial Ties With For Profit Long-Term Care Industry

A News Release from the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide citizens advocacy group for quality public health care

Posted November 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

One last urgent push to try to stop Bill 218 that indemnifies for-profit LTC from liability for negligence in COVID-19

The Ontario Ford government’s Bill 218, which makes it more difficult to sue for-profit long-term care and retirement homes, is scheduled for Third (and final) Reading in the Legislature on Tuesday but late Friday we were advised that the matter may come on for a vote as early as Monday afternoon.

We are launching a complaint to the Integrity Commissioner to look into conflicts of interest between government MPPs who have received donations from the long-term care industry.

We are also asking that the Commissioner investigate an array of Ministers, the Premier and high-profile decision makers and advisors in the Ford government and their ties to the for-profit industry and their role in pushing this legislation that makes it harder for families who have lost loved ones to sue the long-term care homes owners. Continue reading

Trump Is U.S. History’s Biggest Loser

“For the next two months (though), this Biggest Loser will hold us all hostage. …His virus will kill countless thousands. His greed will further ravage an already devastated economy. His racism will more deeply poison our national spirit. His madness will pillage our mother Earth. His complete lack of morality, compassion, and empathy will forever cheapen our national spirit. His utter depravity will threaten us all with eco-nuclear extinction.”

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

Posted November 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

It’s over!!!

( … except for the next two months of residual rape and pillage.)

Donald Trump will not be re-inaugurated on January 20, 2021.

This could not have been said with certainty mere days ago. Our nation and the world have rightfully taken to dancing in the streets. We have dethroned a dictator for all to see.

For the rest of human history, the overthrow of Donald Trump can serve as a shining example of an angry public successfully disposing of a despicable tyrant. Continue reading

Changes To Ontario’s Conservation Authority Act Will Impact NPCA Watershed Protection Programs in Niagara

Provincial Changes To Conservation Authorities Act Will Impact NPCA Watershed Management Approach And Progress Made On Auditor General Recommendations

A Response from Chandra Sharma, CAO of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, to Plans by Ontario’s Ford Government to Gut & Scale the NPCA and 35 other Conservation Authorities across the Province like a Lake Trout

Posted November 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

NPCA CAO Chandra Sharma finally responds to Ford government’s plans to eviscerate Conservation Authorities. Is her response strong enough?

Niagara, Ontario – (The Ford government’s) Bill 229 contains new rules for Board appointments, changes to conservation authorities’ planning role and creation of new Ministerial powers

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

These changes will significantly compromise and in some cases, completely change the role of conservation authorities to protect Ontario’s environment and ensure people and property are safe from natural hazards.

“The recent COVID-19 pandemic brought home the critical need for investment in green infrastructure for the health and well being of our communities. We anticipate provincial support and amendments that enable us to carry on with this important work,” says Chandra Sharma, CAO/Secretary-Treasurer at Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA). Continue reading

Doug Ford’s “Lies” Push Ontario To Disaster – Ontario Liberal Party Leader

A Statement from Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

Posted November 13th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

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

It’s been revealed that (Ontario Premier) Doug Ford ignored advice from Public Health Ontario, lied to us and said his plan was backed by doctors. He betrayed all of us, and he needs to take a long look in the mirror and ask himself how Ontario could ever trust him again.

Ontario is headed towards disaster, with a staggering 6,000 daily COVID cases projected by December.

Doug Ford told us he was acting on the advice of doctors, but he lied and he cost lives.

Just a few weeks ago Doug Ford was bragging about the progress his government was making. Meanwhile, he was secretly loosening restrictions while top doctors were giving him dire warnings. Thousands are now dead, with 71 deaths in nursing homes this week alone. Continue reading

A Salute to Remembrance Day, Canada/Veterans Day, U.S.A. – 2020

“Where Have All The Flowers Gone?   Long Time Passing (and) When Will We Ever Learn”

Posted by Doug Draper on Niagara At Large
November 11th, 2020

Few songs have touched more movingly on the tragedy of war than this one, written by the late great American folksinger and activist Pete Seeger. Click on the screen below to listen and watch one of literally thousands of performances of ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone’ –

In 2018, in the last municipal  elections across Niagara , less than 50 per cent and in some cases, including St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland, less than 40 per cent of eligible voters actually bothered to vote.

That same year, in a provincial election that saw Doug Ford and his Tories win a majority number of seats – enough to allow him to run Ontario like a virtual dictator – the total voter turnout was about 57 per cent, with Ford’s Tories receiving only 40 per cent of those votes.

The First World War memorial in Welland, Ontario’s Chippawa Park. File Photo by Doug Draper

Wearing a poppy for a few days each November is nice, but it is far from enough.

And it is only empty tokenism if so few people in our municipalities and province do not participating in the democratic process.

That is no way to honour those who served and sacrificed in past wars, let alone those who are serving now.

We face many challenges in this greater Niagara Region, and in the provinces and states we live in on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

Please make a pledge to get more involved in your communities and in the democratic systems we are blessed with, thanks to those who fought and died for them.

Lest We Forget

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

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

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

Ford Government’s Changes to Conservation Authorities Act Trigger Red Flags for Conservation Ontario

“If nothing else, pandemic conditions this year have certainly reinforced how much we rely on a healthy environment for our own well-being. It’s important that conservation authorities are able to continue to protect our natural environment and ensure the safety of Ontario residents.”                                                             – Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario

A News Release from Conservation Ontario, the umbrella body for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and 35 other Conservation Authorities across the province

Posted November 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Kim Gavine, General Manager, Conservation Ontario

Conservation Ontario and the conservation authorities (CAs) are reviewing the Province’s changes to the Conservation Authorities Act (CA Act) which were released (this past November 5th) in the 2020 Ontario Budget.

“There are a number of changes that we feel could have significant impact on conservation authorities, and on their watershed management responsibilities,” said Kim Gavine, General Manager of Conservation Ontario (CO).

Conservation Ontario is the association which represents Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities. The CA Act has been under review by the Province since April 2019.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Environment, Parks and Conservation (MECP) hosted a series of five consultation meetings across the province with invited representatives primarily from municipalities, conservation authorities and agriculture, landowner and development sectors. Conservation Ontario was a presenter at these sessions. Continue reading

2020 Niagara Economic Summit Tackles Recovery And Rebuilding

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s summit will be held virtually over three separate sessions

First Panel –  including Niagara Regional Chair Jim  Bradley among panelists – scheduled for 0 a.m. this Tuesday, November 10th –  will address the current economic picture in Canada, in Ontario, and in Niagara

An Invite from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Posted November 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario –  2020 is the year that everything changed, and all the forecasts and models we had built had to be abandoned in the face of a global pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.

With the world still in the second wave of that pandemic and many facts about the way it has affected our economy still coming to light, the 2020 Summit assesses where we are now, how we got there, and where we can go as we turn our thoughts to recovery and the future.

The first panel, held at 10 a.m. on November 10, will address the current economic picture in Canada, Ontario, and Niagara, as well as examining the uneven impact of the pandemic across different industries and demographic groups. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Making Disastrous Changes to Province’s Conservation Act

Ford Moves to Strip Citizen Voices from NPCA & Other Conservation Authority Boards, and Weaken Conservation Authorities’ Voice in Development Proposals

A News Commentary by Liz Benneian, a citizen activist in Niagara, Ontario, and leading member of the citizen-based groups, A Better Niagara, Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara and Ontariogreen

Posted November 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Hidden in the Ford government’s budget bill(tabled this past November 5th) are changes to the Conservation Act that have special importance to the citizens of Niagara including that only elected Councillors can be appointed to the board.

In its ongoing war against environmental protection in Ontario, Ford government is moving to eviscerate our province’s Conservation Authorities, including the citizen voices on our Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board.

That’s what we had before the last municipal election. It didn’t work out so well. The same corrupt cabal that made a mess out of our Regional government, took over the Conservation Authority, got rid of a lot of experienced, qualified staff, hired their friends and turned the organization into a rubber stamp for the development industry.

That’s why Niagara’s citizens voted them out of office. That’s why there was a very critical Auditor General’s report on the NPCA (Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority).

That’s why citizens advocated to have some citizens appointed to the Conservation Authority’s board. And the newly elected municipal and Regional Council listened. 

Continue reading

‘Democracy Is Coming to the U.S.A.’ – the late Leonard Cohen

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

Posted November 9th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Leonard Cohen

Believe it or not, four years have now passed since one of Canada’s greatest gifts to the world – poet, songwriter, singer Leonard Cohen – passed away on November 7th, 2016 at age 82.

I was thinking of Leonard just days ago, as our American neighbours and the world were waiting and waiting for enough votes to be counted to declare Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the next president and vice-president of the United States.

And hallelujah, for the sake of the United States and the world, this past Saturday, November 7th, it happened – a day that will live in history as the beginning of the end of Trump’s reign of chaos and terror, and the most monstrous presidency in close to two and a half centuries of American history. Continue reading

Canada’s Prime Minister Congratulates Joe Biden On U.S. Presidential Election Win

Then Vice-President Joe Biden with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, during better days for Canada-U.S. relations during a visit to Ottawa in 2018

A Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the result of the U.S. presidential election

Posted November 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I congratulate Joe Biden and Kamala  Harris on their election as the next President and Vice President of the United  States of America.

“Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship – one that is  unique on the world stage. Our shared geography, common interests, deep personal connections, and strong economic ties make us close friends, partners, and  allies.

“We will further build on this foundation as we continue to keep our  people safe and healthy from the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and  work to advance peace and inclusion, economic prosperity, and climate action  around the world. Continue reading

Ford Government Continues to Give Bum’s Rush to Renewable Energy

Ford’s Budget Offers Billion-Dollar Subsidies to  Energy Pigs

A News Release from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Posted November 7th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

**You’re now helping to pay the electricity bills of Ontario’s biggest companies**

Why in hell would this Trump-like clown care about energy conservation and reneable energy in the middle of a globla climate emergency

This past week, the Ontario government unveiled whopping new subsidies for large electricity consumers. Taxpayers will now be shelling out $6.2 billion a year to lower electricity rates for businesses and consumers.

This subsidy is more than double what the previous government introduced, which Doug Ford said at the time was “the wrong thing to do.”

The Ford government’s new $6.2 billion subsidy will be responsible for 16% of Ontario’s $38.5 billion provincial deficit in 2020-21. Despite these massive subsidies for electricity consumption, residential electricity rates rose by 2% at the beginning of this month to help pay for the re-building OPG’s and Bruce Power’s aging nuclear reactors.

And get ready for more increases: According to OPG, its price for nuclear energy must rise by 74% by 2025 to pay for the Darlington Re-Build; Bruce Power’s price of nuclear energy could rise by an additional 57% to pay for the re-building of six of its reactors. Continue reading

Here’s Praying Trump’s Reign of Terror on Earth’s Climate is Almost Over

Trump Administration Officially Cuts U.S. Out of Paris Climate Agreement

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!”                                                                                  – U.S. President Donald Trump, on December 28th, 2017, in one of the self-described “stable genius’s” all-too-many bundles of wisdom to his tens-of-millions of followers on Twitter.

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

Posted November 5th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

We were warned, weren’t we?

Everyone from successful New York City business executives who could see through Trump many years ago, when he was a con man firing everyone from Meat Loaf to Gary Busey on his reality TV show ‘The Apprentice’, to his estranged niece Mary Trump, a Ph.D psychologist and author of the best-selling book: ‘Too Much and Never; How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man’, have warned that if this self-serving wing nut sees himself going down, he may try to take everyone and everything down with him.

So why not begin – just one day after this November 3rd’ss U.S. election that hopefully means the end of his dangerous and destructive presidency – by following through on his years-old pledge to pull the United States out of a 2016 Paris Climate Agreement signed by more than 190 nations around the world, including Canada. Continue reading

Make Pandemic Pay Permanent for Ontario’s Frontline Workers

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates is standing up for the workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 whose pandemic pay was ripped away

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

Posted November 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Front-line employees continue to work and risk their well-being in grocery chains like this, owned by the billionaire Weston family, which has been among those making record or near record profits during this pandemic. File photo by Doug Draper

QUEEN’S PARK, Ontario  – NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) is standing up for the workers on the frontlines of COVID-19 whose pandemic pay was ripped away while they are still putting their lives on the line every day.

“The major companies, like Loblaws, that employ frontline workers called them heroes and raised their pay. However, once the cameras were off – these companies ripped away the pay increases. They make record profits while workers carry on under the same low wage conditions,” says Gates.

Continue reading

American Filmmaker, Activist Michael Moore On Nail-Biting U.S. Election

“Sadly, as to why our fellow Americans did not repudiate Trump yesterday in a massive way, as to why nearly 70 million Americans still embrace a bigot and a psychopath — well, we must have that discussion soon as to who we REALLY are.”          – Michael Moore

American filmmaker and poltical activist Michael Moore

A Commentary by American filmmaker, author and political activist Michael         Moore, from Michael Moore’s Facebook Page

Posted November 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

THERE IS NO CRYING IN TRUMP REMOVAL!

I am writing this at 7:45am on Nov 4 and here’s how I see it. First, I just slept like a baby in my chair with the TV blaring. For 3 hours.

That’s cause I dozed off at 4:30am knowing this: Millions of ballots — all of them from early and mail-in voting which the majority of Democrats did — had not been counted! In Pennsylvania, I knew that the majority of those 2.2 MILLION uncounted ballots were from registered Democrats.

When I fell asleep, the map of Michigan showed Flint as red! Hahaha!!

And here’s the bottom line:

Continue reading

Niagara Region Taking ‘Big Steps’ To Address Homelessness

“By knowing who is experiencing chronic homelessness we are able to better provide programs and supports for people in need.” ~ Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted November 4th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region is taking a big step toward addressing the issue of homelessness locally.

Built for Zero Canada, a national campaign to work toward an end to long-term, complex homelessness, has recognized Niagara Region for meeting all the requirements needed to achieve a Quality By-Name List. A By-Name List provides up-to-date information on people experiencing homelessness across the region.

This list provides data on clients to support coordinated access to housing resources available through providers in Niagara’s Homeless-Serving System, as well as system-level information such as the number of people actively experiencing chronic homelessness. Continue reading

Do It America. For The Sake of Your Country & the World – FIRE TRUMP!

Today is the Day to Vote this Monster Out

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted on November 3rd, 2020, Election Day in the United States

The danger that Trump poses and the carnage that he has already wrought – not only on the health and welfare of people in his own country, but to the world – is, without a word of hyperbole, heart-wrenching and mind-blowing.

From the dishevelling of democratic institutions, the overturning of truth, the total disregard for facts and science,  and the assault on fundamental human justice and decency, to the dismantling of environmental programs in ways that could harm property and lives on this planet for generations to come, the day of reckoning for this morally bankrupt con man and his legions of cultists and enablers – a day that should mark the beginning of the end of Trump’s reign of chaos, suffering, death and terror – may, at long last, be here.

It is Election Day in America and let’s hope and pray that enough of our American friends and neighbours do the right thing, and purge this monster and his crime family from our collective lives. Continue reading

Celebrating National Living Wage Week and All Those Who Believe In One in Canada

“A living wage reflects what earners in a family need to be paid based on the actual costs of living and being included in a specific community.”                                                                                                 – Aidan Johnson, Chair of the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network

A News Release from the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network

Posted November 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Poverty Reduction Network is celebrating National Living Wage Week from November 2-8.

As a result of the many on-going challenges related to COVID-19 the Ontario Living Wage Network has announced that all new or updated Living Wage calculations across municipalities and regions in Ontario will be suspended for 2020.

This means that the 2019 Niagara region Living Wage calculation of $18.12/hour will remain in effect until further notice. The 2019 Cost of Living and Living Wage calculations and reports can be found on the Niagara Poverty Reduction Network’s website www.wipeoutpoverty.ca Continue reading

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