Thankful we can make own choices

The leaves are falling from the trees around my home. Already one maple is bare and half the golden leaves from the birch trees now sit upon the grass.
Water has been drained from my system at the lake and a fond farewell was said to the cabin as I left by boat on Saturday.
Fall has come early here. A week ago flying out of Toronto on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I looked down over the land from Pearson Airport to the Bruce Peninsula, where the patch network of red forests below was two weeks early.
The forests of our district changed colours before those red maples of southern Ontario. Thanksgiving is now upon us, with oranges, yellows, reds, tawny browns, and purples everywhere.
We will celebrate Thanksgiving this week. Children will travel home from universities and colleges while grandparents will venture forth away from the community to enjoy their grandchildren.
We live in a very fortunate country and we have lots to be thankful for. Watching on television, I’m fascinated by the student protesters of Hong Kong who are seeking to have their own choices on the ballot in 2016 elections.
Horrified videos of beheadings and mass graves have made us uncomfortable with the Islamic State as it fights to create a new country from Iraq and Syria.
Those killings shake us to our very souls. Following the Second World War, as a nation we promised that religious and ethnic killings should never happen again. And yet we have seen ethnic cleansing in Rwanda and now in Iraq and Syria.
As Canadians, we find this notion of religious killings abhorrent. We are sickened by the violence, deaths, and murders. We are having a debate among our three major parties about the role Canada now should play in that part of the world with our military.
We get to make choices. We will hear several choices from providing military and humanitarian supplies. We will hear about opposition to military intervention. We will hear about choosing to do nothing and letting the combatants choose their own routes to peace.
In Canada, we get to make choices and ask questions of our governments and policies.
Locally, we have 19 candidates vying for seven seats on Fort Frances council and many candidates for the mayor and council positions in Rainy River. It is healthy for our communities.
We have lots of choices to make in this month’s municipal election.
At a time of Thanksgiving, we should give thanks that we have the right to make choices for who will govern us without having to resort to violence.
With so many people running, there should be no reason not to cast a vote. Each candidate brings their own perspective to what will make our communities better and understandings on how they will pursue their agendas.
We do not have to go to war to have our voices heard or drowned out. We live in a secure world mindful of our blessings.
Happy Thanksgiving.

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