No stockings filled with coal

Who should get a stocking with a single potato or a lump of coal this year?
There was a pervasive belief in the 19th century that if you were poor, it was because you or your ancestors did bad things. God was punishing you.
If you live in the United States, the Republican majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives seem to have a similar belief.
In the 19th century, much of Europe was heated and powered by coal. Most household were coal-heated and people would take hot coals from the fire, put them into closed metal containers, and then place them underneath beds to keep them warm at night.
It probably wasn’t the safest way to warm beds or prevent asphyxiation. But for a child receiving a lump of coal in their stocking, it was a sign they would be warm at night.
The rich had nice warm houses and lots of goodies in their stockings but the poor, who were so as punishment from God for being bad, were lucky to get coal.
It’s strange how a lump of coal can be both seen as a punishment and a reward at the same time. It also is difficult to determine who deserves a stocking filled with coal or one filled with candy and fruit.
As part of Canada 150 celebrations, Fort Frances set out to recognize 500-plus volunteer citizens who contribute to the lives of residents in our town.
It might have been seen as a daunting task to find those residents but now that the recognition is almost complete, we can see the greatness of our community lies in those who go out of their way to make our lives better.
I would like to praise our council for its decision to recognize all of those volunteers. I also would like to recognize them, and the senior members of the management team of our community, for the long hours they put in working to make our lives better.
There should be no coal in their stockings this year.
Sarah Campbell is retiring as our MPP. She had tough shoes to fill following Howard Hampton and often was seen not being active in our district. But it is a tough job to represent the people of her riding that runs all the way from the U.S. border north to Hudson Bay.
The variances in the qualities of life in the communities that Sarah represents, and has had to tackle, must have kept her sleepless many nights.
As a new mother, I can’t blame her for her decision to retire.
Don Rusnak, our federal MP, appears to be doing a good job.
So I have no stockings filled with coal for our politicians this year. The leadership teams across the district work diligently for their communities and deserve our thanks.