Category Archives: Uncategorized

Niagara Centre MPP Responds To News That The Port Colborne Urgent Care Centre Will

Jeff Burch Demands Urgent Health Care Funding And Hiring As Port Colborne Urgent Care Is Forced To Lock Its Doors Due To Staff Shortages

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

Posted Octobe r6th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch

PORT COLBORNE, Ontario — MPP for Niagara Centre, Jeff Burch, released the following statement in response to news that the Port Colborne Urgent Care centre will be forced to temporarily close this weekend due to ongoing staff shortages:

“It’s appalling to think that a senior or a child needing critical care this weekend may have to travel long distances or be forced to delay treatment because their closest urgent care centre is closed.

Niagara Health and its incredible workers have continued to go above and beyond during the difficult past few years, pushing themselves past the point of burn-out to maintain the services the Ford government refuses to adequately invest in. Ford’s wage-capping bill continues to crush our hospitals by driving nurses and other health professional away. Continue reading


Niagara’s South End Hit With “Temporary Closure” of Urgent Care Services

Here is Why Niagara’s South End is Not a Good Place for Older People with Health Conditions to Live

A Brief Comment from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by a News Release from Niagara Health

Posted October 6th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

From Doug Draper –

Gee. What sign does the Niagara Health System put up at the old Port Colborne hospital now?- one for urgent care services or emergency drop-offs only? Because thanks to NHS planning, it sure wasn’t a fully functioning hospital any more. file photo by Doug Draper

Medical service shortages in Niagara, Ontario’s southern tier – however “temporary” or longer term – could prove to be catastropic for any of us who may need them in a life-threatening situation now.

And in Niagara, they could have been predicted more than a decade ago when the then Niagara Health System, under the awful leadership of then CEO Debbie Sevenpifer and then NHS board leaders like Betty Lou Souter – stubbornly pushed ahead with plans to build a new super-hospital for Niagara in the region’s north end rather than somewhere in the centre of our region where everyone would have more equal access to it. Continue reading

Niagara Parks to Host Community Tree Planting Day at the Niagara Glen

An Invite from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

Posted October  6th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Overlooking the Niagara Glen area on the Ontario side of the Lower Niagara River, photo courtesy of Niagara Parks Commission

  *   Community tree planting event returns to the Niagara Glen on Saturyday, October 15

  *   Over 100 native trees to be planted, with support of the Niagara Parks Foundation

  *   Registration available now at<>.

Niagara Falls, Ontario – In partnership with the Niagara Parks Foundation, Niagara Parks will host its annual Community Tree Planting Day at the Niagara Glen Nature Centre on Saturday, October 15, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Hiking down the Niagara Glen to the rushing waters of the lower Niagara River. Photo courtesy of Niagara Farks Commission

Made possible thanks to the generous donations received through the Niagara Parks Foundation, over 100 native trees will be planted during this initiative, which provides a fun and meaningful opportunity to directly support the critical reforestation of this rare Carolinian forest canopy located along the Niagara River corridor. As cooler weather arrives and vibrant fall colours are revealed across the Niagara Gorge, conditions are now ideal for fall planting. Continue reading

Sixty Years Ago Today – The Release of The Beatles’ First Big Single “Love Me Do”

Love Me Do’s release planted the first seed. It was the First Shot of a ‘British Invasion” that launched a music revolution around the world

A Brief One from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted October 5th, 2022

It was October 5th, 1962 – John Diefenbaker was Canada’s Prime Minister, John F. Kennedy was President of the United States, and members of the Baby Boomer generation were playing with hula-hoops and  learning how to do a dance calle “the Twist” – and a song was released out of Abbey Road Studios in in London, England, on a British label called Parlophone, by a group from Liverpool that was just beginning to catch fire across the whole of their home country.

The song was called ‘Love Me Do’ and the group was called The Beatles, that would go on through 1963 releasing songs that would become even bigger hits in their homeland, including ‘Please, Please Me’, ‘From Me To You’ and ‘She Love You’ until the very early days of 1964 when ‘Beatlemania’ crashed the shores of North America with the group’s legendary appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and their first hit single on radio stations across  Canada and the United States – ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ with the equally popular ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ on the flip side. Continue reading

Slamming Iran for ‘Unlawful and Horrific’ Shoot Down – A Thousand Days Ago – of a Jet Loaded With Canadian Passengers

“Today, the (current Iranian) regime continues to crack down on courageous Iranian women protesting the tragic killing of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s so-called ‘morality police.”                      – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Statement from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau

Posted October 4th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this October 4th, 2022) issued the following statement on the 1,000th day since the egregious downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752:

“One thousand days ago today, the Iranian regime unlawfully and horrifically shot down passenger Flight PS752, cutting short the lives of the 176 innocent people on board – including 55 Canadians, 30 permanent residents, and a total of 138 people en route to Canada.

The Canadian victims of a commercial airflight ruthlessly shot down by the tyrants in charge of an Iran Canada should fully sanction from our lives

They were mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, educators, and students – and most of all, they were loved. Continue reading

Trudeau Government Continues Allowing Canada’s Largest Corporations to Pay Less and Less Taxes Than the Rest of Us – . AND WHY?

$30 billion in public revenue lost as corporate tax avoidance doubles in 2021

News from Canadians for Tax Fairness, a non-profit, citizen-based advocacy group for fair taxation for all

Posted October 4th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

It seems to be all who has the most money and power with this guy and his Liberal minions.

(A Brief Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – When Justin Trudeau and his cabal of federal Liberal Party candidates first ran against the then-Conservative Harper government in the mid 2010s, they suggested that if they formed the next government, which they did, they would do something to make taxation fairer for all of us. And that included making the richest among us pay their fair share,

That has clearly turned out to be another shovel load of bullshit the federal Liberals has dumped on everyday, hard-working Canadian people. For more, read the following from Canadians for Tax Fairness.)

The Trudeau’s tax dodgers keep getting away wiith more and more, and to hell with the rest of us

Ottawa, Ontario  – Federal Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier (the revenue minister for Canada’s Trudeau government) needs to be transparent with Canadians about how governments lost over $30 billion in revenue last year due to an unexplained doubling in corporate tax avoidance, says Canadians for Tax Fairness.

The average corporate tax avoidance in the three years before the pandemic was $13.5 billion. Continue reading

The Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival is BACK… TO NORMAL

The annual family tradition returns to Ball’s Falls better than ever!

An Invite to All from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted October 4th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

More than 150 unique artisans, crafters, local farmers, and talented musicians from across the country will once again descend upon Ball’s Falls Conservation Area for the 48th Annual Ball’s Falls Thanksgiving Festival, Oct. 7-10.

Guests will engage in this longstanding familiar Niagara tradition. In addition to shopping for arts, crafts, and wares, visitors they enjoy the incredible beauty and scenery within the majestic Niagara Escarpment and Twenty Valley Creek ecosystem. Take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Thanksgiving Festival and explore the colourful forested trails. Continue reading

Keep Nature Front and Centre When You Vote in Municipal Elections this October 24th

Vote For Only Those Candidates Who Promise to Protect and Preserve What is Left of our Precious, Life-Sustaining Natural Heritage

A Message from Ontario Nature, a group dedicated to advocating for healthy natural places in Ontario

Posted October 3rd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

On October 24th, Ontarians will return to the polls to vote for their municipal leaders. The mayors and councilors elected will play a vital role ensuring a healthy, sustainable future for our communities.

We can no longer afford to elect municipal council representatives who leave precious places like this, one of the many provincially significant wetlands in the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls, Ontario, up for grabs to the greediest of land speculators anddevelopers. File photo by Lori Monroe

Please keep nature, farmland and climate change top of mind when you cast your ballot. Here’s why: Continue reading

Honouring ‘Habitat for Humanity Day’ in Niagara, Ontario

Safe, Affordable Housing for All of Us Should Be a Human Right

A Foreword by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large followed by a Message from Habitat for Humanity Niagara’s CEO, Mark Carl

Posted October 3rd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Dick Halverson, who was a passionate advocate for affordable housing a a founder of the Habitat for Humanity program here in Niagara, Ontario

Foreword by Doug Draper – Sometime around 25 or more years ago, when I was still working as a reporter for the once-proud St. Catharines Standard, when the Burgoyne family still owned it and before it was gutted by the corporate chain pirates who have been gutting the paper ever since, I was asked by my editors if I would like to join a new body called Habitat for Humanity Niagara in building a home in Welland for a young family in need, then write about it.

I had already herd of Habitat Humanity, a group championed in the United States by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, so I jumped at the chance. Continue reading

Good Riddance to Trudeau’s AriveCAN APP as a Badass and Very Costly Canada/U.S. Border-Crossing Blocker

Starting this October 1st, Trudeau’s Liberal Government  Has Finally Stopped Making Arrive Can APP Mandatory at our Border Bridges

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins has spent many months urging federal governments on both sides to ease border-crossing restrictions.

“It has been two and a half long years of border restrictions between the United States and Canada. The extended measures have kept loved ones apart and kept border communities from reaching full economic recovery. The end of restrictions is overdue. Canada’s decision is the right one.”                                               – Brian Higgins, U.S. Congressman (Democrat) for the Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York area

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

Posted October 2nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Traffic crossing the Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York in the years before the pandemic.

So here we finally are – longtime friends and neighbours in Canada and the United States  – finally able to cross border bridges to the Canadian side  without being blocked over a failure to fill out or properly fill out and download that glitch-riddled online ArriveCAN form.

It was and still is an online app (for those who know what an app is a still want to fill it out)  that, for more than a year and up to this September 40th, border crossers had no choice but to fill out and show to Canadian border security officers, preferably on a smart phone that some of don’t have a don’t want. It was either that or face the very real possibility of not being allowed to cross, or to being ordered what many of us took to calling “house arrest” – quarantine in our homes for 14 days even if we were fully vaccinated and COVID free – and face the threat of paying a heavy fine or even serving some jail time if we were caught breaking the quarantine order. Continue reading

Reaching Out for Peace and Justice for All on Canada’s Second Annual  National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Posted by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large on September 30th, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

On this second year of Canada observing a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, I am posting a classic old song by one of my favourite people, singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie – a song that got her in trouble with a whole bunch of pre-Trump, right-wing extremists in the United States back in the early 1960s.

As blacklisted as she was by these fascists, she has outlasted them and was here in Niagara, Ontario, performing in concert at the OntarioFirst Performing Arts Center in St. Catharines just this past September at a celebration for indigenous peoples.

To watch her perform the song at another recent concert, click on the screen below –

Here is a  Statement from the Town of Lincoln Honouring National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Lincoln, ON – (September 30, 2022)  – Today is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ( .

On this day, we encourage everyone to wear orange to remember the children who never returned home from residential school and to honour the Survivors and their communities. Continue reading

Niagara Falls to be Illuminated in Orange for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

This Friday, September 30th, 2022

A News Release from the Niagara Parks Commission in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 29th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

When the Horseshoe Falls in Niagara was lit up in orange last year in honour of the Indigenous children who lived and died at Canada’s residential schools

Niagara Falls, Ontario –The Niagara Falls Illumination Board will be illuminating Niagara Falls in orange on the evening of September 30, 2022, in honour of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Niagara Falls will shine a bright shade of orange for 15 minutes every hour, at the top of the hour, throughout the evening, beginning at 8 p.m.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was established to commemorate the tragic history and ongoing legacy of the residential schools system in Canada. Continue reading

Ford Government Plan to Extend Life of Nuclear Plant Invites an Energy Disaster for Ontario

“Extending the life of a nuclear station that has long exceeded its engineering life span. …The Pickering Station (along the northern shores of Lake Ontario)  has a long history of serious accidents.”

A Message from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a citizens advocacy group for clean, renewable energy

Posted September 29th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Thanks to its absolute refusal to consider much  lower cost [] renewable sources and energy efficiency, the Ford government has landed on the idea of once again dragging out the life of the old and unsafe Pickering Nuclear Station.

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance, of which Angela Bischoff is a part of, is calling on Ontario Power Generation to invest in a safer interim storage solution for Ontario’s nuclear waste. Meanwhile, the Alliance has been oppositing any extension of the life of nuclear power facilities like this aging Pickering station along the norther shores of Lake Ontario.

This terrible idea is where you end up if you ignore  better alternatives [], like rapidly expanding use of much lower cost solar and wind, getting back to promoting ultra low-cost energy efficiency to lower bills while saving power, and cooperating with your energy rich neighbours in Quebec. Continue reading

Greater Niagara Chamber Applauds Federal Government Decision to Remove Restrictions at Canadian Border

“The ArriveCAN app has caused huge slowdowns at the border.”

A News Release from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce inNiagara, Ontario

Posted September 28th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Greater Niagara Chamber of Coimmerce CEo Mishka Balsom

Niagara, Ontario  – The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) has welcomed the Government of Canada’s recent decision to ease Canadian border crossings and promote tourism and trade by lifting the requirement for the COVID-19 vaccine and making the ArriveCAN app optional.

“The ArriveCAN app has caused huge slowdowns at the border and been a deterrent to tourist traffic,” said Mishka Balsom, CEO of the GNCC.

“We were one of many voices, including chambers of commerce, tourism associations, bridge commissions, and labour organizations, asking for these to be relaxed. The Government of Canada has shown flexibility and responsiveness in its decision.” Continue reading

Ontario Environment Ministry Suddenly Cancels Meeting With St. Catharines Council Over Contamination Concerns at Former GM Property

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

“This is incredibly disappointing and frustrating.    It’s the responsibility of the MECP (Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks) to work with owners of former industrial sites to monitor remediation work. It’s the responsibility of the MECP to provide updates to ensure any issues that might have an impact on surrounding neighbourhoods and watercourses are being addressed.”    – St. Catharines Mayor Water Sendzik

A Statement from St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik on

Environment Ministry ancelling appearance at City Council

Posted September 28th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – With just more than 24 hours before the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks was set to present updated results (at a council meeting this September 28th) of its monitoring of 282-285 Ontario Street in St. Catharines to City Council (a former General Motors plant site where a developer is now proposing to build high-density housing), MECP staff have notified the City they will not be attending the meeting.

More than a decade ago, General Motors abandoned its former plant property in St. Cathaines/Niagara, leaving the site in a filthy state andleaving area residents to worry about possible toxic contaminants like asbestos, heavy metals and PCBs being left behind. Residents are still waiting for answers from Ontario’s Environment Minister. File photo of site.

“This is incredibly disappointing and frustrating,” said St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik. “This meeting to update Council was set a month ago. To be cancelled at the last minute is unacceptable.” Continue reading

A Correction on This Trainwreck of a Great Lakes Public Forum in Niagara Falls, Ontario

A Message from Doug Draper, based on a Request (Posted Immediately Below) for a Correction from the Canada/U.S. International Joint Commission

Posted September 28th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The three-day Forum (on the Great Lakes in Niagara Falls, Ontario) is not an IJC event. It is hosted and managed by Environment and Climate Change Canada in partnership with US Environmental Protection Agency. The IJC is a participating organization but has no influence over how the Forum is operated.

The IJC is hosting our own event this evening at the Niagara Falls Convention center that is in person and hybrid you can register at You can join by zoom at

(A Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large- There was ample reason to believe that this three dday event, running Niagara Falls, Ontario from Sept/27th thru Sept. 29th, was an International Joint Commission event given all of the promo around the 50th anniversary signing of the Canada-U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, etc.

Nevertheless, sorry for any role that NAL played in  unintentionally misleading readers on what this event is and what bodies are hosting it. – Doug Draper, NAL)

NAGARA 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


St. Catharines MPP Responds to Workers Injured in THK Chemical Incident

A Statement from St. Catharines NDP MPP Jennie Stevens

Posted September 27th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

ST CATHARINES, Ontario – NDP MPP Jennie Stevens (St. Catharines) released the following statement in response to the news that 22 workers were sent to hospital after a hazardous materials incident at THK Rhythm Automotive Plant:

“My thoughts and prayers are with the workers who were impacted today, and all of their families. This must have been a frightening incident for everyone involved, and I am thankful for the first responders and health care workers who were able to quickly receive and care for so many patients. I am wishing a fast and full recovery to all of those impacted.

“Today my focus is on the workers and their families.

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

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

Niagara At Large Will Not Be Covering International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Forum in Niagara Falls

IJC Makes It Virtually Impossible to Follow It’s Three Day So-Called ‘Public Forum’ in Niagara Falls, Ontario Online

So Much for he IJC as a Voice for our Great Lakes. Time to Move On To Something New and More Progressive

If the IJC is Saying To Hell with Us, Then Maybe We Should Say To Hell With It!

By Doug Draper, Veteran environment writer and reporter in the Great Lakes region

Posted September 27th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The IJC many not care, but toxic algae making a deadly comeback in Lake Erie. Untreated runoff of contamination from farmlands and urban areas are major sources

The Canada/U.S. International Joint Commissions so-called , three day “public forum” on our Great Lakes this September 27th thru September 29th was billed as an opportunity for members of the public in the Great Lakes region to express their concerns about the health of these precious waterbodies.

But then this Commission turned around and holds this meeting at a Fallsview Hotel near the Rainbow Bridge and Clifton Hill  where parking cost are ridiculous for many of us residents, and they offer a virtual or online venue to this forum, through zoom, that is virtually impossible to navigate, compared to similar livestream or zoom meetings at, for example, the municipal government level. Continue reading

Speak Out for Your Great Lake

Join the Conversation when the Canada/U.S International Joint Commission hosts a Three-Day ‘Listening Session’ in Niagara Falls, Ontario Tuesday, Sept. 27th thru Thursday Sept. 29th

A Call-Out from the, Great Lakes Ecoregion Network, a Canada-based citizens organization of citizens from across the Great Lakes Basin

Posted September 23rd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Great Lakes Ecoregion Network (GLEN) invites you to help protect your Great Lake! GLEN is a binational group of dedicated advocates (see: working to strengthen the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) and increase public/community engagement in government policies focusing on Great Lakes water quality.

Please add your voice to help protect the Great Lakes and the communities that rely on them.

Continue reading

Animal Activist Phil Demers and Smooshi the Walrus Reach Settlement with Marineland on Long, Costly Lawsuit

“It has been a long decade,” says former Marineland trainer of the lawsuit the Niagara Falls, Ontario amusement park filed against him

A News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted September 22nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Former Marineland trainer Phil Demers and advocate for Smooshi the Walrus and other animals in  captivity

Niagara, Ontario – At long last, we have some good news to report about former Marineland trainer Phil Demers and a walrus he befriended and has fought so hard to save from what he has always considered to be unsuitable conditions for marine mammals at the 61-year-old Niagara Falls, Ontario amusement park.

In a statement Marineland released this September 21st, park officials said a nine-year-old, $1.5 million lawsuit it slapped on Demers, at least in part for his role in alleging substandard conditions for mammals at the park, “has been resolved amicably.”

More importantly to Demers, the  resolution includes an agreement that Smooshi, the walrus he has become so associated with in a 2020, award-winning documentary film called “The Walrus and the Whistleblower”, and the walruses 18-month-old offspring, will, according to the Marineland statement, will be “rehoused” in a facility elsewhere “as soon as reasonably possible.” Continue reading

Buffalo-Area Congressman  Wants Both Canada and U.S. to Return to Pre-Pandemic Border Management

With Action Expected by Canadian Government to Lift COVID Border Restrictions, Congressman Brian Higgins Calls on the U.S. to Reciprocate

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

Posted September 21st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins has spent many months urging federal governments on both sides to ease border-crossing restrictions.

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), Co-Chair of the Canada-US Interparliamentary Group and the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, is calling on the United States to end COVID-related restrictions at the U.S. border with Canada.

Higgins, who has long called for a return to pre-pandemic border management, is making a new push for U.S. action following multiple published reports citing sources within the Canadian Government who are saying Canada will not extend border restrictions set to expire on September 30, 2022.

In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security<> (DHS) Secretary, Higgins writes, “The time is long overdue for the United States to cease its own COVID-19- related restrictions on our northern border.” Continue reading

Don’t Let Conservative Party Push to Privatize Health Services Gut Canada’s World-Renown Medicare System

“Health care is being attacked through politics—in Ontario, Doug Ford has been championing “innovative channels” and “alternate health facilities” for months. He hasn’t spelled out what he means by this—this could mean diverting our tax dollars—and eventually our savings—into for-profit companies.”

An Urgent Message from Broadbent Institute founder and Canada’s former federal NDP leader Ed Broadbent

Posted September 20th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Ed Broadbent

Sixty years ago this summer, Canadians fought and won the campaign for medicare.

It wasn’t a given, and that’s still the case.

Opponents have spent decades trying to dismantle what we achieved together. And now, they’re treating our emergency room crisis as an opportunity to advance their cause.

Conservative think tanks and lobbyists are weaponizing the Emergency Room crisis across the country to push their agenda to privatize and undermine medicare. We need to act together to defend our public healthcare system before it’s too late. Continue reading

You Are Invited to a ‘Reawakening All Our Relations’ Event At Ball’s Falls

‘Set within the beautiful landscape of the Niagara Escarpment and Carolinian, guests can choose from several different program offerings over the weekend – Friday, Sept 23rd thru Sunday, Sept. 25th – that bring them closer to their roots, while reflecting on Indigenous histories, knowledges and futures in Niagara’

News from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted September 20th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Niagara Folk Arts, and Kakekalanicks Consulting have partnered on a unique and specially programmed weekend to engage in learning and reflection, sport and guided walks in nature, presented by local Indigenous artists, storytellers and knowledge keepers. Continue reading

Funeral For A Queen

Posted by Doug Draper onNiagara At Large

On the Day of Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral, Monday, September 19th, 2022

“Everyone is our neighbor, no matter what race, creed or colour.” – Queen Elizabeth II.

“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lied down and accept defeat. Instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.” – Queen Elizabeth II.

A Brief Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – For those of us who have followed so much of the commentary around the death of Queen Elizabeth II after 70 years on the British throne, so much of the mourning, I think, has been driven by  the death of one of the very major figures from a “greatest generation” with a line back to so much of the history of the 20th Century, from the Second World War, through the Cold War and yes, believe it or not, The Beatles and a 1960s “British Invasion”  of music and culture that ccontinued to have an impact on western culture for decades to come.

She was one of the last living embodiments of that history, and with her death we are now left with more ugly times with Twitter, Facebook, Trump and, here in Canada, with so-called “freedom rallies” and Fxxk Trudeau flags and too many political leaders who have not got the guts to offer inspring leadership, and with growing homelessness and climate crisis that may very well finish us off because we seem too stubborn and greedy to make the changes we need to make to provide our communities with affordable housing and to save this planet for humans and other species living on it.

Here is Elton John, who was knighted by the Queen, performing his Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding epic, which seems appropriate for this moment in time.  –

Niagara At Large will be back later this week.

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


Our Municipalities Have to Build Housing Up – Not Sprawl Out!

Environmental Defence Urges Municipal Candidates to Protect Ontario’s Environment by Building A Lot More Homes in Existing Neighbourhoods

This October, it will be up to municipal election voters across Niagara – That Means It Will Be Up to Each and Ever One of US Who Have a Vote –  to protect and preserve Ontario’s environment

A News Release from Environmental Defence, a Canada-wide citizen advocacy group for a healthy economy and environment

Posted September 15th,2022 on Niagara At Large

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – This October, it will be up to municipal election voters to protect Ontario’s environment.

Environmental Defence says quickly building a lot more homes within the province’s existing post-WWII suburbs is the top priority, and today released its first two Environmental Platforms. They cover Toronto and 905 municipalities, and are designed as the environmental litmus tests for municipal candidates and voters in those elections.

We either intensify growth as communities, and build up, or continue sprawling out and destroying more of what is left of our precious green places

Municipal and regional governments – including those like Toronto without “white belt” farmland and forests of their own – must fight climate change and prevent the loss of farmland and natural areas to sprawl by directing the province’s new homes and workplaces to their existing “single detached” neighbourhoods instead. Continue reading

Ford Government Confirms “Cruel Scheme” To Bill Hundreds A Day, Send Seniors Hours Away

Ontario’s NDP Responds To Disturbing New Details Of Legislation Forcing People Into Long-Term Care

Posted September 15th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Where to next for this Ontario senior? It looks like ‘Big Brother’ at Queen’s Park will decide.

QUEEN’S PARK — On Wednesday (September 14th. 2022)  the Doug Ford government confirmed Bill 7 will force people into long-term care homes they didn’t choose as far as 150 kilometres away, and require hospitals to charge families $400 a day if a senior doesn’t want to move there.

NDP Health Care critic France Gélinas and NDP Long-Term Care critic (Niagara Falls MPP) Wayne Gates released the following statement in response: Continue reading

Ontario Ombudsman Closes File On Contentious, Al Caslin-Led 2016 CAO Hiring In Niagara

Files Closed After All Recommendations In Ombudsman’s Report On Hiring Scandal Enacted

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

“While the 2016 CAO hiring process, and the resulting fallout, will long be remembered as stain on the Region’s reputation, this term of council made it a top priority to take immediate action on this matter. As a team, we implemented all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, ensuring we took every step necessary to prevent this type of controversy from occurring again.”                                                   – Jim Bradley, Niagara Regional Chair

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted September 14th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

(A Brief Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

The brutish, totalitiarian-drenched rule of former Niagara regional chair Al Caslin and his shameless cabal of sycophants, making up the wretched majority on his council – haunting the lives of Niagara residents and belittled and even harassed those residents who dared to question Caslin’s cabal between 2014 and 2018 – was, without question, the darkest time in this regional government’s 52 year history.

Like two pees in a pod, a file photo of former Niagara regional chair Al Caslin, left, and his favouried CAO Carmen D’Angelo

One hopes that we will never see anything like this rancid period that, as was said this week by the current Regional Chair Jim Bradley, who has done so much through is honourable presence, to turn this around, we will never have to live thourgh this “stain on the Region’s reputation” again. Continue reading

You Are Invited to Join a ‘Beyond The Falls Bus Tour’ – Monday, Sept. 26th

Discover Nature, Culture and Science of the Niagara River

An Invite from Reps for the Niagara Remedial Action Plan and Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted September 14th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Join us on Monday, September 26, 2022 (1 pm – 5 pm) for a unique journey to learn about the incredible cultural heritage, natural history, and science of the Niagara River.

Attendees will travel by bus from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake stopping at key locations along the Niagara River to learn about local Indigenous culture, natural features and biodiversity, Great Lakes monitoring programs, the power of the Niagara River, and partnerships to improve water quality and habitat conditions of the river. From centuries past to today’s realities, there is more to the Niagara River than just the Falls! Continue reading

IJC Coming to Niagara to Hear Your Concerns on Great Lakes Issues


International Joint Commission Seeks Public Feedback on Canadian, US Governments’ Actions to Achieve Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement Objectives

A News Release from the Canada/U.S. International Joint Commission, the binational watchdog agency on our shaired boundary waters

Posted September 13th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Today (this September 13th, 2022), the International Joint Commission (IJC) launches its efforts to gather public feedback on the Canadian and United States governments’ latest actions to protect, restore and enhance Great Lakes water quality.


The IJC is collecting public input through virtual and in-person engagement activities, an online survey and written submissions until December 23, 2022.

As part of its responsibilities to assess the governments’ progress toward fulfilling the objectives of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, the IJC considers public input on the Canadian and US governments’ 2022 Progress Report of the Parties (PROP).

Virtual and In-Person Engagement Activities

The IJC is gathering comments at in-person events and virtually through an online survey, written submissions and a webinar series.

Toxic algae making a deadly comeback in Lake Erie. Untreated runoff of contamination from farmlands and urban areas are major sources

The IJC will facilitate two in-person sessions during the Canadian and US governments’ 2022 Great Lakes Public Forum in Niagara Falls, Ontario, from September 27 to 29, 2022. Registration is free and open to the public. In conjunction with the forum, the IJC is also hosting a free, hybrid (in-person and virtual) public meeting the evening of September 28, 2022, at the Niagara Falls Convention Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. 

The IJC will also host workshops at conferences including the Great Lakes Coastal Symposium and the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society Great Lakes Regional Conference

In the fall, the IJC will host virtual opportunities to provide feedback with a series of webinars, one for each of the five Great Lakes, a virtual business roundtable in conjunction with the binational Council for the Great Lakes Region and virtual meetings organized in conjunction with the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Cities Initiative and other Great Lakes organizations.

Quick Facts

In addition to in-person and virtual engagement activities, the public can share comments until December 23, 2022, with the IJC through an online survey and written submissions. All engagement activities are listed and updated at:

To monitor the Canadian and US governments’ progress fulfilling the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement objectives, the IJC prepares a Triennial Assessment of Progress (TAP) report, documenting the progress of government programs and activities and providing recommendations to governments.

An essential part of the IJC’s assessment responsibilities is gathering and summarizing public input on the governments’ PROP report.

The PROP describes government-led activities based on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement’s 10 annexes, highlighting key achievements and identifying new science and action priorities for governments to complete over the next three years.

Associated Links

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement: IJC Seeks Public Input on the Canadian and US Governments’ 2022 Progress Report of the Parties

Canadian and US governments’ 2022 Progress Report of the Parties

Canadian and US governments’ 2022 Great Lakes Public Forum

The IJC was established by the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help the governments of Canada and the United States prevent and resolve disputes over the use of the waters they share. By evaluating efforts to restore the Great Lakes ecosystem, engaging the public on their perspectives of Great Lakes health and completing its own research on issues facing the lakes, the IJC assesses the effectiveness of government programs to meet the agreement’s goals and objectives.

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 Chooses More Highways Over Protecting Farmland & Fighting Climate Change

A Message from Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner

Posted September 12th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Last week I voted against the Ford government’s motion to double down on their efforts to build their destructive $10 billion Highway 413.



I’m not sure what Doug Ford and his government have against farmers, but we have to stop paving over the farmland that feeds us and the nature that protects us.

If built, this super-sprawler highway will:

Continue reading

Fort Erie in Niagara, Ontario Honours Reign of Queen Elizabeth II

A Statement from Fort Erie, Ontario Mayor Wayne Redekop Regarding The Death Of Queen Elizabeth II

Posted September 9th, 22022 on Niagara At Large

Fort Erie, Ontario Mayor Wayne Redekop

“As a community, we mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history. As head of state not only for Britain, but also for the parliamentary democracies of the British

“Commonwealth, including Canada, she provided continuity and stability during transitions of power and times of crisis.  She epitomized grace, dignity, duty, and public service ? an example and role model during a time of diminishing courtesy and decorum. Continue reading

Could Such A Constant, Solid-As-A Rock Presence as Queen Elizabeth Really Be Gone?

“Her Majesty’s reign spanned so many decades – a period when we (in Canada) came into our own as a confident, diverse, and forward-looking country. It is her wisdom, compassion, and warmth that we will always remember and cherish.”                      – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

A Commentary by Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper

Posted September 8th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

“BREAKING NEWS – Queen Elizabeth II Dies at Age 96”.

Can that really be true?

That was the headline across the bottom of Cable News channels in Canada and the United States and, yes, many of us knew she was old and oh so  brittle in the health department, but how could so many generations of us imagined a day when she would no longer be around.

In my lifetime, and the lifetime of most generations of Canadians alive today, there was never a day when her image was not on the walls of so many of our school classrooms and our government buildings.

Whether we were monarchists or not – and I am about as far away from being a monarchist as you can get – there is no doubt about this. Continue reading

Trudeau Government’s Ongoing Drive to Discourage Travel at the Canada/U.S. Border

Justin and Company Continue to Shove Their Made-In-Ottawa AriveCAN B.S. Down Travellers’ Throats

A  Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted September 6th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario Mayor Jim Diodati

Those of you who have, over the years, been regular readers of my commentary may already know that I have a lot of issues with the record of Niagara Falls, Ontario Mayor Jim Diodati.

My issues with the mayor begin with his full-out support  a China Communist Government plan to build a commercial/residential complex around a host of provincially significant wetlands in Niagara Falls’ sprawling Thundering Waters Forest.

They continue with his nonsensical opposition to a proposal to designate the Niagara River as a globally recognized (RAMSAR) wetland of importance, and to not even be open with the public as to why he and a majority on his council oppose such a designation, and the list goes on. Continue reading

This Labour Day, Let’s Salute All the Front-Line Workers Who Helped Us Survive Thru this Pandemic

A Commentary from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted on Labour Day, September 5th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Suffice to say that this past two and a half years of wave after wave of one variant after a more virulent other of COVID-19 has taken a hell of a toll on all of us.

In Niagara alone, COVID has also, since the pandemic began, claimed more than 600 lives, leaving a hole in the hearts of their loved ones.

And whether we want to face it or not (and I am putting it this way because it appears that there remain many among us who are acting as if it is over), there continues to be new COVID cases and there continue to be deaths-  especially among those who still refuse to get vaccinated in the name of whatever god or cult leader they bow their knees to.

Meanwhile, back here on Planet Earth, this Monday, September 5th is Labour Day, a time set aside to pay homage to everyday workers rather than the rich and famous for a change. Continue reading

Brock U. Prof Weighs In On Proposed Canadian Alcohol Guidelines

News from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted September 2nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

New proposed guidelines recommending Canadians consume no more than two alcoholic drinks per week to reduce health risks should be taken with a grain of salt, says Brock University researcher Dan Malleck.

The Professor of Health Sciences and expert on the history of liquor laws in Canada says a report published earlier this week<> by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) offers a “distorted view” of alcohol’s health impacts.

The report indicates health risks escalate quickly above six standard drinks per week, especially for women, saying three to six drinks a week can increase the risk of developing certain cancers, while more than seven drinks per week can increase the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Continue reading

Niagara Region Leading Transformation Of Iconic Train Stations In Niagara Falls And St. Catharines

“The station and infrastructure improvements we are making will create a generational impact on this area, this community, and the way in which transit options are leveraged for decades to come. I look forward to continuing the Region’s collaboration with our partners.”                                                                                         – Jim Bradley, Regional Chair, Niagara Region

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted September 1st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

NIAGARA REGION – Niagara Region is playing an active role in the transformation of Niagara’s two iconic train stations to enable enhanced GO service to Niagara.

The Region has acquired the historic train stations at St. Catharines and Niagara Falls,along with the surrounding station lands, as part of a significant redevelopment of the two station sites.

From left to right,  St. Catharines City Councillor Karrie Porter, Regional Chair Jim Bradley, Karla Avis-Birch (Chief Planning Officer, Metrolinx), MPP Niagara West Sam Oosterhoff and Mayor Jim Diodati (Niagara Falls)

Niagara Region and VIA Rail have been working since 2019 to transfer the St. Catharines andNiagara Falls station to Niagara Region. Niagara Regional council has approved the terms of the station transfer, VIA Rail’s Board of Directors has also approved of the transfer in principle pending approval from Parks Canada for the disposition of a heritage railway station. Upon approval from Parks Canada the two parties are positioned to immediately transfer station ownership. Continue reading

Ongoing Trudeau Government Restrictions like AriveCAN Cripple Cross-Border Travel for Canadians and Americans

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins, Visit Buffalo Niagara & Destination Niagara USA Lead Discussion on the Economic Impact of Travel & Tourism in Western New York

Talks Come as Travel at the US-Canadian Border Remains Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

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

Posted September 1st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Buffalo, New York area Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins has been an ongoing advocate for a common-sense return to Canada-U.S. border crossing requirements, including putting an end to the ArriveCAN requirement.

Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) joined representatives from Visit Buffalo Niagara and Destination Niagara USA, for a roundtable discussion led by the U.S. Travel Association, with Western New York leaders, organizations and destinations about the importance of travel and tourism to the local economy.

“As we continue moving toward a post-pandemic world, remaining restrictions and measures related to COVID-19 at the US-Canadian border are discouraging people from resuming cross-border travel at the same rate as before the pandemic,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.

“The U.S. and Canadian economies have historically been connected by travel and tourism, especially in Western New York and Southern Ontario. In order to revive our local economies to their pre-pandemic levels we must remove the barriers to travel and return to northern border management that encourages the convenient and efficient flow of people between both countries.”

“International travel is key to our economic and jobs recovery, and Rep. Higgins has been a champion for safely restarting and rebuilding cross-border travel,” said Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy. “The conversation today focused on what’s needed to continue the progress that has been made. We’re grateful to Rep. Higgins for his focus on the full recovery of this vital economic sector.” Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Will Keep Fighting Ford’s “Cruel Scheme To Bill And Bully People Into LTC Homes”

Why didn’t this guy – Ontario Premier Doug Ford – tell us he was going to do this to old people before this spring’s provincial election?

“What Doug Ford is doing is despicable. Mr. Ford is playing a cruel shell game, shunting people from a badly understaffed hospital system into a badly understaffed long-term care system against their wishes.”

A Statement  from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted August 31st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — Interim Ontario NDP Leader Peter Tabuns released the following statement in response to the passage of Bill 7, Doug Ford’s cruel legislation forcing people waiting in hospitals to move to a long-term care home they don’t want to go to:

“It’s a devastating day for thousands of Ontarians and their loved ones. Think of how helpless the families sitting at dad or grandma’s hospital bedside are feeling.

Think of how scary it is, bracing for a call that will send your loved one to a long-term care home they don’t want to go to. I shudder at the thought of people being coerced into the kind of for-profit long-term care homes where the military found cockroaches and seniors stranded in soiled diapers. Continue reading

A Shout-Out to Ontario Premier Doug Ford – Invest in Healthcare, Not Highways

A Message from the Green Party of Ontario

Posted August 31st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Healthcare in this province (of Ontario) is in crisis.

And while hospitals across the province struggle with staff shortages and ER closures, Doug Ford has $25 billion committed to building new highways, including Highway 413 and the Holland Marsh Highway – two projects that will pave over prime farmland, threaten local food supply, destroy natural habitat and increase carbon pollution. Continue reading

Children’s Products found in Dollar Stores contain Toxic Heavy Metals and “Forever Chemicals”

Headphones and children’s toys tested contain toxic levels of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and antimony

A Report from Environmental Defence Canada

Posted August 31st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – A new report released today by Environmental Defence found heavy metals such as lead and other toxic chemicals in products sold at Dollar Tree and Dollarama.

The report titled Passing the buck: the toxic cost of dollar store products in Canada, revealed the presence of hazardous phthalates, bisphenols, and PFAS or “forever chemicals” in a variety of food, toys, recess and daycare items.

These chemicals are associated with a wide range of adverse health outcomes and are particularly dangerous for vulnerable populations such as children. A children’s activity tracker and earbuds contained more than 8000 times the external level of lead established for children’s products.  Continue reading

Canadian Government And Marine Industry Praised For Efforts To Protect North  Atlantic Right Whales

“We’re more than halfway through the 2022 right whale season in Canada and have no known right whale deaths, which is building on two previous years of no known  right whale deaths in Canadian waters.”                               –  Michel Charron, Acting Director of Whale Protection Policy at Transport Canada.

‘The North Atlantic Right Whale is an endangered species with an estimated population of just 350 whales.’

A News Release from Canada’s Chamber of Marine Commerce

Posted August 30th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

(Niagara At Large is posting this because it appears to be some good news at a time when we are receiving too much bad news around the fate of wildlife. The unnecessary fatal shooting of a white Arctic wolf in Niagara comes immediately to mind.)

Canada is leading the efforts to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale with notable progress being made by the federal government in collaboration with ship operators and the research community in terms of  surveillance and protection measures, according to Moira Brown, Senior Scientist  at The Canadian Whale Institute / Campobello Whale Rescue Team.

In a new article appearing in the Chamber of Marine Commerce’s online magazine, /Marine Delivers/, Brown says: “In terms of research, surveillance, and putting  into place feasibleprotective measures, I don’t think anyone is working harder than Canada right now to figure out how to help this species.” Continue reading

Remembering Our Region’s Greatest Record Store – Five Years On

There Never Has and There Probably Never Will Be Another Music Store Palace like Record Theatre, on either side of the Niagara River

A Brief One from Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

Posted August 30th, 2022

If you love record stores like I do, you may remember one of the greatest ones ever in this region of the world- Record Theatre in Buffalo, New York.

The grand old record store, looking so lonely, after its August, 2017 close. File photo, Doug Draper

I can’t let the fifth anniversary of its closing – in the final days of August, 1917 – go by without a brief mention.

A look at the cavernous store, inside

Record Theatre’s flagship store (because there were a number of satellites) opened to much fanfare at the corner of Buffalo’s Main Street and Lafayette Avenue, back  in the days when there were mega artists like Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, and the sale of vinyl records surpassed just about anything else on the planet. Continue reading

Survivors’ Flag Raised On Parliament Hill To Honour Those Impacted By The Residential School System In Canada

“Residential schools are a shameful part of our history – that is the truth the Survivors’ Flag is going to remind us of, every day, here on Parliament Hill. By raising this flag here (this August 29th, 2022), we’re saying: we will always remember. We will continue to listen to Survivors. We acknowledge the intergenerational trauma these so-called schools have caused. And we commit to continue working together as partners toward a future of healing and partnership.”                                               – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

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

Posted August 29th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The Survivor Flag

Residential schools are a shameful part of our history that continue to have a deep and lasting impact on Survivors, their families, and their communities across the country.

We cannot forget this truth. As Canadians, we must all learn about the history and legacy of residential schools. Only when we face the hard truths of our past, can we truly move forward together toward a better future.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was joined today (this August 29th) by the Executive Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), Stephanie Scott, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Marc Miller, and Survivors from across the country to raise the Survivors’ Flag on Parliament Hill. Continue reading

Pelham Regional Councillor Diana Huson Launches Campaign for Re-Election

News from the Campaign to Re-Elect Diana Huson as Pelham’s Niagara Regional Councillor

Posted August 29th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Pelham Regional Councillor Diana Huson

Fenwick resident Diana Huson announced Monday, August 29th that she is running for re-election as the Regional Council member for the Town of Pelham in October’s municipal elections and her campaign is now in full swing.

First elected in 2018, Huson is the first woman to hold the position. Of the 31 current Regional Council members, only seven are women. “I’m running for Pelham’s regional seat because, quite frankly, I love the job,” said Huson, 45.

“I’ve had a number of successes over my first term and I feel like I’ve made a very positive impact.” Huson was instrumental in helping to extend existing EarlyON services in Pelham prior to a restructuring of the program’s delivery. Continue reading

Trudeau Government Moving to Gut Our Right to Vote for the Candidates of Our Choice

Trudeau Liberals Working to Do a U.S. Republican-Style  Gerrymandering Job on Our Electoral Ridings 

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

Posted August 26th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

If you voted in the last federal and provincial elections, many of you in Niagara might just as well say goodbye to the candidate you voted for.

The Trudeau government doesn’t give a damn who you voted for in those elections. It is redrawing the lines on election riding maps in ways that many of us in Niagara will lose whoever the MP or MPP it was we voted for.

Trudeau government’s new proposed election riding maps for Niagara

Just to take the riding I live – the Riding of Niagara Centre now represented by federal Liberal MP Vance Badawey and provincial NDP MPP Jeff Burch –  Trudeau’s army of bureaucrats took out their Donald Trump sharpies and drew lines around all of Thorold that would now place it in the Niagara West Riding, where federal and provincial Tories rule. Continue reading

 Ford Tories Putting the Screw To Our Senior Citizens – Forcing Them Into Any Long-Term Care Home Ford and Company Wants

Ford Government Limits Debate & Removes Public Hearings in an Attempt toPush Through Bill 7 Which Pushes Senior Citizens into LTC Homes Not of Their Choosing, Without Consent

“This is extremely undemocratic and is a blatant attempt to trample on seniors’ rights in order to push our most vulnerable into long-term care homes that may be far away, are in staffing crisis, are culturally inappropriate and/or have horrendous records of care.”                – Ontario Health Coalition

A News Release from the Ontario Health Coalition, a non-profit citizens organizations dedicated to protecting access to quality health care across Ontario

Posted August 25th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Doug Ford. He’s Ontario’s Premier for another four years and he is going to do what he wants to please his masters in private business.

(A Brief Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – I am beginning to wonder why I bother posting pieces like this.  The majority of Ontario residents out there didn’t even bother to vote in  this spring’s provincial election, so I assume that means you don’t give a damn about what happens to health care, our environment or anything  else in the province. You now have the government in this province that you apparently want.)

Yesterday (August 24rtgm 2022), the Ford Government passed a time allocation motion to limit the debate of Bill 7 and allows Second and Third Reading of the Bill to happen on the same day.  Continue reading

We Canadians Have a Stake in Continuing to Support Ukraine’s Fight Against the Evils of Fascism

“Ukrainians are not only defending their country; they are defending the values of freedom and democracy that we hold dear here in Canada and in many places around the world.” – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

A Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Ukrainian Independence Day

Posted August 24th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this August 24th, 2022) issued the following statement on Ukrainian Independence Day:

“Today (this August 24th, 2022), we mark Ukrainian Independence Day. On this day in 1991, Ukraine  declared its independence as a nation.

Today, 31 years later, Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom in the face of Russia’s illegal and unjustifiable  invasion of their country.

“Despite Russia’s brutality, Ukrainians have been relentless in their bravery and defence of their homeland. We have all seen the powerful images: images of ordinary people protecting their country, images of volunteers bringing food and aid to communities, and images of Ukrainian-Canadians sending support back home. Continue reading

In These Municipal Elections, Three of Niagara’s Best Won’t Be Running

Three Municipal Leaders Who Have Been Beacons for Decency, Openness and Issues That Matter to Everyday Niagara Citizens Have Decided Not to Run Again –And We Are the Poorer For It

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

Posted August 24th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose.

Port Colborne Niagara Regional Councillor Barbara Butters

In this coming October’s municipal elections – not to make these three fine people feel bad – Niagara residents will all be losing to the extent that we will not see the names of Barbara Butters from the City of Port Colborne, Kelly Edgar of St. Catharines and Fred Neale of Thorold  on the ballot.

In my more than 40 years as a reporter covering issues, including more than I wanted to of politics, in Niagara, Butters, Edgar and Neale have been among those that exemplify the best in municipal politics – those who have placed the interests of everyday people in this region above those who are the worst of the worst in the development industry, big business crowd and other special interests.

I am only going to say a few words about each of them here but I want to make sure that anyone clicking in out there knows who they are. Continue reading

Haley Bateman Announces Candidacy for Regional Council Representing St. Catharines

From the Campaign to Elect Haley Bateman Regional Councillor for the City of St.Catharines

Posted August 22nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region – St. Catharines – St. Catharines resident Haley Bateman announces her second bid to represent St. Catharines as a Regional Councillor.

Haley Bateman for a seat in St. Catharines on Niagara Regional Council i

“While we have seen a shift for the better at Regional Council under the leadership of Jim Bradley, we have to keep pushing for some much-needed progress.”

“Affordability, safe streets, better options for senior living, tiered transit, equitable access to health care and a serious commitment to the environment were the issues brought forward by residents in the Provincial Election and these are some of the issues I will be advocating for as a Regional Councillor.” Continue reading

Niagara Falls Voters Have Three Great Candidates for Regional Council

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

Posted August 22nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large

(A Brief Foreword to Our Good Readers – With all of the candidates for municipal office now registered (as of this past August 19th), Niagara At Large will begin to highlight those that this on-line news outlets hopes will win in municipalities across our region.

In this fall’s municipal election, let’s make sure we fill Niagara regional council seats who place people first, and who care about affordable housing and preserving our natural heritage, and health care and sustainable public planning above the greed of the creeps in the land speculation and development and paving and building  industry. It is long past time we put healthy, sustainable planning for our future first.

We would rather place most of our focus on good candidates that we know will listen to people and not big business interests on issues like affordable housing, good urban planning, health care, waste management, and protecting and preserving what is left of our food-growing lands and natural heritage.

We will also focus on those candidates we feel will demonstrate the kind of honesty, openness and integrity that was so sorely lacking during the Al Caslin administration at the regional government level from 2014 through 2018. We hope to never see that brand of fascism at work at the municipal government level in Niagara again. Continue reading

Community Partners Restore one of Niagara’s Largest Coastal Dune Ecosystems

Niagara Coastal is restoring coastal dune habitat at Nickel Beach; Port Colborne’s most popular beach destination. In partnership with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, the City of Port Colborne and VALE Canada Ltd., this project engages community members in local actions to contribute to a healthy and resilient Lake Erie coastal ecosystem.

News from Niagara Coastal Community Collarborative (learn about this group at bottom of this post.)

Posted August 21st, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Eroded coastal sand dune at Nickel Beach. Image captured December 14, 2021 following a severe storm a few days prior.


The coasts of the Great Lakes are under threat from the impacts of our changing climate. High water levels, more frequent and intense storm events, and decreasing lake ice cover are resulting in unprecedented rates of erosion throughout the Great Lakes.

Blair Holinaty, Supervisor, Recreation and Marina with the City of Port Colborne has personally witnessed this degradation. “As a result of major storm events in recent years, the coastal dunes at Nickel Beach have seen significant erosion, resulting in public safety concerns, and significant impacts to neighboring properties”, comments Holinaty. Continue reading

Ford Government’s New Legislation For Seniors, Persons with Disabilities is “Morally Repugnant”

“What this legislation does is take away the fundamental right to consent to health care, a right that has been upheld by the Supreme Court. People are going to be pressured to make bad decisions and the chance of them getting out of the home they do not want to be in and into a home of their choice in their lifetime is frankly low.”        – Jane Meadus, lawyer and institutional advocate and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly

A News Release from the Ontario Health Coalition, a citizens advocacy group for access to quality, public health care in Ontario

Posted August 20th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario — Advocates and experts spoke with one voice today decrying the new law that the Ford government introduced yesterday and intends to pass within just two weeks.

The new law, disingenuously titled “More Beds, Better Care Act” gives new powers to force the elderly and persons with disabilities who are waiting in hospitals into long-term care homes against their choice, in what legal experts and patient advocates warn is a fundamental violation of their rights. Continue reading

The Three Scariest Parts Of Ford’s New Long-Term Care Scheme

“Families have no idea just how far away their loved one could be moved in the final years of their life. And it’s pretty obvious the Conservative government knows that seniors will be moved against their will, because they’re already making rules against physically restraining people to move them.”                                                                     – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

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

Posted August 19th,2022 on Niagara At Large

Get ready to say good-bye to grandma. Doug Ford and his Tories will dump her or grandpa into any privately-owned long-term care home in the province they want to

QUEEN’S PARK — Wayne Gates, Ontario NDP critic for Long-Term Care, Home Care and Retirement Homes, is listing the three most troubling parts of Premier Doug Ford’s new long-term care legislation:

1. WITHOUT CONSENT. Contrary to Long Term Care Minister Paul Calandra’s claims, the legislation will allow seniors waiting in hospitals to be moved to far away long-term care homes without their consent. The bill reads ( : “This new provision authorizes certain actions to be carried out without the consent of these patients.” Continue reading

‘Ford Government Using The Health Care Crisis To Privatize Ontario’s Public Hospital Services And Push Seniors Out To Long-Term Care Beds In The Worst Nursing Homes No One Wants To Go To’ – Ontario Health Coalition

A News Release from the Ontario Health Coalition, a citizens’ advocacy group for quality public health care in Ontario

Posted August 19th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Health Coalition response to Ford government’s plans to move seniors out of hospitals & privatize hospital diagnostics and surgeries to for-profit clinics and hospitals

Now that – thanks to enough Ontario voters – the Ford government has won another majority, it is moving forward with selling our public health care services off to private corporations.

Toronto, Ontario  – The Ford government released what it called a five-point health care plan this morning in a press conference. In summary:

·         On COVID-19 there was nothing new.

·         On the unprecedented staffing crisis in Ontario’s hospitals, long-term care and home care, there was another in a long string of reannouncements of plans to bring in thousands of new staff in a series of ad hoc measures, similar to what we have heard before. The government remains intransigent on revoking Bill 124. There remains no plan that is anywhere near sufficient nor urgent enough to deal with the staffing crisis.

·         There were, in addition, two very serious and negative announcements, including plans to privatize Ontario’s public hospital surgeries and diagnostics to for-profit clinics, and new legislation to enable the government to move seniors waiting for long-term care out of hospital beds into long-term care homes not of their choosing.

Ontario Health Coalition director Natalie Mehra

“Cutting through all the bafflegab, today’s (this August 18th) announcement had very little to improve public health care and a lot to promote for-profit privatization,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director.

“The bottom line is the Ford government is using the health care crisis to privatize Ontario’s public hospital services and to push seniors out to fill long-term care beds in the worst nursing homes that no one wants to go to because they have terrible reputations, most of them for-profit. Continue reading

Dieppe Raid – 80 Years Ago this August 19th – Helped Set Stage for Defeat of Hilter’s Nazis

Almost 5,000 Canadians Joined in Raid. More Than 900 Were Killed

‘Honouring the memory of those who have defended our values of peace, freedom, and justice.’                                                                                     – Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Statement by the Prime Minister on the 80th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid

Posted August 19th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today (this August 19th) issued the following statement on the 80th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid:

“Today, we remember the brave Canadians who took part in the Dieppe Raid, one of the most difficult and tragic days of the Second World War for our country.

“On August 19, 1942, nearly 5,000 Canadian soldiers, along with their British and American allies, approached the beaches of and around Dieppe, in occupied France. Their objective was to test the enemy’s defences, damage its port facilities, and gather important intelligence to help defeat Nazi Germany. Continue reading

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Slams Ford Tories Over “Ontario’s Rapidly Failing Health System”

Wayne Gates highlights health crisis; shares story of senior waiting hours for ambulance

“Is the Premier (Doug Ford) proud that, under his watch, residents are getting taxis five hours later instead of emergency care that this government is supposed to provide? … I want to be very clear: Taxi drivers in the province of Ontario are not paramedics.”         – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

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

Posted August 18th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEENS PARK —NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) rose in the Legislature to once again raise the alarm bell about Ontario’s rapidly failing health system. In Question Period he shared a story of a senior in an emergency who pressed her Lifeline button only to be told an ambulance wouldn’t be available for six hours.

“On July 26, a senior named Shirley who lives in Fort Erie had a fall in her home. Injured and alone, she pressed her Lifeline alert button. Ten minutes later, she received a call from Lifeline, who informed her they were told she would not get an ambulance for six hours,” said Gates. Continue reading

Ontario’ Ford Government Introduces A Plan for Health System Stability and Recovery​

Province Will Hire Up to 6,000 Additional Health Care Workers and Frees Up 2,500 More Hospital Beds

A News Release from the Government of Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Posted August 18th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Ontario’s new Health Minister for the Ford government that you, the people, elected, Sylvia Jones. She’s now there, working for you. Dig it.

TORONTO – The Ontario government has introduced its Plan to Stay Open: Health System Stability and Recovery, a five-point plan to provide the best care possible to patients and residents while ensuring the resources and supports are in place to keep the province and economy open.

“This plan further bolsters Ontario’s health care workforce, expands innovative models of care and ensures hospital beds are there for patients, including expanding beds and increasing critical capacity in Niagara,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

“Patients across our region can expect to see faster access to health care, including lower wait times in emergency rooms, lower wait times for surgical procedures and more care options in their local communities – and always accessing the care they need when they need it through their OHIP card.” Continue reading

NPCA Acquires Property Adjacent To Rockway Conservation Area in Lincoln, Niagara

 “The announcement of the Rockway Community Centre purchase marks an important investment in our region and our environment. This strategic acquisition demonstrates the NPCA’s commitment to maintaining, protecting, and enhancing Niagara’s natural heritage.”  – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

News from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted August 17th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) is pleased to announce the purchase of a 1.12-acre property previously known as Rockway Community Centre, which is adjacent to its ecologically significant and highly visited Rockway Conservation Area.

Rockway Conservation Area in Lincoln/Niagara. Photo courtesy of NPCA

The land is located at 2021 Regional Road 69 in Lincoln. It is considered one of the Niagara Peninsula watershed’s hidden gems, as it is part of the Niagara Escarpment, with significant ecological features, flora, fauna, and recreational assets. The extensive trail system connects to the Bruce Trail and offers a hiking experience within the Fifteen Mile Creek Valley, surrounded by mature trees, a salt spring, and two spectacular waterfalls. Continue reading

Doors Open All Over St. Catharines this Saturday, Aug. 20

“St. Catharines has a lot of stories to tell. I encourage everyone to explore a building they’ve never been to and learn more about our vibrant history.”                                    – St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

A News Release from the City of St. Catharines in Niagara, Ontario

Posted on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Buildings all over the city will be opening up to showcase their historical significance on Saturday, Aug. 20 with Doors Open St. Catharines.

The historic Morningstar Mill site, one of many great places you can visit this Saturday, August 20th, during St. Catharines’ annual Doors Open event. Photo by Doug Draper

“Doors Open is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to explore historic and architecturally significant buildings in our city, not all of which are normally accessible to the public,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik. “St. Catharines has a lot of stories to tell. I encourage everyone to explore a building they’ve never been to and learn more about our vibrant history.”

A total of 15 different organizations are taking part including the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre and the Meridian Centre – which is also home to the City’s Sports Hall of Fame. Significant heritage sites including the Lake Street Armoury, Morningstar Mill, and The Brown Homestead will all be open for the day. Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Says Inflation Numbers Are A Call To Action

“We know that some large corporations, housing developers and big box stores are using inflation as an excuse to gouge — to make even bigger fortunes off middle class people. Grocery and pharmacy giant Loblaws reported its first-quarter profit jumped nearly 40 per cent. Developers are coming back to home buyers to demand more money.” – Ontario’s New Democrats

A Statement from the Ontario New Democratic Party

Posted August 16th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — Statistics Canada released new inflation numbers this Tuesday (August 16th).

Overall inflation growth was a whopping 7.6 per cent in July while food prices soared 9.9 per cent, a half point higher than June; and natural gas prices soared 45.3 per cent in Ontario thanks to an Ontario Energy Board rate hike. NDP Affordability critic Teresa Armstrong released the following statement:

“Ontario families’ paycheques have lost nearly a tenth of their buying power. People are leaving a balance on the credit card each month. They’re forced to make tough choices, and to spend more on necessities like groceries, gas and housing – there is little left over to plan for things like getting the car repaired, let alone a summer visit to the CNE. Continue reading

You Are Invited to A Free Zoom Webinar on Growing Plants on Your Yard for Pollinators

Learn More About What We Can Do Support Butterflies, Birds and Bees in this Age of Climate Crisis of Habitat Destruction and Unsustainable Urban Sprawl

Webinar Takes Place Thursday, August 18th at 7 P.M.

A Brief Message from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted August, 15th, 2022

Thank you to Liz Benneian and the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee- Niagara for posting information on the committee’s site about this Zoom Webinar event which I am pleased to share here.

At a time when all levels of government are not doing enough to address the climate crisis and at a time when too many of our elected representatives at the municipal level continue to approve expansions of our urban boundaries and more paving over more habitat for wildlife at the behest of their masters in the development industry, grass root action by citizens is the only option left.

This Webinar event offers those of us who are fortunate enough to have yards and gardens some productive things that we can do.

It will feature a presentation by Liz Benneian who, in my view and that of many others, has proven herself to be one of the most informed environmental activists in the Niagara region.

You can click on this link: to join the free Plants for For Pollinators Zoom webinar on August 18th at 7 p.m.

For more on the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee-Niagara, click on – Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee – Niagara

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 Health Privatization Comments “Outrageous, And Foolhardy”, Raising Red-Flags About Backroom Deal Making

A ’High Alert’ Message from the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide citizens’ advocate for quality public health care

Posted August 14th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

The Ontario Health Coalition is at its highest level of alert as a result of the Ford government’s statements about their plans to privatize public health care services this week, warning that the government’s statements reveal they are having backroom discussions regarding health care privatization, including specifically privatization of Ontario’s public hospital services.

Ontario Health Coalition director Natalie Mehra

Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, called the Ford government’s statements, “both outrageous and foolhardy”.

She demanded full disclosure of the corporations with which the Ford government has been meeting regarding plans to privatize health care, and she called on Ford to reveal a complete list of health care services under threat of privatization.

She warned that the Ford government has no mandate for hospital privatization whatsoever, particularly given their outright denials of these plans in response to the Coalition’s warnings in the pre-election period. Continue reading

Ontario Government Bringing High-Speed Internet Access to Niagara West

Province Helping to Connect More Unserved and Underserved Homes and Businesses ​

A News Release from the Government of Ontario

Posted August 13th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

BEAMSVILLE – The Ontario government is bringing high-speed Internet access to unserved and underserved homes and businesses in rural areas of Grimsby, Lincoln, Pelham, St. Catharines and West Lincoln in Niagara West, marking another key milestone in the plan to connect every corner of the province by the end of 2025.

“We know reliable Internet access is a gateway to growth in rural Ontario,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP Urges Ford to Supply Seniors’ Long-Term Care Homes With Air Conditioning

Wayne Gates demands LTC Minister be made full-time job in Ontario as seniors struggle without air conditioning

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

Posted August 11th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

QUEENS PARK —NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) highlighted that the worsening crisis in long-term care requires Doug Ford to take the file seriously and appoint a full-time Minister to handle the portfolio. He released the following statement:

“Doug Ford brought legislation requiring long-term care homes to have air conditioning for residents. Despite this, 15 per cent of homes across Ontario have no AC at all. In June, July and just days ago, temperatures were in the 30s and with the humidex, near 40 degrees.

  In homes with COVID outbreaks, this meant seniors were roasting in rooms above 40 degrees for several days at a time. While the law was being ignored, and seniors were sweltering in deadly heat – the Premier continued to have a Minister treat long-term care as a part-time or casual job. Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Pushing Ford for Immediate Action on Health-Care Shortage Crisis

“It’s time for this government to listen to nurses and move urgently to restore our health workforce. There is no excuse for not taking every action possible to recruit and retain nurses and end this crisis so every person in Ontario can access our public health care system when they need it.” – Cathryn Hoy, RN and President of the Ontario Nurses Association.

A News Release from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted August 11th, 2022 on Niagara At Large

NDP tables motion for nation-leading health care recruitment and retention package

QUEEN’S PARK – The Official Opposition NDP is taking a hiring and retention plan to the legislature that will give current and future health care workers in Ontario raises, respect, and incentives equal to or better than what other provinces are offering.

“Our health care system is already on its knees, and our remaining health care workers are run off their feet, they’re feeling disrespected, and more are leaving every week,” said NDP interim leader Peter Tabuns.

Tabuns, NDP Health Care critic France Gélinas and Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) President Cathryn Hoy, RN, spoke out together on Thursday about the need for this motion to pass.

“This nursing shortage in Ontario is at the worst it has been in decades. For anyone in government to deny we are in a crisis is an insult to the front-line nurses and health-care professionals who are sounding the alarm,” said Cathryn Hoy, RN and President of the Ontario Nurses Association.

“It’s time for this government to listen to nurses and move urgently to restore our health workforce. There is no excuse for not taking every action possible to recruit and retain nurses and end this crisis so every person in Ontario can access our public health care system when they need it.”

Ontario has the lowest nurse-per-capita ratio in Canada at 665 registered nurses for every 100,000 people. Ontario also has the lowest number of hospital beds per capita throughout all OECD countries.

“I can’t imagine anything scarier than rushing to an emergency room to find the doors locked. Patients are literally laying on the floor in crowded emergency rooms, because there is nowhere else to wait,” said NDP Health Care critic France Gélinas.

“We have to turn this around with raises, respect, and incentives for current and future health care workers. Instead of waving goodbye to these workers as they leave for other provinces, or for the private sector, let’s support for them by showing them respect and appreciation.”

Cathryn Hoy, RN and President of the Ontario Nurses Association

Nurses and health care staff are consistently reporting burn out – on average, weekly overtime for Ontario nurses increased by 137 per cent between May 2019 and May 2020. Health care workers report Premier Doug Ford’s wage cap law, Bill 124, is a significant factor in the exodus of health care staff from the profession.

According to Statistics Canada, there are 5,400 fewer health care and social services workers in Ontario compared to just one year ago, and ONA reports that Ontario needs about 30,000 more nurses.

Emergency department and urgent care centre closures or reduced hours have happened in more than two dozen communities, including Red Lake, Perth, Clinton, Listowel, Seaforth, Wingham, Brampton, Ottawa and Kingston. Others hospitals from Toronto to Hearst are at risk.

The NDP will attempt to have the motion passed in the legislature immediately as an emergency motion, which requires unanimous consent. Failing that, the NDP will force a final vote on the motion on the first Opposition Day.


The NDP will move the following motion:

Whereas health care job vacancies have more than quadrupled since 2015 and are now over 45,000, with a record 8.84% of hospital jobs vacant as of March 2022, while the College of Nurses of Ontario reports over 15,000 nurses in Ontario are licensed and not practicing; and

Whereas health care workers are overworked, underpaid, subject to violence, and distressed by their inability to provide the care patients need due to poor working conditions and inadequate staffing; and

Whereas Financial Accountability Office research has revealed the urgent need to train and hire tens of thousands of extra nurses and PSWs to meet the government’s own 2024-25 LTC targets for hands-on-care; and

Whereas the province’s inadequate $5,000 retention bonus for nurses introduced a temporary change that ends in September that fails to solve a long-term problem, and leaves out hundreds of thousands of other frontline health care workers; and

Whereas the government acted unilaterally and often failed to consult health care workers on staffing issues, and nurses and health care workers have been prevented by this government from exercising their right to free collective bargaining and have seen their modest wages fall far below inflation; and

Whereas, in the face of this indifference, evidence shows health care workers are quitting, going to other provinces to practice, or going to work for private health care agencies that, with this government’s silent approval, bill hospitals at a much higher rate; and

Whereas this government has failed to develop a comprehensive health care staffing plan to train, recruit and retain sufficient numbers of health care workers; and

Whereas, due to inflation, government revenue was over $20 billion higher than this government budgeted in 2021-22, yet the government failed to spend $1.22 billion of its hospitals budget in 2021-22, and

Whereas, repealing the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019 (previously Bill 124) and allowing health care workers to freely bargain fair wage would help solve the government’s health care staffing crisis; and

Whereas, Quebec is offering recruitment and retention payments of up to $18,000 to health care workers, $20,000 education bursaries, better working conditions, and will spend an additional $3.8 billion on health recruitment and retention efforts;

Therefore the Legislative Assembly calls on the Ford government to work with unions to create a multi-layer Health Care Worker Recruitment and Retention incentive package that improves working conditions in health sector and includes incentives to recruit, retain, and return full-time, public, unionized workers; offers permanent wage raises for health care workers; immediately repeals Bill 124 and restores workers’ right to bargain for wages that reflect the significant impact of rising inflation; and ensure that the Ontario Health Care Worker Recruitment and Retention plan offers incentives equal to or greater than what other provinces in Canada are offering.

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