Join the Province-Wide Campaign to Save the Office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

“We urgently need you to let the government know that the ECO’s (Environmental Commissioner of Ontario) vital and independent role enables public participation and government accountability for decisions that significantly impact the environment.”               –   Ontario Nature 


A Call Out to All of Us from Ontario Nature, a province-wide, non-partisan, citzens advocacy group

Posted November 17th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

The Government of Ontario announced plans on November 15, 2018 to eliminate the office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) and transfer much of its responsibility to the jurisdiction of the Auditor General.

This misguided decision effectively undercuts the power and independence of Ontario’s environmental watchdog. Continue reading


Ford Government’s  “Plan For The People”

Ontario Releases the Government’s Fiscal Roadmap — Restoring Trust and Putting Money Back in the Pockets of Taxpayers

News from Ontario’s Ford Government and its Ministry of Finance

Posted November 17th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

After 15 years of the previous government’s mismanagement, Ontario’s Government for the People has kept its promises, and continues to take action to restore trust, transparency and accountability in Ontario’s finances, while making life more affordable for individuals, families and businesses.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, and his Finance Minister, Vic Fedeli

This November 15th, Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli released the 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, outlining the government’s plan to help people make ends meet — and get ahead — while making government more efficient. 

Ontario is now projecting a 2018-19 deficit of $14.5 billion — that’s already $0.5 billion less than the $15 billion deficit inherited from the previous government as reported by the Independent Financial Commission of Inquiry just 11 weeks ago. Continue reading

Walk and Wake for Randwood Forest in Niagara-on-the-Lake this Sunday – November 18th

Hundreds of Niagara Area Residents Expected to Gather to Mourn Massive Tree-Cutting by Developer

A Call-Out to All to Join the Walk and Wake from Irene Bader, one of many concerned citizens in Niagara-on-the-Lake

Posted November 16th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

“Today, as residents look over acres of barren earth and watch the heavy trucks loaded high with 200-year-old oaks and pines leave the site, they can only worry about what might come next.”

Niagara, Ontario – Hundreds of residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake will gather to mourn the loss of hundreds of majestic, mature trees that, until they were leveled by a developer’s heavy equipment earlier this week, graced the historic Randwood Estate.

Residents will meet at the corner of Charlotte and John Street at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 18th to collect their black arm bands and will then engage in an hour-long walk tracing the exterior wall of the estate.

The march will end at the parkland across from the winery at 240 John Street where the official “Wake” for the departed trees will begin at 1:30 p.m. Continue reading

Greater Niagara Chamber honours Region’s Women in Business Leaders

Betty-Lou Souter, Chief Executive Officer, Community Care, St. Catharines & Thorold Receives                   Lifetime Achievement Award

“We honour these women in our awards, but we recognize the achievements of so many more. The contributions to Niagara’s prosperity and community made by women are overlooked too often. I hope that the achievements of these extraordinary community leaders will lead to recognition of the work of others.”
— Mishka Balsom, President & CEO, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

News from the Greater Niagara Charmber of Commerce

Posted November 16th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Betty-Lou Souter receives Niagara Chamber’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award

Niagara, Ontario – “Women make incredible contributions to our business community every day.  We are thrilled to be able to celebrate and recognize these accomplishments through this annual event,” said Nicole Regehr, Chair of the Women in Niagara (WIN) Council. “The caliber of women in leadership roles in Niagara is no surprise to us, but it never ceases to encourage and inspire.”

The WIBAs are an annual event, honouring women from around Niagara whose contributions to the community go above and beyond the call of duty. The WIN council received over 160 nominations from around the region in many different sectors. Continue reading

Louis Riel – When I Grew Up, he was ‘a ‘dangerous traitor’. Now Canada’s Prime Minister issues a statement honouring him!

This November 16th, 2018 is Louis Riel Day in Canada

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted November 16th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Louis Riel, from dangerous rebel to hero

Louis Riel, the 19th century Metis leader and activist for his people who is now commonly regarded as the founder of the Manitoba, was certainly not held in very high regard in the history textbooks I grew up with in 1960s Ontario public schools.

Riel, who I happen to have a lot of regard for, was characterized as a dangerous rebel and traitor to the new confederation of Canada and as someone who deserved to be tried and hanged under the eyes of then Prime Minister John A. Macdonald.

Of course, that portrait of Louis Riel was taught to me and my teenage peers by older, mostly white Anglo-Saxon adults who felt just as badly about American civil rights leaders from the 1960s like Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King, and about hippies, the Rolling Stones, almost any Black singer who recorded on Chess or Stax Records, the cannabis that the likes of former prime minister Brian Mulroney, Bay Street stock brockers and  several Conservative Party MPs are now making a business investment in, and young people protesting the War in Vietnam on college campuses. Continue reading

Raw Sewage, Toxic Runoff Plague Ontario’s Lakes And Rivers

Continuing Loss Of Wetlands And Other Natural Areas That Filter Pollution Compounds The Problem

Ontario Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe

“Wetlands and woodlands continue to be destroyed by agriculture and development. These areas help filter pollutants from water, reduce flooding, protect against soil erosion, filter our air and provide critical habitat for many of Ontario’s species at risk.” – Ontario environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe

A News Release from Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner

Posted November 15th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

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

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his so-called “Government for the People” are giving the province’s independent environmental watchdog the axe. He has announced he is closing down the whole office

As some of you may already have heard, Doug Ford’s described “Government for the People” announced this Novmenter 15th that it is shutting down the Office of Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, which has functioned as an independent watchdog body in the province, much like the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office, on environmentally related issues since it was formed in 1994.

This move by Ontario’s four-and-a-month-old Ford government follows what now appears to be a pattern of cutting and gutting programs and institutions involved in environmental protection matters, and Niagara At Large will have more news and commentary of that latter.

In the meantime, the following news release from the Office of Ontario Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe, posted on the Office’s website this November 13th and speaking to a detailed new report the Office has just completed on environmental protection, may be its last or one of its last.

Here it is –

Toronto – The Ontario government continues to allow raw sewage to overflow into Ontario lakes and rivers at an alarming rate, says a new report by Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

Back to Basics, Saxe’s 2018 Environmental Protection Report, outlines how Ontario’s waters are being poisoned by raw sewage and harmful runoff laden with fertilizer and road salt. Continue reading

Janice Thomson’s Seven-Year Tenure as Chair at Ontario’s Niagara Parks is Over

Niagara Parks Commission Chair Janice Thomson

“It was indeed an honour to be given the responsibility of oversight of this important public agency and to work with a talented group of Commissioners and staff to move the organization from a $76 million operation to the current revenue of $120 million, over a seven year period.”                                          – Outgoing Niagara Parks Chair Janice Thomson

Thomson’s Term Ended This Thursday November 15th. Who Might Take Her Place Has Yet To Be Announced

A News Brief from Doug Draper

Posted November 15th, 2018 on Niagara At Large

Janice Thomson, outlining Niagara Park’s accomplishments, at a public meeting this October.

Speculation has been out there for weeks that Janice Thomson’s tenure as Niagara Park’s Chair would draw to a close this November 15th, making way for a replacement to be appointed by a Doug Ford government in Ontario that has already been busy filling as many posts as possible with its friends and supporters.Ontario’s Ford government.

A possible replacement has yet to be announcement, but, when contacted by Niagara At Large, Thomson confirmed that her term as chair of the 133-year old Niagara Park Commission’s board came “to a natural end today,” this November 15th.

“I was advised in early September that I could apply for re-appointment, which I have done,” added Thomson, who has served in the part-time post for seven years and is also president of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Chamber of Commerce and Visitors and Convention Bureau. “I was advised that the Government would be posting the position, to which I could also apply; however, to date I have not see the posting.” Continue reading