In Niagara, All Four Federal Incumbents Are Back in the Saddle Again

Liberal MPs Vance Badawey of Niagara Centre and Chris Bittle of St. Catharines, and Conservative MPs Tony Baldinelli of Niagara Falls and Dean Allison of Niagara West Have All Been Re-elected

By Doug Draper

Posted September 21st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey wins for a third time in the riding since 2015. File photo

At the end of this ill-timed federal election, there is no change in the four ridings making up the election map in Niagara, Ontario.

Although tracking polls showed the federal Liberals and Conservatives running neck and neck in the Liberal-held ridings of Niagara Centre and St. Catharines, the two Trudeau incumbents, Vance Badawey and Chris Bittle, began inching ahead of their rivals during the final days of the campaign, and this Monday night, they prevailed.

Working with an impressive campaign team that was out there, on the phones and on the ground, spreading the word about their candidate, Badawey defeated second-place Conservative Graham Speck by more than 2,000 votes, with the NDP finishing third and the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) and Green Party finishing a distant fourth and fifth. Continue reading

U.S. Border to Remain Closed to Canadians Through October 21

“Continued closure of the U.S. border to vaccinated Canadians is completely unnecessary and unexplained.” – Brian Higgins, U.S. Democratic Congressman representing the Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York area

A Statement by Congressman Brian Higgins on U.S. Extension of Northern Border Shutdown

Buffalo, New York – Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), who serves as Chair of the Northern Border Caucus and the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group released the following statement in response to the news that the United States is extending border restrictions for Canadians entering the U.S. through October 21, 2021.

“Continued closure of the U.S. border to vaccinated Canadians is completely unnecessary and unexplained.

“It is welcome news that the White House is making progress on reciprocating international public health measures to protect air travelers. Yet it is inexplicable that no announcement on easing travel restrictions at land ports of entry is being made today since the livelihoods of communities across the Northern Border depend on cross-border commerce. Continue reading

This Monday Is Election Day – Vote for Climate Action

Vote for the Candidate and Party in Your Riding That Have the Best Chance of Defeating Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and his Party of Climate Laggards 

A Brief One from Doug Draper

Posted September 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

With election day finally upon us, daily tracking polls show the Liberals and Conservatives running neck to neck for first place nationally (each with around 32 percent of the total vote), and the NDP stuck at the same 19 or 20 per cent since election began, in spite of a good race run by a well-liked and highly popular (especially among younger people) Jameet Singh.

In the Niagara Ontario ridings of Niagara Centre and St. Catharines, tracking polls show the horse race between the Liberals and Conservatives is reflective of the national trend, although in the last week or so, Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey and St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle (both Liberal incumbents) have been inching ahead of their Conservative rivals. Continue reading

Iconic U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders Endorses Canada’s New Democrats in Federal Election

A Brief One from Doug Draper on Niagara At Large

Posted September 17th, 2021 at Niagara At Large

One of America’s most popular progressive politicians – Vermont’s independent and social democrat Senator Bernie Sanders and two-time U.S. Presidential candidate issued a statement on Twitter this September 17th, endorsing Canada’s Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his party in this coming Monday, September 20th federal election.

Canada’s NDP Leader gets election endorsement from one of the most popular progressive politicians in the United States – former Presidential Candidate and the still very active Senator Bernie Sanders, to the right in photo

Here is Senator Sander’s statement –

“Canada goes to the polls Monday. There’s one party that stood up for working people in the pandemic. One leader who has the courage to make the wealthy pay their fair share so everyone gets the medication they need. That’s why I support the NDP and Jagmeet Singh.” – Bernie Sanders

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

Better Justin Trudeau Than Erin O’Toole and his Party of Climate Deniers

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, and keeper of the tar sands, endorses federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole

Any Politician – In This Case O’Toole – Who Looks and Sounds Like He’s Stuttering and Dancing on Coals When Repeatedly Asked To Clarify His Position on the Need for Vaccine Mandates During A Fourth Wave Of A Killer Pandemic Should Not Be Leading Our Country

 

“The choices that leaders make during a crisis matter.”                  – Justin Trudeau, leader of Canada’s governing Liberals, responding to federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s unwillingness to offer clear answers to reporters’ questions about vaccine mandates and the mess that O’Toole’s right-wing, climate denying friend, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, has made of dealing with the pandemic in his province.

Former U.S. Democratic President Barack Obama and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“Wishing my friend Justin Trudeau the best in Canada’s upcoming election. Justin has been an effective leader and strong voice for democratic values, and I’m proud of the work he did together.”                                                                    – Former U.S. President Barack Obama from a statement he posted on Twitter this September 16th.

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted September 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Let me begin this commentary with perhaps the one point many of us can agree on.

And the point is this.

I am completely on side with what is evidently view of a majority of my fellow Canadians that Trudeau and his Liberals should not have called this snap election at a time when we are entering a fourth wave of a pandemic that is wreaking so much havoc on our lives, and the health and economic welfare of the communities we live in. Continue reading

This Coming Monday, Vote to Conserve Our Natural Heritage. Vote for Saving Waverly Woods

A Message from Marcie Jacklin and Community Voices of Fort Erie

Posted September 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Fort Erie, Ontario – Next Monday, September 20th, Canadians will go to the polls to cast their votes for the federal candidate of their choice.  This is our democratic right, and also, our responsibility.

There is no doubt that we are currently facing a climate emergency.

We need only to look at the record high temperatures, wildfires and flooding that have occurred over the past year to see that action must be taken now.

We also need to conserve our natural resources, like Waverly Woods, to ensure a healthy environment for everyone. Continue reading

St. Catharines City Council Approves Development Charges for Future Growth

“This is a fair, balanced approached that will ensure that the costs of new development do not fall to the taxpayer and that growth will pay for growth in the future.”                                           – St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

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

Posted September 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines City Hall

Niagara, Ontario – (Earlier this week) St. Catharines City Council has approved the re-introduction of development charges, providing a more balanced approach where growth pays for growth, rather than the burden of growth-related infrastructure falling to the taxpayer.

After extensive public engagement with the community and stakeholders – including the development industry and the City’s Development Studies Task Force, Council approved a development charges background study and bylaw Monday night, paving the way for development charge bylaw to come into effect January 1, 2022. Continue reading

Brock Biologist Teams With Plenty Canada to Study Indigenous Plants on Niagara, Ontario’s Laura Secord Trail

News from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario

Posted September 16th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Laura Secord’s 1813 trek from Queenston to DeCew House likely involved navigating through plants, shrubs and trees, which the area’s Indigenous Peoples knew intimately for their nutritional and curative properties.

A section of the Laura Secord Legacy Trail that runs from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Thorold. Brock biologist and UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability, Liette Vasseur, has formed a partnership with the Indigenous, not-for

The scenery between Niagara-on-the-Lake and Thorold has changed a bit since then, but the importance of knowing plants native to Niagara is as strong as ever, especially in Indigenous communities.

Brock biologist and UNESCO Chair on Community Sustainability, Liette Vasseur, has formed a partnership with Plenty Canada<https://www.plentycanada.com/>, an Indigenous, not-for-profit charitable organization that supports environmental protection and sustainable development goals. Continue reading

BREAKING NEWS – Niagara Region’s Planning Committee Supports Motion for Local Action on Climate Change

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

Posted September 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

Niagara, Ontario – A motion tabled by Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley to move forward with a Niagara-based plan to address the impacts of climate change received approval from members of the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee this September 15th.

If the motion gets final approval at this coming September 23rd Regional Council meeting, the Region’s staff will proceed to develop proposals for addressing climate change at a local level and the Region will host a “climate summit” before actual climate-fighting practices are put in place.

In a statement to the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee before his motion was discussed and voted on, Bradley said –

“Actions to date, at all levels of government, have not been enough so far to change the path we we are on…. As leaders, and we are leaders as member of council, now is the time to mitigate the impacts of climate change, locally and globally.” Continue reading

A Lake Erie Success Story – Lake Trout Naturally Reproducing For First Time in 60 Years

“This phenomenal Great Lakes story of recovery is a testament to the perseverance of the researchers and biologists from DEC and partner agencies who worked tirelessly to help restore this fishery.”                                                                                                            – New York State Department of Environment Commissioner Basil Seggos in a news  release

Some Good News about Lake Erie from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Posted September 15th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

A look at Lake Erie at its worst. Toxic algae – a product of pollutants running off from rural and urban areas around the lakes – smothers fish populations and makes the water virtually unusable in so many other ways

With all of the disturbing news about our environment we are facing these days, how welcoming it is to receive some good news every once in a while.

On that score, here is a report from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, issued this past August, that for the first time in 60 years, there is solid evidence of Lake Trout reproducing in Lake Erie.

One of the reasons I wanted to cover environmental issues at The St. Catharines Standard when I was hired by the newspaper in 1979 was the ongoing reports that Lake Erie, as a healthy body of fresh water and a sustainable  ecosystem for fish and birds and a host of other species, was literally dying from the phosphorus pollution suffocating the lake. Most of that pollution was coming from municipal wastewater outfalls and from farmlands in both Ontario and U.S. states, including Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York State. Continue reading

Niagara Regional Chair Condemns Rash of Vandalism and Harassment Aimed At Public Figures in our Region

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

“I believe there is always an opportunity for civil debate in regard to public policy, but vandalism on property is nothing but destructive and ultimately counterproductive. Verbal and physical abuse of those running for public office is appalling and inexcusable.” – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

A Statement from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

Posted September 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Regional Chair Bradley’s statement on the vandalism and harassment of those in the public realm – 

“I am disappointed to hear of yet another instance of vandalism against an elected official in Niagara. This behaviour is unacceptable and does nothing but denigrate our public discourse and serve to divide us as a community.

A photo from St. Catharines Liberal MP Chris Bittle’s Facebook page, of the ugly spray painting found on his car, in the driveway of his home.

The recent vandalism committed to the vehicle of Liberal candidate Chris Bittle, the spitting on and hurling of vile insults to Conservative candidate Krystina Waler, and racial insults being directed at campaign volunteers, are all examples of clearly despicable behaviour during an electoral contest.

Most recently, the vandalistic attack on the residence and vehicle of Mayor Walter Sendzik represent yet another unacceptable action taken against an individual in the public realm. Continue reading

Doug Ford’s Softness on Public Safety is Costing Us Lives, Money And Time

And It Is Trying The Patience Of People Who Have Done The Right Thing

A News Release from the Liberal Party of Ontario

Posted September 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Liberals Release Plan To Mandate Safety After Surge In Anti-Science Protests

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

TORONTO, Ontario – Ontario must take a zero-tolerance approach to anti-science rhetoric and public health non-compliance, which is threatening people’s lives and putting Ontario’s small businesses and economic recovery at risk.

“Doug Ford’s softness on public safety is costing us lives, money and time and trying the patience of people who have done the right thing,” said Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca. “This ends when we say it ends. No more nonsense. No more exceptions. No more delay. We must act with strength and determination to put this threat behind us.”

The Ontario Liberal Party’s “Mandate Safety” plan is calling for increased public safety measures that will protect communities, drive vaccine acceptance and accelerate our economic reopening, by: Continue reading

Gimme Shelter! Demonstration To Bring Awareness To The Housing Crisis In Niagara.

Taking Place on Friday, September 24th at 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. in Niagara Falls, Ontario

Address: 6746 Morrison Street, Niagara Falls, ON. MPP Wayne Gates office is in this strip-mall. Parking is available across the street beside LA Fitness.

A Call-Out to All of Us from the Niagara Activist Network and Housing Now Niagara

Posted September 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Schedule of Events:

-Street protest (please bring your own signs or artwork if you can) housing hand outs will be provided.

-All are welcome to bring their creativity to this demonstration, be it songs, poetry, dance, or artwork. We will be recording people’s personal housing testimonials, participants are invited to share their struggles and offer solutions.

-We will ask for your input on the preparation of a letter of demands that we will present to all three levels of government. Continue reading

You Are Invited To A Free Zoom Series on Climate and Fighting For A Better Future in Niagara

“Who says you can’t fight city hall (or the provincial or federal government) and win? Hear stories about how groups of engaged citizens in Ontario have fought and won environmental victories and changed governments.”

Wednesday, September 15th thru to Wednesday, September 22nd (See details for times and how to sign up below)

Niagara At Large is Sharing this from the Facebook Page of the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee-Niagara

Posted September 14th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Liz Benneian, (A Better Niagara, Biodiversity and Climate Action Niagara and Ontariogreen) will be speaking about “Advocacy In Action” in the first of a four-part lecture series sponsored by Extinction Rebellion, Wednesday, September 15th, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

One of the speakers for the series, Liz Benneian – a leading member of the citizen groups A Better Niagara and the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee – Niagara, seen here speaking at at a past  environmental rally in our Niagara region.

Who says you can’t fight city hall (or the provincial or federal government) and win? Hear stories about how groups of engaged citizens in Ontario have fought and won environmental victories and changed governments. Learn how to advocate effectively from someone who has been leading successful citizen advocacy groups for 18 years. Continue reading

Ontario Premier Ford Condemns Anti-Vaxxer Protests In A Tweet

Posted September 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Ontario’s Premier condemned the continued harassment of health-care workers and in and out-going patients by anti-vaxxer fanatics at hospitals across the province with the following statement he issued on his Twitter page.

“The protests we’re seeing outside of hospitals are selfish, cowardly and reckless. Our health care workers have sacrificed so much to keep us all safe during this pandemic. They don’t deserve this kind of treatment — not now, not ever. Leave our health care workers alone.” – Ontario Premier Doug Ford

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

Anti-Vaxxer’s Harassment of Ontario’s Health Care Workers Must End

It is not acceptable to shrug our shoulders and say there’s nothing more we can do.

“Doug Ford is only making things hard for those who made the responsible decision to get vaccinated and our most vulnerable.”

A Statement from Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

Posted September 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

Ontario Liberal Leaader Steven Del Duca

“Enough is enough.

“People have no right to block patients from their treatment, harass health care workers as they try and save lives or to intimidate business owners who are trying to make a living in one of the toughest economic periods imaginable.

“It is not acceptable to shrug our shoulders and say there’s nothing more we can do. Not while infections are on the rise. Not while our hospitals are filling up and our doctors and nurses are being threatened and abused. Not while anti-vax propaganda continues to flood our computers and our streets. Continue reading

Niagara Health Reinforces Importance Of Vaccination Against COVID-19

“We are dealing with a virus that is well-managed with a vaccine. I strongly urge those who are unvaccinated to do so as soon as possible. Vaccination is the key to getting out of this pandemic. ”                                                                                                   – Dr. Johan Viljoen, Niagara Health’s Chief of Staff, Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs

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

Posted September 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

This pandemic is the most significant healthcare crisis of our time. As a hospital, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect our teams and those in our care.

We continue to learn more about the Delta variant. Based on modelling from the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, we expect to see another surge in cases in hospitals in our province over the next several months, impacting all age groups and all hospital services.

Full vaccination of our teams is critical to maintain a safe environment for everyone in the hospital – it will reduce the spread of the virus, decrease the risk of outbreaks and ensure healthcare services are delivered as safely as possible. Continue reading

Niagara Residents Invited To Join in a Global Strike for Climate Action

On Friday, September 24th in St. Catharines, Ontario (See Details Below)

A Call-Out to All of Us from Extinction Rebellion Niagara

Posted September 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

As you may be aware, people around the globe are planning a Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 24th. To show our global solidarity and get back in the streets, we will be marching downtown St. Catharines on the 24th!

Here are the details of the day:

Continue reading

Niagara Parks and Brock University to Host Free Online Speaker Series on Environmental Stewardship

·   Free, interactive speaker series discusses the importance of environmental stewardship in the Niagara region and Ontario

·   Three unique sessions will feature fascinating keynote speakers

An Invite from Ontario’s Niagara Parks Commission and Brock University in St. Catharines/Niagara

Posted September 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – As part of the ongoing partnership between Niagara Parks and Brock University, the two organizations will be hosting a free, online speaker series held over three sessions on September 23, October 28 and November 25, discussing various topics related to environmental stewardship.

Environmental stewardship in Niagara, September 23, 7 p.m.

Join Niagara Parks’ Ellen Savoia, Senior Manager of Environmental Planning, and Corey Burant, Project Manager of Forest Health, as they discuss environmental stewardship in the Niagara Parks with Ryan Plummer, Professor and Director of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre at Brock University. Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Leader Calls On Ford To Reduce Dangerously Crowded Classrooms

“Capping class sizes would ensure kids are socially distanced. It would lower the risk of exposures and outbreaks. And it would give students more one-on-one attention from teachers and education workers to help them recover from a very difficult year, both academically and emotionally.”

A News Release from Ontario’s NDP Official Opposition Party

Posted September 13th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

QUEEN’S PARK —Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, said the Ford government must urgently reduce class sizes to prevent further school disruptions and closures, amid reports of classrooms in Ontario packed with 30 or 40 kids.

“Parents and kids are desperate for an in-person school year free of disruptions and closures. But parents and education workers are telling me that their classes can be as big as 30 or even 40 kids. Doug Ford is taking a risk our kids can’t afford,” Horwath said. “We’re seeing images of desks just inches apart, and hearing from teachers who are anxious and parents who are really fearful. Continue reading

Twenty Years Ago Today

The Deadliest Attack by Foreign Terrorists, To Date, On North American Soil

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper, Niagara At Large, on the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist

Posted September 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Possibly no one now over the age of 30 or 40 will forget where they were when they first learned that commercial jets, hijacked by foreign terrorists (the majority of them Saudi nationals), slammed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C, and into the verdant fields of rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

More balls of flames as a second jet slams into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre that, before the morning of September 11, 2001 was over, would come pancaking down, killing everyone still inside.

The jet that went down in Pennsylvania, we later learned, was reportedly heading for the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., where it would crash like a bomb there. It was brave passengers aboard that jet, who stormed the cockpit where terrorists were at the controls, who ultimately sacrificed their lives short-circuiting that deadly mission. Continue reading

Ontario NDP Leader Calls for “Safety Zones” to Protect Health Care Workers from Anti-Vaxxer Zealots

Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says urgency is growing to act on her proposed legislation to create Safety Zones.

“No one should have to walk a gauntlet of harassment and intimidation to get to a hospital. Not people who are sick. Not their families. And not the very health care workers who have been working tirelessly to save people from COVID-19.”                 – Ontario NDP Leader Andrea  Horwath.

News from Ontario’s New Democratic Party

Posted September 10th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

HAMILTON, Ontario  — Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says urgency is growing to act on her proposed legislation to create Safety Zones around places like hospitals and small businesses to protect people from anti-public health harassment.

“No one should have to walk a gauntlet of harassment and intimidation to get to a hospital. Not people who are sick. Not their families. And not the very health care workers who have been working tirelessly to save people from COVID-19,” said Horwath. Continue reading

Biden Smokes Canada’s Federal Leaders on the Climate Emergency

None of Canada’s Federal Leader Candidates Come Close to Matching U.S. President Joe Biden on Urging the World to Action

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

Posted September 10th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

I don’t know how many of you watched the leader’s debates for Canada’s federal election this September 8th and 9th, but I came away not feeling inspired by any of them – especially on one of the most serious issues threatening our present and future.

Canada’s Party leaders. Where is the passion and fire on climate change compared to what we are hearing from Joe Biden?

The issue is I am talking about is climate change and none of the leaders for the parties we can vote for in ridings in Ontario – not the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP or Greens – addressed it with the urgency that U.S. President Joe Biden did when he visited flood-ravaged neighbourhoods in New York City earlier on during this first full week of September. Continue reading

Niagara Regional Councillors Will Soon Vote on What Could Be One Last Chance to Safeguard Our Natural Heritage for Future Generations

Here is An Important Message from One of Niagara’s Leading Citizen Groups that Niagara At Large Urges You to Listen To

Liz Benneian

“It’s critical that our regional councillors choose the best option now because with increasing development that Niagara is under, there will be no second chance. What is not saved now will be lost forever.”                               – Liz Benneian, Niagara resident and leading member of the Biodiversity and Climate Action Committee

A Message from Niagara resident and a leading voice in our region for environmental protection, Liz Benneian

Posted September 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Will Niagara Region’s Council preserve Niagara’s natural environment for future generations?

The decision will be made soon (possibly soon as the next Regional Council meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 23rd at 6:30 p.m.). Continue reading

Niagara-Based Community Coastal Monitoring Program Will Inspire Stewardship Of Shoreline Resiliency

“Climate change is causing significant and far-reaching impacts on the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes region. The coastal areas of the Great Lakes are exposed to many stressors and … a new, integrated approach, VAST, has been established to understand these stressors and their cumulative impacts, so that actions can be taken to remediate and protect this valuable resource.”             – Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

A News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Posted September 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – The Niagara Coastal Community Collaborative (Niagara Coastal), Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), and Niagara College have partnered to launch a community-based monitoring program to engage the coastal communities of Lake Erie, in the stewardship of shoreline resiliency and healthy coastal ecosystems.

The sandy shores of Lake Erie in the Fort Erie/Port Colborne, Ontario area. Photo courtesy of Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.

This partnership provides a framework to facilitate collaboration on future restoration projects through the NPCA Restoration Grant Program, implementation of Niagara’s Visual Assessment Survey Tool (VAST), and planning of future efforts towards shoreline resiliency across the Niagara Peninsula watershed. Continue reading

Ontario NDP Calls On Ford To Stop War On Environment After Court Rules He Broke The Law – AGAIN!

“It looks like Mr. Ford will do anything his buddies (in the development industry) want — no matter what it costs the rest of us, or how legal it is.”

A Statement from Sandy Shaw, Ontario NDP critic for Environment, Conservation and Parks

Posted September 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large 

In Doug Ford country, getting Ontario back in business again means paving over anything

HAMILTON, Ontario  — Sandy Shaw, Ontario NDP critic for Environment, Conservation and Parks, released the following statement in response to a court ruling finding Doug Ford and his government broke the law when it passed Bill 197:

“Doug Ford’s war on the environment is dangerous for everyone, and our kids and grandkids will pay an especially high price. Not that we needed any further proof, but we now have confirmation from the courts that Mr. Ford broke the law yet again with this assault on the environment.

“It looks like Mr. Ford will do anything his buddies want — no matter what it costs the rest of us, or how legal it is. Continue reading

Ontario Court Declares Ford’s Provincial Government Broke the Law on Environmental Rules

Decision on Bill 197 legal Challenge Reaffirms Citizens’ Right To Participate In Environmental Decision-Making

A News Release from Ontario Nature, one of the province’s major advocates for protecting and preserving our natural heritage

Posted September 8th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Conservative government loses another battle to gut environmental protection safeguards on behalf of Ford’s friends and supporters in the development and house building industry.

Toronto, Ontario – The Ontario Divisional Court has determined that the Government of Ontario broke the law when it failed to comply with the public consultation requirements of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR).

Specifically, in a decision released on September 3, 2021, it declared that the (Ontario) Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing acted “unreasonably and unlawfully” in failing to consult with the public on changes to the Planning Act regarding Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZOs). Continue reading

This Year’s Drums Across Canada, in Niagara, Ontario, Seeks to Unite the Nation

A Celebration of Nations, Hosted at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St.  atharines – Friday, September| 10th through Sunday, September 12th

All Indigenous Peoples and Allies from all four directions of the country are invited to join in!

A News Release from Celebration of Nations and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre

Posted September 9th ,2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – New to Celebration of Nations this year, Artistic Director Michele-Elise Burnett has created a powerful program called Drums Across Canada to bridge our country together in unity, to send love, and to heal.

Beginning in downtown St. Catharines in the backyard of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre at 4pm EST on Sunday 12 September, the drum will be shared with three anchor drum circles in Saint John, New Brunswick; London, Ontario and Nanaimo, British Columbia. Continue reading

Violence Should Have No Place in Canada’s Elections

Throwing Gravel at one of our Political Leaders Should be Responded to With Arrests and Criminal Charges

A Brief Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted September 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

What in hell is going on in our Canada now?

I feel depressed even writing this, knowing that it will be read by many Niagara At Large readers living on the American side of the border who have told me in the past that they think better of us.

They want to view Canada and Canadians as a place and people that have avoided the kind of ugly rhetoric and violence they have suffered through the past decade or two of radical-right Tea Party politics and Donald Trump and his cult.

Canada’s Liberal leader and Prime Minister, being pelted with gravel, as he leaves a campaign stop in London, Ontario this September 6th. Radical anti-vaxxers in Canada have also lobbed abuse at our frontline health workers.

Yet here we had an incident as recently as this past Monday, September 6th with a mob of radical right anti vaxxers in London, Ontario throwing gravel and other items at Canada’s Prime Minister and federal Liberal Party candidate Justin Trudeau and his entourage, which included children, at a campaign stop there. Continue reading

Our Health Is Already Suffering from Climate-Releated Destruction of Natural World

Call From More than 230 Leading Medical Journals for Emergency Action to Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, and Protect Health

“Higher temperatures have brought increased dehydration and renal function loss, dermatological malignancies, tropical infections, adverse mental health outcomes, pregnancy complications, allergies, and cardiovascular and pulmonary morbidity and mortality. Harms disproportionately affect the most vulnerable, including children, older populations, ethnic minorities, poorer communities, and those with underlying health problems.”

A Report Authored by Medical Doctors re presenting

Posted September 9th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The United Nations General Assembly in September 2021 will bring countries together at a critical time for marshalling collective action to tackle the global environmental crisis. They will meet again at the biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, and at the climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Ahead of these pivotal meetings, we — the editors of health journals worldwide — call for urgent action to keep average global temperature increases below 1.5° C, halt the destruction of nature, and protect health.

Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world, a state of affairs health professionals have been bringing attention to for decades. Continue reading

Students Head Back to Class in Safer Schools

A Statement from Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce

Posted September 7th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

(A Brief Note from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large – For the sake of our young people in Ontario, and their parents, friends and everyone else in our communities, let’s hope that nothing in the statement issued by Ontario’s Education Minister and the Ford government he is part of come back to haunt them.)

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce welcomes Ontario’s young people back to “safter schools”

TORONTO, OntarioToday (this Monday, September 2021), Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement as students head back to class:

“I am proud of all Ontario students heading back to class, be it in-person or online. In keeping with the expert advice of Ontario’s pediatric hospitals and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we have invested heavily in ventilation improvements to support safer schools.

We have deployed standalone HEPA units into every kindergarten class, into every learning space without mechanical ventilation, and some school boards have gone even further by placing HEPA units in every classroom. Continue reading

On This Labour Day, Remembering One of Niagara, Ontario’s True ‘Working Class Heroes

Peter Kormos – 1952 to 2013

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

September 6th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The late great MPP for Niagara Centre and all-round voice for everyday working families, Peter Korms

If the former Niagara Centre MPP and Niagara Regional Council member for Welland was still alive, I am sure no one would be more active in their efforts to remind us who built this region and this country with their blood, sweat and tears than Peter Kormos

Like all too few politicians around today, Peter Kormos was the real deal – a fearless voice for ordinary working people and their families, regardless of how much blow back he received from others, including leaders of the NDP, where he landed a home after the late, great Mel Swart retired in 1988.

I grew up in the same city Peter Kormos did and wrote this piece shortly after he died. It appeared in other venues at time, although I can’t now remember which ones.

On this Labour Day, I miss the likes of Peter Kormos more than ever. Had he lived on, I am sure he would have done his best to tear to ribbons the Caslin cabal at Niagara Region and, as one of the champions for creating Ontario’s Greenbelt, would be leading the fight now against Premier Doug Ford’s ongoing efforts to deconstruct our province’s conservation and environmental protection rules.

Here is my 2013 tribute to Peter Kormos –

Remembering Peter Kormos: A rebel with a cause

By Doug Draper

“A working class hero is something to be.” – a lyric by John Lennon

“I don’t change my values the way some people change their socks.” – Peter Kormos

Peter Kormos, a Niagara regional councillor and former NDP MPP in Ontario, died suddenly on Friday at the age of sixty. Tributes and condolences have poured in from friends and former colleagues. In remembrance of Peter Kormos, we are pleased to share this in-depth profile, first published by Niagara at Large

Peter Kormos being dragged away by police at a 1960s protest for public access to our lakeshores at Sherkston Beach on Lake Erie –from the photo collection of Peter Kormos

In the dimly lit banquet room of Club Social on Welland’s gritty east side, a raucous chant of “Peter, Peter, Peter” rolls up from the floor. It is the night of the October, 2003 provincial election and, to no one’s surprise, the numbers on a nearby tote board show Peter Kormos leading his nearest challenger by a margin of two to one.

Kormos, in this election, is one of only seven New Democratic Party candidates across Ontario to survive what some political pundits are describing as a “catastrophic night” for the NDP – leaving it one seat short of the number it needs to hold on to official party status. But there is no hint of catastrophe at Club Social on this night. Continue reading

In A Global Health Emergency, Anti-Vaxxers Should Be Treated Like The Pariahs They Are

“They (the anti-vaxxers or vaccine resisters) grasp onto any conspiracy that reinforces their view no matter how ludicrous and easily disproved, again due to fear, fear of being wrong or looking stupid. … Problem is they are both, wrong and stupid.”

A Commentary by Linda McKellar, a Niagara, Ontario resident and retired hospital nurse

Posted September 5th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Point #1 – Ivermectin is used to treat parasites.
Point # 2 – COVID is a virus, not a parasite.
Point #3 – Ivermectin is NOT approved for use against COVID.
Point #4 – Hydroxychloroquine was another would be cure all. It is also used to clean aquariums. Several people died from using it.

What in hell is going on with the human race?

Many people are ready to turn ugly in response to these anti vax/anti science types. The anti vax folks have been the loud (an empty barrel echoes louder than a full one) and angry ones up until now but at long last they are about to feel the backlash.

People are fed up and no longer willing to play nice with idiots who are putting everyone in danger. Sensible folks who have acted responsibly have been held hostage by these foolish people for too long. Continue reading

MY EXCUSE – I’m Human, I’m Stuck In My House Reading Almost Nothing But Bad News, and Every Once In a While I Get Angry and Lose It

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

Posted September 4th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

This past Friday September 3rd, I finally lost it with all of the bad news coming our way and I called Ontario’s Premier a “Fat F—“ in the headline of a story about Ford’s decision to keep the provincial legislature closed until October – right through a time when our province is heading into a fourth deadly wave of COVID-19.

As a professional journalist who was fortunate enough to earn a Master’s Degree  in Journalism at the University of Western Ontario, then work at The St. Catharines Standard, starting in 1979 for two good decades, I admit that I probably should not have used the F-bomb, and if I did back then, my good editors would have taken the word out before whatever story I wrote was going to print. Continue reading

Premier Doug Ford Goes Full-Face Fascist With Shut Down of Ontario Legislature During Fourth Wave of Pandemic

“In the face of alarming (Ontario) Science Table data that shows the fourth wave of COVID-19 rising, Doug Ford’s decision to  prorogue the legislature for three weeks is an unprecedented abdication of responsibility during a crisis.”  – Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper Posted September 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

You may not excuse my tone or the use of the word ‘fascist’ here to describe Ontario Doug Ford and one of his  government’s latest move, and that is okay.

 I am not going to apologize for what some may view as an offensive tone for the following reason.

Things are getting so dangerous  in Ontario with Doug Ford at the helm, I don’t care about offensive words, and I don’t think you should care either.

Indeed, nothing could be more obscene than the way Ontario Premier Doug Ford is abandoning the citizens of this province right now.

I have a young daughter who is trying to live and make her way in our province of Ontario, and we have this moron in the Premier’s Office who behaves as if he could barely give a damn about her future and the future of millions of other younger people with his deplorable record on climate change, this pandemic and a host of other issues. Continue reading

Doug Ford Fiddles While Ontario Enters Fourth Wave of Killer Pandemic

Pressure from Political Opposition, Business and Public Ford Finally Cause Ford to Implement Vaccine Passport System

Ford’s September 1st Announcement Comes As Province’s COVID-19 Cases Rise and Just One Week Before More Than Two Million Kids Prepare to Go Back to School

A Commentary by Doug Draper at Niagara At Large, followed by Reaction from Leaders of Ontario’s Opposition Parties

Posted September 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Hello Premier Ford. There is more to conguering COVD-19 than wearing a cheap t-shirt.

When the history of how Ontario’s Ford government handled this pandemic is written, one chapter will most surely focus on the degree to which Ford and company weighed the interests of his political base, including those who make up the anti-mask/anti-vaccine/anti-lockdown movement ahead of making decisions based on sound science.

The extent to which leaders of the province’s opposition parties, members of the public and even members of the business community he claims to care about more than his political critics is a sad comment on his record addressing one of the worst public health emergencies we have been suffering through in living memory.

Ford should have wasted no time doing what the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia did this August in announcing plans to implement a vaccine passport system instead of waiting until daily Covid-19 case counts began once again rising to rates higher than they have in several months due to a more infectious Delta variant of the virus that is mostly finding a host in the vaccine resisters among us. Continue reading

Niagara Municipalities Seek Operator to Support Growth of Airport

Niagara District Airport Commission releases Request for Proposal for third-party operator

News from the Niagara District Airport Commission in Niagara, Ontario

Posted September 3rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The Niagara District Airport Commission (NDAC) has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) to officially begin the process of finding a third party to operate the Niagara District Airport.

The terminal of the Niagara District Airport in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Photos courtesy of Niagara District Airport

The RFP invites proposals for a partner to enter into a long-term lease for the operations of the airport, located in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

 “The Niagara District Airport continues to be a valuable asset to the transportation and tourism infrastructure of Niagara,” stated Robin Garrett, Chair of the Niagara District Airport Commission. Continue reading

Do You Really Want to Take A Horse Drug for COVID-19?

Ivermectin for preventing COVID? That’s my de-worming medicine! Pardon me if I laugh

We Humans – Collectively Speaking – Sure Fall Short on Horse Sense. Do We Really Deserve to Survive as a Species?

“Take one of those every half mile and call me if there’s any change.”                                      – Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush, played by the late, great Groucho Marx, administering a horse drug to an actual horse, for once,  and not to a human patient.

“There are safe and available prophylaxis and treatments for COVID that do not involve the vaccine. The drug ivermectin, as well as a number of nutraceuticals, has been shown to be efficacious in treating COVID.” –, the Organic Consumers Association, a North American-based advocacy group pushing trash remedies for COVID-19 from sources like Facebook, Fox News and the Trump cult

A Commentary about Horse Tales and Other Anti-Vaxxer Trash by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper (With apologies to Mr. Ed)

Posted September 2nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

There’s a story (or should I call it a bit of a horse tale) I got to tell you.

A few nights back I had one of those COVID dreams. Some of you may have had at least a few of them yourself during these dark and stressful times.

They are dreams that often put you in bizarre places or circumstances with all kinds of characters you haven’t thought about in a gazillion years, and at least some you wish you wouldn’t think about for another gazillion years.

Well, in this particular dream a horse stuck his head over a fence in my backyard, and started talking to me in fluid English.

The one and only Mr. Ed came to me in one of my COVID dreams with vital info on a COVID cure

‘My name is Mr. Ed,’ the horse said.

‘Holy galloping bejeezus,” I responded. “Don’t I remember you from an old TV show I used to watch when I was a kid? But let’s get something straight,” I was quick add. “My name is not Wilbur.”

“Well my name isn’t Donald Trump, and it certainly isn’t Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity. I don’t do Fox New,” the blond haired steed brayed “The name is Mr. Ed, so let’s get down to a little no-nonsense horse trading.”

“I’ll give you some important information,” offered the horse, “in return for a nice bale of hay.” Continue reading

Ontario Government  to Require Proof of Vaccination in Select Settings

Starting September 22nd, Province to launch enhanced vaccine certificate and verification app to stop the spread of COVID-19

News from the Office of Ontario Premier Doug Ford

Posted September 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

After many weeks of pressure, Ontario Premier Doug Ford finally announces plans to implement a passport certificate or passport

TORONTO, Ontario  — To further protect Ontarians as the province continues to confront the Delta-driven fourth wave of the COVID-19, the government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, will require people to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their vaccination status to access certain businesses and settings starting September 22, 2021.

Requiring proof of vaccination in these settings reduces risk and is an important step to encourage every last eligible Ontarian to get their shot, which is critical to protecting the province’s hospital capacity, while also supporting businesses with the tools they need to keep customers safe, stay open and minimize disruptions.

“As the world continues its fight against the Delta variant, our government will never waver in our commitment to do what’s necessary to keep people safe, protect our hospitals and minimize disruptions to businesses,” said Premier Ford. Continue reading

Niagara Falls MPP  Blast Ontario’s Ford Government for Failing to Reach Eye Care Agreement

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

Posted September 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates blasted the Ford Government for failing to reach an agreement with optometrists which has meant that all OHIP-covered services for those above the age of 65 or below the age of 18 have halted.

Niagara, Ontario – “Here in Niagara 1 in every 4 residents is a senior, this is having a huge impact on our community’ said Gates, “I’ve got seniors calling my office saying they’re worried they can’t drive now because they can’t access the services they need to see properly.”

“Before I was elected I bargained a lot of agreements and I can say from experience, you only get an agreement if both sides agree to find a way forward – in this case, the Ford Government hasn’t come to the table with a real offer and seniors and children across Ontario but especially here in Niagara are suffering because of it.” Continue reading

Ringing in September with a Fun and Funky Song

The Bests of Septembers to All of You from Niagara At Large

Posted September 1st, 2021 on Niagara At Large

A Brief One from Doug Draper

There is one thing we may have learned. Time sure does have a way of flying and getting confused during a pandemic.

It is September already and along with picking up a pumpkin and some locally-grown corn, there is one more thing you need to do to ring in the month – listen to a song called ‘September’ by one of the greatest funk bands of all time, Earth, Wind & Fire!

To watch the band perform it, click on the screen immediately below –

Finally, if you are not yet fully vaccinated, please do yourself, your family and friends, and your community a favour and do it. It may be the only way to truly crush this thing that has been wreaking havoc on our lives for more than a year and a half now.

  • Doug Draper, Niagara At Large

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

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

Cheers for a Majority of Niagara’s Regional Councillors for Showing Leadership on COVID Vaccination

Shame on a Minority – Niagara Regional Councillor and Mayor of West Lincoln Dave Bylsma, Welland Regional Leanna Villella, Grimsby Regional Councillor Wayne Fertich, Niagara Falls Regional Councillor Bob Gale, Pelham Regional Councillor and Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin, and Niagara-on-on-the-Lake Regional Councillor Gary Zalepa – Who Would Not

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

Posted August 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

During times when our communities face a serious threat or crisis, I believe it more important than ever those politicians at all levels of government put aside any and all partisan agendas they have and demonstrate collective leadership to protect the communities they represent.

Niagara Region’s council chambers have remained virtually empty and void of a gallery for area citizens since the pademic set in more than a year and a half ago. Want to get vaccinated and help crush this virus or keep it this way?

Indeed, at times like the one we are suffering through now, with a highly infectious, killer virus on the loose that requires all citizens to take every responsible step we can for the safety of all, it is doubly important that our elected representatives lead by example.

In that spirit, was heartening to watch an overwhelming majority of our Niagara Regional Councillors, at an August 26th general meeting,  pass a motion tabled by St. Catharines Regional Councillor Brian Heit to mandate COVId-19 vaccination for both Regional staff and for councillors who wish to attend face-to-face meetings, and another motion, tabled by St. Catharines Regional Councillor George Darte, calling upon our provincial and federal governments to implement some form of vaccine certification or passport system. Continue reading

Ford’s Foot-Dragging on Vaccine Passports Is Putting Our Health and Economy at Risk

A Statement from Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted August 31st. 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath continues outlining plans to fight climate change

Doug Ford has put Ontario in a dangerous position headed into the fourth wave, lagging behind BC and Quebec on implementing desperately needed vaccine certificates.

Now instead of listening to the experts, small businesses, and everyday Ontarians, the Ford government is wasting more precious time bickering about the politics of this public health decision in cabinet Continue reading

Niagara Health Will Administer Third Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine to “Most Vulnerable Beginning this August 31st

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

Posted August 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – Receiving a complete two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series provides strong protection against COVID-19 in the general population. However, for some more vulnerable populations, a third dose may be required. The Province of Ontario recently announced offering third doses of a COVID-19 vaccine<https://news.ontario.ca/en/backgrounder/1000751/ontarios-updated-covid-19-vaccination-eligibility> to select high-risk populations: Continue reading

In This Federal Election, Vote for the Party that Puts Foreward the Most Convincing Platform for Climate Action

“It has been clear for decades that the Earth’s climate is changing, and the role of human influence on the climate system is undisputed”                                                               – the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group I Co-Chair, Valérie Masson-Delmotte.

A Brief One from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted August 30th 2021

Along with addressing and recovering from the health and economic toll caused by this pandemic, no challenge facing us now and in the future is more in need of attention than climate change.

If the destructive winds, floods, droughts and wildfires that are causing so many trillions of dollars of damage this summer alone, is not enough to bring that point home, then nothing will.

We are federal election in Canada. For all of our sake, please get engaged. Do your homework and vote for the party that has the most effective plan to address this climate crisis now. Continue reading

Plant Trees to Slow Climate Change – Never a Better Time Than Today

“Our forests and urban trees solve many problems. Record high temperatures have sparked heat warnings. … Trees provide shade, cooling neighbourhoods by 5˚C. When we plant trees, we turn scorched lands into healthy forests. Trees absorb water, helping to prevent floods. Forests filter and purify the water we drink. And of course, forests sequester the carbon that we’ve released into the atmosphere that is dangerously warming our Earth.”

By Rob Keen, CEO of Forest Recovery Canada and Forests Ontario

Posted August 30th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Vast, beautiful, healthy forests define Canada, making up 38 per cent of our land, but they are under attack. Wildfires engulf huge swaths of woodlands in British Columbia; smoke from similar infernos in north-west Ontario reaches as far as Toronto, Windsor and Ottawa.

We know a main cause of this conflagration: climate change. The (United Nation’s) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – Sixth Assessment Report, released August 9th, leaves no room for debate on why the Earth is warming, but does leave some room for hope: we can still restore Earth’s health.

Soon after the IPPC report appeared, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set in motion a federal election. As Canadians prepare to vote on September 20th, the climate crisis is one of the top issues in many polls. Voters want to hear what every political party will do to fight climate change. Continue reading

Niagara’s Federal NDP Candidates Join Their Party Leader In Calling For Relief For Young People Burdened With Outrageous Tuition Loans

“Instead of helping to cut costs, Justin Trudeau is letting young people be saddled with student debts the size of mortgages. And the pandemic has only made things worse.”                                                  – Melissa McGlashan Federal NDP candidate for the Niagara Centre Riding

Federal NDP candidate for the Niagara Centre riding, Melissa McGlashlan

NIAGARA, Ontario – During an event this (past Saturday, August 27th , Jagmeet Singh (Federal Leader of the NDP) promised to tackle Justin Trudeau’s national student debt crisis.

The NDP candidates in the Niagara region, Melissa McGlashan (Niagara Centre), Trecia McLennon (St. Catharines) and Brian Barker (Niagara Falls), are committed to helping young people get ahead in life.

“Instead of helping to cut costs, Justin Trudeau is letting young people be saddled with student debts the size of mortgages. And the pandemic has only made things worse,” said McGlashan. “The NDP will make sure young people aren’t snowed under by student debt so they can have a bright future.” Continue reading

A Brief Tribute to Our Furry Friends

In Memory of a Great Feline Named Dexter

‘Sleep baby sleep
The day’s on the run
The wind in the trees
Is talking in tongues’

  •         Lyrics from ‘Kitten Lullaby’ by Leonard Cohen

By Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted August 28h, 2021

In an old issue of The New Yorker magazine we’ve kept around our cluttered house, there is this wonderful photograph of Leonard Cohen, taken at his home in 2016, with this heroic looking cat beside him named Hank.

The cat very much reminds members of my family of a wonderful big guy we had the pleasure of loving and living with for 15 years named Dexter, who passed on to that great place for all creatures great and small two years ago this August 28th – just a month after we lost another beloved feline friend named Dylan.

They were both a divine presence in our lives and the comfort we take in their loss is that we gave him a wonderful home, and we are sure, from the love they gave back, that they knew it.

Remembering one of our great guys, Dexter, gone but forever in our hearts

But I don’t want to get maudlin here. Continue reading

Niagara Region’s Council Approves Mandatory Vaccine Policy for Regional Staff, Councillors

Council Also Calls Upon Provincial and Federal Governments to Create ‘Proof-Of-Vaccination Certificate Program

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

“As Regional Council, we have an obligation to provide a safe working environment for our staff. This policy not only goes a long way to make our work sites a safer place to be, it also sets an example for other employers to follow in the hopes of increasing vaccination rates. Vaccines safe lives and help avoid economic lockdowns – the motions passed(this August 26th)  will help protect the health and safety of our community, while also playing a role in safeguarding Niagara’s economy”                               –  Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley

News from Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government

Posted August 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

Watching the Niagara Region’s council meeting online this past August 26th was difficult enough and was absolutely no substitute for face-to-face meetings in the Region’s council chambers.

None of these online meetings are, and I believe that public engagement in democracy at the municipal level has been diminished because of it.

Apparently there are at least a few Niagara Regional Councillors who are opposed to one of the things -mandatory vaccination – that would pave the way for face-to-face meetings for councillors and members of the public in these chambers again.  One can’t help but  wonder why? Got something against a return to face-to-face meetings?

What was even more difficult to stomach at the August 26th meeting is that two Niagara Regional Councillors – Dave Bylsma and Mayor of West Lincoln, and Leanna Villella from Welland – voted against a mandatory vaccine requirement for Niagara Regional staff.

No surprises here, but at least he was consistent. West Lincoln’s gift to Niagara – that municipality’s mayor and regional councillor Dave Bylsma – opposed both a mandatory vaccine requirement for Niagara regional staff and regional councillors.

Further to that, those two councillors, along withWayne Fertich from Grimsby, Bob Gale from Niagara Falls, Marvin Junkin from Pelham (also Pelham’s mayor) and Gary Zalepa from Niagara-on-the-Lake, voted against a motion requiring the same mandatory vaccine policy for elected regional councillors.

Whether you agree with Bylsma’s and Villella’s position on a mandatory vaccination requirement or not, at least they were consistent. They voted against the requirement for both staff at the Region and regional councillor.

In the case of Zalepa, Gale and the rest of the naysayers, what is with voting in favour of a mandatory policy for staff but not for themselves? What sort of double standard is that, and why?

In the backdrop of all of this, everyday taxpaying resident of Niagara cannot even enter the Region’s headquarters and have not been able to personally attend any of the Region’s council meetings now for a year and a half. Continue reading

Canada’s  Prime Minister Issues Statement of Condemnation Over Deadly Terror Attacks in Aghanistan

A Statement from Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Posted August 27th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Ottawa, Ontario – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the deadly attacks that took place near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan:

“I strongly condemn the terror attacks that took place earlier today near the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“These heinous attacks took the lives of many innocent people desperately seeking to leave the country and those supporting evacuation efforts, including U.S. service members and medical personnel. As one of its closest allies, Canada joins with the United States as they mourn their fallen. Continue reading

Niagara Falls’ Federal MP Candidate Calls For End to Privately Owned Long-Term Care Homes

Federal NDP Candidate Brian Barker’s  Personal Loss Makes Long-Term Care Issue Real

A News Release from the Campaign of Niagara Falls Riding Federal NDP Candidate Brian Barker

Posted August, 2021 at Niagara At Large

Niagara Falls NDP Federal Candidate Brian Barker

NIAGARA, Ontario  – Niagara Falls (Federal) NDP Candidate, Brian Barker, said the loss of his grandmother to COVID in a retirement home during Niagara’s first wave makes the long-term care platform personal to him.

“The frontline workers were and continue to be amazing during each and every day they’ve battled the pandemic.  Their levels of compassion are second to none.  However, the privatization of care for our seniors, is ultimately about making money off of our most vulnerable.

Long term care should never put profit over the health and safety of our seniors,” said Barker who lost his own grandmother to COVID-19 during the first wave while she was a resident at Lundy Manor.

Lundy Manor is a privately owned retirement residence in Niagara Falls. The home is currently facing a class-action lawsuit over allegations <https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/lundy-manor-1.5558664> that the home was negligent in taking actions that would’ve prevented infections and reduced the rapid spread of the virus, including allegedly hosting a pub night. Continue reading

Last Reminder to Join An Online Event on the Environmental Challenges Facing Lake Erie

The Event is Happening All Day, this Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

Ontario and U.S. residents can join together to share why they love Lake Erie

Hosted by the environmental advocacy groups Environmental Defence, Canadian Freshwater Alliance, And Freshwater Future Canada

Posted August 25th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

(A Quick Note from Niagara At Large – NAL recently posted a news release on this event. This is simply a quick reminder that the event is today, and it may be an opportunity for residents living on on near the shores of Lake Erie in Niagara to share their interest and concerns in a healthy future  for the Lake Erie ecosystem.)

The 5th annual #WeAreLakeErie social media event draws attention to the challenges Lake Erie is currently facing

A stretch of beach near Waverly Woods in Fort Erie with the skyline of Buffalo, New York in the background. Photo by Doug Draper

Toronto, Ontario – As Lake Erie continues to be plagued by annual and often toxic algal blooms, Ontarians and Americans are answering a rallying cry on social media to demand urgent action to protect the lake and, along with it, drinking water for millions of people and many complex ecosystems.

Today is the 5th #WeAreLakeErie Day on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Throughout the day, social media users will be sharing their Lake Erie stories and photos by using the hashtag #WeAreLakeErie to help create a virtual wave of support for the lake. The event is a chance to demonstrate to decision-makers the important role the lake plays in the lives of so many people. Continue reading

This Federal Election Is the Moment We Must Raise Alarm on Climate Change

“We still have time to avoid runaway global warming.”

A Message from Elizabeth May, Green Party MP and former Leader of the Green Party of Canada

Posted August 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Dear Friend,

Canadian Green Party representative Elizabeth May

The (the United Nation’s)  IPCC report, the sixth assessment report of the physical science, could not have been clearer. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres described the report as “Code Red for humanity.”

And yet the political theatre that passes for democratic debate in this country remains mired in the trivial.

Meanwhile, in British Columbia, thousands of our fellow citizens remain under evacuation orders or evacuation alerts. The skies are an eerie orange as ash rains down on interior towns like Armstrong. Prairie farmers are in dire straits as drought chokes the life out of their crops.

Over 570 British Columbians died in a few short days (this summer)  from the heat domes, while floods ravaged much of Europe and China. For the first time the IPCC has raised the credible threat of runaway global warming – of unstoppable, self-accelerating global heating. Continue reading

The Drummer For One of the World’s Greatest Rock Bands Dies

The Rolling Stone’s Charlie Watts Leaves Us at Age 80

“So sad to hear about Charlie Watts, the Stones drummer, dying. He’s a lovely guy and I knew he was ill but I didn’t know he was this ill. Lots of love to his family, his wife and kids and his extended family, and condolences to the Stones. A huge blow to them because Charlie was a rock, a fantastic drummer. Steady as a rock.”                                                                                                          – Paul McCartney, The Beatles

“God bless Charlie Watts. We’re going to miss you, man. Peace and love to the family.”                                                                                            – Ringo Starr, drummer, The Beatles

A Brief One from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large

Posted August 24th, 2021

There was word, just a few weeks ago, that The Rolling Stones’ drummer, Charlie Watts, would not be heading out with the band as it tries to get back to touring during these pandemic times.

Charlie Watts, you and older, behind drums he commanded so well

If The Rolling Stones can even resume touring, as the Delta variant now drives COVID-19 cases up, remains a question anyway, since so many other groups of musicians are already deciding to cancel their touring plans.

But news that Charlie Watts was apparently not feeling well enough to tour was a big deal for hard-core music fans because Watts has been a fixture with that legendary group since it first made it big on the world stage some 55 years ago. Continue reading

More Highways Aren’t The Answer To Ontario’s Transportation Needs

“The climate emergency is here, and if we want to avoid the worst of it we need to urgently rethink transportation in Ontario.”

A News Release from Ontario’s Green Party

Posted August 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

The (United Nation’s) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently put out areport predicting climate disaster unless urgent measures are taken to rapidly curb carbon emissions.

But apparently Doug Ford didn’t get the memo, because his discussion paper for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) Transportation Plan includes pumping more money into new highways that will pave over the Greenbelt.

More highways aren’t the answer to Ontario’s transportation needs.

In addition to paving over wetlands and farmlands, more highways will lead to even more cars on the road. Meaning more toxic emissions being pumped into the air, intensifying the climate crisis and worsening our air quality. Continue reading

Federal NDP Leader  Denounces Trudeau’s Climate Failure, Commits To Eliminate Subsidies To Big Oil

“Justin Trudeau says the right things about climate change. But instead of actually acting on his promises, he’s protecting big polluters and letting fossil fuel subsidies go up. We can’t afford to wait any longer. It’s time to stand up to big polluters and fight for real climate action.”                                                                            – Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

News from the Campaign of Canada’s NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

Posted August 24th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Canadian NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

MONTREAL, Quebec  – Joined by young people who participated in the 2019 climate march (in Montreal), NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called out Justin Trudeau for making a speech at the march two years ago, but making decisions since then that have increased Canada’s emissions and made the climate emergency even worse.

“It’s never been clearer we’re facing a climate emergency,” said Jagmeet. “Justin Trudeau went to the climate march in 2019, said nice things and then abandoned his promises to young people in favour of helping Big Oil. We can’t afford another four years of Justin Trudeau.” Continue reading

Fifth Annual #WeAreLake Erie Social Media Event Draws Attention To The Challenges Lake Erie Is Currently Facing

Ontario and U.S. residents share why they love Lake Erie on – Online Wednesday August 25th  (See Details for Participating Below)

An Invite from Environmental Defence, Canadian Freshwater Alliance, And Freshwater Future Canada

Posted August 23rd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Toxic algae growing in Lake Erie – a byproduct of farm chemicals and poorly treated urban wastewater flows – is killing fish populations

Toronto, Ontario  As Lake Erie continues to be plagued by annual and often toxic algal blooms, Ontarians and Americans are answering a rallying cry on social media to demand urgent action to protect the lake and, along with it, drinking water for millions of people and many complex ecosystems.

August 25 is the 5th #WeAreLakeErie Day on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Throughout the day, social media users will be sharing their Lake Erie stories and photos by using the hashtag #WeAreLakeErie to help create a virtual wave of support for the lake. The event is a chance to demonstrate to decision-makers the important role the lake plays in the lives of so many people. Continue reading

Niagara Region Taking Proactive Steps To Protect Drinking Water From Blue-Green Algae

Toxic Algae Detected In Reservoirs Feeding DeCew Water Treatment Plant – A Source of Drinking Water for St. Catharines, much of Thorold and Niagara-on-the-Lake

A News Release from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted August 22nd, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region’s Decew Water Treatment plant in St. Catharines is a major source of water for residents in Niagara’s north end. File photo by Doug Draper

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Region is taking proactive steps to protect Niagara’s drinking water after identifying a small quantity of blue-green algae upstream in the reservoirs serving the DeCew Falls Water Treatment Plant.

The blue-green algae  was first observed on Friday, Aug. 20th.

Microcystin, the neurotoxin released by blue-green algae, has not been detected during daily testing of the water leaving the Decew Falls Water Treatment

Plant over the last few days. Therefore, there is no risk to human health at this time. The blue green algae is being removed to minimize the risk of it multiplying. Continue reading

Ford Caves To Anti-Vaxxers And Refuses To Make Vaccinations Mandatory In Education

  • “Only a strong policy mandating vaccinations will make our classrooms safe in September, so that we can keep Ontario’s schools and economy open.”

    A Statement from Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca

    Posted  August 21st. 2021 on Niagara At Large

    TORONTO Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca issued the following statement: “A fourth wave has begun and schools are about to return, and Doug Ford is pandering to anti-vaxxers and failing to deliver mandatory vaccines for education workers.

    Ontario Liberals are calling on Ford to immediately stop his political games and make vaccination mandatory for frontline workers in education, and for all MPPs.

    Ontario Liberal Leaader Steven Del Duca

    A mandatory vaccination disclosure and mandatory testing simply isn’t the same thing as mandatory vaccination, and his anti-science policy is going to put our most vulnerable kids at risk. As the father of two daughters – one who’s too young to be vaccinated – I will not stand by and watch Doug Ford send our children back to unsafe schools just to appease his anti-vaxxer supporters.

    Anti-science half-measures and flip flopping from Doug Ford and Andrea Horwath have done nothing to help boost vaccination rates on the frontlines.

    Only a strong policy mandating vaccinations will make our classrooms safe in September, so that we can keep Ontario’s schools and economy open.

    Only Ontario Liberals can be trusted to fight for mandatory vaccinations for education workers and MPPs.”

    A Brief Afterword from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

Continue reading

U.S. To Keep Border Closed to ‘Non-Essential’ Travellers from Canada

An Upsurge in COVID-19 Cases – Due Largely to Delta Variant Spread Among Unvaccinated – Is Major Reason for Continued Border Closure, According to Reports

A Statement from Brian Higgins, U.S. Democratic Congressman for the Buffalo, New York Area

Posted August 20th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

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

The Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, New York. While American travellers are now allowed to cross the border to Canada, the U.S. government – a year and a half later – is still keeping the border closed to Canadians.

The U.S. Biden administration is expected to make it official today.

It will not be re-opening the border-crossings until at least September 21st to “non-essential” Canadian travellers due to rising cases of COVID-19 in both countries – this inspite of Canada’s Trudeau government’s decision to open the gates at border bridges to American travellers this past August 9th.

One can’t help but wonder to what extent the Trudeau government’s decision to open the border to Americans was based on science and health considerations – since rising cases due to the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant was occurring at the time – and to what it extent it had to do with pressure from border communities on the Canadian side to let Americans for tourism and business.

Could Trudeau have already had an election in mind when he made that decision?

Continue reading

On September 20, Canada Must Elect A Government Committed To A Green And Just Pandemic Recovery

“We must act now, If we don’t want even worse wildfires and more frequent pandemics to be our new normal, we must elect governments who will take ambitious action to drastically reduce our consumption of natural resources – and invest in the health of people and planet.”

A News Release from Environmental Defense Canada, on behals of a coalition of environmental organizations across the country

Posted August 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

After a summer of devastating extreme weather events and stark IPCC report, 34 of Canada’s leading environmental organizations call on voters to demand transformative change

OTTAWA | – With Canada’s 2021 federal election just five weeks away, a coalition of 34 Canada’s leading environmental organizations are calling on everyone in Canada to vote on September 20 — and when they do, vote for a green and just recovery from COVID-19.

The “One Earth One Vote” coalition is promoting a “demand statement” voters can send to all federal party leaders to show the ever-growing percentage of Canadians committed to building a better, healthier, safer, sustainable and just Canada. (The State of Science Index 2021 reported that 63% of Canadians – and 81% of youth – say the pandemic has made them more environmentally conscious.) Continue reading

All St. Catharines City Councillors Declare They Are Fully Vaccinated

“As the pandemic continues on and new variants are spreading, Council has unanimously decided to take this step and issue this statement about our personal vaccination status to show our confidence in the public health vaccination campaign.”                      – City of St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

A Statement from St. Catharines Mayor Walert Sendzik and City Council on COVID-19 vaccination

Posted August 19th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik

St. Catharines/ Niagara – As the City continues its transition to in-person work and services, St. Catharines City Council is communicating that all members of Council have received their COVID-19 vaccinations and are planning to return to in-person Council meetings in September.

“As the pandemic continues on and new variants are spreading, Council has unanimously decided to take this step and issue this statement about our personal vaccination status to show our confidence in the public health vaccination campaign and offer some reassurance that we are all doing our part to protect each other, City staff, and the public,” said Mayor Walter Sendzik. Continue reading

Ontario’s NDP Leader Repeats Call for Mandatory Vaccinations for Teachers, Education Workers As First School Day Looms

“The health and safety of our children — including their mental health — has to be our top priority.”                                                          – Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

Posted August 19, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Ontario NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath

HAMILTON, Ontario —Less than three weeks before schools starts, Andrea Horwath, leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, is calling on Doug Ford to make vaccines mandatory for teachers and education workers.

“The health and safety of our children — including their mental health — has to be our top priority,” said Horwath. “Vaccines are a critical part of making sure this school year is safe, and in-person, without outbreaks and infection scares. Vaccines must be mandatory for anyone working with our children.”

Horwath is also calling for the COVID-19 vaccine to be added to the existing list of student immunizations. With less than three weeks to go before most kids, teachers and education workers return to class, Ford hasn’t required vaccines for anyone in schools. Continue reading

Canada’s Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh Vows to Help Families, Young People Buy Homes They Can Afford

Federal NDP Would Work to Get Big Money Out of Canada’s Housing Market

News from the Campaign of Canada’s New Democrats

Posted August 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Federal NDP candidate for Niagara Centre, Melissa McGlashlan

Niagara, Ontario – Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh vowed today (this August 18th)  to get big money out of Canada’s housing market and help young Canadians and families buy a home they can afford.

“I have heard from countless young families in Niagara who are worried that they will never be able to afford a place to call home. The Liberals have done nothing to help people who are struggling,” said the NDP candidate for Niagara Centre, Melissa McGlashlan. “The NDP has a plan to fix this and make the dream of owning a home a reality for families in Niagara.”

When Justin Trudeau came to power in 2015, the average home price in the Niagara Region was $252,300. Today, just 6 years later, the average home price is now a staggering $652,200. Continue reading

Doug Ford’s ‘Right To Life’ Party Apparently Doesn’t Mind Rolling the Dice with the Lives of Ontario’s Children

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher           Doug Draper

Posted August 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large

Well isn’t this rich!

Ontario Premier Doug Ford claims he wants to conquer the killer virus.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his all-so-holy, right-to-life Conservative Party caucus members don’t seem to mind a teacher who chooses not to get vaccinated for COVID-19 entering a classroom full of young children this September, but Ford is now demanding that as of this August, 19th, every member of that same caucus has to be vaccinated.

The vaccine mandate must come as a disappointment to some of Ford’s caucus members – among them, one might think, Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff who last year posted at photo on social media of himself with a large group of acquaintances, flaunting Niagara Region’s mask-wearing bylaw in a Niagara Falls restaurant where staff tried asking the Oosterhoff entourage to please wear masks.

By the way, Oosterhoff openly identifies as an anti-abortion right-to-lifer and he – a home-schooled lad, himself – also happens to serve as the assistant to Ontario’s Education Minister.

But never mind all  that.

Continue reading