Why I blog “issues” (plus a letter to Transport Canada Regarding Dodge Safety)

I have had an afternoon and evening of clarity. Sometimes removing yourself from the confines of the box you live in makes you see situations from a different angle.

My first revelation came at my daughter’s basketball game. Watching the girls bump into each other made me think again about our issue with the Dodge Caravan and how if you lose power you will have a chance of being rear ended.  (More on this later into the post.)

The second revelation came during yoga class, an apt environment to achieve clarity, and the revelation that came to me was that I need to share with the readers “Why I Blog Issues”. So I am going to start with that.

And then I also had a third…..



I am sure some people think “loud mouth”, “trouble maker” and “moaner” when they read a post about an issue, and everyone is capable of having their own response and opinions, however in my case that is not why I write about issues.

I write about issues because society has become apathetic. People care more about watching “Breaking Bad” than their municipalities, the environment, fairness or health and safety. Because society is so apathetic, both private sector and government have become absolutely corrupt. Laws, by-laws, zoning, the environment, fairness, safety, honesty, and operating “in good faith” are no longer of any interest to some levels of government and definitely of no interest to “big corp”. Corruption is rampant because no one takes on the corrupt operations of big business. Corruption is never ending because no one makes governments follow their own rules. Yes there are pocket groups and petitions, but the bulk of society is more bothered about playing Candy Crush than making our society fair, honest and just.

So this is why I write on issues such as Dodge selling faulty and dangerous vehicles, Wawanesa having horrific handling of our insurance claim, issues with the school system where children weren’t taught (or were bullied), issues with Land Use By-laws where neighbourhoods and environment would be destroyed, and issues with regards to saving habitat; I write on these topics as both private and public sector are corrupt. I don’t write because I want a “freebee” or to “moan”. I write because someone has to tackle the corruption that surrounds us. I write because we are all being harmed by corrupt “big corp” and corrupt government actions. I write because it is about time someone actually did something and said something. I write because it is time to stop corruption and live in a fair, honest and just world, not the cess-pit it has become .

So that , in a nutshell, is why I blog issues.

I blog issues because it is the right thing to do.

blog van



Now for my second revelation. As I was saying, I was watching my daughter’s basketball game, and the girls bumping into each other made me think again about our issue with the Dodge Caravan. I was thinking about the fact that if you are driving a vehicle that  loses power there is a chance of being rear ended, injured or killed. Then it dawned on me that the innocent driver behind you could also be injured or killed. The big picture became apparent to me in one huge technicolor vision of destruction…….this is not just a Dodge Grand Caravan issue , this a a transportation hazard . This is a transportation hazard that has the potential to injure or kill any driver on the road.

The issue was no longer about “my” vehicle, and the fact that it is faulty beyond belief. This is no longer about me being “petty” and thinking a new vehicle should actually work and not be in for constant repair. Yes, every aspect of dealing with this vehicle has been rubbish , from dealing with Chrysler, dealing with the manager at our dealership and dealing with the salesman at our dealership….and all that will come out in another blog post…….but at the moment the issue is safety.

Now here is the scary thought. My vehicle lost power. My vehicle’s MIL light came on. My vehicle dinged and dinged and dinged in warning. I had NO idea what a MIL light even was up until Friday afternoon. As soon as the vehicle limped it’s way into the school parking lot I hunted through the manual to figure out what was up and then called my husband to be rescued. The dealership looked at our vehicle and said first that their computer said the “MIL light didn’t come on”, and secondly that they “could not replicate the problem”. Now the MIL light did come on. The van did lose power. The dealership is missing the “real” problem. The real problem is that Chrysler has a dangerous fault in their vehicles that could cause fatalities that they can’t detect and that they can’t fix. That is a problem. That is a very big problem.

This means that vehicles with the issue are being plopped back out on the road. That means vehicles are ending up in collisions and Chrysler’s service teams can’t even detect the fault in an inquiry in a vehicle fatality. Chrysler are putting out death traps because their computer can’t detect the problem. Chrysler put more faith in their computer than their customers who are actually driving the vehicles. Chrysler is risking lives because they think their computer knows best and never makes a mistake. How many have died because they “couldn’t replicate the problem”?

How can Chrysler even argue with this? They don’t even have the technology in their service departments to detect the issue, let alone fix it…..and definitely not the capacity to care.

Perhaps it is time to look at all the mini van fatalities involving Dodge Grand Caravans. Perhaps it is time to look at the circumstances. Perhaps it is time for Chrysler to both admit they have a huge problem and rectify it.

Picture of my son after being in an accident in a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan

Picture of my son after being in an accident in a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan


Revelation #3 – Did this happen before?

This revelation came to me on my way home from yoga (in my husband’s work truck as I will not even touch our “new” 2014 Grand Caravan, it is at the dealership). I never really blogged that much about the accident we had back in September, quite honestly I was happy my children were alive. It was an accident that made no sense, I was making a left turn with lots of time, clear intersection and then “Bam” hit so hard the van was written off. Now up until a couple of hours ago my thought was “the other vehicle must have been flying” , now I am wondering “did I lose power?” I will never know, it happened that fast, but now it will always be at the back of my mind. A 2014 van, 6 months old, an accident that made no sense. In hindsight I am really left wondering.

Dealing With the Big Picture

As I was getting nowhere with Chrysler or our dealership I had to do something. This is a public safety issue. People are going to be killed and Chrysler is going to hide behind either their computer or “we couldn’t replicate the problem”. It may sound dramatic, but lives ARE at risk. In the end my solution was to write to Minister Raitt at Transport Canada. I need the problem on record. The problem needs to be looked into. If the Dodge Grand Caravan is truly “Canada’s best selling mini van” as advertised, there are a lot of potential death traps on the road.

This is my email:

Att. Transport Canada
Minister Raitt

Dear Minister Raitt,

I am finding myself contacting you as we have an issue that could have an impact regards to safety on Canada’s roads and highways.

We have a new 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan purchased in October 2014. Serial number xxxxxx. On Friday we were driving, the van loses power, the MIL light comes on and the van starts dinging. We take it to our dealership as you do with any warranty issue. Their computer doesn’t show the MIL coming on, plus they say they “can’t replicate the problem”.

A car losing power on the road is a hazard for both the driver of the faulty vehicle and the vehicles behind the faulty vehicle. This technical issue is going to result in injuries and deaths. This technical difficulty isn’t being detected by the service departments.

Our dealership seems to think it isn’t a problem as does Dodge. We have been in contact with both. The worry here is it IS happening and they aren’t detecting the technical issue in the service department. This means even in a fatality inquiry the issue won’t be detected.

Once I got over my initial anger of the issue, I realized the broader scope of how dangerous this is. The potential to lose power and thus be rear ended will inevitably end in fatalities. I want to drive in safe vehicles. I want to be on the road with safe vehicles.

I felt I had to formally get on record that this issue is happening. Perhaps you can take this concern in whatever direction necessary to insure we are driving in and with safe vehicles.

By the way I have blogged details of our experience at: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/we-need-to-replicate-the-problem-dont-buy-dodge-it-will-potentially-kill-you/

Debra Hunter


So now you know “why” I blog issues, it is not for me, it is for all of us, and it is for the right reasons.


Please click here to read the previous detailed post of all the problems our Dodge Grand Caravan has had.




“We need to replicate the problem.” – Don’t buy Dodge, it will potentially kill you.

“We need to replicate the problem.” This is the official statement from Dodge. This is a statement with regards to LOSING POWER WHILE DRIVING. But this is their official statement.

So let me tell you the tale of our minivan. Our NEW Dodge Grand Caravan. A tale I hadn’t told due to the ongoing hassle with Wawanesa, but as it shows a similar “big corp” disregard for customer safety and well being it is time to tell the story. I also feel it is necessary to get the problem out on the public forum so others know that there is this issue with the vans. Recalls only happen after deaths.

We bought a Dodge Grand Caravan in Mid October 2014. Brand new from Southside in Red Deer, Alberta. The van isn’t 5 months old yet. This is our second 2014 Grand Caravan, our first one had no problems at all, but was written off while I was traveling 10 km/h (tells you how fast the other car was going!).

Here is a detail of everything that has gone wrong in the last four months:

1)U-Connect Mic – The van started out with a niggly problem of the mic in the U-Connect system not working. A slight problem when having a hands free system means you need to hold your phone to talk. THREE trips to the dealership and the problem was eventually fixed.

2)Heat Stuck On High – Three separate incidents of the heat being stuck on full blown high on the passenger side. Imagine driving over 3000 kms with one temperature….”hotter than hell”. We had items in the glove box that melted. Melted. Of course it happened THREE times intermittently before it could be fixed at the dealership because they “have to replicate the problem”.

3) Tire Pressure Light – comes on and off at will…..I was told it was normal

……..but this isn’t all

4) Burning Rubber Smell – it comes and it goes, a strong burning rubber smell, burning in a vehicle probably isn’t good, or maybe it is Chrysler’s version of a “new car smell”. Everyone just shrugs when we mention burning smell. Perhaps the vehicle needs to go up in flames like a Guy Fawke’s bonfire for them to “replicate the problem”.

5) U-Connect Cuts Out While Streaming – this is STILL happening. The further you drive the worse it gets. It seems as the van heats up it cuts out more and more. Coming back from the coast last week by Salmon Arm it was cutting out once per song, by Calgary it was FIVE times in a three minute song. Yes we’ve tried to “replicate the problem”, I even drove around for an HOUR BEFORE taking the car to the dealership to warm it up, it was cutting out. Serviced person gets into the van, we do a 2 km drive, it cuts out while he is looking in the glove box not paying attention and missed it. WE REPLICATED THE PROBLEM, but the service person missed it.

We were also told the cutting out was due to the areas we were driving, so that would be….Red Deer, Calgary, Edmonton, Banff, Golden, Revelstoke, Sicamous, Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Merritt, Hope, Abbotsford, Langley, Vancouver, Victoria and Pender Island , plus ALL the connecting routes. Tops of mountains, at sea level,probably the only place it doesn’t happen is on the ferry….because the van isn’t turned on.

Chrysler Canada’s solution for the U-Connect streaming issue was to “USE A CORD”. Yep. Take your phone. Plug in a $4 cord. Listen that way. Trick is to “Use A Cord” you need to TURN OFF BLUETOOTH……and answer your phone WITH YOUR HANDS. Chrysler’s version of “hands free”. Clearly safety or abiding by the law while driving is no concern of Chrysler (which will be proven in the next entry).

……. the piece de resistance

6) CAR LOSING POWER – yep, you heard it here first. I was driving to pick the kids up from school on Friday. I get to the intersection of 39th street and 43rd avenue, turn the corner and no power. No matter how hard I press down the accelerator I can’t get above 30 km/h. I am praying no one rear ends me. The “MIL” light is flashing, the van is dinging, I can’t drive properly, I have a pre-schooler in the back seat, and I am going to get rear ended if someone isn’t watching. The van is powerless. The van limps down the road, gets to the school with not even enough power to park it; I leave it diagonal in the first spot and apologize to the father parked next to me. I call my husband to rescue us. He leaves a customer at the office. I am NOT putting my kids in a vehicle that loses power only to be rear ended and have my whole family killed. I am not that stupid.

After a big phone palaver (at this point we are beyond insanely unhappy) with both Chrysler and Southside we come up with this solution. My kids ARE NOT going back in the van. No way. My husband loads the kids in his WORK truck and drives them home, while I drive the van home. We then leave our 16 year old watching his four siblings. The plan is that I drive the van to Southside, my husband drives behind watching in case I lose power. I go to start the van, the whole instrument panel flashes and quits. This is new. I start it a second time and it doesn’t flash. We drive through downtown and up Spruce Drive avoiding any routes where there is any amount of speed. Going up Spruce Drive I tested the power, put my foot down as you do in the mountain passes, the tackometer would soar, the van wouldn’t go above 50 km/h. This isn’t right. This is a new vehicle, by the end of the year we will be putting on about 24,000 km through mountain passes alone, we need to go UPHILL and fast, the speed limit on the Coquihalla is 120km/h, we need to be able to get above 50-60 km/h.

We drop off our van at Southside, choose not to take a courtesy vehicle as they will use that as an excuse to drag out the whole situation, and spend the WHOLE WEEKEND STUCK AT HOME VEHICLELESS……while our “new” van is in the shop again.

Before I continue, let’s do a recap on how many times this “new” vehicle has been in the shop:

- 3 times for the mic
-at least twice (once for verification) for the heat issue (possibly one more time, I’ve lost count)- I think twice for the cutting in and out, it has been ongoing so one visit may have been combined with a heater visit
- the current visit with the loss of power

That is a minimum of SEVEN TIMES IN THE SHOP IN LESS THAN FIVE MONTHS……….for a new vehicle…..”new vehicle”.

…..but it gets better

Now it is Monday, I am still car-less, even though I own a “new vehicle”. All day long, no car. My husband is taking time from work to run the kids around, running them around in his work’s ROOFING TRUCK. This is why you buy a “new vehicle”. Soooooooo…….. we hear from the dealership, they “can’t replicate the problem”. Of course. They also say ” The computer doesn’t show the MIL light came on.” and to fix it they “need to replicate the problem”. Really……. I’m sorry, I was driving, the light did come on and the van did lose power and it is beyond dangerous because if you are driving at the speed limit and the person behind you is doing the same and you suddenly lose power well, you get rear ended and can end up DEAD.

….but the computer says the light didn’t go on and they can’t “replicate the problem”….so that is how life is…..a $10 circuit board encased in plastic with a flashy light knows more about what is going on that the person that experienced the problem.

So we get into it with Dodge on their Canadian Facebook site, we are done. SIX separate issues in less than 5 months and now it is becoming dangerous. EVENTUALLY W. at Chrysler gets back to my husband who has been leaving messages about the problems for what seems like an eternity (but is in fact less than 5 months).

Let me give you the highlights of the conversation:

– they need to “replicate the problem” which means someone is going to have to get in a vehicle, drive it so that it loses power, get rear-ended and be maimed or killed all in the effort of following  company policy to “replicate the problem”

– when my husband says it isn’t safe to have someone drive our vehicle it is mentioned that the service people have liability insurance…….what does that matter if a husband, wife, father or mother is killed…………..this complete disregard for safety of the public and their employees is shocking. Another case of “profit over people”, with “big corp” people are disposable.

– W. at Chrysler took offense when my husband called it a lemon and said we can’t say that. Ahem. SIX separate problems in less than FIVE months, some that Chrysler’s solution is “use a cable” because they can’t fix it. What constitutes a problem….the engine dropping out or all the wheels simultaneously dropping off? What is Chrysler’s bench mark for a “lemon”?

– W. said they aren’t in the business of buying back vehicles. So Chrysler can sell you a vehicle that doesn’t work properly, Chrysler can sell you a vehicle that they can’t fix, Chrysler can sell you a vehicle that isn’t safe…….and it is your problem. The consumer’s money wasted, the consumer’s well being put at risk. CHRYSLER WILL NOT STAND BEHIND THEIR PRODUCTS. This is the theme of “big corp”, screw your customer and put them at risk, the consumer doesn’t matter just billions in the bank.

– As I refuse to take a “rental vehicle”…… I am completely unrealistic in the eyes of Chrysler, I am unrealistic to  expect that if I buy a NEW vehicle I might actually be able to DRIVE IT and DRIVE IT SAFELY ( I know, what the heck am I thinking!)

…….and so the van sits at the dealership

………I’m not driving a deathtrap

…….. I am car-less

……….I “own” a new vehicle that isn’t safe to drive

………I can’t take my kids to school

……… I can’t pick my kids up from school

……… I can’t take my son to work

………. I can’t go grocery shopping

……….I am stuck at home…………………with my computer………………and what I can do is hit social media with this ridiculous situation


The list price on the vehicle was around $30K.

$30K to have an un-driveable “new” vehicle.……well driveable if you want to risk your life ……………..mere insignificant detail!


And now I am going to tell you the rest of the story:

We have owned several Dodge Grand Caravans, a 1998, 2003, 2010, and two 2014’s. I am going to share the story of our 2010. Our 2010 van was “OK”. Yes the engine was under-powerd (proven in the stats sheet for horse-power) and it had to go in for the ignition problem (recall), but it was okay. And then we started to have a few weird issues one was the radio cutting in and out and the other was the heat sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. We were just out of warranty when these two things started happening so my guess is sometime in 2012 or 2013. At first the problems were intermittent, and then they happened more and more. You could fool the heating into working by turning the dial up all the way then turning back so that it was positioned in between blowing levels. The radio we solved by streaming our iPod through a portable “bem” speaker ( I had lost confidence and wasn’t putting a new radio into the van).

So let me share my very last trip in my 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan van. March 2014, we are headed to the west coast with our five children for spring break. We are driving down the QE2 and notice the heat is really iffy, the “trick” is no longer working, we try to find the sweet spot where it will work. We reach Calgary, take the Stony Trail, and as we are going past the Costco I say to my husband it isn’t driving right, the power isn’t there. He tried to tell me it was the hill and maybe it was windy, but it was more than that, the way the van was driving was wrong. We continue on to the Trans Canada and head west. We stop at Deadman’s Flats for gas. We fill up. We go to start the vehicle. NOTHING. FLAT. DEAD. We are stuck at the gas station which is in a community of another gas station and a couple of run down motels. As our family does not fit in the tow truck we wait FOUR hours to be rescued. The van is towed to the Dodge dealership in Olds,AB , we are told it will be three weeks for a part. Heating doesn’t work, radio doesn’t work, van doesn’t go. We cut our losses and buy a new 2014.

“That” new 2014 worked, but was written off in an accident in September.

I can’t help but go back to our experience from close to a year ago and make comparisons. Both vans have had heating problems, both vans have had radio/u-connect problems, both vans have lost power when driving. That is one heck of a coincidence. Actually, it isn’t a coincidence it is a PATTERN, or perhaps a SYMPTOM, that is is only a matter of time that if the loss of power doesn’t kill us, the van will simply die and leave us stranded.

———–Tuesday morning update—————-

Chrysler Facebooks me to say that they will call us this morning but they have to take down the Facebook post as it uses an employees name. So guess what, it is now 12:15 Alberta time….2:15 pm down east…..yes PM….and NO PHONE CALL! Clearly the post was taken down due to the utterly rubbish customer service and the fact Chrysler and their employees don’t feel confident in either the service they provide or the product they sell.This company is one lie after another and can’t even manage a phone call when they promise it…..and if they say they are busy……..why the heck are so many of the vehicles you building NOT working? It’s a good question.

——————–Tuesday Afternoon Update——————–

“Can not replicate problem”

Fourth day without a vehicle THIS TIME…..plus ALL the other times at the shop


I am not putting my kids in that death trap. It is sitting at the Southside dealership.

Thousands of dollars WASTED.

Dodge will sell you a vehicle, a new vehicle, but don’t be so unrealistic to think it will WORK.


Edited to add:

I have now emailed Transport Canada with the following email as this is a public safety concern for anyone driving on the roads with a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan. The email reads:

March 3, 2015

Att. Transport Canada
Minister Raitt

Dear Minister Raitt,

I am finding myself contacting you as we have an issue that could have an impact regards to safety on Canada’s roads and highways.

We have a new 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan purchased in October 2014. Serial number xxx. On Friday we were driving, the van loses power, the MIL light comes on and the van starts dinging. We take it to our dealership as you do with any warranty issue. Their computer doesn’t show the MIL coming on, plus they say they “can’t replicate the problem”.

A car losing power on the road is a hazard for both the driver of the faulty vehicle and the vehicles behind the faulty vehicle. This technical issue is going to result in injuries and deaths. This technical difficulty isn’t being detected by the service departments.

Our dealership seems to think it isn’t a problem as does Dodge. We have been in contact with both. The worry here is it IS happening and they aren’t detecting the technical issue in the service department. This means even in a fatality inquiry the issue won’t be detected.

Once I got over my initial anger of the issue, I realized the broader scope of how dangerous this is. The potential to lose power and thus be rear ended will inevitably end in fatalities. I want to drive in safe vehicles. I want to be on the road with safe vehicles.

I felt I had to formally get on record that this issue is happening. Perhaps you can take this concern in whatever direction necessary to insure we are driving in and with safe vehicles.

By the way I have blogged details of our experience at: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/we-need-to-replicate-the-problem-dont-buy-dodge-it-will-potentially-kill-you/










Some Humor and Some Good News

blog bax artAs today’s post is a bit more “happy”, I decided to put my art department (A.K.A. three youngest children) to work to provide the graphics for this post. Their brief was to draw a happy colorful person. They all did quite well and each piece of artwork has its own special charm.

blog sox artSo we will start with the good news, we received back the testing for asbestos for the tile in our cabin, and the news is good, no asbestos in the original floor. That is a huge relief. We watched my husband’s mum die of lung cancer so the thought of having been in contact with asbestos was terrifying. Excellent result and the first thing to go right. I am posting the report below (names blurred out), just so I have an easy way of finding the report if needed. Blogs are an interesting way of documenting your life.

blog asbestos reportIt is funny how as this palaver of the cabin insurance situation continues we are finding a slightly warped sense of humor is forming. Today my eldest son was in a mood when we cut off screen time; our kids turn into weird little zombies when they have too much tech time (see they should take up proper amusements like spinning wool!). Upon “technology cutoff”  he responded “You’re treating me like I’m an insurance company.” Hmmmmm.

blog bex art

Once we recovered from a rather lengthy bout of laughter I said to my husband  (in hushed tones), “I have a confession to make.”. He leaned in with a serious look on his face to listen as I continued with my thought. “Every time I deal with someone at Wawanesa Insurance I can’t help but imagine them as a Bond villain.” With a smile and a flash of the iPad he responded with “Like this?!”

 https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c3/Blofeldpleasance67.jpg(Blofeld information and photo credit found here.)

At least one good thing comes from my imagining this, that Wawanesa is a “pet friendly” organization (and a huge purchaser of lint rollers!)

 Now of course the discussion didn’t stop there, we imagined Wawanesa as a health insurance provider…………and anyone with a Pythonesque view of the world knows exactly what came next…………any serious injury would be “it’s only a flesh wound”. At least we are keeping our sense of humor!


This evening my husband and I also had a walk down memory lane discussing past insurance experiences. My husband actually wrote them down, perhaps in anticipation of serial blog posts. I am thinking he is correct, a series on our experiences would be of great value to the general public. We’ve also heard a few interesting insurance stories “on the playground” which are sure to amuse or infuriate you. So stay tuned for those upcoming posts, they’ll pop up from time to time.

I’ll leave you with a LINK to a list of Bond Villains.………..bet you can hear the theme music in your head……I can, its my ring tone!






The ads on this page belong to “WordPress”…..the Monty Python references are purely my fault!

Wawanesa Thinks (potential) Asbestos and Families is a Great Mix! (Twice!!!)

Is your insurance company putting your health at risk?

Is your insurance company putting you, the insured, in harm’s way due to their policies?

These are questions you never thought you would ponder when dealing with house insurance, but this is exactly what we are dealing with now.

Remember all the problems we have had with Wawanesa and their HANDLING of our insurance claim? You can view the posts here and here . This led to Wawanesa forcing us to do THIS if we had any hope of a claim. The “THIS” was us, the amateurs, completely opening up the cabin to look for a cause for the water damage as the professionals that looked at the cabin in October 2014 refused to look. At that time we thought having the insured strip back a building full of water, and opening up walls potentially full of electrical and water, was both insane and lacked ethics and business common sense. I remember saying to our broker, while sitting in our broker’s office “Do they want to kill us?”. He said no, yet was puzzled by the handling of our claim by Wawanesa.

Luckily the mix of electrical and water didn’t electrocute us and our five children on the spot. Perhaps this was a great disappointment to Wawanesa, perhaps not. Yet now we realize we aren’t “out of the woods”. Now we are dealing with the potential of EXPOSURE TO ASBESTOS due to Wawanesa’s handling of our claim.

wawanesa insurance makes homeowner do own exploration 2Remember this picture? This picture was in the blog post discussing our visit to the cabin on November 23, 2014. This picture was also sent in a set of four DVD’s sent to Wawanesa offices in both Edmonton, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba (head office). This picture shows where my husband has fallen through old tiles that were hidden under the laminate when we were forced by Wawanesa to do our own exploration on our cabin if we wanted any hope of making a claim. We had to try, you need to protect your investment.

Last Saturday, February 21st 2015, we went back to the cabin with a new adjuster, restoration crew, and engineer to take another look at our cabin. They started to look for access points to look at the foundation to see just what was happening under floor level (makes sense)………. and then we hit a snag. They noticed the tiles. Tiles of a certain age, an age when some tiles contained asbestos. The engineer has a mask on. The adjuster has a mask on. My husband, myself and the restoration crew DID NOT HAVE MASKS ON. Exploring through the floor stops; they can’t cut until they know “if” there is asbestos in the tile.

They bag a sample of the tile. They tell us we will know in two days if there was asbestos in the tile.

The sample was bagged on February 21st, 2015. It was a weekend so realistically I thought we would hear by end of the day on Tuesday (February 24th). We received no phone call or email.

On Wednesday….no call or email.

On Thursday….no call or email.

On Friday….no call or email.

On Saturday, a week later, not two days as initially mentioned….no call or email.

The silence is deafening. Why aren’t we hearing the result?

I admit I am quite anxious to know if we are dealing with asbestos. We picked these tiles up with our hands, I fell through them (thus laid down on all these crumbling broken tiles), our children shuffled over them. If there is asbestos this is very, very bad.

Here is the Government of Canada’s information sheet on asbestos.

Here is what the Government of Canada indicates the health risks are:

When inhaled in significant quantities, asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis (a scarring of the lungs which makes breathing difficult), mesothelioma (a rare cancer of the lining of the chest or abdominal cavity) and lung cancer.

It doesn’t sound good does it?

Imagine “if” it is asbestos our whole family, including five children aged 4,7,10,12 and 16 , have been exposed.

blog cabin family

The potential to be placed in a position of exposure once is bad enough.

An insurance company should NEVER place their insured in a situation where their health and well being are compromised. That is unethical and morally irresponsible no matter what the fine print in a policy states. (By the way, as of today we still have no proof as to where the water came from that damaged the cabin, but the rusted screw directly in front of the drain pipe where the worst damage occurred is awfully suspicious.)

blog drainpipe_9360 detail 1blog drainpipe_9360

Putting the insured in harm’s way for a SECOND time is inexcusable. But that is exactly what Wawanesa did.

Wawanesa could argue “we didn’t know there was tile” with regards to our visit on November 23rd, 2014. Yes they knew we were dealing with a dangerous mix of electrical and water, but their justification was probably “At least it will kill them quick!”. Not a problem in the eyes of insurance. They were probably hoping a good electrocution would kill us and our kids so no survivors could come after them in a lawsuit. My guess is the goal was extermination.

However Wawanesa sent us into the cabin for a SECOND time KNOWING there was a potential risk that we would be exposed to ASBESTOS.

On February 21st, 2015 we attended the cabin with the adjuster and his crew, while Wawanesa KNEW the property contained old tile with the potential risk of containing asbestos. How did they know? Well first there was the picture in the blog post. Hundreds upon hundreds of you have seen it. Secondly I sent a set of four DVD’s sent to Wawanesa offices in both Edmonton, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba  that contained video and stills of the area, video that actually included me falling through these tiles that have a potential to contain asbestos. The tiles are clearly visible, the tiles are clearly the vintage of potentially containing asbestos, yet Wawanesa ignores the fact that this building product has the potential to be incredibly harmful and sends us to the property for a second exposure to a potentially hazardous material. Wawanesa are in the business of assessing risk, risk involved with properties, plus risk involved with health and well being with regards to Wawanesa Life, yet they CHOSE to put the INSURED AT RISK.

Wawanesa must hate their customers so much that if electrocution doesn’t work, that they they consciously choose to put their clients in contact with substances known to cause cancer. Are Wawanesa hoping for a slow, painful agonizing death?

So Wawanesa hates their insured, the people that allow them to makes millions or billions in profits, I get that . It is blatantly obvious. I’m still paying my monthly premiums on three residences, a business and a vehicle just so that I can have the pleasure of having the option of either being electrocuted or die of cancer at the hands of the handling of our insurance claim by Wawanesa. I know sadomasochism is “in”, it’s “50 Shades of Wawanesa”…….now we know where a former CBC radio host could be working. But not only did they put us in a potentially hazardous situation for a second time, they also put the workers with the restoration crew. They also were in the property, with broken crumbling ancient tiles, breathing in air with the potential to contain asbestos. This is how Wawanesa treats their trades. Are the tradespeople  also disposable to Wawanesa?

Wawanesa had the video and the pictures of the tile (at the Edmonton AND Head Office in Winnipeg) and they CHOSE to send the insured and the trades into a potentially hazardous situation.


One last little tidbit. When we had our case assigned to a new adjuster my husband asked if he had all the information as to what had happened with this property. He replied that he had a file two inches thick. On Saturday February 21st, 2015 we discovered he had NEVER BEEN GIVEN THE VIDEO. Wawanesa is back to their old tricks of manipulating a situation. They WITHHELD  the video which showed all the exploration including the POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS TILE. If Wawanesa had been honest and transparent and had given the new adjuster all the information the new adjuster could have prevented both my husband and myself, and the restoration crew from entering a potentially toxic zone. But Wawanesa chose to continue to play their games.

Wawanesa can’t be trusted.

Wawanesa chooses to put their insured in harm’s way.

Wawanesa values profits over people.

“If property insurance doesn’t protect your property or investment why have it? Then it is just a scam.”

Food for thought.

I encourage others to learn from our experience and evaluate the company you are insured with. No one should have to go through what we have.

I wonder “if” and “when” we will find out if the tiles contain asbestos.












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Friday Update – Into the Studio, Knitting and Painting

Today was a day to tidy up some things on the “to do” list. It is back to being cold outside (-20C with windchill….the wind is “not nice”), so it was easy to make the decision to stay in and get things done.

blog knit items_9716 aFirst project was to shoot a selection of the knit items completed recently. They are all hand knit of Canadian produced and milled wool that I hand dye in hand-crafted natural dyes. This image is for a project I am currently working on.

blog knitting shootJust for fun, here is a quick iPhone shot of the pieces set up in the studio. The decluttered studio I might add; I like working in bare places. I am still toying with painting the studio, but it is a huge job. Of course I AM stuck at home for the next 3 days at least as our FOUR month old van is in the shop AGAIN, for the EIGHTH time (lost power when driving today….not good), so perhaps I should see it as an opportunity to paint the studio. Then again it is too cold to open windows for ventilation for the paint smell. Decisions, decisions.

blog head shot_9640 bI also knocked off a quick self portrait head shot to update in my website. The last one was a couple of years old so it was time.

blog roe painting in progressAnother painting is also in progress, this one is 24″ by 24″. I joke that painting square is like painting Hasselblad. I have finished three paintings this size or larger in the last few weeks. I really need to post the finished pieces here, but naming paintings gets in the way. I was discussing with my husband my “naming” difficulty, and that I can’t very well name them “tree”, “tree#2″, and “another flippin’ tree” (hey, it’s a series! LOL!)…..my husband’s solution was to name the paintings “untitled”. Soooooo as you can see the whole family is “naming challenged” so it might be a while before a finished piece hits the blog.

This evening  I also did a bit more recycled spinning, and I might get some stitching done (rumor has it the new House of Cards is up on Netflicks………by the way, check out the version of House of Cards that Sesame Street did, it is priceless).

Knitting and art by Debra Hunter
Red Deer, Alberta & Pender Island, BC, Canada


Taking the Plunge

blog kayak 1We’ve finally taken the plunge. We’ve talked about picking up another kayak for quite a while. We’ve flipped through paddling magazines, watched for used boats on the coast, and drooled over the boats in the shops all winter long. We’ve debated getting a cheap kayak for the kids, or getting a better boat for “us” (the grown-ups!) and letting them have our little boat. Today we just did it. We walked into the store for another wistful look at the boats and there was a 13.5 foot boat on sale…quite on sale.

blog kayak 2The pretty green one is ours. We pick it up tomorrow. We’ll get to put it in the water in about a month. Kayaking isn’t on the minds of most in February, but we were actually paddling a week and a half ago out on the coast. Winter kayaking….best thing ever (beats shoveling snow!)blog kayak mapOf course when we saw this map, we just had to have it too!

Winter Trips to the Out House – Alberta, Canada

blog outhouse_3955Today’s picture is a little bit of Canadiana. This picture amuses me with the path carved through the snow, in a not-so-straight fashion, to the outhouses by the lake. Out houses in winter are an experience, a very cold experience. One thing I can say about our family is that they are game for anything.