Saturday, February 15, 2014


Great article in the Globe and Mail today.


From the article:

"Add the effects of new passport requirements, border slowdowns and a high dollar, Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati laments, and the effect has been “devastating.” Jim Thibert, the head of economic development for Fort Erie, recalls when his town across the river from Buffalo drew more than 80 per cent of its visitors from the United States; today it is less than 20 per cent, and not because of an increase in domestic ones."

So, for a national news article, Jim Thibert explains the effect of the loss of US tourism dollars. It differs from what he told council in his budget request. There he cited the lack of job skills for Fort Erians as the reason the unemployment is so high. He stated that jobs are available but Fort Erie workers do not possess the technical skills needed.

Yes, we knew that all along here in Fort Erie. We knew that Fort Erie has relied heavily on US tourism and investment dollars for over a century. Sure, the most recent losses can be attributed to the passport regulation and the US casinos, but I think that another factor is the anti-Americanism as expressed by certain locals.  The part time summer residents pay year-round taxes and utilities, yet, when they speak up about an issue that is important to them, they are told to go back to the States - or worse.

Finally, the article gets to the meat of the issue: the parochialism of the twelve municipalities that make up the Niagara Region.

"Phil Ritchie, a developer who has been central to efforts to revitalize downtown Niagara Falls, goes so far as to suggest the best thing Ontario could do for the region would be some manner of amalgamation that forces communities to get past their parochialism."

Oh dear, the cat is out of the bag!  I believe it will happen and it needs to happen.