Category Archives: Uncategorized

In Doug Ford’s Ontario, Climate Protection Took Another Hit This Week 

Contact Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek and tell him to keep his hands off our Conservation Authorities

A Message from the Green Party of Ontario  

Posted August 21st, 2019 on Niagara At Large 

In a surprise letter, Ontario’s 36 conservation authorities were told toshut down part of their operations.  Their reaction: “Stunned. Confused. Extremely disappointed.”

Reject cuts to flood prevention 

These are the experts who protect us from flooding by conserving thenatural areas that absorb excess water.   So why is the Premier taking an axe to their work? Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Decries Lost Year On Sex-Ed Curriculum

NDP Education Critic Marit Stiles blasts Ford for playing politics with kids’ safety

“Instead of prioritizing kids’ safety over the last year, Ford spent a year showing off for social conservatives at the expense of kids. He forced children to go to the human rights tribunal to fight for their rights. He threatened teachers with a snitch line for answering students’ questions honestly. He tried to make students – especially LGBTQ+ students and families – feel less important than his politics.”

A News Release from Ontario’s  NDP/Opposition Opposition Party

Posted August 21st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

TORONTO – Doug Ford ripped up the Health and Physical Education curriculum, threatened teachers with a sex-ed snitch-line and spent $1 million on an online survey, only to release a new curriculum Wednesday that is largely unchanged from the 2015 sex-ed curriculum.

The new curriculum is a victory for student safety, and for the families, teachers, education workers and experts who led the fight alongside Andrea Horwath and the NDP – but it also means Ford wasted a year just so he could posture for social conservatives, said NDP Education critic Marit Stiles. Continue reading

A REMINDER TO ALL – Concerned About The Climate? Check Out The Green Solution At The Niagara Greens’ Federal Campaign Launch

Join the Green Party of Canada’s NIAGARA GREENS FEDERAL CAMPAIGN LAUNCH.  Join us Thursday, August 22th at 6:30 pm, in the Pond Inlet at Brock University in J-Block of Mackenzie Chown Building in St. Catharines, Ontario.

News from supporters for the Green Party of Canada

Re-posted August 21st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The latest poll of Canadians shows that “82% say climate change is a serious problem, including 47% who describe it as an extremely serious problem.”

The Green Party believes that we have no more time to waste – Canada needs a bold and all-embracing strategy to address climate breakdown NOW.

The Green Party is the single political party with a sound, reliable plan to lower emissions, while ensuring that workers in fossil fuel and related industries are able to transition to the new green economy.

Greens have always stood for environmental protection and serious and immediate action on climate change. The 2019 platform is a comprehensive and evidence-based blueprint providing policy and direction for a better, more just and sustainable Canada.

Come find out more!

Continue reading

Ford Getting Closer to Keeping One of His Promises – Paving Over a “Big Chunk” of Ontario’s World-Renown Greenbelt

“I live in the (Niagara) watershed. (and) this is the worst news possible. How can we protect the green belt and its rivers and lakes when these greedy gangsters want to pave it over. It’s scary.”                                                                                                           – a comment from one of Niagara At Large’s readers, Edila MacIlrelli, in response to news that the Ford Government has sent a letter to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and other Conservation Authorities across the province, directing them to “wind down” conservation activities that fall outside of whatever the province deems to be their “core mandate”.

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

Posted August 20th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

“Promise made. Promise kept.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was caught on video in 2018 saying he would cut up a “big chunk” of the Greenbelt for development

It is one of the lines Ontario Premier Doug Ford seems to love to throw in when he claims he is fulfilling another pledge in a campaign platform that had to be one of the thinnest when it came to specifics in modern Canadian political history.

There was at least one pledge Ford made that he was real specific about – this one caught on a leaked video that was made without his awareness – while he stood before a group of friends and supporters in the development industry weeks before Ontario’s June, 2018 provincial election and told them he would be willing to carve up a “big chunk” of the protected Greenbelt running around Lake Ontario from the GTA and Hamilton, and through Niagara to the Niagara River.

Here is that video (click on the screen immediately below) of Ford making his “big chunk” promise to a group of developers who looked happy to hear it –

When this video leaked out, the pledge met such a public backlash that even Ford, as much of a battering ram as he is, scrambled to put it back in the box. Continue reading

At Conference of Ontario Municipal Leaders,Province’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath Shares Vision For Stronger Communities

Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

“The countdown to devastating cuts is on. Slashing public health and child care is slashing things that keep our families safe and healthy. The human cost of failing people when it comes to public health, ambulance services and child care is unthinkable, and so is the Ford Tax municipalities are now being forced to contemplate to fill the holes Mr. Ford is digging in your budgets.” – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, in an address in Ottawa this August 19th, 2019 at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s annual conference

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

Posted August 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

(A Brief Foreword Note – Andrea Horwath delivered this message to Ontario’s municipal leaders, including representatives from Niagara, shortly after they learned that Ontario Premier Doug Ford will move forward this coming year with already planned provincial cuts to public health, ambulance, child day care and other municipally operated services – therefore downloading any costs for these services, should municipalities choose to keep them – on residents and businesses that pay property taxes. So much for saving people money.)

OTTAWA, Ontario – NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath shared her vision for stronger communities in remarks Monday at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Conference in Ottawa.

“No matter what part of Ontario we live in, we all want similar things,” said Horwath. “We all want a future where municipalities continue to be the heart of life at home – with provincial funding for municipalities that’s stable, predictable and certain – so the things our families count on will always be there.” Continue reading

Ford Now Turning his War on Our Environment on Ontario’ Conservation Authorities

Premier Doug Ford and his Environment Minister Jeff Yurek are moving to shut down work Conservation Authorities in Niagara and across the province are doing to protect and preserve Ontario’ watersheds

Conservation Ontario General Manager Kim Gavine

“We’ve been caught completely by surprise. … We’ve been working for months in good faith with the government to make a number of planning and development approvals streamlining changes to support their agenda to eliminate the deficit and implement the Housing Strategy. … I can only assume they are trying to avoid criticism about downloading conservation authorities’ programs and services to municipalities.”                     – Kim Gavine, General Manager of Conservation Ontario, the Association which represents the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and  Ontario’s 35 other Conservation Authorities

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

Posted August 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Conservation Authorities across the province “are stunned” by a letter the province’s anti-environment Ford government circulated to them this August 19th, recommending that they shut down any conservation programs that are not related to their “core mandate,” says a statement circulated by their umbrella group, Conservation Ontario.

Jeff Yurek, shown here in Ontario legislature, is Ford’s Minister of Environment. He seems more bent on declaring war on the environment than on protecting it.

As the letter signed by Jeff Yurek, a Ford Tory MPP for the Riding of Elgin-Middlesex-London who seems to be making it his business to go down as one of the worst environment minister in Ontario history, circulated through social media, Niagara At Large began receiving email from residents in Niagara with messages like “this is beyond nuts” and “the public needs to be outraged.”

The statement from Conservation Ontario and its general manager, Kim Gavine, representing the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and 35 other Conservation Authorities across the province, said the letter from the Ford government was “confusing and extremely disappointing.” Continue reading

As Magical As Woodstock Was, Some Memories Are Better Left Alone

A Final Few Words on Woodstock’s 50th anniversary by Doug Draper

Posted August 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Before I leave the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival completely, just for a bit of fun, I will leave you with this.

Is ‘going back to the garden’ 50 years later really such a cool idea? Skip the brown acid. Cue the Geritol.

While I was writing and posting my own tributes to this legendary pop culture event on Niagara At Large, there I was, at one point, amusing myself with the thought of what it might be like if all of those festival goers – looking so young and fresh in the Woodstock movie and those 50-year-old photos – went “back to the garden” and gathered on the festival grounds today.

With images of these people, many of them now in their 70s, back on Yasgur’s farm, sliding in the mud, and God help us, having another skinny dip in the ponds, I came across a cartoon on the editorial pages of this past Saturday’s August 17th Buffalo News that placed the hilarity and, perhaps a bit of the nightmare of such a reunion, fully into focus.

Thanks to Dave Granlund, a well-known and respected cartoonist from Massachusetts whose cartoons are published in many daily newspapers across the United States and who was kind enough to grant me permission to  his cartoon, here it is –

Some of the organizers of the 1969 Woodstock festival tried to put together another one for the 50th anniversary. But unlike the first time, when they finally managed to find a person in Max Yasgur to let them host it on his land, despite opposition from other town’s people, they couldn’t overcome the opposition this time. Continue reading

A Kind and Courageous Act of Bringing People Together – An Act We Could Use More of Today

Why Max Yasgur – the Bethel, New York Dairy Farmer who owned the land the Woodstock Festival took place on – became so Beloved to Millions of Young People Around the World

Max Yasgur addresses the masses gathered on his farmland for the Woodstock festival, 50 years ago this August

“The important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids–and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you–a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God bless you for it!”                                                                                                    – Bethel, New york dairy farmer Max Yasgur, in a short address he delivered on August 17th, 1969 to the more than 400,000 Woodstock festival-goer s assembled on his land, 50 years ago this summer

One more look back at Woodstock at 50, by Niagara At Large reporter Doug Draper

Posted August 17th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Before the 50th anniversary celebrations of Woodstock, one of the most pivotal events in 20th century pop culture history, draws to a close, let me leave you with a few nice memories of a most unlikely individual who helped make the legendary festival possible.

The individual’s name was Max Yasgur and in the age we live in today, where people seem so divided along so many lines – race, gender and age, just to name a few – and we have leaders more interested in exploiting those divisions for their own gain than bringing people together, Max Yasgur’s role in the Woodstock story should serve as inspiration to all of us.

Max Yasgur on the land on his farm that would host one of the 20th century’s greatest music and art festivals

It was July, 1969, just weeks before the Woodstock festival took place on August 15th, 16th, and 17th, and continued on into Monday, August 18th to accommodate a backlog of entertainment, including Jimi Hendrix, that had their sets delayed due to off and on pouring rain during the weekend, that the festival organizers negotiated a deal with Max Yasgur to hold the even on parcels of land on his large dairy farm in the Catskills. Continue reading

Join Us and become a Citizen Scientist – Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Hosts “Bioblitz”

 A Free Event, this coming Saturday, August 24th, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. at NPCA’s Ball’s Falls Conservation Area in Lincoln, Niagara

An Invited from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority in Niagara, Ontario
Posted August 17th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Taking inventory of all the flora and fauna found at NPCA’s Ball’s Falls Conservation Area is the purpose behind the “Niagara Peninsula BioBlitz” event taking place Saturday, August 24th.

Hosted by Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, in collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Federation, BioBlitz will see members of the public become citizen scientists and join forces with scientists, taxon experts and nature enthusiasts to take a “nature selfie,” tracking and taking inventory of all the species that can be identified during the day-long event. Continue reading

Ontario Supporting New Sport Facilities in Niagara for 2021 Canada Games

Priority project will create new Canada Games Park and new jobs in Niagara Region

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff

Posted August 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Ontario is supporting the 2021 Canada Games by committing to a cost-shared investment of $29 million for the construction of new sport facilities, which will support athletes and bring new jobs to Niagara region. This will include investments in Grimsby, West Lincoln, and Wainfleet.

Niagara West MPP and Ford government representative Sam Oosterhoff, at left, with Lisa MacLeod, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, at announcement for Canada Games funding

“I am thrilled that our province is hosting the Games. For the Niagara region, hosting a national sport event is a tremendous opportunity to reap the economic and social rewards that come with it,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

“Not only will this project create an amazing, unforgetable experience for athletes, but new sport and recreation facilities will be enjoyed by residents of all ages and abilities.” Continue reading

Concerned About The Climate? Check Out The Green Solution At The Niagara Greens’ Federal Campaign Launch

Join the Green Party of Canada’s NIAGARA GREENS FEDERAL CAMPAIGN LAUNCH.  Join us Thursday, August 22th at 6:30 pm, in the Pond Inlet at Brock University in J-Block of Mackenzie Chown Building in St. Catharines, Ontario.

News from supporters for the Green Party of Canada

Posted August 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The latest poll of Canadians shows that “82% say climate change is a serious problem, including 47% who describe it as an extremely serious problem.”

The Green Party believes that we have no more time to waste – Canada needs a bold and all-embracing strategy to address climate breakdown NOW.

The Green Party is the single political party with a sound, reliable plan to lower emissions, while ensuring that workers in fossil fuel and related industries are able to transition to the new green economy.

Greens have always stood for environmental protection and serious and immediate action on climate change. The 2019 platform is a comprehensive and evidence-based blueprint providing policy and direction for a better, more just and sustainable Canada.

Come find out more!

Continue reading

Federal Gas Tax Fund Investments Support Local Infrastructure in Niagara Centre

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey

“As the Conservative Government of Ontario failed to cooperate with the federal government with respect to much needed infrastructure funding, expected to be delivered under the bilateral agreement signed over a year and a half ago, our local partners needed a mechanism to get projects out the door in time for the 2019 constructions season. We needed to, once again, step up to the plate and lead by example.”                                                                     – Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Centre Liberal MP Vance Badawey

Posted August 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Welland, Ontario – Doug Ford is delaying infrastructure funding to Ontario’s municipalities. The federal government stepped up. Our government has doubled its commitment to fund infrastructure projects, with the Municipal Gas Tax Fund. We won’t abandon towns and cities. Let’s get shovels in the ground.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, shown here at right with his political friend and ally, federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, has fallen short on infrastructure funding for municipalities, say the federal Liberals, leaving their government to step up with more for towns and cities.

Niagara Centre has received its first installment of the annual federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF), along with the top-up announced through Budget 2019, to support infrastructure projects in communities across the province.

The top-up doubles the amount of money for Ontario communities, based on their allocations for the 2018-19 GTF transfer, enabling them to carry out infrastructure projects that support the well-being of their residents. Continue reading

Time to Stop Ford Government from Unplugging Ontario from an Electric Car Future

A Message from Ontario’s Green Party

Posted August 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

This week, GM and Volkswagen announced they’d no longer be making hybrid vehicles.

The reason – THEY’RE GOING ALL-IN ON FULL ELECTRIC VEHICLES.

The writing’s on the wall for gas-guzzling cars, but the Ford government refuses to read it.

Tell the Premier to stop unplugging Ontario from an electric future.

Over the next 5 years, the global auto industry is spending a whopping $255 billion to develop electric vehicles. Continue reading

Beach at Port Dalhousie’s Lakeside Park in St. Catharines finally set to reopen this August 16th

While water levels remain high, and are still above average, City officials say there is enough usable space on the beach to safely reopen it for use

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

Posted August 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – St. Catharines residents will be able to enjoy a trip to the beach at Lakeside Park before summer vacation wraps up.

How the beach at Lakeside Park in Port Dalhousie looked early this past June when water levels in Lake Ontario were reaching near-record highs. File photo by Doug Draper

The beach at the park, which has suffered flooding due to record high water levels on Lake Ontario since May, will reopen to the public on Friday, Aug. 16. While water levels remain high, and are still above average, City officials say there is enough usable space on the beach to safely reopen it for use.

“As the water levels have started to recede, our staff have been hard at work cleaning and grooming the beach,” said Darrell Smith, director of Municipal Works. “As long as the weather cooperates, and the water levels continue to decline, we could see even more space available for use before the beach season ends.” Continue reading

Remembering the Fleeting Magic of Woodstock, 50 Years On

Unfortunately, not enough of the hope, idealism and sense of community that made the Woodstock festival so magical survived. And we sure could use  it now

A  Look Back by Niagara At Large reporter  Doug Draper

Posted August 15th, on Niagara At Large

The iconic poster for the Woodstock festival

“About a thousand years ago there was a very brief period of time that is now referred to as the Sixties. …

“It lasted about 11 or 12 minutes before the hustlers and hucksters pour in, and it has become a kind of black hole in the national cosmos into which all of the noblest and fiercest aspirations of a generation sunk and disappeared. … a kind of Bermuda Triangle of idealism.”

  • Leonard Cohen, during a 1994 performance on the PBS program Austin City Limits.

Down a black hole it went alright, but oh what a wild and crazy, strange and frightening, and sometimes magical and beautiful 11 or 12 minutes it was while it lasted.

And near the end of it all, for what seemed like just a few seconds of that time as the decade of the Sixties were drawing to a close, it reached a zenith of peace & music 50 years ago this August 15th, 16th and 17th on the verdant pasture lands of Max Yasgur’s farm in the Catskills of Upstate New York.

An aireal shot of the Woodstock festival in progress, August, 1969

The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, as this now legendary festival was called, was more than f somewhere between 400,000 and half a million young people surviving three days and nights of mud and rain, and a shortfall of food, drink and sanitary facilities, all bound together in a spirit of peace and community. Continue reading

Your Cell Phone And Internet Bills Are Too Damn High

A New Report Reveals That Canadians Pay Among The Highest Prices In The World For Cell And Internet Plans

A News Release from the Green Party of Canada

Posted August 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Telecom giants like Bell and Rogers lobby the government and block competitors to reap huge profits, all at the expense of hard working Canadians.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can break the vice-like grip Bell and Rogers have on our data — and STOP THEM FROM RIPPING US OFF. In the digital age, everyone needs access to an affordable cell phone. Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Niagara-on-the-Lake –

 The Government of Canada partners with municipalities to create jobs and improve quality of life for Ontarians 

A News Release from the Office of the Prime Minister 

Posted August 14th, 2019 on Niagara At Large 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – Whether getting people to work on time, building recreation centres for young people, or helping communities adapt to climate change, investments in local infrastructure create good, middle class jobs and make our cities and towns better places to live.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today visited Niagara, Ontario, to highlight a one-time Municipal Infrastructure Top-Up in Budget 2019, which doubles this year’s federal transfer to municipalities in support of local infrastructure projects.

More than 600 communities and local roads boards in Ontario are benefitting from the first of two $408.3 million annual installments in federal funding in 2019-20 for local infrastructure projects. These transfers – along with the one-time top-up of $819.4 million – mean that more than $1.6 billion in federal funding is going to Ontario municipalities this year for the infrastructure projects they need. Continue reading

Ford Insists His Government Is Doing a Better Job for Niagara than Any Ontario Government Before It

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff is “A Champion” For Niagara, Tory Premier Says

“You are finally getting a voice down at Queen’s Park that you have never had before.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford during a short visit to Pelham this August 8th, 2019

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

Posted August 8th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford. file photo

Pelham, Ontario – Before heading to a fund-raising dinner at a Niagara area winery in the evening, Ontario Premier Doug Ford made a brief stop at a hardware store in the Pelham, Niagara town of Font hill to announce that his Tory government was investing $1.67 million in infrastructure funding to upgrade a stretch of Pelham street running through Fonthill and southward to Welland.

Upgrades to the street, said Ford, will help ease congestion and improve road safety.

Ford punctuated the announcement with one of his more repeated catch-phrases since becoming Premier a year ago this June – “Promise made, promise kept.” Continue reading

We Could Use a Song About Getting Everyone Together in a Spirit of Love Right About Now – Couldn’t We?

How Many More Have to Suffer and Die in the Wake of Trump’s Vile, Hate-filled Rhetoric

A Brief Commentary from Doug Draper

Posted August 5th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Mourning the victims of hate in El Paso, Texas

It was a perfect song for the summer of 1969, and 50 years later, I think we need to hear it again.

With all of the fear and hatred and bigotry in the world, fuelled by the likes of the monster now occupying one of the most powerful offices in the world, a song written by singer/songerwriter Chet Powers and performed by his group The Youngbloods, is one we should all be singing together these days. Continue reading

Ford’s “Government for the People” Chops Funding for Niagara Area’s Cancer-Screening Bus

Ontario NDP slams Ford’s cut to cancer-screening bus as short-sighted

“This is such a small investment to make when there’s so much at stake: Detecting cancer early can literally mean the difference between life and death.”                                                                           – Niagara Centre NDP MPP Jeff Burch.

A News Release Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch and Ontario’s New Democratic and Official Opposition Party

Posted July 5th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

NIAGARA, Ontario — Jeff Burch, NDP MPP for Niagara Centre, slammed Doug Ford’s decision to pull the plug on a mobile unit that helps residents of Hamilton, Burlington and Niagara access cancer screening as a short-sighted move that could cost people their lives.

Ford Government goes after cancer screening too.

The Mobile Cancer Screening Coach is due to be parked in April after Ford ripped away its provincial funding, The Hamilton Spectator reports. The bus provides mammograms, pap tests and colon screening kits, serving the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network at a cost of $634,689 a year.

“This is such a small investment to make when there’s so much at stake: Detecting cancer early can literally mean the difference between life and death,” said Burch. “No one should be forced to face a worse prognosis because they face barriers to accessing health services. Continue reading

Federal Advisory Council Recommends Canada implement Universal, Single-Payer Public Pharmacare

Canada’s current patchwork of thousands of private and public prescription plans is not sustainable

“Universal, single-payer public pharmacare will result in better value for money and substantial savings for governments, businesses, and individual Canadians.”                                                   – from the Advisory Council’s Report

Canada’s Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor

“Canadians face some of the highest prescription drug prices in the world. This influences Canadians’ access to important medications and the sustainability of Canada’s health care system. … Over the coming months, we will carefully review the Council’s final report and its recommendations. … Our Government remains committed to implementing national pharmacare in a manner that is affordable for Canadians and their families, employers, and governments.”                                     – Canada’s Health Minister, Ginette Petitpas Taylor

Canadian Union of Public Employees leader Mark Hancock

” The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) welcomes the National Pharmacare Advisory Council’s recommendation of a universal, single-payer pharmacare program for Canada, and is urging the federal government to immediately put it into action. … Nearly one quarter of households in Canada include someone who is not taking their medication as prescribed because of cost, and one in 10 Canadians can’t afford their medication at all.”                 – CUPE National President Mark Hancock 

A News Release from Health Canada

Posted June 12th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

OTTAWA, Ontario – The Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare (the Council) is recommending that Canada implement universal, single-payer, public pharmacare.

The Council recommends the federal government work in partnership with provincial and territorial governments to establish a universal, single-payer public system of prescription drug coverage in Canada to ensure everyone has access to the drugs they need to maintain their physical and mental health. Continue reading

A Brief Look Back at a Once Proudly Independent, Locally Owned St. Catharines Standard

A short video, produced by the Canadian-based media group, FiXT POiNT, will be featured as a final segment on TVO’s cable program ‘The Agenda’ at 8:50 p.m. this Wednesday, June 12th

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Posted June 12th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The cable television network, TVO, will feature a brief segment that remembers the old St. Catharines Standard, when it was owned by a local family, the Burgoynes, this Wednesday, June 12th (today) at 8:50 p.m., featuring a cast of people from the old paper and surrounding community, including yours truly.

In a brief promotional write-up on the segment, TVO said this –

“The St. Catharines Standard was at the forefront of breaking news during the golden age of newspapers. Run by four generations of the Burgoyne family, The Standard’s intrepid reporters delivered hard-hitting journalism and exposed environmental injustices. But times changed, and media consolidation hit the paper hard.”

Indeed, times changed and the hit was very hard. Stats say that a majority of people – especially young people – are getting most or all of their information on Facebook and Twitter now. Is that better?!

To watch the segement here, click on the screen below –

To read Niagara At Large journalist Doug Draper’s earlier post on final days and the fall for him and many others who worked at the St. Catharines Standard before the Burgoyne family sold it, and for a few more nightmare years after the sale, click onhttps://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/06/11/tvo-takes-a-look-back-at-a-once-independent-locally-owned-st-catharines-standard/ .

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

Ontario’s Niagara Parks Hosts Ride for Buffalo, New York’s Roswell Cancer Centre Participants

The Ride for Roswell, which has 11 routes and covers 14 municipalities and two countries, raises funds to support cancer research at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer

News from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

Posted June 10, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls, Ontario – Niagara Parks is pleased to welcome the Ride for Roswell, a binational cycling event in support of the Roswell Park Cancer Center, on Saturday, June 22. 

The Ride for Roswell, which has 11 routes and covers 14 municipalities and two countries, raises funds to support cancer research at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York.

The Niagara route brings approximately 1,000 cyclists across the Peace Bridge at Fort Erie; the cyclists then continue north along the Niagara Parkway to cross back into the U.S. via the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Continue reading

Canada’s PM Pays Tribute To Those Who Fought and Died in D-Day Campaign – 75 Years Ago

Statement by Canada’s Prime Minister on the               75th anniversary of D-Day and  Battle of Normandy

Posted  June 6th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s  Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau issued the following statement , this June 6th, 2019, on the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy:

The shores of Juno Beach in Normandy, France, 75 years after the D-Day assault that marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War

“Today (June 6th, 2019), on th75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, we pause to honour those who fought and gave their lives in a campaign that helped turn the tide of the Second World War.

“Seventy-five years ago today, the largest combined military operation in history began. The Allied landings aimed to secure five beaches along the coast of occupied France. Land mines, gun positions, barbed wire, concrete bunkers, anti-tank walls, and thousands of enemy troops guarded the shores.

Canadian soldiers preparing to land at Juno Beach on June 6th, 1944.

“It was a gamble like the world had never seen. The possibility of catastrophic casualties was high, but the Allies knew they needed to break through the Atlantic Wall to defeat the Nazis and end the war in Europe.

“Fourteen thousand Canadians stormed Juno Beach on June 6, 1944. They joined British, American, and French allies in the massive D-Day amphibious assault on the beaches of Normandy. They served under different flags, but fought for one cause. They stood up to tyranny and stood for freedom, and laid down their lives in defence of human rights and democracy. Continue reading

Ontario’s Ford Government Rips Support Away From Young People Struggling To Quit Smoking

“This will put young people at greater risk of developing cancer, experiencing heart and fertility problems, and dying prematurely.” – Bhutila Karpoche, Ontario NDP critic for Mental Health and Addictions

A News Release from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted May 31st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — Bhutila Karpoche, Ontario NDP critic for Mental Health and Addictions, released the following statement in response to news that the Ford government has cut funding to a program that has helped thousands of college and university students quit smoking:

“It’s simply wrong for Doug Ford’s Conservatives to rip support away from young people who want to give up a deadly habit like smoking. This will put young people at greater risk of developing cancer, experiencing heart and fertility problems, and dying prematurely. Continue reading

If You Are a Senior Citizen in Ontario and You’re Holding a Book in Your Hand, You Better Watch It!

Cause Some Ford Tories Might Just Have To Call           the Cops on You

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

Posted May 8th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Here’s a warning for you.

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff has been asked for apology for call to police over seniors protesting public library cuts at his Niagara constituency office.

And you better listen up or someone holding elected office just might have to call the cops on you!

Don’t even think about showing up at the constituency office of a member of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s so-called ‘Government for the People” unannounced or without booking an appointment – especially if you are a senior citizen holding a book in your hands or someone in that office may make that 9-1-1 call.

That is apparently the way things went down at the Beamsville constituency office of Niagara West MPP and Ford government member Sam Oosterhoff when, this May 7th, a dozen or so senior citizens from around the Niagara region – some of them using such menacing words to describe themselves as “book lover” and “avid reader” (term one doubts Doug Ford would ever use to describe himself) – showed up at the young MPP’s office to hold a “read in” to protest the government’s recent funding cuts to public libraries. Continue reading

Ford’s Eligibility Restrictions Means Deeper Cuts to Ontarians With Disabilities

Restrictive definition of disability could exclude thousands from getting the care they need

A News Release from Ontaro’s NDP/Official Opposition Party

Posted May 7th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Queen’s Park — The Ford government’s cuts are already hurting people with disabilities in Ontario, and now new eligibility restrictions could be devastating to vulnerable Ontarians, said Lisa Gretzky, NDP critic for Community and Social Services.

“This government announced upcoming changes to the definition of disability, which is used to determine ODSP eligibility,”  Gretzky said during question period on Monday. “Experts, advocates and recipients are rightly concerned that this Conservative government is moving toward a narrower definition that would exclude thousands of people.” Continue reading

Remembering the Six Million Murdered Under the Jackboots of Nazi Fascism

“Today and every day, we as Ontarians and as Canadians must recommit to ensuring that an atrocity such as the Holocaust never be repeated.”                                                                                    – Ontario NDP and Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath released the following statement, to mark Yom HaShoah

Posted May 2nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

In the Toronto area two years ago, a Jewish place of rest is targetted by hate-mongers, leaving a tell-tale nazi swastika behind.

“On Yom HaShoah, Ontario’s New Democrats honour the memory of the six million Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust. We remember that these six million people were killed systematically, simply for being Jewish, and that this number includes Jewish refugees turned away at the Canadian border.

We also remember other victims targeted by the Nazis, including Roma people, people of diverse sexual and gender identities, people with disabilities and people killed for their political beliefs. Continue reading

Earth to Premier Ford – Maybe Investing In Flood Management Is Worth It After All

In the Wake of the Catastrophic Flooding Now Raving Communities in the Province, Your Cuts to Environmental Protection Programs Borderlines on Criminal Negligence

By Doug Draper

My Open Letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Posted April 29th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford surveying the damage and destruction from record flooding in regions of Ontario this April.

 “It just rips your heart apart,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford after speaking to victims in flood-ravaged communities in the Ottawa River area this past April 26th. “These folks can’t go through this every single year.”

They can’t go through this every single year?

Perhaps a better word to use, rather than ‘can’t’, Mr. Premier, is ‘shouldn’t’ because, as the years go on, they might go through it every single year.

Indeed, most , if not all of us not only might, but will go through climate-related disasters like the catastrophic flooding that has been occurring in the Ottawa River and other areas of Ontario, not to mention in Quebec and provinces further east, if political leaders like you don’t take action to address climate change and the destruction it causes. Continue reading

Ford’s ‘Government for the People’ Continues Slashing Funds to Ontario’s Schools

Doug Ford Cuts Per-Student Funding

Government announcement another blow to students, teachers, education workers and parents

A Statement from Ontario’s NDP/Official Opposition Party

Posted April 26th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

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

Three weeks after thousands of secondary school students across Niagara joined tens of thousands of their peers across Ontario in a province-wide walkout to protest Ford government cuts to education, the cuts just keep on coming.

More than 200 students join at Holy Cross Secondary School in St. Catharines/Niagara join an April 4th, 2019  province-wide walkout to protest cuts the Ford government is making to their education.

And look forward to more cuts to come. In Doug Ford’s Ontario, we may end up with online courses and home schooling for everyone folks.)

QUEEN’S PARK — Marit Stiles, Ontario NDP Education critic, released the following statement in response to the Ford Conservatives’ Grants for Student Needs (GSN) funding allocation: Continue reading

Niagara West MPP Oosterhoff Announces Measures to Increase School Bus Safety

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff

Posted April 26th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

BEAMSVILLE – Ontario’s government for the people has announced new measures to give municipalities the tools they need to target drivers who threaten the safety of children crossing roads to get to and from their school bus.

Ford government MPP Sam Oosterhoff makes announcement this April 25th with school bus operators behind him

The proposed regulations will allow for more efficient enforcement and prosecution by allowing evidence from these cameras to be used in court without the requirement of an additional witness. Continue reading

Why I Don’t Go To Church

A Confession from Doug Draper, a proud member of the media and “enemy of the people”

Posted April 25th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Every once in a while – but not very often, Thank God – someone will ask me if I go to church, and if not, why.

And rather than lying like some people do, I like to give the inquiring individual an honest answer and say ‘no’ to the first part of the question.

Then I usually use the latest example of self-righteous, in-your-face hypocrisy I have read about or witnessed on the television news (which is usually something I’ve read or witnessed that day) to answer the second part.

Trump receives prayer blessings from Christian evangelicals

So if some inquiring (or is that ‘Enquiring’) person were to ask me that question today, I would start with the usual “no” and finish with a tweet that has just been sent out by an individual who does for the reputation of a Christian preachers what the Koch brothers do for the reputation of people of wealth or what Donald Trump does for the reputation of politicians, or what Mark Zuckerberg does these days for the reputation of social media. Continue reading

Sign a Petition to Save Rodman Hall in St. Catharines/Niagara

“Brock University has again ignored the recommendations of their own expert consultants as well as the wishes of the community and announced yet another poorly-conceived plan that threatens the future existence of Rodman Hall Art Centre.” – from a petition drafted by Liz Hayden and otherNiagara citizens concerned about the future of one of the region’s iconic heritage sites, Rodman Hall in St. Catharines, Ontario

Rodman Hall, a heritage treasure in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted April 24th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Rodman Hall Art Centre was created by and for the residents of the city and region in order to preserve this unique historical site, provide professional art experiences to the community and maintain the public Carolinian gardens overlooking Twelve Mile Creek and the downtown. Continue reading

On Climate Change, Kids Make More Sense Than the Adults

Greta Thunberg makes her plea for action on climate change to a European Union assembly earler this April, 2019

“We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. Thank you.”

– the final words from an address Greta Thunberg, a then 15-year-old Swedish student and climate activist, delivered at a United Nations Summit on Climate Change this  December, 2018

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted April 23rd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

This April 22nd, CBC Radio’s morning program, The Current, played the voices of one young person after another, ages f five or six years old and into their teens, raising concerns about a future over ever more frequent and severe climate-related disasters, and expressing a call for last-chance action to prevent such a nightmare

As I listened to the voices of these young people, I heard kids who sounded no older than six or seven who made infinitely more sense than Ontario Premier Doug Ford when he goes off on one of his Homer Simpson rants about climate change. Continue reading

Thanks to Ontario’s Ford Government, Could Niagara Lose its Own Ambulance Dispatch Service – Again!

It Was Only Two Decades Ago – After Hard Lobbying – That Niagara Finally Got It’s Vital Ambulance Dispatch Services Back

Some Breaking News from CBC with Brief Commentary from Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

Posted April 16th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

According to a news report this April 16th on CBC Radio, CBC reporters have learned that Ontario’s Ford government is now considering plans to merge 59 ambulance services across the province (and Niagara’s regional government now operates one of those 59 services into just 10 for all of Ontario.

One of Niagara Region’s ambulances. Will Niagara again lose locally based emergency dispatch services for our paramedics?

“The Ford government intends to merge the 59 local ambulance services in Ontario into just 10, CBC News as learned,” reads the report that CBC posted online, shortly after 10 a.m. this April 14th. Continue reading

Brock University Proposal Sees A New Era For The Arts In Downtown St. Catharines

“A vibrant arts culture is crucial to the health and vitality of the entire Niagara region.” – Brock President Gervan Fearon

News from Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted April 3rd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The historic Rodman Hall art centre in St. Catharines/Niagara

Niagara, Ontario – Brock University is committed to advancing its pledge to help grow vitality and development in downtown St. Catharines.

The University and community partners are therefore exploring a plan to preserve historic Rodman Hall, provide modern space for the Rodman Hall art collection, and help create a new arts and culture hub in downtown St. Catharines.

The plan is based on commitments that would give the local arts community expanded space and long-term stability in modern, climate-controlled facilities that are conducive to storing and showing works of art, this despite the University needing to find more than $15 million in budget savings after the province announced tuition cuts on Jan. 17. Continue reading

Canada’s Climate Is Warming Twice As Fast As Global Average

Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climage Change Catharine McKenna

“Climate change is real, and Canadians across the country are feeling its impacts. The science is clear, we need to take action now. Practical and affordable solutions to fight climate change will help Canadians face the serious risks to our health, security and economy, and will also create the jobs of tomorrow and secure a better future for our kids and grandkids.”
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

News from Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canada’s federal environment department

Posted April 2nd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

OTTAWA, Canada – Canadians are experiencing the costs of climate-related extremes first hand, from devastating wildfires and flooding to heatwaves and droughts. As the planet warms, extreme weather events will become increasingly common.

The knowledge provided by our scientists has helped us understand that climate change is real and driven by human activity. The Government of Canada will continue to work with Canadian scientists, by listening to their expertise and evidence-based advice to help us continue to take ambitious action to reduce emissions and fight climate change. Continue reading

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff Fighting to Make Life More Affordable for Drivers

Ontario Government announces the end of outdated Drive Clean Program and vows to continue to stand against the federal carbon tax.

A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara West Conservative MPP Sam Oosterhoff

Posted April 1st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff

Grimsby- The Ontario government is putting people first and making life more convenient and affordable for drivers by ending Ontario’s ineffective Drive Clean program, while continuing the fight against the newly imposed federal carbon tax. “Our government promised to make life more affordable for the people of Ontario,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

“The end of the outdated Drive Clean program will save people of Niagara West time, while saving the taxpayers of Ontario more than $40 Million a year.”

According to the Auditor General, on-road emissions have declined so steeply they are no longer the biggest contributor to smog. 75% of these reductions have come through stricter manufacturing standards, requirements for cleaner fuels and the natural retirement of older vehicles — not as a result of Drive Clean. Continue reading

We Could Use a Few More Climate-Fighting Politicians like AOC in Canada

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, champion of a Green New Deal for her country and the planet

If you can get the MSNBC news channel MSNBC on cable, try to tune in this Friday, March 29th at 8 p.m. to watch Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking about the Green New Deal for fighting climate change

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

Posted March 29th, 2019

When I venture across the border to sane regions of America, which are about the only regions of that country I go to any more, I hear many people there speaking warmly of AOC.

For those who still don’t know, AOC is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest ever member of U.S. Congress from Queens, who worked as an organizer for Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in 2016 and who is now one of the champions of something called the Green New Deal to fight climate change.

The cover of the latest April 1st, 2019 edition of Time Magazine

AOC is only 29 years old and I’ve heard more than a few of my American friends and neighbours say – ‘Too bad she isn’t old enough to run for president.’

You have to be at least 30-something to run for the U.S. presidency, and some day she will be. The future belongs to young people like her, if we don’t destroy it first.

This Friday, March 29th at 8 p.m., on the cable TV network MSNBC, she will be on for an hour talking about that Green New Deal which, in a federal election year in Canada, we Canadians should be talking about too.

For the sake of our own futures, and certainly for the sake of younger people, we have only years left to head off a global climate catastrophe that will make the severe weather episodes we are already experiencing look like ‘singin’ in the rain’.

We have no choice, if we give a damn about a decent future on this planet, to take bold steps NOW to address the root causes of this climate crisis.

Please watch this MSNBC program this March 29th;

And take a few moments out now to click on the screen below to hear what AOC had to say in the U.S. Congress just days ago –

Meanwhile, back in Ontario, here is the latest news on the climate-denying premier, Doug Ford, who was gifted to us in the 2018 provincial election, mostly by an aging, disgruntled, stuck in the middle of the 20th century  generation of baby boomers who would rather have cheaper gas for the oversized trucks and cars –

Ford gives climate change-denying former Conservative MP a seat on energy system operator

A News Release form Ontario’s Official Opposition and New Democratic Party

March 29th, 2019

Ontario’s ‘What? Me worry about climate change?’ premier, Doug Ford. Watch Canada’s aging baby boomers vote for Ford’s buddy, Andrew Scheer, for  prime minister of Canada next.

QUEEN’S PARK — Peter Tabuns, Ontario NDP critic for Energy and Climate Change, released the following statement in response to the Ford Conservatives’ appointment of Joe Oliver to the board of the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO):

“Doug Ford has handed out yet another golden ticket on his gravy train. It is deeply troubling to see Ford give coal-loving, climate change-denying former Conservative MP Joe Oliver a seat at the table of Ontario’s energy system operator.”

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 reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

As Niagara Municipalities Face Possible Amalgamation ….

Brock University Policy Brief Explores Governance Options For Niagara Municipalities

The brief argues that past amalgamations have not saved costs or reduced taxes, but there are reasons other than cost savings why area municipalities might wish to merge.

News from Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted March 28th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

How will Niagara’s municipal map look four years from now? If Premier Doug Ford has its way, it could look very different and the number of municipal councillors representing Niagara’s citizens could be much smaller.

To merge or not to merge? That is one of the many questions Niagara and eight other Ontario regions will be grappling with as the province studies how to make municipalities more efficient.

Two advisors appointed by the Ontario government are addressing nine questions related to how decisions are being made, and services being delivered, in two-tier systems. Residents have been asked to provide feedback by April 23, and the advisors’ report is expected to be submitted early this summer.

To help Niagara navigate the issues, Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) has released its policy brief, Under the Knife & Under the Gun: An Overview of Regional Government in Niagara.

How many municipal councillors does a region like Niagara need?

“The purpose of the brief is to provide factual information to inform the discussion on this important issue,” says David Siegel, Professor of Political Science and author of the policy brief. Continue reading

Ontario’s Official Opposition Party Tables Two Bills in Honour of Late Welland MPP Peter Kormos

One NDP Bill Aimed at Increasing Organ Donations. Other Would Prohibit Replacement Workers during Walkouts/Strikes

The late Welland MP Peter Kormos became a political icon across Ontario, and one of the leading voices for the rights of working people

News Releases from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted March 28th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

NDP Health critic France Gélinas Tables Bill To Increase Organ Donation

The bill is named after Welland MPP Peter Kormos, who was passionate about organ donation. Kormos died March 30, 2013.

Queen’s Park — NDP Health critic France Gélinas has re-introduced the Peter Kormos Memorial Act (Trillium Gift of Life Netwoark Amendment), which would change organ and tissue donation in Ontario from an opt-in system to an opt-out system.

“This bill will take people off transplant wait lists,” said Gélinas. “It will help not only save lives, but help transplant recipients live longer, more productive lives.” Continue reading

Niagara’s Taxpayers Have Right to Know Cost of “Mutual Separation Agreement” NPCA cut with Barrick

We’ve Had More Than Enough Secrecy at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted February 27th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

NPCAs former “acting CAO” David Barrick. Public has a right to know terms of “mutual separation agreement” Conservation Authority reached with him. r

“What I can tell you is that the community will be well served by the settlement,” one interim member of the NPCA’s board, Welland Regional Councillor Pat Chiocchio was quoted telling a local newspaper recently about a “mutual separation agreement” the Conservation Authority negotiated with  alleged “interim CAO” David Barrick on his way out the door.

What Chiochio and other members of the board have not told us since news of this so-called mutual separation agreement was made public this February 21st is how much it is costing the public with respect to any buyout package Barrick received.

West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma, who serves as the board’s interim chair, was quoted telling a media outlet, The Hamilton News, that the agreement was approved by the entire board, made up of hime and eleven other Niagara mayors and regional councillors, along with representatives from neighbouring Hamilton and Haldimand County.

And, added Bylsma, it “is not tainted. It’s responsible (and) it’s poetic.” Continue reading

A Forum for “Thinking About Animals” at Brock University

With Special Guests Dr. Amy Fitzgerald, University of Windsor, Animal Rights & Environmentalism and Dr. Lori Marino, Kimela Centre for Animal Advocacy

At Brock University’s Pond Inlet, Thursday March 21st3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in St. Catharines Niagara

An Invite from Niagara Action for Animals (NAFA)

Posted February 25th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Dear friends of animals –

Please mark Thursday, March 21st on your calendar….and share attached poster!

NAfA is pleased to co-sponsor the upcoming talk at Brock University presenting Dr. Lori Marino. 

As many of you may know, Lori is a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence.  Continue reading

Some Good News for Ontario’s Electricity Consumers and the Environment

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) takes major step to lower Ontario’s electricity bills

A News Release from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Posted February 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

On February 1st, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) asked Hydro One to upgrade its transmission system to permit Ontario to buy large quantities of low-cost water power from Quebec.

Specifically, the IESO has asked Hydro One to increase its import capability by up to 1,650 megawatts (MW) by December 2022 at a cost of approximately $20 million. This upgrade will permit Ontario to buy enough Quebec water power to displace more than 50% of the output of the Darlington Nuclear Station. Continue reading

Ford Plan Has Ontarians Paying More for a Weak Climate Plan

“We’re’re running out of time to take effective action on climate change, and Doug Ford is wasting month after month playing politics with our environment.”                 – Ontario NDP Climate Change critic Peter Tabuns

News from Ontario’s Official Opposition and New Democratic Party

Posted February 13, 2019 on Niagara At Large

United Nations science panels estimate that we may have about a dozen years left to turn the climate change crisis around, and Ontario has this character, Doug Ford, at the helm.

Queens Park, Ontario — Doug Ford’s new climate change scheme is a carbon tax that would have Ontarians paying more, but getting a weak plan for their money.

Ford’s proposed plan charges a carbon tax of $20 per tonne, rising to $50 per tonne by 2022. That comes as people are already on the hook for liabilities from Doug Ford’s cap and trade market shut down, plus footing the $30-million bill for Ford’s ongoing legal challenge against the nearly identical federal carbon tax.

“People are already footing the bill for Ford’s politically-motivated legal battle against the carbon tax, and now Ford has written up virtually the same carbon tax plan,” said NDP Climate Change critic Peter Tabuns. Continue reading

Ontario’s Sexual Assault Survivors Shouldn’t Be Kept Waiting For Services

“I urge this government to deliver the funding these (Ontario Coaltion of Rape Crisis Centres) were promised, and to make sure survivors of sexual violence have access to these vital services in their time of need now and moving forward.”                – Suze Morrison, Ontario NDP critic for Women’s Issues

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP and Official Opposition Party

Posted February 7th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Queen’s Park — Suze Morrison, Ontario NDP critic for Women’s Issues, said it’s simply wrong for Doug Ford to force survivors of sexual assault to wait for services as the Conservatives keep rape crisis centres in the dark about whether promised funding will flow.

The rape crisis centres were promised a 30-per-cent increase for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, but the Ford Conservatives continue to hold that funding hostage.

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney refused to answer questions about the status of that desperately-needed funding during a phone call yesterday with representatives of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres and Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes, according to participants on the call. Continue reading

Milestone Moment At Brock University As Goodman School Of Business Officially Opens Its Doors

News from B rock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted February 1st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – With confetti raining down and a round of applause from faculty, staff and students, the ribbon was cut on the $24-million transformation of the Goodman School of Business at Brock University Friday, Feb. 1.

A celebration was held Friday, Feb. 1, to officially open the new Goodman School of Business building at Brock University. Pictured from left are Mark Goodman, Brock MBA student and President of the Graduate Business Council Priya Mehta, Dan Goodman, BBA student and President of the Business Students’ Association Aidan Gilhula, Brock President Gervan Fearon, Goodman Dean Andrew Gaudes, and Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff.

The remarkable project brings the Goodman School to the forefront of a competitive Canadian business school market, offering its growing student body a modern, bright and high-tech learning environment. Continue reading

Ontario Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine Releases First Report

News from the Ontario of Government

Posted January 31st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

The Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine is releasing its first report, providing an overview of the problem of hallway health care in Ontario. 

“There’s much to be proud of in our health care system. However, there are also many barriers that make the system difficult to navigate for patients and providers,” said Special Advisor and Chair of the Council Dr. Rueben Devlin. “This report is a first step in advising the government on how to transform Ontario’s health care system.” Continue reading

The Truth Behind Niagara Falls’ “Frozen” Appearance

Some Facts and Figures About Snow and Ice and the Rushing Waters of The Falls

  • Record-breaking temperatures result in remarkable ice formations and the illusion ofFrozen Falls
  • Miniature glaciers and frozen mist have transformed Niagara Falls into a truly inspiring, natural and distinctly Canadian winter wonderland

From Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

Posted January 25th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Do the Falls actually freeze?

Well, technically no. Though it is a trick question, as to the eye it might look as though they do.

The Falls of Niagara in Snow and Ice. All photos in this series courtesy of Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

During particularly cold temperatures, the mist and spray begin to form a crust of ice over top of the rushing water, making it appear as though the Falls have in fact stopped. However, the water continues to flow underneath the sheets of ice.

Continue reading

Ford Forced To Abandon Another Attempt To Punch Holes In Ontario’s Greenbelt

Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

“We’re relieved, but we know we’re going to have to be vigilant. Ford and the developers he trades favours with clearly want to be able to plow through the Greenbelt.” – Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

News from Ontario’s NDP and Official Opposition Party

Posted January 23rd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

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

Fighting to stop more of this from happening to what is left of Ontario’s natural heritage

Following concerns raised by Ontario’s New Democratic Party and by numerous municipalities across the province, including Niagara’s Regional Council, about the potential threat that language in Bill 66 – a so-called “Open For Business” piece of legislation being proposed by the Ford government – poses to the province’s Greenbelt and to opportunities for public consultation when it comes to development that may intrude on green space, the government has (as of this January 23rd) abandoned a controversial section in the bill. Continue reading

Ontario Government Lowers Student Tuition Burden by 10 Per Cent 

First ever province-wide tuition reduction will make college and university  more affordable for students in Niagara

News from the Constituency Office of Niagara West and Ontario Conservative MPP Sam Oosterhoff

Posted January 19th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff .

Niagara, Ontario – For the first time in Ontario, students at every publicly-assisted college and university will see their tuition rates go down by 10 percent thanks to a tuition rate reduction introduced by Ontario’s Government.

This is the latest step in the Government’s plan to keep more money in the pockets of students and families.

 “We believe that if you’ve got the grades, you deserve access to an affordable postsecondary education,” said Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “By lowering tuition across the entire province, our Government is ensuring that all qualified Ontario students will have more affordable access to high quality skills, training and education.” Continue reading

No Foundation of Facts and Reason to Back Up Trump’s Call for a Wall

Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

“The President’s proposal to potentially use emergency authority to bypass Congress and reprogram funds for the wall, which the public does not support and Mexico will never pay for, … is shameful.” U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins based in the Buffalo/Western New York area

From Buffalo, New York area Congressman Brian Higgins

Posted January 9th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Statement By Congressman Brian Higgins in Response to President Trump’s Remarks

Buffalo, N.Y. – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s speech on border security and his shutdown of the federal government: 

“The only crisis is the one manufactured by this President. In causing this government shutdown, President Trump is holding federal workers and programs hostage to advance a political agenda. 

“The President’s proposal to potentially use emergency authority to bypass Congress and reprogram funds for the wall, which the public does not support and Mexico will never pay for, while those who patrol our borders are not getting paid for the work they are doing because of the President’s obstinance, is shameful. Continue reading

Join In an Information Session and Letter Writing Campaign to Save Thundering Waters Forest

Monday, January 7th, 2019 from 4 to 6 p.m.

An Invite from Citizens Campaigning to Save the Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls

Posted January 4th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

  • When: January 7th, 4pm -6pm
  • Where: Mahtay Café on St. Paul Street in downtown St Catharines
  • What: Thundering Waters Letter Writing and Web Film Debut
  • Niagara area citizens have been fighting to save wetlands like this provincially significant one – on lands targeted for development – in Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls. The lands fall within the Niagara River watershed in the Great Lakes basin. File photo

St Catharines, Ontario – Community organizers will be hosting a letter writing campaign and info session about the damage to protected wetlands in Niagara Falls by Gr Can Inc. Mike Enns, a local film maker, will be debuting his web video about the damage and the public is welcome to join us to learn and help protect what little natural spaces are left in Niagara. Continue reading

Canada’s CEO Pay Still Near Historic Levels at 197 Times More Than The Average Worker

New gender analysis suggests that executive bonus pay has little to do with ‘merit’

A New Report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Posted January 3rd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Ottawa, Ontario —Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs netted 197 times more than the average worker made in 2017, earning the average yearly wage ($50,759) before lunch on Jan. 2, according to a new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The report shows the country’s 100 highest paid CEOs on the S&P/TSX Composite index made an average of $10 million in 2017, slightly less than last year’s report but still the second highest amount since the CCPA has been keeping track. Continue reading

Along with the Safety Barriers, Let’s Also Try Being Kinder To One Another

A Comment from a Niagara At Large reader that is well worth taking into the New Year

Posted December 31st, 2018 on Niagara At Large

We live in a time when more than possibly ever before, the technical fix takes precedence over the human touch.

Walls and fences are used to control the movement of people. “Friends” on Facebook and Twitter feeds take the place of face-to-face interactions with people in what are left of the places that serve as communities.

So it is not unusual that so much attention has been placed on installing some kind of fencing or security barriers on the Burgoyne Bridge in St. Catharines to prevent more people who feel down on life from jumping off. Continue reading

You are Invited to Join in the Warm Glow of a New Year’s Day Community Gathering

Join us at  Montebello Park in St. Catharines/Niagara this January 1st at 6 p.m. for a ‘Shine Your Light’ gathering of our Niagara community

An Invite from Karen Orlandi, Student/Outreach, c/o Bethel United Church, Cooks Mills United Church and Silver Spire United Church

Posted December 31st. 2018 on Niagara At Large

Our solution to the incredible sense of loss we have experienced as a Region, is to re-connect our community.

We need each other and we believe the answer is in community.

We will gather January 1st at 6:00 p.m. in Montebello Park to turn on the light we each have brought at 6:15pm. Bring your phone, a flashlight, a candle, lantern, etc. Continue reading

Brock University’s Chancellor Cheechoo named to Order of Canada

A member of the Cree nation, Cheechoo made history in July 2015 when she was the first woman and first Indigenous Canadian to be appointed to the ceremonial leadership role of Chancellor of Brock University

News from Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted December 27th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Brock University Chancellor Shirley Cheechoo, an award-winning actress, artist, playwright and filmmaker, has been awarded the Order of Canada.

Brock University Chancellor Shirley Cheechoo

The announcement came on Boxing Day from Governor-General Julie Payette, who included the Indigenous academic leader among 103 Canadians being appointed to the Order.

One of the country’s highest honours, the Order of Canada recognizes Canadians whose service shapes society, whose innovations ignite imaginations and whose compassion unites communities. Continue reading

Ford’s Refusal To Face Questions Proves Need For Public Inquiry

NDP Leader Horwath Has Again Written To Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner

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

Posted December 21th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

QUEEN’S PARK — Showing just how necessary a public inquiry into Ford’s political interference in Ontario’s police force is, Doug Ford continues to refuse to answer the questions the people of Ontario have for him.

Three days out of three, Ford has dodged question period, and dodged accountability.

“It’s time for Mr. Ford to come out from the back rooms and secret meetings, and start being accountable to the people of Ontario,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “It’s becoming absolutely clear that the only way to find out what really happened when it comes to Ford’s interference in Ontario’s police force is to hold a public inquiry, so the public can see the evidence, and hear the testimony of those involved — including Mr. Ford.”

Horwath has written to the Integrity Commissioner again, asking him to invoke a rarely used section of the Public Inquiries Act to launch a public inquiry, a power usually reserved for the premier and cabinet.

Proving Horwath’s point, Ford has responded to the Integrity Commissioner’s investigation in writing, but the public is not allowed to see that response.

“If there’s any circumstance that shows exactly why the Integrity Commissioner was given the power to call a public inquiry, this is it,” said Horwath.

Questions the Official Opposition NDP MPPs have been asking in this week’s question periods include those about Ford’s involvement in the appointment of close friend and ally Ron Taverner to head the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), as well as Ford’s order that a secret “camper style” vehicle be bought and tricked-out for him, and the expense of that be hidden from people.

On Wednesday, the NDP revealed documents accessed via Freedom of Information laws which show that Ford met with the then-OPP commissioner Vince Hawkes on July 25. Presumably on that day, the commissioner told Ford of his coming retirement. Five days later on July 30, Ford met with Taverner over dinner.

Ford has also refused year-end interviews, choosing to only speak to his own publicly funded propaganda network.

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 reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Former St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley is Niagara Region’s New Chair

A News Brief by Doug Draper

Posted December 6th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region’s new Chair, Jim Bradley

In front of a packed Niagara Regional Council chambers that included ex-regional chair Al Caslin, former St. Catharines MPP and recently elected Regional Councillor Jim Bradley received the support of a majority on the new council to serve as its chair.

Bradley was elected to a four-year term as Niagara Region’s chair in a three-way race this December 6th with new Welland Regional Councillor Leanna Villella and Lincoln’s new regional council member Rob Foster.

A total of 19 votes went to Bradley, seven to Villella and five to Foster before the council voted one more time to unanimously support the outcome of what was the first contest for chair held completely in the open in the Region’s almost five-decades-long history. Continue reading

Niagara Falls  MPP Pushes for Increased Mental Health Funding for Niagara

Wayne Gates to Table Bill In Ontario Legislature for More Funding People Struggling with Mental Health and Addictions

 “People deserve better services, and no one should ever deal with mental health struggles without the support they need.” – Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

News from the Constituency Office of Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

Posted December 5th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

Niagara, Ontario — Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates will be tabling a motion in Queen’s Park on Thursday that could secure funding to operate three 24-hour, seven-day-a-week mental health and addictions drop-in counselling programs across Niagara.

“Front-line staff are doing everything they can to ensure that every resident of Niagara has access to mental health and addictions help when and where they need it – but they can only stretch a dollar so far,” said Gates. “People deserve better services, and no one should ever deal with mental health struggles without the support they need. I believe this funding could help our front-line providers ensure that everyone in need of treatment can get it as soon as they need it.” Continue reading

Info from Ontario Official Confirms that the “Order” NPCA Board is Using to Cling to Power is “Null and Void”

“It’s time for defeated Fort Erie (Regional) Councillor Sandy Annunziata and the rest of the board to step down and allow the individual municipalities to make their appointments to the NPCA Board as set out in the Conservation Authorities Act.” – Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

New from the Constituency Office of Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch, with an Afterword from Niagara At Large reporter Doug Draper on who should be made to pay the legal bills for this.

Posted December 2nd, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

Welland/Niagara – MPP Jeff Burch confirmed this December 2nd that the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authorities’ attempted use of an outdated Order in Council from 1994 to oversee new appointments is not valid.

An official from the Ministry of Natural Resources stated in an email to the MPP’s office that the power to appoint and replace members of an authority now supersedes any direction provided within a previous Order in Council, or other past process governing the appointment of authority members.

The statement outlined that the Order in Council in question was made under a previous version of the Conservation Authorities Act that has since been revoked. New provisions of the act have come into force that provides participating municipalities with the clear authority to appoint and replace members. The Conservation Authorities Act was amended in 2017. Continue reading

Free Quit Smoking Help For Niagara Residents

A Public Service Message from Niagara’s Region’s Public Health Department 

Posted November 30th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Free quit smoking patches are available to Niagara residents for a limited time.

The STOP (Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) Program offers eligible participants in Niagara five weeks of cost-free nicotine replacement therapy and smoking cessation information to help them in their quit attempt.

  • WHATFree patches for adults in Niagara to quit smoking
  • WHERE: STOP workshops will be held in Welland and Thorold
  •  WHEN: December 12 (Welland) and December 18 (Thorold), 2018

Continue reading

Niagara Parks Announces 2019 Schedule for Annual Falls Fireworks Series

News from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission

Posted November 30th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Canada’s longest running fireworks series set to return beginning with the Victoria and Memorial Day long weekends in May 2019

Updated schedule to feature 110+ fireworks shows, including daily fireworks throughout the summer

Niagara Falls, Ontario – Daily Falls fireworks return next summer as part of the 26th Falls Fireworks series in Niagara Parks. Launched from within the Niagara Gorge, 114 incredible displays will captivate visitors from around the world. New for 2019 is the introduction of low-noise fireworks on select weeknights. Continue reading

Ford’s Ontario Government Releases Plan to Protect the Environment

Includes a Balanced, Made-in-Ontario Climate Change Solution to Preserve and Protect the Environment for Future Generations

News from the Ford Government and Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks

Posted November 29th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Today (this November 29th), Ontario’s Government for the People released a new made-in-Ontario environment plan to protect our air, land and water and reduce litter and waste while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and helping communities protect themselves from climate change.

“This plan strikes the right balance between a healthy environment and a healthy economy,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “It contains solutions that will protect our air, land and water, reduce waste, address litter, increase our resilience to climate change and help us all do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, it does all of this without imposing an ineffective, regressive carbon tax on hard-working Ontario families.” Continue reading

Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch Tells Sandy Annunziata and Current NPCA Board “TO GO”!

“This is a last grab at power that people of Niagara will not stand for. … I would ask those not successful in the recent election to respect the will of Niagara taxpayers and step aside in order to allow the newly elected councils to determine board appointments.” – Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

A Message from the Niagara Centre Constituency Office of NDP provincial representative Jeff Burch

Posted November 28th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre Jeff Burch and Cindy Forster, his predeccesor in the Niagara Centre riding, who spent the past four years before him speaking out for public accountability at the NPCA. File photo.

QUEEN’S PARK—Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch responds to the news that the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority will be changing the way members of the board are appointed.

Recently, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Chair Sandy Annuziata released a memo indicating that NPCA Board Appointments would be in accordance with OIC 2706, an outdated ministerial mandate from 1994. Mr. Annunziata, a Fort Erie Regional Councillor was defeated in last months Municipal Election.

Burch says, “This is a last grab at power that people of Niagara will not stand for. And it is the taxpayers that will be paying the legal bill from the NPCA for its hired law firm to dig up this decades old Order in Council.”

It only highlights the need for a new board to try and restore public trust in a once respected conservation authority.”

After the controversies of the past few years, many municipalities including Welland, Port Colborne, Fort Erie, St. Catharines and Pelham have passed motions to move to an expert citizen appointment system, something Burch fully supports.

Burch notes that the NPCA is not at the behest of Sandy Annuziata or a select few from the conservative cabal recently voted out of office. It is a taxpayer funded municipally regulated and provincially overseen entity.

He says, “I have been in touch with the Auditor Generals office and as Municipal Affairs critic for the official opposition, I support the rights and the wishes of Niagara’s municipalities and their newly elected representatives to democratically and transparently determine the new NPCA Board of Directors.”

I would ask those not successful in the recent election to respect the will of Niagara taxpayers and step aside in order to allow the newly elected councils to determine board appointments.”

Watch and listen to Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch tell Sandy Annunziata, the current chair of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board of director and others on the currrent NPCA board to respect the taxpayers of Niagara and steps aside now.

To read a recent commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper on this issue, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/11/28/npcas-board-like-trying-to-get-rid-of-cockroaches/

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 reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders