Monday, 31 August 2015, 12:46 pm

Social media is expected to prompt access to the election and political education of every voter

Staff Writer
Crispin Shaftoe is a professor of Academic and Liberal Studies at Niagara College. PHOTO BY CHRIS GERICSVote now, or forever hold your peace.
Voter turnout in recent elections has been downright abysmal. According to Elections Canada, only 61.1 per cent of citizens eligible to vote in Canada did so in the last federal election, which leaves a discrepancy of around 9.4 million lost votes. These votes can add up to a large swing of who is elected, and with those votes it could change the landscape of Canada. The blame however, cannot be solely placed on the voters.
The citizens of Canada are forced to sit through another long line of television attack ads, party ideologies and the constant quarrels between the three major parties. But what if Canadians had an easier way to be heard in politics?
Recently, the Ontario government decided to implement a new online comment form  regarding the Environmental Bill of Rights, in which citizens could type or paste their...


Ontario raises flag for Autism Awareness Day

Raising the flag on Supporting World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, at city hall were, from left, Welland City Councillor Jim Larouche, Chapter Leadership Council (CLC) of Autism Ontario-Niagara Mike Gowan, Welland Mayor Frank Campion, and Autism Ontario-Niagara members Darla Gowan and Angela Roy.  World Autism Awareness Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008 PHOTO BY CERENA JOY GATILABy CERENA JOY GATILA
Staff Writer
Raise, respect and realize is the philosophy the world stands by every April 2 — World Autism Awareness Day.
Frank Campion, mayor of Welland, and several members of the Niagara chapter of Autism Ontario were all smiles as they raised the flag on the flagpole, blowing against the wind alongside the blue City of Welland flag for the third year of marking the day.
“We wanted to look at getting something on World Autism Awareness Day,” said Mike Gowan, the chapter representative for Welland and a member of Autism Ontario Niagara. “We came up with some ideas and thought that this would be a great way to raise awareness across the province and across the country.”
World Autism Awareness Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008; however, it was not officially recognized in Canada until Bill S-206 ensured the nation’s participation each year. “It...


Seeking justice for aboriginal women

Staff Writer
Words are useless when action must be taken.
A joint statement released between the Office of the Premier and Ontario’s delegation at the roundtable on the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls addressed the violence towards indigenous women.
“Too many Aboriginal women and girls have experienced violence, been murdered or gone missing. Too many Aboriginal girls spend their lives in constant fear that they will join their family members and friends as just another statistic. This can no longer be tolerated,” the statement said.
The delegation, which includes family members and representative from the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, Ontario Native Women’s Association, Métis Nation of Ontario and Independent First Names, met to discuss actions they could take to prevent the violence from continuing. 
A need for a pan-Canadian solution issue is apparent.
Andrea Horwath, leader of Ontario’s New Democrats, released a statement on the first national roundtable on the...


Everest College closes its doors

Staff Writer
Everest College’s Upper James Street campus in Hamilton, Ont. is one of the 14 campuses across the province that has closed. PHOTO BY CHRIS PERRELLIThe Ontario government is hoping to make a molehill out of the mountain of problems facing former Everest College students.
The Ontario government announced March 11 it is providing up to $7.6 million for students affected by the province-wide closure of the for-profit colleges.
The money is intended to give students the option to complete their education at a nearby institution without having to pay additional tuition. If students are unable to complete their education or choose not to, they will receive a refund.
The Ontario Student Opportunity Grant is available to all eligible Everest students affected by the closure.
“Our government’s number 1 priority throughout this process has been the well-being of affected students,” said Reza Moridi, minister of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU). “We know that students just want to get back to their studies and they can be reassured that this special, non-repayable grant will help cover the...


GO Train going to be a game changer

Staff Writer
The extension of GO train service to Niagara Falls is projected to reduce traffic and commuting time on the QEW.  SUBMITTTED PHOTOLast week, Wayne Gates, MPP Niagara Falls, called on Premier Kathleen Wynne while in session at Queen’s Park to extend GO train service to Niagara Falls.
“We have thousands and thousands of people commuting from Niagara to Toronto every single day. Our highways are clogged and the commutes are terrible. I drive the same route from Queen’s Park back to Niagara Falls. What used to take an hour now takes three hours,” said Gates.
“Bringing the GO train to Niagara Falls can create jobs,” he continued.
“It can create economic activity. It can allow our smart and talented young people to work in Toronto and live in their communities. 
It can allow people from Toronto to visit the excellent wineries we have in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the amazing sites we have in Niagara Falls, and the [thoroughbred horse] racetrack in Fort Erie.”
He said he intends to show united regional support for the GO...


Greenhouse hooked on aquaponics

Staff Writer
Matt Orr, greenhouse operations supervisor, explains the project involving raising fish and growing plants without soil. It all starts with fish waste, which is broken down throughout a process that allows plants to filter excess chemicals and send purified water back to the fish tanks. PHOTO BY BECKI CREWEFrom fish pee to fresh feed.

Niagara College’s horticulture staff and students are sustaining an aquaponics project. This is a combination of hydroponics – growing plants without soil – and aquaculture, which is raising fish in tanks.

Matt Orr, greenhouse operations supervisor, said, “Right now we’re just building up a bacteria so that the water can sustain plant material.”

The tanks, full of goldfish, are attached to a filtration system.

Because the fish produce waste that is high in urea, a chemical with a basic form of nitrogen that is toxic to plants and fish, the water is pumped into a second attached tank that separates water from solids. The water rises and the solids sink.

The water is then funnelled into a third tank with beneficial bacteria that breaks down the urea. Orr said this is the known as the nitrogen cycle.

“Urea breaks down to...


Great move for Great Lakes

Staff Writer
Lake Erie, one of the most stressed lakes, helps contribute to the 80 per cent of Ontario's drinking water gathered from all the Great Lakes. The proposed legislation will provide funding that will allow constant monitoring of biodiversity, climate change, invasive species and acidity levels. PHOTO BY BECKI CREWEOntario is introducing legislation to keep its Great Lakes’ water drinkable, swimmable and fishable.
The Great Lakes Protection Act is designed to help fight climate change, reduce harmful algal blooms and protect wetlands and coastal areas, according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
Lucas Malinowski is the legislative and issues management and spokesperson for Glen Murray, minister of the Environment and Climate Change. He said, “Of the Great Lakes, Huron, Erie and Ontario are in decline but all are under stress from a number of factors including increased levels of harmful pollutants, urban growth, rising levels of phosphorous and invasive species.“
He added that climate change is also challenging the ability of the lakes to be resilient to problems that arise from severe weather and changes in the thaw and freeze cycle.
The occurrence of algal blooms this past summer in some American and Canadian cities’ water sources prevented...