Personal connection to Duncan reaction

I was very pleased to read the Publisher’s Corner commentary in the June 8 issue of the Voice. The summary of the Charles Duncan debacle was realistic and exact.

In printing readers’ reactions to his jail sentence, the Voice was equitable in showing responses from both sides—those who commended the judge and those who thought her sentence was too harsh.

The words of those against the punishment were hard to read, however. The fact that he was a doctor for so long and treated some patients well has nothing to do with his assault of many of his female patients. Why can’t these people empathize with the victims? Can they only understand if it happens to them?

It is highly probable that more females were molested in the decades that Mr. Duncan practiced. One of my elderly family members was one of them. I regret that she didn’t live to get some satisfaction in seeing justice delivered.

David Fowler


Ford fails on dropping mask mandate

Kudos to Niagara Health and I’m sure Dr Hirji for maintaining the mask mandate. Clearly once again Ford and Moore have total disregard for public safety and that of our frontline heroes. Mandates are put in place for a reason. To protect us all. Unfortunately Ford didn’t have the stones and step up to the plate and keep the mask mandate for all public places.

Terry Mikolasek


New year, same Leafs

This year was supposed to be different. The embarrassing early departure from the first round of the playoffs last year at the hands of Les Canadiens was long past. There was so much positivity to build upon. A tremendously impressive regular season. Top players producing, home ice advantage. It was all looking so promising. Then, it happened again. Thud. An early first round playoff exit that seemed all too familiar. A quick review of social media reveals plenty of excuses and outcries for heads to roll from many in “Leafs Nation.” Perhaps I should clarify that I’m not a Leafs fan, particularly.

Although I was hoping they’d win that pivotal game seven. One might be justified in asking if changes in the management structure of the team are needed at this point. Perhaps.

Pro hockey is a business after all. The business of marketing success is as important on the ice as it is off of it.

No doubt, the Leafs bowing out early once again hurts on many levels. The rabid Toronto hockey market brings so much added attention, and helps grow the game of hockey. Who could argue otherwise, that Leaf playoff games guarantee eyes on the tube, as well as bums in the seats.

It may be posited that a deep Leaf playoff run might well have served as an engaging, albeit temporary distraction from the daily grind of current life in this province for many. There’s always next year.

Who can really isolate the reason that the Buds failed to advance again this season. They had their opportunities to send the Lightning to the links. Tampa knows deeply something the Leafs have yet to discover. Winning breeds confidence under pressure. Braydon Point’s injury in game seven was a perfect example. Winners find a way to win because they never entertain the thought of anything less.

Rob Shook


MUNICIPAL MATTERS | Regional Council

New Economic Development Strategy for Region

Niagara Regional Councillor for the Town of Pelham

This week the Region will be considering a Ten Year Economic Development Strategy facilitated by our economic development team in collaboration with Niagara’s municipal economic development partners. The plan is timely in that it is being developed as we are emerging from a worldwide pandemic that has left us facing challenges with respect to low labour force participation, a struggling service-based sector, a lack of affordable housing, access to broadband internet and supply chain disruptions.

Economic development is actually a shared responsibility between both the lower-tier municipalities and the Region. Hence there is a clear articulation of responsibilities between the two with the Region having a mandate for investment attraction, external marketing, expedited service and business development, research and analysis and strategic initiatives for projects with a Region-wide scope.

The plan proposes continued support for key economic sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and professional services. But it also highlighted opportunities for Niagara’s economy due to growth in emerging sectors such as healthcare, the film industry, marine, sport tourism and electric vehicles. This strategy deserves some exploration to see why they’ve emerged as areas for targeting.

Nothing can quite escalate and amplify the importance of healthcare servicing like a global pandemic! However, the new South Niagara Hospital and redevelopment of the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital will result in the replacement of older infrastructure with new high tech facilities, greater specialization and better connectivity for all of our residents. As these facilities are being constructed, there’s potential to emphasize local supply and local businesses to help support these projects. Overall we should see some significant changes to healthcare servicing that will enhance these important services with completion of these facilities.

Niagara has also seen interest from the film sector in terms of our unique locations. We currently have over 250 businesses in this sector and have experienced a recent increase in jobs. Marketing Niagara’s film potential could have an economic spillover effect that results in the hiring of local people, services and generates some service fees to municipalities.

Most of us drive over the Welland Canal without giving it a second thought. But did you know it generates significant revenue across Niagara and supports over 50 businesses and 2400 jobs? The provincial government has confirmed it will be developing a marine strategy, thanks to local advocacy efforts, to help support this sector’s competitiveness. Locally, there has already been movement towards a “Niagara Ports” plan to create multimodal hubs along the canal that can generate further economic spillovers.

This August we’ll finally see the Canada Games in action. The Region has been a key parter in supporting the games and with it came an investment in significant infrastructure around athletic and gaming facilities (such as the Canada Games park). These facilities will leave a legacy for Niagara that will allow us to attract, organize and run large sporting events in the future but also provide active living, organized sports, active recreation, and health and wellness experiences locally.

Finally, significant investment has been made by the Province and private companies in positioning Ontario’s economy to benefit from a shift to electric vehicles. Niagara has a strong base of manufacturing businesses that are well positioned to participate and benefit from the emergence of technology and advanced manufacturing processes in this space. Upgrades to larger automotive plants across Niagara could generate business and innovation locally, leading to specialized jobs.

A commitment has been made to incorporate principles of diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the plan and actioning the outcomes to ensure we’re creating the conditions for an equitable and inclusive community. They’ve also identified that support is needed to ensure we can match jobs with the needs of businesses, but also have an eye towards sustainability and aligning our work with climate change policies at all levels of government.

There certainly are a lot of exciting things happening in and around Niagara. We’ve already seen some of the anticipated population growth happening locally across the Region and right here in Pelham. With approval of the strategy will come collaboration and engagement with municipal partners, businesses, support agencies, and educational institutions. The strategy presents a focus for capitalizing on some of the opportunities for growth while leveraging existing assets and resources that are unique to Niagara.