Tag: ontario government

    Marineland: Killer whale bleeding for months, trainer says

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    From the Toronto Star:

    Kiska, the killer whale, swims alone in her pool at Marineland, often followed by a trail of her own blood.

    Her tail has been bleeding off and on since July but has been getting progressively worse, according to Christine Santos, who has been one of Kiska’s primary trainers. She described the bleeding as “gushing” last week.

    Marineland lawyer Andrew Burns emailed the Star Tuesday saying allegations described by the paper were “seriously inaccurate, false, and if published are defamatory of Marineland, its veterinarians and Mr. Holer.”

    The Star also has an article about how the shutdown of the Ontario government will affect the animal rights changes that were announced. The article is called Marineland: Ontario minister pledges to continue work to beef up animal protection despite house being shut

    Ontario government responds to Marineland allegations with crack down on animal abuse

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    From the Globe and Mail:

    The Ontario government says it plans to beef up regulations to protect animals kept in zoos and aquariums, including Marineland.

    Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur made the announcement in a statement this morning ahead of a noon news conference.

    She says the province will work with animal experts and other stakeholders to come up with standards for caring for captive animals.

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    Future cloudy for Falls favorite Maid of the Mist

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    From the Washington Examiner:

    Deliberations in Canada over the future of the Maid of the Mist sightseeing boats at Niagara Falls are being closely watched in the United States, where elected and tourism officials want to avoid disruptions to an iconic draw that brings millions of tourists to the Falls each year.

    The double-decker boats ferry people from both sides of the Niagara River to the base of the Horseshoe Falls under separate agreements with New York state and Ontario, Canada. The tours have run continuously since 1846.

    The Niagara Parks Commission, an arm of the Ontario government that controls the land and buildings around the Canadian falls, approved a 25-year contract with the Maid of the Mist Steamship Co. in 2008. But the lack of competition for the deal drew criticism, so the commission called for bids from competing boat tour operators for the first time.

    The multimillion-dollar bids are under review; the commission is expected to make its recommendation to Ontario’s tourism minister in February, though at one point it had anticipated choosing a company by the end of last year.

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/entertainment/travel/2012/01/future-cloudy-falls-favorite-maid-mist/2147516?utm_source=feedburnerdcexaminer%2Fwheels&utm_medium=feedWheels&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dcexaminer%2Fwheels+%28Wheels%29%24%7Bdistribu&utm_content=%24%7BdistributionCha#ixzz1kx3vjMZd

    Province probes deeper into NPC records

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    From Niagara This Week:

    The Ontario government is probing deeper into the records of the Niagara Parks Commission.

    Bullet News has learned that only four weeks after releasing two embarrassing audits that revealed abused expense accounts and questionable purchasing practises at the Commission, the province is conducting a specialized independent forensic examination aimed at discovering if any ‘improprieties’ exist at the local government agency.

    The forensic audit started several months ago and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

    Floral Clock vs. Love Canal…we win that one…

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    From Tim Denis on 610 CKTB (his “View From the Drive Thru” commentary):

    Americans and Canadians have a lot in common but we do some things very differently. There are many examples of the US doing a much better job of preserving their history than Canada but one example of how the Canadian Government was way ahead of our neighbors is right in our own backyard…or front yard if you happen to live in the Falls. Back in the late 1800s both the Ontario and New York State governments were faced with a question of what to do about the Niagara River and Niagara Falls itself. Their reactions could not have been any different. The Americans decided to exploit the industrial possibilities of the river…they built roads and encouraged factories to make use of the waterway and the cheap power. The result is what you see across the river. Highways and smokestacks. The Ontario government created the Niagara Parks Commission in 1885.

    NPC looking for ‘honesty’

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Pinocchio need not apply to the Niagara Parks Commission.

    Honesty, integrity and independence have been added as qualifications expected of future commissioners as the Ontario government prepares to fill six vacancies on the agency responsible for running the public parks and attractions along the Niagara River.

    Chairwoman Fay Booker said it was her “suggestion” to add the new criteria to improve the wording in previous ads.

    “There was some tweaking of it again this time around. Every time we do it, there’s some more tweaking,” she said.

    Chan seeks clean sweep of board

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Ontario government doesn’t want the same municipal politicians — including Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin and Niagara Falls Coun. Vince Kerrio — reappointed to the Niagara Parks Commission board.

    The Niagara Falls Review learned through sources the Ministry of Tourism is looking to follow up its purge of four provincially appointed commissioners by asking Niagara Region, Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake to appoint different members to the board than during the last term of council.

    A spokesman for Ontario Tourism Minister Michael Chan confirmed the province doesn’t want familiar faces returning after the four municipalities swear in their councillors this month.

    “We are encouraging the municipalities to put forward new names for these appointments,” Mukunthan Paramalingham, the tourism minister’s senior communications adviser, said in an email response to questions posed by The Review. “Our goal is to establish a strong board with members who will bring forth new ideas and qualifications to move the commission forward.”

    Tour boats contract bid process under fire

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    From the Globe and Mail:

    The Niagara Parks Commission is fending off claims it is tilting a tendering process in favour of the Maid of the Mist, the tour boat company whose exclusive access to Niagara Falls has been controversial for the Ontario government agency.

    Last year, after a four-decade monopoly for the Maid’s American owners, the province ordered the parks commission to tender the boat lease, worth more than $5-million a year to the $80-million agency. The order followed complaints in 2008 that would-be competitors had been turned away despite having promised richer returns to the commission, which for four straight years has lost money after more than a century of steady profitability.

    A fairness commissioner and outside experts were appointed to prevent bias in the tender, but certain clauses in the bid document – drafted by the same parks officials who supported the Maid monopoly in the past – are raising questions about its fairness, and about Ontario’s efforts to improve its stewardship of Niagara Falls, a jewel of Canadian tourism and beacon to travellers around the world.

    New chairwoman at parks

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    Fay Booker, a Burlington business consultant who specializes in how corporations govern themselves, is expected to become the next chairwoman of the Niagara Parks Commission at a time the provincial agency is under scrutiny for the way it operates.

    Tour ism Minister Michael Chan’s office announced in a 5 p.m., news release the Ontario Liberal government nominated Booker to lead the $80-million-a-year agency responsible for preserving the area around the Horseshoe Falls and running its attractions. Chan was not available to comment, his office staff said.

    Booker, a chartered accountant, will fill the vacancy created by the abrupt December resignation of Jim Williams, who quit over a dispute with then-minister of tourism Monique Smith about how to handle an ongoing controversy surrounding its lease with the Maid of the Mist boat tour company.

    Casino Niagara future appears secure

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    From the Niagara Falls Review:

    The Ontario government appears to have secured Casino Niagara’s long-term future. Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor is expected to make an announcement at the casino Friday afternoon about the “economic future” of Niagara Falls. The location of Craitor’s announcement is listed as the second-floor atrium of Casino Niagara.

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