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Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the former publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

All eyes fixed on the finish line

I’ll admit I’m both a news junkie and a political junkie. Give me an election contest and I will follow every blog and political columnist in the area where the election is taking place.

For me, watching the start as the candidates break out of the gate—until they gallop across the finish line—is like watching a horse race.

We have our favourites just like in horse racing. We have our sentimental favourites that we cheer on because they are in the race with no hope of winning. And we have our put-downs for the candidates or parties we don’t want to win.

Weekend enjoyable at cabin

We spent the weekend at the cabin and the water in Rainy Lake has not risen.

Alas, our boat that we went to the cabin the previous weekend refused to start. Even the trolling motor batteries, which we thought we had charged, couldn’t get the motor to turn over.

The batteries probably didn’t take the charge.

Thankfully, my brother-in-law provided taxi service to the cabin.

Burgers cooked on the charcoal grill, fresh corn on the cob, and a 15-year-old bottle of red wine on the deck made the evening perfect.

Cabin season finally here

The flyers that will be distributed later this week are filled with outdoor living items.

Flowers, plants, and shrubbery, along with gardening, and yard maintenance tools, all are being advertised. If you are into boating or improving the look of your yard, the ideas are all laid out.

Spring is here.

My wife and I made our way to our cabin on Saturday. We were the first to have our boat in at the marina.

The foods we enjoy have a global flavour

When I think about what are truly Canadian foods, I usually find myself at a loss.

“Tourtiere,” a dish we often associate with Quebec, comes to mind. It is common to both Quebec and the bordering New England states, and often is associated with Christmas.

It is made with finely-diced pork, veal, or beef. Wild game often was added, as was fish and seafood in communities found along the coast. It is a meat pie cooked with cubed potatoes and often shredded onion and carrots.

Within the province of Quebec, regions often have their own special recipes.

‘Spring Fever Days’ a long Emo tradition

The 48th edition of “Spring Fever Days” will unfold in Emo this Thursday to Saturday (April 16-18).

Back in 1968, the businesses had their own door prizes. Later, with the assistance of a former resident, the Emo merchants had a draw for accommodations, tickets, and spending money to the Calgary Stampede.

Copy from 1968 reads, “The Emo Chamber of Commerce has launched a full-fledged campaign to show district residents that a small community can offer a variety of services and products at competitive prices.”

‘Let them eat cake’

Marie Antoinette, prior to the French Revolution, may have chided the crowd by saying “Let them eat cake” when told her French subjects had no bread.

She became the most hated symbol of the French aristocracy. The end for Marie Antoinette was that she lost her head.

I couldn’t help but think of the remark when Conservative senator Nancy Ruth complained that she did not like eating cold Camembert with broken crackers for breakfast on an airline flight.

Making fools of us again

Former premier Dalton McGuinty wanted to turn Ontario into a “green” energy province.

He chose to close down coal-fired power plants and replace those electrical energy-producing operations with solar- and wind-powered energy. He turned the development of wind and solar energy to private enterprise.

We know where that has taken us. Today, every Ontario household is subsidizing those plants—and energy bills have soared.

Is Bill C-51 really necessary?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has sharpened his spear in preparation for the coming fall election.

He is working hard to convince the Canadian electorate that terrorists are lurking behind every tree and telephone pole in the country. He is worried that citizens in rural Canada live in fear and they need firearms (long guns) to protect themselves.

I might agree with that when a bear comes knocking at the back door of my cottage, or a pack of wolves are lying in wait of newborn calves in the field. A long gun is rather handy to dispatch those critters.

Derailments a worrying scenario

Last week, sitting idly in the train yard in Fort Frances, was a train made up entirely of tanker cars.

It was only one of the 29 trains that pass through our community (and district) every day of the year.

If you watch the trains from one of the level crossings in the district, you’ll see a mixture of tanker cars, flat cars carrying lumber, as well as cars carrying grain from the west and containers that have arrived at Prince Rupert, B.C. with consumer goods from Asia.

You also will see unit trains carrying crude oil.

There are no easy answers

If you could sit down and plan for a community, what would be your most important considerations?

As we look to the future, the communities of Rainy River District have to deal with their histories and also with their futures. They do not have the luxury of beginning with a blank sheet.

Our histories are shared in that our communities were built around the railway. We live on either side and the railway divides us.