From the House – John Rafferty MP

John Rafferty MPOTTAWA – This week I would like to inform you about a contest my office is holding to help design the 2011-12 edition of our riding calendar and pay tribute to those rescued Chilean miners and Canadians who work in that dangerous industry.

Each year Members of Parliament across Canada send out a calendar to each household in their riding, and like last year I am asking you to help design it.  Last year, we asked school aged children to submit their artwork that reflected something unique about our riding and Northwestern Ontario.  This year we’d like to open it up to everyone, so I am asking for your photos from around our riding which you think symbolize who we are and what Northwestern Ontario is all about.

Is there something unique about your city or town that makes it different from other places in Canada?  Are there any notable landmarks?  Are there things that everyone locally can recognize and appreciate?  Is there an event or place that you think is historically important to our region?  This is your chance to show off your town and our region and put your own mark on our calendar.

As with any contest there are a few rules, so here they are:

· This year only digital or scanned photos will be eligible for the competition.

· With the help of my staff, I will select twelve or more winning photos to be included in the 2011 calendar.

· The contest is open to all residents of the riding of Thunder Bay – Rainy River.

· All photos must be submitted electronically to the following email address raffej8@parl.gc.ca in JPEG, TIF, PNG, or GIF formats.

· The higher the quality the picture the better, but 2 Megapixels must be the minimum acceptable size due to the need to print the photos on paper.

· Winning photos will be judged primarily on composition, but winning selections will come from all areas of the riding and extra consideration may be given to submissions from small or remote communities.

· All entries must be received at my parliamentary office email (raffej8@parl.gc.ca) no later than Friday November 15, 2010.

· All entries will remain the property of the photographer, but by submitting their photo(s) the photographer gives my office and I the right to use and distribute the photo externally with photo credit being given to the owner.

My staff and I look forward to seeing your submissions and putting together another memorable edition of our constituency calendar.

The other item of business I wanted to deal with this week is to pay my respects to anyone who has the courage to work in the mining sector.  I’m sure many if not everyone who is reading this watched the compelling story of those trapped Chilean miners unfold this past week.  It was a tremendous story of survival, solidarity among coworkers, and national pride for the people Chile.  It was an emotional moment when the first and the final miners were pulled from the rescue capsule, but we have to remember that such danger is also faced everyday by hard working Canadian men and women in our industry as well.

The worst mining accident in Canadian history was the Hillcrest Mine disaster which killed 130 men in 1914.  Thankfully, many of the largest Canadian mining disasters occurred in the somewhat distant past as the labour movement forced mining companies to adopt more effective safety measures.  But even with the benefit of those added safety measures the Westray Mine disaster of 1992 which killed 26 miners in Plymouth Nova Scotia was a stark reminder of the dangers those men and women still face each day.  Given these risks I continue to full support their efforts to negotiate better safety provisions and worker rights as we move forward.

So please do send your photos – old or new – to my office so that we can build the best calendar possible for 2011-12.  Please also take a moment not only to appreciate the tremendous rescue effort that saved those Chilean miners, but also the sacrifices that have been made by Canadian miners in the past and the risks our brave men and women who work in the mining industry continue to face today.