17,800 views of my Mulcair/Trudeau Letter Today Alone

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I guess it pays to care.

I guess it pays to be vocal.

Today my concerns were heard by 16,609 people who care about Canada. Today my letter to Trudeau and Mulcair was read 17,800 times. The policies of Trudeau and Mulcair may make me feel worthless, but the tens of thousands of people who have taken the time to read my letter has made me feel that I am of some worth.

I thank you all for reading and sharing my letter.

The link to the letter can be found by clicking HERE .

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West Country Wonder

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Tay River, Alberta, Canada

My husband and I have been on a bit of a quest lately, and it has taken us to some spots of extreme beauty. Sunday’s adventure took us to the west country of Alberta. Away from the urban areas, tourists, and crowds there is a whole different Alberta of unspoiled natural beauty. If you are willing to venture down gravel roads and out of cell phone range you will see even more wonders.

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The roads might not be fast, but you wouldn’t want them to be. This is a place to drive slow and take in the sparkling fall leaves, mountains in the distance, and the odd river and wetland.

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The highlight for the family were the wild horses. A treat to see, but they were gone in a flash with no chance for a picture.

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Eventually we ran out of light making it time to return home, but it has left us plotting our next journey into the lesser visited areas of the mountains of Alberta.

 

Photography by Debra Hunter
www.debra-hunter.com

www.handmade-canada.com

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The O’ Canada Collection Is Now Available

As some of you may know, I have a new site up called Handmade in Canada. It is a site of handmade and art pieces, influenced and inspired by Canada, and often made with natural, eco-friendly and Canadian sourced materials.

Over the next few weeks we will be adding shops and galleries to our various collections on Handmade in Canada. Today we launched the O’ Canada Collection.

Our O’Canada Collection celebrates the colors of our flag. The iconic red and white, are accompanied by grays, dark browns and blacks. This is classic Canadian. Our collection will remind you of ….well……everything Canadian (and maybe old school work socks too!).

The O’ Canada Collection is made of natural sheep wool, produced here in Canada and milled in a heritage mill. We believe in using natural products and using Canadian produced raw materials when possible. The yarn for this collection is hand dyed in natural dyes in micro batches with the red color being obtained through dyeing with lac. All items are hand knit and are one of a kind. Each item posted is available for purchase and ready to be shipped. Items can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Items start at $15.00 including tax and shipping within Canada. The pieces make great gifts for friends and family  as they are Canadian made, unbreakable, and ship well.

I hope you will pop over to the new site and check it out. More collections are to come. Also if you have any special requests send us an email, we are always up for creating something new.

For more information please feel free to email us at handmade-canada@outlook.com .

www.handmade-canada.com

by Debra Hunter

Red Deer, Alberta and Pender Island, BC, Canada

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Carved Spoons – My New Obsession

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Carved spoons is my latest handmaking obsession. It is something I just had to try and I admit I am hooked. I have a thing for functional items. We live in a small house with lots of people, there isn’t a lot of room for 3D decorative items, but if an item can be beautiful and functional I am thrilled to own it.

My first ever spoon is the one on the left. Chunky and rustic, yet measures a perfect teaspoon. Great for measuring sugar and spices.

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My second spoon is the one on the right and in the picture above. I was able to refine the shape more to seem less rustic. The branch in the picture above is the left over part of the branch that the spoon was carved from. This one went from being part of the crabapple tree (it needed pruning!) to a spoon in two days.

A third spoon has been made and just needs oiling and finishing, while a fourth has just been started.

As the spoons are being crafted from prunings that would usually just be collected by the city’s green waste program, it is great to see “waste” turned into functional items. As I find larger pieces of wood I will be able to expand my scope to scoops, cutting boards and other usable objects.

Photography by Debra Hunter
www.debra-hunter.com

For more handmade objects check out www.handmade-canada.com

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Reflections and Thoughts

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaIt seems like it has been ages since I have done a proper post on this blog. Life has been busy and a bit out of sync being the first year we have been without the cabin. Being in town all the time has been an adjustment, especially for myself as when you work for yourself it has meant this year has felt like I haven’t had a weekend. Getting away to the cabin was the only way to differentiate weekdays from weekends. We were unplugged there. It was down time. We were able to recharge ourselves. We have discovered when we are at “home” (and on the coast), mostly we just “work”.

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaThere have been a few benefits to a year mostly spent in the city. Children have been able to attend birthday parties and spend time at the outdoor pool. The vintage garage is getting its overhaul and being transformed into a workshop. We also spent a bit of time rediscovering parts of the city that we usually visit mostly in the winter.

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaWe’ve tried a few urban activities like attending the Saturday Market, however the places we return to are always ones of nature. It explains why we have missed the cabin so much.

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaWe have spent many days and evenings out walking over the spring, summer and fall. Barrett Park, Coronation Park, Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary and Mackenzie Trails have all been favorites. We are lucky to live in a city with an expansive trail and natural area system. We can literally be in a tree canopied park next to a babbling creek 100 meters from our front door.

mackenzie trails, red deer, alberta, canadaSunday, the day these fall images were taken, was another day of local exploration. This time at MacKenzie Trails. We were treated to Canadian geese, fall leaves, bright red rosehips, raindrops, and mud. We walked, we took pictures, and the kids played catch. It might not be a weekend at the cabin, but we embraced the beauty that exists not far from our front door.

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Photography by Debra Hunter
Hunter Photographics

www.debra-hunter.com

For more reading of “H the Blog” please click HERE.

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An Open Letter to Trudeau and Mulcair- Why am I so worthless?

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(Edited to add that as of October 24th, 2015 this letter had received 93,951 views and multiple incidence of hate mail – LINK for further post.)

Dear Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair,

Why am I so worthless in your eyes? For weeks I have listened to election coverage and not only do your parties make me out to be worthless, not only do your parties offer me nothing, but you want to take away the mere meagre offerings the current government gives to our family.
Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair, I am a stay-at-home mom and a work-at home mom. Our family has made sacrifices in order for our children to be actually raised and cared for by their parents rather than outsourced. We have put family first yet your parties see no value in this. When the Conservative government introduced the monthly Universal Child Care Benefit cheque, and included families like ours, we felt the government acknowledged the value stay-at-home parents provided to Canadian society. When the Conservative government introduced income splitting it was again proof that stay-at-home parents were a valuable asset. The Liberal and N.D.P. governments plan to strip these programs from us, the only programs that indicate stay-at-home parents are of any worth. We, the parents that have selflessly sacrificed everything for the well being of our families are worthless in your eyes.

Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair, I am about to give you a tour of our life.

Our family is a family of seven, a mother, a father, and five children ranging in age from 5 to 17. We live in Red Deer, Alberta. We live in a 3 bedroom 1250 square foot house, it wasn’t always this size as it was originally 666 square feet in size. The house we bought for land value and spent years upon years renovating and adding onto the house; sweat equity. Sweat equity that has quadrupled the price of our house. We are hard workers. Our children share rooms. Our two oldest share an 8’x12′ room, while our youngest three share a 9×9.5′ room. We live modestly and compactly and within our means. We have stayed in a small home so that we could afford for one of the parents to stay home and raise and care for our own children. We believe if we choose to become parents we also choose to take on the responsibility to raise our own children and not outsource the responsibility.

I am also a work-at home mom. There are thousands upon thousands of work-at-home parents across Canada, we are a hidden and forgotten portion of the economy. Parents who work from home are making the best effort to bring in an income while raising children at the same time. The scope of stay-at-home parents is broad: dayhomes, music teachers, dance teachers, photographers, tutors, bookkeepers, hairdressers, crafters, growers, dog groomers…and the list goes on. We have no benefits, we often do not make anywhere near minimum wage, we work late into the night when children are sleeping, and we often receive little respect from society as they think we are working for “fun” or it’s a “hobby” or it is “good to keep your hand in your career”. The fact of the matter is we are working to support our families. We are often working for a pittance yet every five or ten dollars adds up. We are hard workers. Income splitting made this worthwhile. On our personal tax return we saw how financially worthless we were even though we were trying to do the impossible and run businesses and raise our own children at the same time, yet when income splitting was allowed we had some degree of value. The Liberals and N.D.P. parties want to strip us of this tiny value we can provide our family with at tax time.

I am now going to provide you with a couple of real numbers for what a work-at-home/stay-at-home parent makes. I run two home-based businesses, one is photography and one is naturally dyed hand-knits. Every so often you closely cost a job or two to see where the profit is and the viability of continuing with a product. A few years ago I did a costing on a large wedding package that I offered, and instead of just looking at the material costs I incurred compared to the price the customers paid, I also tracked every single hour involved in completing the job. The concept was to see what I was actually making if I were working for an employer rather than being self employed. Once all the calculations were completed, material costs, shooting, retouching, meetings, etc., I had made $3.00 an hour before tax on the job. But this wasn’t an isolated event. I recently did a tracking on a knit item that is popular in response to a 50% price increase overnight in material costs from my local supplier in Alberta , this happened shortly after the announcement of increased minimum wage from the Alberta N.D.P. government. The item I sell for $7.50 wholesale, the new material costs came in at $2.25, the item takes 1.5 hours to make and package, not including prep or dyeing time (impossible to calculate, too many variables). The outcome, I am making $3.50 per hour. (As an aside, my wool now comes from P.E.I., 25% the cost of Alberta wool including shipping, and beautiful quality.) My numbers are not out to lunch, I’ve actually run costings on Canadian Etsy sellers marvelling at how cheap they are selling their wares, they too are making a pittance. There are photographers in our area charging $5.00 sitting fees, again just trying to add to the family income. They are making a pittance trying to subsidize their family’s income while raising their children. Income splitting helped us, as did the Universal Child Care Benefit cheque. The Liberals and N.D.P want to strip us of this.

In the N.D.P. and Liberal’s eyes we are just lazy and decadent because we don’t “go out to work”. We are not “hard working Canadians”; we deserve nothing. The reality is stay-at-home parents make sacrifices to make it work all in the effort to raise the best Canadians possible. Families like ours learn to cutback to live within their budgets, have savings, or work towards a better future.

A few years ago we decided that investment in a property was going to give us a better financial return than the interest rate of G.I.C.’s , R.R.S.P.’s or Savings Bonds. We crunched the numbers and decided to make it work we had to make changes. We got rid of our second vehicle, subscriptions like XM radio and extra TV channels, our landline, hockey tickets and activities. I hunted for cheaper website hosting and went with a less expensive yellow pages ad. We started going to the swimming pool that is $10.00 per family instead of $20.00, and stopped going to sit down restaurants. We cutback to be able to make an investment for our future. We are not unique. There are many families with stay-at-home parents that make sacrifices to be able to raise their own families and have a secure future. Income splitting and the Universal Child Care Benefit cheque both acknowledge that we, the stay-at-home parent and work-at-home parent have some value.

Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair, have you ever thought about the other value the stay-at-home parent provides to society? Let me list a few:

1) We are the ones at the school when they need volunteers . We go on field trips, help with track meets, tie skates, help with swimming, and aid with school lunches.

2) We are the ones that will keep the children home from school when they are sick. Our kids are not infecting a whole class of children and this inevitably saves on healthcare dollars in the long run.

3) We have the time to feed our children well, we have time to cook from scratch, and some of us even grow our own food. We have the time to invest in the well being of our children and combat child obesity. Again we are lessening the strain on healthcare dollars.

4) Many of us choose to transport our children to school personally, we like the safety aspect and we have the time to do so. We are saving the school systems money allocated for busing children to and from school.

5) We do not have “latch-key” children roaming the streets and falling under bad influences . This will inevitably save on healthcare dollars plus dollars spent on the criminal system long term. I think you will find many stay-at-home parents were “latch key” kids themselves, they realize how damaging the lack of parental involvement and supervision was, how badly things could have gone, and they want better for their own children.

In closing, Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair;

Could you please tell me why you think I am so worthless?

Could you please tell me why those who go out to work are the only ones that matter?

Why are you penalizing me for putting my family first?

Why are you penalizing me for making sacrifices so that I can take care of my family ?

Why is a mom who goes out to work to pay for a McMansion of more value than a mother that chooses to raise and care for her very own children?

Dear Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair, what could your parties possibly do for me other than strip me of the little I gain from any government program?

*** Edited on September 30th, 2015 to add: 

As a side note, readers may be interested to know for 7 years I worked outside the home and utilized childcare. I have seen the situation from both sides and realize just how important it is for parents to be there for their children. As a child I was a latch key kid, my mom was a teacher, at age 9 you were given the key to the house and you were on your own. It was a negative experience with lasting effects.

Our children deserve the best start to their lives, and that is spending a maximum amount of time with one of their parents. Parenting does not stop when a child enters school, if anything a child’s life becomes more complex as they age and experience outside influences. When we choose to have a child we should also be making a choice to parent our children, nurture our children and be accessible to our children. No government institution can replace the experience that a parent can give a child. If we as a society no longer value hands on parenting, we have simply turned the female population into breeders. I personally want to live in a society formed by parents, rather than one of breeders and state institutions raising our children.

*** Edited on October 1, 2015 to add a follow up link regarding a dark response to my letter: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/comments-harassment-spamming-by-the-liberals-and-oppression-is-a-female-voter-allowed-an-opinion/

**** Edited on October 1, 2015 to add: you know you’ve arrived when a Mulcair-Trudeau fan boy rats you out to police. Link: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/trudeau-mulcair-fanboy-rats-stay-at-home-mom-out-to-saskatoon-police-force/