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Camping under the stars

Submitted by, the Stewardship, Youth Rangers

Week 4 of the Fort Frances Stewardship Youth Ranger-Ogimaa Binesiiyog Partnership Program has the rangers keeping busy around town, and then off to Caliper Lake Provincial Park for more clearing, cleaning, camping and canoeing.

In town, the SYR Team Leads took the Rangers to the Fort Frances Lookout Tower at Point Park and then on to the Sorting Gap Marina for a tour of the historical “Hallett.”

Committed to advancing reconciliation

Back in April, I had the honour of attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City, alongside several of my colleagues.

This was the 16th-annual conference at the UN dedicated exclusively to discussing the issues facing the world’s indigenous populations.

The forum brought the world together on the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, or UNDRIP.

Youth engagement crucial to our future

As we embark on a new year, it’s important to take time to focus on what the future holds for our communities in the Thunder Bay-Rainy River riding and our country as a whole.

When we consider the future, our youth always must be a priority as they will inherit the outcome of any decisions our current leadership makes.

The youth of today are engaged in a way we’ve never seen before. According to a study by Abacus Data and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, youth turnout jumped by 12 percentage points between the 2011 and 2015 elections.

Freedom cannot be ‘wholesale’

Submitted by Pastor Sean Ward

In July of this year, in a speech by U.S. Congressman Trey Gowdy to the students of Liberty University, Gowdy shared two questions he posed to those employed at his office.

The first question was which do you value more: truth or freedom? Everyone present answered they valued freedom more than truth.

The second question was which do you value more: unity or diversity? Everyone except one answered they valued diversity more than unity.

Reflecting on our first year

Oct. 19 marked one full year that I have had the honour and privilege of representing the people of Thunder Bay-Rainy River in Parliament.

I am proud of the “Real Change” that this government has made in its first year.

With the introduction of a better-targeted child benefit, about 300,000 fewer children will be living in poverty in Canada in 2017 compared with 2014.

By now, families who already were benefiting from this program will see an average increase in the benefit of almost $2,300.

Don’t be afraid of coconuts

What is hairy, unattractive, and available in almost every major grocery store’s produce section?

No, it’s not an unshaven produce manager with “bed head.” They are coconuts.

Most consumers tend to buy coconuts dried or canned instead of fresh. After all, who wouldn’t be somewhat afraid of this intimidating, seemingly indestructible produce with an appearance that mimics a monster’s disembodied head?

Even I must admit, more times than not, I was more interested is using them to tease my children than I was in purchasing them.

Electoral reform proves lively topic

We spent a significant amount of time in September engaging in lively conversations with citizens on the important topic of electoral reform.

I was happy to host roundtables in both Thunder Bay and Fort Frances, where a number of residents came out to learn about the current electoral system and survey the potential changes.

Both roundtables produced productive feedback that will be submitted to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform for review.

I also had the pleasure to host Maryam Monsef, the minister of democratic institutions, in Thunder Bay last month.

Many visitors to riding this month

Earlier this month, I was pleased to host the Hon. Carolyn Bennett, minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, in the Fort Frances region.

Minister Bennett visited Couchiching First Nation and met with indigenous leadership from across the riding. We also toured the Nanicost building and stopped by the children’s pow-wow there.

It was a pleasure to show the minister the beauty of our riding and the warmth and generosity of our communities.

Eventful summer so far here

We kicked off this summer in Fort Frances with some very exciting announcements about FedNor funding for the region.

FedNor is a funding program from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development whose purpose is to promote economic development and job creation in Northern Ontario.

This year, Fort Frances will be receiving a Government of Canada investment of $655,000 to support economic and business development, as well as tourism, in downtown core.

Enter your child in mini-royalty competition

By Robin McCormick Devlin correspondent

The annual Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society’s fall fair is coming soon, and with that comes the crowning of the 2016 queen and mini-king and queen.

This crowd-pleasing event takes place Thursday, Aug. 18 upstairs of the Emo LaVallee arena.

If you wish to register your son or daughter for the mini-king or queen contest call Mary Croswell at 482-1105.