Are Canadian Women Allowed An Opinion Outside Of Their Own Home?

blog house graphic

Are Canadian women allowed to truly have an opinion beyond the walls of their home? This is a thought that has been on my mind over recent days.

The last month has left me contemplating  how equal women truly are in Canadian society, not how it reads in theory on paper, but how equal we are in real life. Back in mid September I wrote an open letter expressing my feelings on how the discussion of eliminating two policies affected me. The elimination of policies was  discussed by  a couple of  party leaders running in Canada’s 2015 federal election, and the attitudes of these two political parties surrounding the elimination of these policies  made me feel worthless. These were policies that for the most part gave a sense of recognition to parents at any level of income across Canada. It was an inclusive policy. Policies that included every single family in the country. Somehow the letter was shared on social media and it has now had over 85,000 views. It is great to have an opinion piece read, it was meant to give insight as to how an everyday person felt about issues involved in our upcoming federal election.

However this is where it becomes interesting, the piece reflected my feelings and my opinion, yet other Canadians, primarily male Canadians, took issue to tell me I was wrong. I was told my opinion and my feelings were wrong. How can this be? How can a male Canadian know how a female Canadian feels? How can they know how a mother feels? Honestly how can anyone know how another person truly feels, yet vicious attacks were made regarding how I personally felt and my personal experience. I had no right to an opinion.

Now Facebook banter is one thing, it is an insignificant lowbrow mudsling, but when an individual tracks you down and sends a hateful, lie filled email to you personally, because you dared to share your opinion, we have a problem. We have a further problem because one has to decide how to deal with the correspondence. Clearly this person is unstable, as who sends a toxic email to someone who has written an open letter about their personal feelings. This person also posted their hateful email filled with lies about me on their blog. However, if I had taken the email to our local R.C.M.P. my feeling is that I would have been seen as an overreacting female. So the situation is interesting. We have an unstable person trespassing into my life by writing a toxic email and posting libelous statements about me on his blog, the authorities are not going to take me seriously, and I do not know what this male is going to do next. What do I do? I protect myself the only way I can, I post his email online.

Now in my blog I posted that I would let this gentleman have his say. In reality the email address was put out there to point to who this person was if he chose to escalate things further. If my children were threatened, if my house was set on fire, if our tires were flattened, his email was out there to point to the possible motive. Clearly this person was not stable, what normal person reacts in such a toxic manner to a complete stranger having a personal opinion over political policies and programs? We have to protect ourselves, and that is what I did.

This male sent me a second email citing “privacy issues” with my blog post. I knew this gentleman had no issues with “privacy”, his Whosis profile even lists his phone number. If he had “privacy issues” he wouldn’t have used his real name or real email address which included his name. He was just mad that I didn’t succumb to his cyber-bullying. That I didn’t issue a retraction for having an opinion. That is correct, this person thought I should issue a retraction for having an opinion. When males of our Canadian society think that women should have to issue retractions for having an opinion we have a very problematic situation happening in our supposedly equal society.

blog house graphicNow one could say I am basing this on one “looney leftie” , a term popularized out in social media, but the attitude was verified as the situation escalated. When this rather unstable male went to the Saskatoon police to complain about the “privacy issue” I was again treated with a less than equal attitude. It was curious. To begin with I called the officer back after receiving the message, was transferred through to her line, then she said immediately that she would have to call me back on another line. That was odd; I actually did a screen shot of the phone numbers and call times. I tried to go through the emails with her to see just what this gentleman had said. She wouldn’t go through them with me piece by piece. When I asked how many emails she had,  she said “lots” . The answer should have been four. When I asked for her to forward the situation to the R.C.M.P. in our home town in order to talk to someone in person so I could verify the situation was legitimate, the officer got all funny with me and said I could just call the switchboard back to verify. That wasn’t my request. ( It was starting to feel like one of those scam telemarketer calls by this stage of the discussion, something was off.)  Not once did she even cite any part of the privacy act or what had been violated, she just said that I needed to take down the email address (or at least implied it). To this day I still do not know if I actually violated any portion of the privacy act; never was any aspect of the act cited to me. The officer then said she was too busy and would call me back; days later there has yet to be a phone call.

Now one has to wonder how the police can do this? How can they just call you up and say to take something off your personal blog, an item put up to protect yourself, because they said so.  Remember earlier when I said there was no point in taking the original toxic email to the police, the handling by this police officer proved my gut feeling. Women are not treated equally or fairly or taken seriously. The police officer would not listen to what I had experienced, she would not go through the documentation, she would not even verify the number of emails, I was just to “take it down” because she said so.

The unstable gentleman who sent me the toxic email thought I should issue a retraction on my open letter because “he said so”.

The police officer thought I should take down information on my blog because “she said so”.

Could someone please tell me why women in Canada have no right to an opinion?

Could someone please tell me why women in Canada have no right to have their side of the story heard?

Could someone tell me why women in Canada are supposed to change their opinions and ways simply because someone else tries to oppress them?

Could someone please tell me why Canadian women are not allowed to protect themselves the only way they can, as social biases prevent us from being protected through proper channels?

A woman is supposedly equal in Canada, but we aren’t. Evidence is everywhere. Women are abused and murdered by spouses. Women are underpaid. A strong man is a leader in our country, while a strong woman is a bitch. Now society is also trying to strip us of having personal opinions. It is a strange version of equality, isn’t it?

.

.

.

.

.

.

Ads on this site belong to WordPress.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Comments, Harassment, Spamming by the Liberals and Oppression – Is a female voter allowed an opinion?

leaf red 3x3 square 350dpi stylized 2

The original post referenced  can be found at: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/an-open-letter-to-trudeau-and-mulcair-why-am-i-so-worthless/

The last few days have been both interesting and at the same time shown a disturbing side of a certain segment of our population. For those who haven’t been following, on September 13, 2015 I wrote a piece that was an open letter to Trudeau and Mulcair regarding the upcoming federal election in Canada. I wrote my feelings. I shared my feelings. After all it is better to pose concerns prior to an election rather than stay quiet and complain after. Essentially what I did is exactly the same as if I had been at a political forum and had been given the opportunity to pose a question or mention a concern.

I sent the piece to the federal headquarters of the NDP, the Liberals, and the Conservatives. I also sent the letter to  two Conservative candidates, two Liberal candidates and one NDP candidate in our area. A link was also posted on the Facebook page of each of the three political parties. I asked each recipient for a reply, the only replies I received were from the two Conservative candidates for our area. The Liberal’s refused to address the concern as did the NDP. Even at the riding level they refused to address a concern of their local people. Is the subject too hot, or do they just not care? All I know is that elected officials represent the people, and if they can’t even get back to you during an election they will be deaf to your concerns once they are sitting in office. No reply is a bad sign.

Now I need to expand on the reply because there is a little twist. When I emailed the Liberals what they did do was start spamming me with emails asking for money. To date I have received 20 emails spamming me but not one response to my concern. How could they ignore my concern yet spam me 20 times in the period of 12 days? Obviously my opinion holds some weight as I am sure they would have taken the time to counter-act my concerns seeing it was in a public forum.

(For the record, so I do not again end up being accused of being a “fake” or a “liar”, here are the titles of the emails I received, the first one was dated September 18th, 5 days after my piece was written: Now you have your say, Feeling Positive, Elections Cost Money, Your official 2015 donor card is ready. I know what it is like, Debra thank you, All stops, Catch this?, it felt great, you decide, mistake?, Real change, Live now: the Munk Debate on Canada’s Foreign Policy, Yes, Hands down, It’s about now, Momentum, NDP Attack Alert, Love this, and Hey.)

When I first sent out my blog post it went to about 11 locations. A few days later, as opportunities arose with Facebook linked news stories a couple more links were posted, probably on either CTV or Global news sites as those are the two news sources I follow in my feed. As I watched my stats for views they were pretty normal for a political piece, maybe a few hundred views over the first few days. I am not new to blogging, this piece had not been aggressively promoted online, it was a piece of my opinions and concerns related to the Liberal and NDP federal political parties.

On September 27, 2015 everything changed. Alerts started coming through on my phone regarding an increase in blog views. Someone somewhere had picked up my letter and shared it on line, clearly it struck a chord with them and they felt it needed to be shared. By September 28th the views increased, at midnight, for that day alone, the piece had been read 18,160 times on that day alone. Each day the reads increased, and while the vast readership was from Canada, the night time statistics showed the piece being read all over the world. People were reading. People continue to read. As I write this, over 63,000 people have read my open letter, a letter that was sent to a handful of sources.

Statistically, the letter being read is great. Sadly the required result, a response from the NDP or Liberal Party was not to happen. Clearly family does not matter to these parties, or stay-at-home/work-at-home parents, who I suspect the vast majority are women. Clearly I was worthless in the eyes of the NDP and the Liberals, otherwise they would have responded.

leaf red 3x3 square 350dpi stylized 2

The NDP and the Liberal’s may not have responded, but what I received instead was hate mail. First it was Facebook comments sent directly to me essentially telling me to “stop breeding like rabbits and get to work”. It was a classic unimaginative comment. Having a large family it happens all the time. In front of our children complete strangers have no problem saying “time to keep your legs shut” or “you should of had an abortion”. This is our society, this is the value mothers hold; or at least mothers of more than two or three children. We are targets, we are used to it, we are quite honestly bored with it. Comments that we receive simply show the other person’s insecurity regarding their own personal ability to raise a large family. In the grand scheme of things it is just another “Facebook poster” (yes, quotations!), everyone reading this knows what I mean.

However yesterday morning the really toxic people started to show their faces. Now remember my open letter was regarding my own personal thoughts and concerns, any other Canadian who really cared could also write their own open letters. Quite honestly if others took the time to write pieces we might hear more intelligent views on a whole range of issues rather than people just slinging insults on Facebook. But this is where everything began to get a bit interesting, and a little dark. People started to take offense that I dare have an opinion. They started to attack our family choice and size, our lifestyle choice (stay-at-home/work-at-home), they called me a liar, they called me a fake. One thing was very obvious in all the comments, these were comments meant to oppress a woman, they were comments that would never be said to a man. My husband sat in disbelief reading, and I didn’t even show him the worst, he had never quite seen anything like it.

At first it was comments and rants sent through to my comments section on the blog. Moderation is a wonderful thing, I have a “trash” button, it gets hit after I read the second negative thing in a comment. I’m too busy to waste my time reading other people’s rants and hate; if they really cared they would write their own piece and post it publicly. By mid-morning I simply closed the comments, I home-school  my five year old for Kindergarten (Kindergarten is optional in Alberta) , I had a shoot to do, I simply didn’t have the time or inclination to deal with other people’s toxic drama. Quite honestly I wasn’t the person they needed to talk to, from the tone, these people severely needed a therapist.

Last night everything moved to a new level when I received a toxic and attacking email from a complete stranger who decided to track me down. Attack me personally. What inspires a person to be so mean in response to an open letter? What inspires a person to try and bully a person, or should I say bully a woman, who has written an open letter? I will just give you a few choice words from the email, “blatantly dishonest”, “horribly ignorant”…..it gives you an idea of the tone. However beyond the playground name calling the male writer of the email suggests I should “publish a retraction” and that I am full of “misinformation”. This is the most troubling of anything included in the email because this person feels a woman has no right to an opinion, this man feels he has the right to track down a woman and bully her on line, and try to beat her into submission with words and insults. An email like the one I received would have never have been sent to a man, it goes to show there is still an attitude of heavy oppression towards women in our country. Sad. I however am not weak. I also recognize that an intelligent person would not have written so. An intelligent person would not try to suppress and oppress another person’s opinion. An intelligent person would have tried to contact the Liberal or NDP parties and said “Why don’t you talk to her?” But bullying was the preferred method of action.

So the question is how does one deal with this email? Well I certainly wasn’t going to issue a retraction apologizing for my own feelings, thoughts and concerns. I believe women in Canada still have a right to having their own thoughts; that has yet to be stripped from us. So I figured the best way to deal with a blowhard woman hater was to let him have his moment in the sun and I posted his email address on line. “Why?” you may ask. Public record. I want everyone to know who is harassing me, I also suspect he is harassing others as his email went in my “junk” file. It is cyber-bullying. It is harassment. It is also the way I will deal with any future emails of a similar nature. No person should face harassment or bullying for having an opinion regarding the federal election.

So I put this question to everyone, “Does a female in Canada have the right to an opinion, or is she simply worthless?”.

No longer is the subject only with regard to income splitting and Universal Child Care Benefit, it is now a question of the female population having a right to an opinion.

leaf red 3x3 square 350dpi stylized 2

Women make up close to half the population of Canadians. Women who choose to have children inevitably have to make alterations to their lives in order to give birth , this is a given. Even after birth, even though there are some stay-at-home dads, it is often the women who make the sacrifices to raise the children. They stay at home, they work from home, they work part time. There are stay-at-home moms with diplomas, degrees, masters and PHD’s. There are stay-at-home moms who walked away from careers as lawyers and doctors to raise their children. The simple act of giving birth does not mean women are stupid and worthless, it means we put family first. Somehow this has made us worthless. This has not just been demonstrated through proposed policy but also through “hate mail” and comments.

I hope everyone will reflect upon my comments, and reflect upon how you personally view the women in your life and those who are complete strangers. And please, if you see a woman being oppressed or demeaned, please watch out for her. This is a dark and slippery slope.

.

.

..

Link: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/01/trudeau-mulcair-fanboy-rats-stay-at-home-mom-out-to-saskatoon-police-force/

Update:

Remember the toxic email I received? Well the author went to the Saskatoon Police Department regarding this issue to complain about me. “Privacy Act”.

He attacked me through an unsolicited email, and posted libelous statements about me on his blog  calling me “blatantly dishonest”. I requested that the Saskatoon police officer contact an R.C.M.P. member in our city of Red Deer so that I could talk to them to know every thing is legitimate, after all how do I know if it isn’t just the author of the hateful email having a friend be the heavy. One phone call to our local police force is all I asked. A reasonable request. If we are going to “play by the book” I want to know everything is on the level. My request was not fulfilled.

The police officer was put out, then too busy,would not listen to my full story, then said she would call back.  She hasn’t.

She had no problem with him making a personal attack. She had no problem with the harassment. She had no problem with the libel. She had no problem with the cyber-bullying. She had no time for me. One has to wonder if I was treated this way because I am female. Would a male have been blown off? I’ll let you decide. Oppression. Worthless. The theme continues.

(In honoring the “privacy act”, as it obviously trumps harassment, cyber-bullying and libel in the interpretation of severity within the Saskatoon Police force, I decided to turn the text into a popular old-school children’s game. Grab your pencil and paper kids, we aim to entertain!)

.

..

Ads on this site belong to WordPress.

Wawanesa Insurance Claim Denied Based on Lies – (Reasons to view your insurance report.)

cabinAnyone who has been following the blog for a while knows we have a cabin. You may also remember a certain discovery that we made in September of 2014. For anyone interested you can read the first blog entry HERE and the second one by clicking HERE. I am quickly discovering it is beneficial to describe a huge portion of our everyday life on my blog as it seems one needs evidence when a situation becomes unfair or someone chooses to state blatant lies against you. This is one of those times.

The short version of what you are about to read is we have had an insurance claim denied based on a report that actually contains LIES. We are now in the situation of “having nothing to lose”. If we have nothing to lose we NEED to SHARE THE SITUATION WITH THE PUBLIC so that they can protect themselves.

We have a cabin full of water. A cabin where we can now not correct the problem for 6 months because we are on a seasonal water system. A cabin where we can now not correct the problem because the insurance industry took their own sweet time over dealing with it even though we CONSTANTLY stressed it was time sensitive due to both weather and water supply. A cabin deteriorating by the day because the insurance industry REFUSED to look at where the problem REALLY is.

Originally the below text was going to be a letter to the supervising adjuster of our claim with Wawanesa. After careful thought I came to two conclusions. First the public needed to know what the INSURANCE INDUSTRY was doing and how straight out LIES are being written in the reports that are causing claims to be denied. Secondly, I had no interest in months of butt-covering excuses and being passed off from person to person in a game of bureaucratic musical chairs….a game known to try to make people give up. The fact is the insurance industry is playing a game, but when they step into the forum of telling lies, accepting lies, not cross-referencing information, and denying claims on reports that claim ACTUAL LIES ABOUT THE INSURED it is time to make the situation public.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON.

EVERYONE NEEDS TO GET ACCESS TO THE REPORTS THAT THEIR INSURANCE CLAIMS DEPEND ON……OR YOU WILL BE VICTIMIZED LIKE US.

So let’s proceed. Here is the letter that earlier today was going to be sent to our Wawanesa adjuster who was overseeing  an independent adjuster from Townsend & Leedham out of Edmonton, Alberta. I have decided in turn to just forward her the blog post; it will be more explanatory.

The letter reads:

November 14, 2014
RE: Wawanesa Claim #969112
Dear Sirs,
I am writing in response to a report that was provided in which Wawanesa decided to use as a base to decline our claim.
In short we have a completely concealed water situation that still remains concealed to this day even after Wawanesa and their independent adjuster from Townsend & Leedham had sent out construction professionals from Titan, a construction and restoration firm, to explore the source of the damage. In short the two individuals refused to look for the source, were looking for excuses even before they entered the cabin as to why it wasn’t sudden or accidental and took no notes whatsoever during their time in our property. NO NOTES at all, then wrote a report to deny our claim.
The “source” of the problem is within an area of 17.5 square feet. This is the area that our water supply lines run. The ground beneath our cabin is bone dry, the crawl space is vented, the ceilings and walls of our cabin have no leakage, discoloration or swelling. The wet spot is very localized in the area where our supply lines run. If we do not drain off our water lines completely in between usage more water appears in the very localized spot.
The water is coming from a very specific spot, as shown in a photograph I have shared with the independent adjuster, has been witnessed by the independent adjuster, has been in a picture evidently forwarded to the overseeing Wawanesa adjuster, and has been witnessed by Bxxxxx of Titan Construction while in the company of the independent adjuster from Townsend & Leedham. THEY PUT THEIR HANDS IN THE PUDDLE.
Amazingly this picture DID NOT APPEAR IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM IN THE REPORT THAT CAUSED OUR CLAIM TO BE DENIED.
Upon reading the report one can see the agenda has been to deny the claim right from the start. Let’s review the report, I shall copy and paste it below:
Hi Mxxxxx,

Regarding the Hunter cottage located at #8 Horn beach.

My lead carpenter, Rxxxxx, met with Mxxxx from Compass Plumbing yesterday to inspect and try to determine the cause of the water and rotting floor joists.

(1.) The plumber drained and removed the HWT to give access to my carpenter to open the adjacent wall containing the water supply lines. As you can see from the pictures the lines are good. And the wall cavity has no signs of water damage.

Rxxxxx had a look underneath at the floor Joists. His comments were that he was surprised at how rotten the wood was, and although the joists weren’t pressure treated it would still take years to get to that point. He also observed that in the bathroom just in front of the vanity, between the joist and the sheeting, there were some shims. Mr. Hunter confirmed that (2.) approximately two years ago he put in the shims to shore up the floor as it was staring to get soft in that area.

Based on our inspection last Saturday and Rxxxx’s inspection and comments Wednesday, My theory is that this is a condensation issue. There could be three issues at play here.

(3.) 1) There is no subfloor under the tub. It’s just kind of hanging there. Condensation could run off the underside of the tub and water could be affecting the floor under the laminate.
2) This could be a condensation issue with the floor in general. Robert said that he removed some more laminate and the laminate was completely dry but (4.) the foam layer between the laminate and the OSB was quite wet on the underside between the foam underlayment and the OSB. Sorry if this sounds confusing. To be clear, the foam underlayment was dry on top but wet underneath against the OSB.
5. 3) There are no gutters on the cottage. When it rains, much of the water would run under the cottage. And then evaporate up into the subfloor and Joists.

One thing is clear Mxxxxx, there is nothing sudden or accidental about this claim In my opinion. Whatever is causing this issue has been happening for years. Furthermore it looks as though Mr. hunter knew about a problem some time ago when he put the shims under the floor to shore up a soft spot.

The Hunter family seem like very nice people so it’s difficult to write a unfavorable report. I’m not sure how this will affect their claim, positively or negatively But I also know you value my honest opinion.

Pictures attached for your review.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Regards,

Bxxxxx Vxx Uxxx

Let’s examine the problems with this report:
1. The plumber drained the tank, but then the carpenter cut two holes in front of where the tank sat and called it good. The tank did not even need to be removed for this. When we asked them to cut further back and explore further along the line they REFUSED. The line from where they cut runs east approximately 3 feet, north at least another 5 feet and then runs further to the pump house. They refused to look at all. Period. It was at this point that we completely knew we were being set up. They refused to look even though a very specific area is all that is wet.
2. It was the weekend of SEPTEMBER 7, 2014 when we went to shim up the floor, not TWO YEARS ago. I have a blog post to prove it: https://htheblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/not-all-things-are-as-they-seem/

FRAUDULENT STATEMENT THAT IS COMPLETELY UNFAIR. Complete fabrication and a complete lie, and this is the report that is causing our claim to be denied.
Why did they say “approximately 2 years” , perhaps because you only have two years to make an insurance claim. The report was trying to question the credibility of the claim.
3. First of all the wet spot is only at the one end of the tub away from the taps. Once the floor was opened up and started to dry out the wet spot was strongly apparent. This picture was not even included in the report even though at the time I even had the area masked off with bright green masking tape and I pointed out the spot to them at least a hundred times that afternoon and they continued to ignore me. Condensation requires heat meeting cold. The building is unheated. The crawl space is vented. The tub has not been used for 4 years as we did not have a working hot water tank installed. The ground is dry, dusty dry; condensation would drip. Condensation would not happen at one end of a tub, the end of the tub where the tub is no longer touching the floor. Condensation would not still be occurring because the whole are is completely opened up. It CANNOT scientifically be condensation.
If it was condensation, why did Bxxxxx, writer of this report , send out a crew when he himself had seen the situation just days before. Milking the system or “not condensation”, you decide.
4. There is NO foam layer. NONE.
Here is the order: 1-laminate, 2-vapour barrier, 3- sheeting (possibly OSB), 4-joists
This is evident in the pictures provided to the insurance company on the report. It is poly, you can see through it. It is clear as day in the pictures supplied with the report.
More fabrication of the situation, they are even lying about the construction.
5. If the gutter theory held, first the ground under the cabin would be wet, not dusty and dry. Second there would be staining, and swelling on the ceiling and walls, but there is none. Third the bottom of the joists are bone dry, so it isn’t ground water. Fourth the wet area is localized.

Beyond all of this the report COMPLETELY OMITTED pictures of the actual wet spot. Complete omission. Complete misrepresentation of the situation. This was completely avoided.
REFUSING TO SHOW THE TRUTH. WE HAVE HAD OUR CLAIM DENIED ON LIES.
The independent adjuster forwarded all of our emails to the overseeing Wawanesa adjuster of our claim. Our insurance broker confirmed this as we sat in his office listening to the phone call he had with the adjuster this afternoon, November 14, 2014. If she had been bothered to cross reference any of the information she would have realized the report was filled with lies right down to when we discovered the problem. There is a vast difference between September 7, 2014 and “approximately 2 years ago”.
The independent adjuster also assured our broker that it was “100%” not a supply issue, “100%”, yet they refused to look any further than the stud located directly in front of the hot water tank. Another lie, how can anyone claim to be sure 100% when they refuse to open up the walls and ceiling.
Fact is the report is filled with lies. Titan, the construction company provided by the adjuster, refused to look any further.
Come and look at the cabin and see for yourself. Localized completely concealed water and a construction firm hired by the insurance industry that completely refused to find the source.
We brought ALL of these items to our independent adjuster’s attention over a week ago, Mxxxx Bxxxx of Townsend & Leedham, who has actually witnessed personally the fact that we HAVE NO FOAM LAYER, and that we discovered the problem in September 2014, yet he used the report to deny our claim.
Here is the thing, the insurance industry keeps saying you MUST FIND THE SOURCE. The insurance industry sends out a construction and restoration firm that REFUSES TO LOOK FOR THE SOURCE and the LIES in their report. Fact of the matter is, the way this has gone, even if we personally open up the walls ourselves, walls filled with electrical and water, the INSURANCE INDUSTRY WILL SAY WE DAMAGED THE LINE DURING OUR DISCOVERY.
This feels like reverse insurance fraud, something the public needs to know about.
Debra & Mark Hunter

 

Just for good measure I will also include scans of the email of the report that I received. Please click on the email to view full size. I am all about transparency:

Why I am blanking out names I have no idea. It doesn’t seem very fair to protect those who write lies in a report about you personally (My husband worked on the floor September 2014 as indicated in the blog post , not approximately 2 years ago!) or lies about the property’s construction (we have no foam underlay).

Let’s carry on with the topic of “foam ” underlay. Lets play a game. I am going to show you six pictures, pictures that accompanied the report to Wawanesa. Pictures taken by Titan Construction. Pictures used to create a case against the claim. Here, take a peak:

Did you catch it?

Hint: no foam underlay, the vapor barrier is poly. The pictures contradict the report. The report Wawanesa is using to deny our claim.

Ps. did I mention those doing the report took NO NOTES the whole time they were in the property and that they were looking for excuses BEFORE they even entered the cabin….looking for things like ground water….they were trying to discredit the claim before walking in the door (more about that later!).

Let’s carry on with the “picture game” as it is pretty fun.

Did anyone notice the picture that is missing? The picture missing from the report? The picture sent over and over to the independent adjuster who in turn forwarded the emails to the over seeing adjuster? The picture that tells the story…………..

wait for it………..

wait for it……………….

blog moisture spotTaaaaaa Daaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May I present to you “localized water”………….kind of blows a hole in the whole “condensation theory”, doesn’t it?

And for good measure one more…………..

blog masked off wet spot…..how it was when the construction professionals came to do their “exploration of a source”. The green tape I had put down as I had been taking phone pictures and I wasn’t sure what the resolution would be (resolution was pretty good!)

But amazingly a soaking wet isolated area, green tape and me pointing out the area at least one hundred times over the course of the afternoon was not enough for the picture to be included in the report, the report that caused our claim to be denied.

Soaking wet fresh water was insignificant in a water claim.

Let us carry on on the topic of “exploration” or finding the “SOURCE” as the insurance industry likes to use that term.

Let me show you the extent of the exploration…………………..

blog cut holesYep, that’s it. They REFUSED to look further. REFUSED. The construction/restoration company provided BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY “REFUSED” to look further.

Now let me give you a giggle. See the bottom hole? It looks a lot like this picture below doesn’t it?

blog titan construction image Wall cavityProbably because it is the same hole. The bottom picture is one of the pictures supplied with the report. Now for the “funny” part, I stuck my hand inside that hole, through the insulation and it was SOAKING WET. SOAKING. By the way the independent adjuster knew all this…..I’ll share that letter in a moment…..but the floor and insulation were soaking wet but they REFUSED to look further.

Now if that wasn’t enough our insurance broker chatted on our behalf to the independent adjuster. Sometimes it is good to get someone else’s take on a situation. The independent adjuster from Townsend & Leedham assured our broker that it was “100% not a supply line issue”………”100%”.

Let’s look at a diagram….I like diagrams.

blog bathroom graphicAnyone spot anything curious? The orange area is the area of “exploration”. I invite anyone who wants to to come out to the cabin and witness that NOTHING else has been opened up. Nothing. Based on two tiny cuts, cut in-line our adjuster is “100%” certain it isn’t a supply line issue.

100%.

blog cut holes

You see a ruptured supply line would mean a valid claim. They don’t want a “valid” claim. They want out of it and don’t want to risk finding “the source”.

They refused to look. They lied in their report.

Anyone seeing a pattern?

This is all fact.

This is why EVERYONE needs to review the reports submitted to their insurance company. You need to verify that everything is true.

Protect yourself and get the paperwork. If it happening to us there is a chance that this procedure is epidemic.

I invite anyone or any organization to ask for the paperwork on our claim, you will see everything that is published here is identical to what Wawanesa will have. Check it out. Please.

And just to leave you with some real entertainment, I am going to publish below the letter I sent to our independent adjuster after witnessing the construction workers refusing to look for the source. Remember our independent insurance adjuster….the one that was 100% sure it wasn’t supply line related even though only two tiny cuts were made in the wall……………well have a read………….the whole situation resembled Monty Python’s Flying Circus so feel free to get some popcorn and have a laugh.

The letter from October 29, 2014 reads:

Hi MXXXX,
The almost three hour drive home allowed us a lot of time to think about the situation at the cabin. This is a written account of our thoughts.
Everyone is telling us a little bit of water can’t do that sort of damage, and the plumber is saying the pump should come on all the time, so I decided to run some numbers to approach the situation from a science and mathematical view rather than a personal one.
I thought about water drops I have seen in the past, it is usually a slow accumulation of water until the droplet forms and then gravity sends the drop down to the ground. I decided to take a conservative approach and assume one water droplet fell per minute which would be a very small pipe leak. I then had to come up with a tangible measurement for a water drop, so I took a 2.5 mL measuring spoon and counted the drops it took to fill the spoon. In three tries the results were 15 drops, 17 drops, and 20 drops. For the rest of the calculations I assumed 20 drops = 2.5 mL (the most conservative situation).
The following calculation shows how the water, at a rate of one droplet per minute, accumulates:
1 drop per minute = 60 drops per hour
60 drops per hour = 7.5 mL of water leaked per hour
1 day at 1 drop per minute = 180 mL of water leaked per day
1 week at 1 drop per minute = 1.26 L of water leaked per week
1 month (based on 4.33 weeks per month ) = 5.455 L of water leaked per month
5 months of cabin season water usage (May- Sept) with a calculation of 5.455L x 5 = 27. 279 Litres of water leaked in a cabin season.
As the floor started to “bounce’ beginning of this season we can assume the water damage started at least the previous year which leads us to the calculation of 2 years x 27.279 litres = 54.558 Litres of water dripping unseen on to the floor.
To give a visual, over the span of 10 months that is like pouring the equivalent amount of liquid on to the floor as 13.6395 large 4L containers of milk.
The plumber wouldn’t listen to the concept of hidden, trapped, accumulating water that is flowing down the inside of one of the walls and situating itself hidden under the tub. The plumber kept arguing the pump should be coming on all the time.
This brought me to my next calculation. I know the pump doesn’t kick in for the first few seconds when the water is running, it must be set up so that a certain amount of demand is needed before pumping. I also know that I can rinse my toothbrush in a length of time that does not require the pump to kick in; I’ve been doing it for years. When I got home I decided to measure how much water is used when I rinse my toothbrush. I tested it twice, both times it was bang on 250 mL of water (which both gives a tangible quantity and proves I am OCD!).
Then I decided I wanted to figure out the bare minimum of how much of the waterline had to be emptied of water to engage the pump into action. So I went to Home Depot and measured the internal measurement of the 1/2 inch water supply line used in the cabin. The internal measurement is 11 mm. From here I figured out if I have a minimum of 250 mL of water to trigger the pump and the pipe has a diameter of 11mm, that I would need an pipe length of 657.665 mm (or .66 meters) empty of water to trigger the pump.
At the cabin the plumber waited 5 to 10 minutes waiting for the pump to come on, of course it didn’t, and pretty much decided his job was done. The fact of the matter is it would take 33.33 hours for the pipe to empty to the pump trigger amount of 250 mL. This is why we would never see the pump spontaneously trigger due to a leak, water is used more than once every 33 hours.
I just wanted to share the math with you as we keep seeing fresh water coming from some concealed source and the construction professionals today just would not listen to us. The numbers show the quantities of water that could be accumulating without any detection at all. I think numbers give a nice objective perspective.
I just have a couple more thoughts from today’s experience and supposed exploration to find the source of the problem.
The water causing the problem has to be accumulating in small quantities as it is a case of absorption rather than flow. Flow would have allowed us to hear the water and see the seepage.
The water is absorbing, as under the laminate there is no light or heat to aid in evaporation. This is also evident as mold is minimal. There is not enough heat to grow mold. This also rules out condensation, as condensation needs the hot and cold temperature contrast to occur.
The ground water argument by the plumber also is not logical. First the ground in the crawl space is dry and powdery. Secondly if it had been wet the damp smell would have manifested itself long ago. Thirdly, the wood is wet from the top down not the bottom up when you look at the joists supporting the subfloor. Fourth, the subfloor is a minimum of 9.5 inches above grade. Converting that to metric, it is 0.24 meters. The difference between high and low tide on the west coast (Port Browning, Pender Island – I watch them daily) can be 0.1 meters. We would have to have waves lapping in for this theory to work.
Mark said no matter what, insurance will say “find the source”. This is what we hoped to accomplish today, it is in our best interest to solve the problem once and for all, solving it protects our investment. This has been the fourth trip to the cabin specifically for this insurance claim, two of which both Mark and I gave up work days for. Today, with the assistance of construction professionals supplied by the insurance industry, we hoped to get to the source of the problem.
The problem area, which is visually apparent due to its soaking wet nature , is a 2.5 ft by 7 ft area for a total of 17 .5 square feet.
We had a construction professional and a plumbing professional in attendance. When the pump did not come on spontaneously the plumber lost all interest. I would ask questions like “where do the supply lines lead?” to encourage further exploration and his response was “Straight up.” Both construction professionals were more interested in throwing out wild ideas than helping us locate the source of the issue. When neither will get their hands dirty, but I am crawling and digging around in hopes of finding the source of the issue there is a big problem. At one point in the afternoon, the gentleman from Titan cut off a piece of the 4×8 sheeting and plopped it on over the hole to “seal it up”. It doesn’t fit, a raccoon could fit through the gap at the north end of the tub, but seriously, what was the point in saying anything.
From here the afternoon really improved. The construction professionals started packing up their things to leave, they just decided. They didn’t say anything to us, they hadn’t looked for or found the problem, they just packed up. In a last ditch attempt to find the problem, the reason we had driven for almost three hours and given up work time, I tried to encourage that we continue to look further. No one looked at the back of the hot water tank closet, no one looked in the ceiling where the pipes go “straight up” according to the plumber, no one bothered to wiggle under the tub, no one could even reach into the wall that they had cut open and feel that it was soaking wet. It was an utter disappointment and waste of our time. The cherry on top was when I asked the gentleman from Titan if we could look further into the walls, and he said ” I don’t get paid enough to make decisions like that.”
How can we possibly find the source when the professionals recommended by the insurance industry refuse to look?
It was the equivalent of Mark standing at the curb to look for hail damage.
I will be honest MXXXX, I am still shaking my head from the events of the day. I feel frustrated from the time we wasted. I feel frustrated that no one even wanted to look for the problem. I feel insulted by the suggestions of condensation, especially when they said the condensation was in “high traffic areas” . I alluded to this in one of the previous emails however now that I can write properly I must tell you the rest. One of the “high traffic areas” would have been under the air hockey table, the other is near our toaster….no one eats that much toast (just saying!). We also have the “groundwater” suggestion which would involve waves of biblical proportions lapping across the prairies.
I fear these two construction professionals have now compromised our position. As I have indicated on many occasions, due to the seasonal water system we were forced to drain off the system and remove the pump. This was our very last chance to find the source of the issue . No one wanted to look. No one tried. We put our trust in them and we are now left with nothing.
I hope you received the multiple emails and all the pictures. I imagine as I continued to send them, you could sense the frustration we experienced today. We hoped to find the problem, but the construction professionals had no interest.
Thank you for reading this email.
Debra Hunter

(By the way there are a lot more emails running up to this point if anyone is interested. I like sharing!)

So here we sit. We have a cabin full of water. A cabin where we can now not correct the problem for 6 months because we are on a seasonal water system. A cabin where we can now not correct the problem because the insurance industry took their own sweet time over dealing with it even though we CONSTANTLY stressed it was time sensitive due to both weather and water supply. A cabin DETERIORATING by the day because the INSURANCE INDUSTRY REFUSED to look at where the problem REALLY is.

We’ve been told we can do our own “exploration”, but we know insurance will just say we damaged the pipe when we, the amateurs,  opened the wall. We also know that once we find the issue insurance will then argue that the break isn’t “big enough” or there isn’t enough “water flow” and they will deem it “seepage” not an event that is “sudden and accidental”. The report was very careful to use the popular insurance terminology of “sudden and accidental”…a report that couldn’t even use proper capitalization…..yet the report was planned enough to use the specific insurance term. The report was planned to deny the claim from the beginning.

The moral of the story is everyone MUST GET ACCESS TO THE REPORTS BEING PRESENTED TO INSURANCE. Don’t suffer libelous statements like the ones we are facing. Don’t suffer the corruption.

…..AND PASS ON THIS POST TO EVERYONE!

 

When “News” Is Not Impartial – CBC News and censorship, a bigger problem than the Ghomeshi affair

CBC Facebook Page I like to think of myself as an “informed” person. I listen to the news on the radio. I watch news on T.V.. I read the news on-line. I also follow news on social media as the comments are a great barometer of society’s opinion. For good measure I not only follow news produced by Canadian news organizations, but also British ones; it gives an interesting perspective.

In addition to “following”, I like to interact. Interacting on social media allows your opinion and thoughts to be heard. Sometimes if you watch very closely things happen and situations change because of comments made on social media. Interaction with regards to news events is a very good thing in a free society, it keeps society interested, and involved, and shows many sides to every story. Interaction and social comment can bring about change, out corruption and bring to light more information. Social interaction allows for public opinion, public speculation and public reaction.

Social interaction on a news website should allow for commenting from all sides. News should be impartial. News should be transparent…………….but what if it isn’t?

So let me share a story, a personal story, a story from last night. It involves a CBC story on their Facebook page, a CBC story involving CBC. I had read an “official statement” that CBC had given and a portion of it was “off”. The time-line of the chain of events was also curious if one was to think of what set everything in motion, and what wasn’t turned over to police by CBC right from the start. Something is “off”.  I alluded to the fact that a small portion of the statement made was way too personal for it to have come from an executive and wondered if there was a personal connection to the story, not just a business one. I also pointed out that there were inconsistencies on-line with regards to the executive, information that had come from the executive themself. (It wasn’t a case of playing Sherlock, I compared two items on the first page of a “Google” search…..an interview comment by the executive from a few years ago tipped me off to spend two minutes looking, sometimes a comment makes you look for credibility or lack there of).

So I made a comment. No bad language. Not racist. Not sexist. I just pointed out a few very obvious items and that it was very curious. I’m sure thousands have thought the same thing. Something, at least in the way it is reported in the media, is “off”. I thought it would be interesting to see what others thought. After all that is why CBC places a news story on their Facebook page with comments turned on, to have a venue for social opinion.

Any guesses as to what happened?

Well, two things happened.

First the comment was not approved, CBC would not publish it, they CENSORED it. This happened immediately (which is really interesting as it was between 10pm and midnight M.S.T. so CBC must have someone moderating comments 24/7). First I giggled and thought “CBC has their knickers in a twist.” . Then, of course, I copied and pasted my comment to another site……and then told CBC I had done it ( I like transparency). One could say I don’t deal well with oppression (so much for the helpless female stereotype!).

The second thing happened today. Today I was BANNED from being able to make a comment on ANY CBC Facebook story.

ANY.

The first response of some people may be “so what, you brought it on yourself”, or “its only social media” . I would like those reading to think deeper. Think about the implications. This news outlet is picking and choosing the comments they allow. They are manipulating their reading population by only allowing posts that they deem are acceptable. They are manipulating the public to only see their organization as “the good guys”. They are manipulating the public to only see the “he says/ she says” portion of the news event even though the CBC is deeply implicated in the story if at least one of the allegations are true. And when one random Facebook poster points out something is “off”, it not only censors the comment, but BANS the poster from their whole site.

How can the CBC report this story with impartiality and transparency if they are manipulating the public’s comments?

The CBC does not have to put the story on their Facebook page. They choose to. Not every story in the news is published on their Facebook page.

CBC has chosen to place this story, a story in which the CBC is deeply implicated, on their Facebook page to try and manipulate public opinion in their favor. They will let the “he camp” and “she camp” fight it out ( I bet you’ve figured out the news story by now!),  with vastly more support for the “she camp”, but mention CBC’s involvement and the result is a total BAN from their Facebook page. Whether CBC likes it or not, they ARE part of the news story. Their management IS part of the news story.The story is a threesome: the women, the radio personality, and the CBC.

If the CBC doesn’t like being examined on social media don’t put the story on the CBC Facebook site. That is fine. The thing that is really twisted, crooked and manipulative is removing comments that question the CBC organization. That is manipulating the public opinion and that is most certainly not the job of a news organization, especially one that is a crown corporation.

A crown corporation manipulating public opinion in their favor is a problem.

Using the media that they control, country wide, on tax payer’s dollars, to promote only their own interests and censor and manipulate public opinion is wrong.

How long has this been going on?

What else in this country has been swayed by the censoring of public opinion? No one knows the censorship and manipulation is going on until it happens to them.

CBC, according to their website, pride themselves on “accountability”. You can check out the link HERE.

Here is a quote directly from the page linked above:

CBC/Radio-Canada will keep working to honour and strengthen the trust Canadians place in us by entrenching accountability and transparency in everything we do as a broadcaster and as a corporation.

How can we “trust” an organization that censors?

How can an organization that “censors” the public be transparent?

Why are we as Canadian tax payers paying for such a manipulative and censoring organization?

If all Canadians are paying for this corporation, ALL Canadians should have EQUAL opportunities to voice their opinion within the social media opportunities the CBC provides.

The CBC should NOT play favorites, they should not manipulate the optics of public opinion. If the CBC can not provide equal opportunity on their social media sites for every single Canadian to express their opinion, they should simply provide NO options for comment.

This is an all or nothing scenario. One thing is for sure, an organization paid for by the tax payers has NO right to censor the very people paying their wages.

Until very, very recently I highly valued the CBC. I thought they were honest, reputable, fair; it is what one would expect of a publicly funded crown corporation. Now I know I was wrong. Very wrong.

The CBC isn’t fair. The CBC isn’t honest. The CBC isn’t reputable.

What the CBC is doing is manipulating public opinion to suit their own means. This is very wrong when the CBC exists to  provide Canada with news, and in turn Canadians provide the CBC with their hard earned cash.

If everyone is paying, everyone has the right to be heard. CBC should NOT be allowed to oppress the public’s opinion.

 

 

 

Red Deer Votes 2013 – A Review – Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Red Deer, Alberta (Canada) has just had a municipal election. For those readers outside of Canada we have three levels of government, municipal (can be a city, town or county) provincial (in our case the province of Alberta) and federal. Red Deer is a city that has just hit 100,000 people, we are a city in a wealthy province, but it is also a city containing a lot of hard working people with many in the oilfield and construction industries.

red deer city hall

I was going to write a post with regards to the election right after the results came in, but then I thought a few days of reflection and analysis may be of benefit. I have decided to focus on a few issues we, the citizens of Red Deer, are facing  rather than focusing on the election results and those who have been elected.

Before I get down to brass tacks I will say that I did take this election quite seriously. I actually attended the discussion on the ward system, the forum presented by Red Deer College, and the forum presented by the Chamber of Commerce. If anyone wishes to verify this, yes I was the one in the red cowboy boots (pretty hard to miss, like a party on your feet!). I will also say attending the forums was eye opening. At the forum sponsored by Red Deer College I went in thinking I would vote one way for mayor and came out voting a direction I would have never contemplated. The forum presented by the Chamber of Commerce presented a question and answer session between the public and 30 candidates competing for 8 councillor positions; at this event, which I attended with my husband, we actually scored each answer given by the candidate and essentially created a spreadsheet to decide on who we would vote for. This is taking things seriously. By the way only one candidate scored full marks, while 20 out of the thirty did not score at all. I will also add there were a few candidates who were quite impressive with their level of intelligence and knowledge. I just wanted to give this background to prove that what you are about to read is not a random citizen just “spouting off”.

Almost all of the issues that I am about to present were brought up at one forum or another. I discovered some new concerns in the city by attending, and I also discovered there are some VERY angry people out there. Forums are a great way for voters to see how candidates think on their feet, however issues are never talked about in depth, the voter gets to ask the question but can not quiz the candidate deeper and this is what needs to happen for situations to be solved or for voters to find an understanding.

I will also say many of the answers by candidates at the forums were extremely disappointing. It was like watching a hamster on a wheel. No new approaches to issues, just the same old politi-speak over and over, disappointing. I wonder how many times they have to take the same approach towards an issue before they realize, well, that they will get the same results…..and the results aren’t working. I was really hoping to witness a forward thinker, an independent thinker, a politician who isn’t a lemming, someone who could think outside of the box. This city is full of aspiring politicians, that is clear by the number of candidates, but what our city really needs right now are problem solvers. We don’t need people in suits and fancy dresses and expensive shoes to cut ribbons at events, we need people to fix the city. This is the start of the new term, everything is possible, time to change history and fix something instead of dragging the city’s issues around and around like a hamster on a wheel.

The average citizen is intimidated by government and are hesitant to voice their concerns.

The average citizen is intimidated by government and are hesitant to voice their concerns.

I am hoping that by writing this it will reopen some of the dialogue for further discussion and perhaps encourage others to be active in their concerns on a constant basis rather than just in the preamble to an election. Community input is vital. It is also vital for the councillors and mayor to reach into the community and see the people’s issues, they need to step into all the communities and all walks of life and not just for a photo op but to find out just what is REALLY happening in this city. I am amazed of how many people in a free and democratic country feel intimidated by government, they will not voice their opinions or concerns, but these opinions and concerns are valid. Perhaps it is time for a new era, perhaps it is time for the politicians to step up to the plate and reach out to the average citizen, let them know their voice is important, listen to them and then do something about it.

I am now going to discuss a few of the issues that came up over the forums, and I will warn you it will be long, but this is necessary. The issues are not listed in order of importance.

pool

The 50 Meter Pool

The need for a 50 meter pool seems to be one of “those” topics. An expensive project to throw Red Deer into deeper debt, but beyond that one has to ask the question “Why does Red Deer need a 50 meter pool?” Now I’ll just give a little background before I launch into the issue, I have utilized all the pools extensively over the years, I basically lived at the swimming pools growing up, taught swimming lessons and lifeguarded at Dawe for four years so I have had a great opportunity to witness trends in pool usage.  Now the ONLY reason Red Deer needs a 50 meter pool is for special interest groups, or shall I be specific and say “swim clubs”. Do I need a 50 meter pool to splash around with my children….no. Do I need a 50 meter pool for my children to take swimming lessons…..no. Do I need a 50 meter pool to swim lengths….no.

Actually lets examine the whole “swimming lengths” phenomenon as this is truly the only scenario where having a 50 meter pool over a 25 meter pool could possibly matter. I decided to do a little experiment. I looked in the “Fall 2013 Community Services Activity and Program Guide”, produced by the City of Red Deer, and located the times available for lane swimming. I discovered all the pools in town had lane swim on the evening of October 23rd at roughly the same time,  so I decided to visit each pool to witness, for myself, just what the demand for lane swimming was in Red Deer. All the swimming sessions were in full swing. The results are as follows:

Recreation Centre – 18 swimmers

rec center pool
G.H.Dawe Community Centre – 4 people in the hot tub, 4 people in the main pool and 2 swimming instructors teaching in the main pool – total of 10 swimmers

dawe pool
Michener Centre – 3 swimmers
Collicutt Centre – 9 people in the hot tub, 1 person swimming lengths

A close up shot revealing just how much demand there is for lane swimming in Red Deer. Collicutt Center, October 23, 2013.

A close up shot revealing just how much demand there is for lane swimming in Red Deer. Collicutt Center, October 23, 2013.

Total number of people in 4 separate swimming pool facilities – 41 people
Total number of people SWIMMING LENGTHS (as in those that would possibly use a 50 meter pool, not including swim instructors) – 26

I really don’t have to elaborate on this, the cold hard truth is 26 out of 100,000 people were swimming lengths the evening of October 23rd, 2013. Can someone please tell me why the other 99,974 citizens should pay for this? The fact of the matter is that this is the whole “Million Dollar Bike Lane Fiasco” all over again. This is a project where only SPECIAL INTEREST groups will benefit but ALL the citizens pay. (For the non-Red Deer readers, a million bucks-ish to install bike lanes in a city buried in snow for 6 to 8 months of the year, plus our roads are infested with massive trucks carrying quads doing at least 20 km/h over the speed limit which will surely result in imminent death.)

Now I am going to go off on a couple of swimming pool related tangents here:

Swim Times
Has anyone looked at the times for lane swimming in Red Deer? I’m not going to itemize as that is just too tedious, but generally speaking you have the choice to swim at the crack of dawn, squeeze in a lunch time swim and drip through your afternoon, or swim in the middle of the night (9-10 pm). These are the adult swim times, the times for lane swimming. If you are under 18, attending school, and want to lane swim during the week you have ONE option….the Recreation Centre on Fridays has lane swim from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm. That is it. Has anyone ever noticed how we the tax paying citizens get the dregs, the unwanted time slots, left over by special interest groups? Why are the “PUBLIC” last on the list of priorities? It doesn’t seem fair, does it. It wasn’t always this way. Look back into the swim schedules of the 1980’s and the 1990’s, at Dawe and Michener you could lane swim, alongside public swim, every weekday between 3:30 and 5:00 pm. I know, I did it, I was a pool rat. This is when kids could actually SWIM FOR FITNESS. Staggering concept. (“But now you have bike lanes!” is the City’s response ….anyone want to see the mayor try a shallow dive in the middle of 39th Street…….oh quit nodding your heads you all know I’m being sarcastic!)

At one time, about two years ago, I actually thought the recreation department had done a wonderful thing. At this point in time The Recreation Centre pool offered City run swimming lessons in part of the pool with two lanes in for the public to swim lengths at the same time. I truly thought someone had had an epiphany where they provided a situation where you could place your children in swimming lessons AND the parents could swim lengths at the same time. This was fabulous. The whole family exercising at the same time. I loved it. Swimming lessons were well taught. The kids learned and progressed. I got a workout. I thought “What a great concept to let parents exercise while the kids take a lesson.”. So the next year I sign the kids up again for swimming lessons hoping for the same positive experience. First discovery is that the lane swim had been cancelled. Second discovery is that they have packed so many swim classes into the pool that the kids can barely move. These are swim lessons offered by the City of Red Deer. Each class had 8 kids in it. On top of “Swim Kids” classes they also squeezed in baby and parent classes. Each class pretty much went like this, get in the water, stand at the edge, shiver, get two or three chances to try and swim (in a 40 minute session I might add!), go sit in the hot tub. And you get all this for $74.00 per child, per session. So in my case, for $222.00 for that session (3 kids in lessons), I got to watch my children not learn to swim and freeze to death at the side of the pool. This is a program run by the City of Red Deer. This is how important swimming is to the City of Red Deer. Why do we need a 50 meter pool again? Our youth isn’t even going to LEARN to swim, let alone 50 meters. By the way, our kids haven’t gone back in the lessons, and I know others in the same classes opted to no longer put their children in swim lessons (there were many kids from our elementary school in lessons together). Of course I also wonder if the Recreation Department has intentionally made the group swim lessons unproductive to force parents to place their children in the private swim lessons that they offer. After all a private lesson is $200.00 per child for 8 half hour lessons. I am going to leave this topic here, but there are issues.

( I will also add that the Recreation closes on statutory holidays plus posted this year on a sign that the outdoor pool may not be open if temperatures are below 18 degrees Celsius. This does not sound like swimming pools in Red Deer have a huge demand.)

I have one last tangent to tackle with regards to swimming, recreation and child fitness, and that is …………..

collicutt pool

The Collicutt Centre

We in Red Deer have a very expensive swimming pool THAT YOU CAN”T SWIM IN. Brilliant. This isn’t a matter of “opinion”, it is proven by the one sad person attempting to swim lengths in a weirdly shaped wave pool, during my little investigation into pool usage. If the City of Red Deer truly believed children needed to be fit (bike lanes!), why did they spend millions on a pool designed for kids to float on mats riding on waves? Not exactly fitness. Then it gets better, this pool has a “lazy river”, it serves NO PURPOSE, none. A “river” that you walk through from water mid-calf depth to chest depth, and in one section there are a few bubbles. Pointless. This is another of the City of Red Deer’s projects where they did a lot of research. Sigh. This is a recreational facility designed for fitness, this river is very close to the length of a 25 meter pool and about two lanes wide, did it never cross the minds of those planning the project to actually make this a swimmable area? I know I am being unreasonable but being able to SWIM in a pool just seemed to make sense to me. But let’s not stop there, let’s look at the play pool designed for children, the pool where they have a play structure so large that you can’t actually see your children if they are utilizing the structure in the pool. Small children, lots of water, no sight lines…….for the parents or the lifeguards. The fun doesn’t stop there, lets go upstairs to the running track. We used to use the track several times a week in winter, we’d walk, we’d run, we’d take our kids to keep fit in the winter. I know we are unusual but we do a ton of sports and activities with our children. This all came to an abrupt end. Our eldest is 15. Did you know we were reprimanded  by staff at the Collicutt and told  that in order for him to run the track, by himself (keep in mind we are still on the track running too) he had to attend a class and get some sort of tag to wear on his shoe. We were also told that we had to keep all our children “at arms length”. So evidently the City of Red Deer, who feels fitness is so important for children that they spend $1,000,000 on bike lanes, also feels it is inappropriate for a 15 year old to put on a set of headphones and run a couple of miles on the track. They feel that a 15 year old should be kept “at arms length” of his parents. He is 15 years old. Bizarre. Needless to say we haven’t been back. Clearly the City of Red Deer would rather have 15 year olds doing something different, rather than running distance around a track perhaps doing drugs behind 7-11 is a better activity. Good plan.

I am going to keep on a similar theme, one brought up by a gentleman at the forum sponsored by Red Deer College,  …….

New North End Recreation Centre

Now I will admit I did not realize this was a concern until attending the forum. This is the great thing about forums, you learn things, you learn about other neighborhoods, you learn about other issues. There is great value in that. More facilities is definitely a need that comes with growth, but are we there yet? I started thinking about this topic, but also about how there must be solutions that don’t cost several million dollars. There have to be “outside-of-the-box” solutions that can economically fulfill a need, and I truly think a fiscally responsible council needs to start thinking in these terms. So here is my thought. If certain areas of the city are lacking in access to a recreational facility, why don’t we create a situation to make it convenient for these areas to utilize the lesser used facilities? In plain English. Public swimming at the Recreation Centre on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon has 15-30 people in the pool at most at one time. Why doesn’t the City run a shuttle bus from the areas that need access to a pool to an under used facility? Have 2 or 3 pick up spots, two runs to the pool and two runs back, two days a week. So easy. So cost effective. So easy to implement. We are in an age of re-use, recycle, repurpose. This is the same concept. Take something that is under-used and create a high use scenario. An existing facility gets used to capacity and users are transported en-mass which is better for the environment.

Several people mentioned issues revolving around the downtown area. Again these are issues that could easily be solved with some alternative thinking.

ross street patio

Ross Street Patio

Ross Street Patio, for those not in the know , was an outdoor event held downtown, throughout the summer, which showcased musical talent in an outdoor environment. The “patio” was actually a parking area repurposed for the summer with tables, umbrellas and planters.

Let me say right off the bat that I LOVE Ross Street Patio. Seriously, all summer long I scheduled my Thursday lunch hours around it. I work from home, I raise my children from home at the same time, this was a great diversion for me. I do think this is a wonderful thing for our community, and I think Red Deer needs more of that, people getting out and interacting with people. Now that being said, it appears that some people do not share the same love I have for the project, mainly because it takes away a fair amount of parking in a downtown area that really doesn’t have that many parking spots for the size of the community. I agree, parking is hard, that is why I mostly walk from home if I need to go there, but the fact of the matter is most people do not live a walkable distance to downtown. So I have been thinking about this, looking at the area, and again there is a simple (and cheap) solution. Actually two solutions. First solution, move the venue 200 meters south into Veteran’s Park. It is still on the same block and as a bonus people might actually read all the history boards regarding the citizens of Red Deer involved in the various wars. The second solution, build a permanent stage into the staircase on the west side of city hall so that concert goers could lunch on the lawn of City Hall Park while listening to the artists. This stage could also be utilized for all the other festivals that happen in the downtown core through out the year. This still only moves the event only 300-350 meters away from the current venue (I haven’t measured, it may be less). This is the way to keep the event and the parking.

Lot's of space to use as a venue.

Lot’s of space to use as a venue.

veteran's park, red deer, alberta, canada

Veteran’s Park, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

veteran's park, red deer, alberta, canada

Veteran’s Park, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Another option?

Another option?

Parking, Traffic and Alternative Transportation

Parking in Red Deer seems to be an issue with many. Let’s face it, we live in a climate of pretty severe winters. We live in a city that has embraced urban sprawl (the City has not tried to encourage the development of a proper new family neighborhood in the core). We lead lives run by deadlines and obligations and commitments. We lead lives, like it or not, that require cars. When the issue of parking was brought up at the forums, it was at times diverted to the topic of alternative methods of transportation, and the topic of traffic was also a concern, so I am going to address all three of these issues.

bus depot

Since attending the forums I have been consciously looking at downtown, and Red Deer does need more parking if they want businesses downtown. At the forums some candidates mentioned that we have a parkade, others mentioned that private industry could build a parkade (which is quite a reasonable solution). But if you look downtown there is a huge piece of real-estate, absolutely wasted, that could have been parking. Now bear with me because I am going to have to walk you through this thought process; let me take you “out-of-the-box”. The huge piece of wasted real estate is the bus depot. (I imagine there are a whole lot of people freaking out at me at the moment, but hear me out!) The whole bus depot design could be tweaked to fulfill more than one purpose, and serve more of the Red Deer population. My first question is, why do buses need to drive inside? Why was it not designed with the heated shelters on the perimeter, with buses utilizing the easternmost side for the pick up of passengers. Take a look at where the little shop/café is and imagine waiting areas. The road is four lanes of traffic at this point, reduce it to three. If traffic slows down, it is a good thing, this is downtown, not a freeway. The interior of the bus depot could then be utilized for downtown parking, essentially gaining an extra floor in a parkade. Bus passengers still have a warm place to wait. Motorists have a place to park their cars. Businesses can reconsider downtown as an option for a place to do business.

Wasted real estate?

Wasted real estate?

Future parking?

Future parking?

As I just touched on the topic of traffic, I may as well continue. Traffic is a problem and will continue to be a problem if growth is encouraged. At the forums there were discussions about traffic lights and stop signs and traffic tickets and the quantity of traffic. Traffic is a monster issue. Just a few thoughts here. Downtown is one of the most congested areas. My take on some viewpoints is that it seems some think it might be beneficial to make downtown less of a “car destination” (encourage carpooling, public transport, etc.). If you want to make downtown less of a “car destination” perhaps the first step is to discourage the traffic that isn’t actually stopping in downtown. “How do you do that?” is the next question. Very easily. Reduce the speed limit. Lower the speed limit to 30 km/h in the core. Put rumble strips on all the arteries as you approach the core. Having to putter along like Mr. Magoo at 30 km/hr will deter those with a need for speed. Honestly, Red Deer has a lot of options to travel north to south without going through downtown. A lot of people just travel through downtown out of habit. My husband works just off 67th Street, when he needs to get to the office from the south end of town he takes the highway, from the east he takes 30th Avenue then 67th.

traffic

Deterring traffic and slowing down traffic in the downtown core brings other benefits. First, those who want to be in downtown will not have some huge truck roaring up behind them at 70 km/hr while they try to park. Those actually wanting to use downtown might be able to without the aggressive drivers. Secondly it will make it quieter. Less traffic, less speed, less noise. This will create a more pleasant atmosphere. This will make it more walkable. This might make people think “I don’t have to park right in front of the store, I can walk three blocks from my parking spot, it’s kind of nice to walk downtown!”. And lastly less cars mean less pollution, and better air quality is better for everyone.

city hall park, red deer, alberta

Less traffic, less noise makes downtown Red Deer more walkable and a more desirable destination.

I also need to tackle the concept of public transport that was brought up as an area to examine as a solution for traffic issues. While public transportation is a lovely politically correct idea, I think all the candidates at the forums really need to take a realistic view of life before even mentioning this as an option. I am going to give you my schedule for the other day and I want to see if someone can come up with a public transportation option that will work for me so that I can meet my commitments on time, please remember to take into account I have a 3 year old in tow for all these trips and that our children do not qualify for bussing as our designated school is an “arts school” so we had to go with a different school option :

– take bus from Woodlea to Morrisroe, kids must be in school by 8:50 am (no, I won’t let my tiny 5 year old ride a city bus on her own)
-return home (Morrisroe to Woodlea)
-pick up daughter at school by 11:30 am (Woodlea to Morrisroe)
– return home (Morrisroe to Woodlea)
– go to speech therapy, 1:00 pm appointment (Woodlea to Downtown)
– return home at about 2:15 (Downtown to Woodlea)
– pick children up at school at 3:23 pm (Woodlea to Morrisroe)
-return home (Morrisroe to Woodlea)

By the way, for our whole family to ride the bus paying cash it would be $22.20 per trip or $301 a month for bus passes. When all the children are over age five it will cost us $26.40 per trip or $415 per month……to travel in an inefficient way.

I would also like a solution for grocery shopping when it comes to using public transport. We are a family of seven. We go through a minimum of 14 gallons of milk a week alone, let alone food, how do you bring your groceries home on the bus. I guess what I am saying is that all the candidates need to really think before professing that public transport is the way to go. It is insulting to those of us where it is completely not feasible. Perhaps choose a target demographic where you think it may work, but do your homework, I suspect you will find very quickly why the buses run empty.

Is riding the bus a feasible option for the average resident in Red Deer?

Is riding the bus a feasible option for the average resident in Red Deer?

I am also going to take this opportunity to tackle a pet concern of mine, which is the area at the bottom of Ross Street Hill. The area near the white metal sculpture. I really have to mention this because it is only a matter of time before someone is killed here. The scenario is we have cars flying down the hill much too fast with a pedestrian crossing at the base of the hill linking the walking/biking path system that runs through the Waskasoo park system. It isn’t a matter of opinion that the cars come down too fast, fact of the matter it is one of the favorite radar spots in town. I have personally been responsible for three separate accidents at this location. Want to know how I caused these accidents? By standing at the pedestrian crossing waiting to cross. This is what has happened each time, car #1 comes flying down the hill and slams on the brakes at the crossing, car #2 doesn’t notice and slams into car #1, followed by car #3 hitting the other two. Glass flies, air bags go off, same old, same old. But believe it or not there is a scarier scenario, and this happens every few weeks. A person stands waiting to cross at the intersection, the car in the right hand lane stops for the person to cross but the car flying down the hill in the left hand lane flies through. This is where there is going to be a death. We need to slow down, or stop cars at this location. The other side of the road, right by the carved Parkvale sign, has it’s own set of problems. This spot wouldn’t be an issue if people drove the speed limit, but they don’t. I challenge you to go stand by the Parkvale sign facing traffic and see how many vehicles come close to losing control, and when they lose control they are going to kill anyone walking on that sidewalk. We need to slow down traffic, be it lights, rumble strips or speed bumps. I am sorry but the excuse I heard at the forum about frustrated drivers was ridiculous, not reducing speed is just fueling their aggression. The types that speed will never have enough speed, will never have enough aggression, it isn’t a question of timing lights perfectly, or having the perfect combination of stop signs. No councillor can fix this traffic issue because you can’t fix the stinking rotten attitude of these drivers.

bottom of ross street hill

dangerous crossing connecting the path system

Dangerous crossing connecting the path system.

Time to slow down traffic. Speed limits exist for a reason.

Time to slow down traffic. Speed limits exist for a reason.

Problematic corner when people speed.

Problematic corner when people speed.

…………………………………

If you are still with me I congratulate you on your amazing stamina as you have already read 4758 words. Unfortunately I still have more to say. No one can say I wasn’t listening at the forums. On to the next topic…………….

We are under policed yet the City pushes for more growth. Time to analyze the situation.

We are under policed yet the City pushes for more growth. Time to analyze the situation.

Growth

Did anyone keep count of how many times at the Chamber of Commerce forum that someone said “We’ve just reached 100,000 and soon we’ll be at 200,000 people.” Seriously. But beyond the bizarre nature of the comment did it ever occur to any of the candidates that perhaps not all growth is good. When is too much growth too much? When does growth become detrimental rather than beneficial? At what point does a council take into account a reduction in the quality of life due to unchecked growth? I know in municipalities it isn’t a popular notion but still it is a concept that I feel needs to be contemplated. Listen to many of the things brought up at the forum. Parking shortages, traffic problems, inadequate policing capacity, need for more social and housing resources, a need for more recreational options. The writing is on the wall. We as a city have hit the threshold. This growth isn’t coming for free. I know that and everyone of the candidates speaking at the forum SHOULD know that as well. We pay for it with a decreased quality of life, we pay for it through a need for more social programs and we certainly pay for it through any needed infrastructure. I had a very interesting conversation this summer with Robert Kohn. Robert Kohn is the representative for our district for our place in Lac Ste. Anne County , essentially the same as what a councillor is in a ward system. We were discussing a situation regarding a proposed development in the area and as the discussion went on some of the price tags for infrastructure (roads, sewer, intersections, etc.) came up. Quite fascinating yet quite staggering. The discussion somehow evolved into conferences he had been to and the redevelopment of inner cities (it was a long discussion, can you tell!) and then he said the phrase that sticks in my head …..”There is nothing more expensive than urban sprawl.” Urban sprawl. Urban sprawl is what we have. One little non-descript neighborhood popping up after the other with all the charm of east block housing projects before the wall came down. This urban sprawl is not coming for free.

If one was to look at memorable places, the “quaint” places, the cities and towns with “character”, often their growth has been limited. They have followed the philosophy of quality over quantity. Perhaps it is something to consider. Do you want a city to be a big as it can be or as great as it can be? It is a question worth pondering.

The councillors, the mayor , and the people of Red Deer, do have within their power the opportunity to shape our community. We don’t just have to let the future of our city happen. We can have a say in it. We can mould it. At the forums we heard a lot about the past (bike lanes), a bit about solving existing problems, but very little of an inspired future. I said to my husband I would love to hear what each candidate’s vision is. How will Red Deer be a different place once their four year term is up? I really wanted to know are any of the candidates visionaries or are they all just going through the motions? Who’s in it to make a difference and who’s in it to stroke an ego or bear a grudge? I guess time will tell.

phone

Communication

This evening, before I started writing, I mentioned to a few people I was putting up this post, and asked “do you have anything you wish me to tackle?”. The answer was communication. No one feels the city communicates effectively with the residents of Red Deer. Communication is easy. So easy. First lets talk about the City of Red Deer. Why do we not get weekly emailed updates from City Hall? A huge proportion of the Red Deer population have access to electronic media, we have the easiest way to reach the people. Why isn’t this happening? Schools do it. Why can’t City Hall? Let us know what is going on. I seriously do not know why everything has to be such a great mystery. The mayor  and councillors are voted in by the people. You are our representatives. You should be our representation and our voice. You should keep us informed. The Facebook feed is “fine”. Sometimes it is timely, sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is informative, and sometimes…..well, you get the picture. I actually read it every day but there is definitely room for improvement.

city hall

I will say that in the past some councillors have been quite good with communication, one in particular I would rate as “above and beyond”. I want to share a little story. I sent an email out the night before the election thanking the existing councillors and mayor for the return of our community skating rink. Three councillors responded. One councillor already had my vote , but I had yet to finalize my full roster of eight choices. Two of the  councillors secured my vote with just a simple acknowledgement . They were on my list of ten that scored at the forum, but they secured the vote because I knew they were open to communication. I knew they would be the peoples voice. Communication is vital. Communicating with members of the public, no matter how big of a pain in the ass they may be, is a mayor’s and councillors’ job. It is what you signed up for. It is your responsibility.

The people’s voice is the final issue I wish to discuss. It is time our municipal government gives the people of Red Deer a format to be able to voice their opinions and concerns on a regular basis. We are not stupid little peasants entrusting our lives to the hands of our municipal government. We are a population of smart, educated, experienced and concerned citizens. We can help make Red Deer a better place, a place where we can love living rather than merely exist, but our municipal government needs to start listening to us NOW. This needs to be a partnership. You need to work with the people. You need to interact with the people. You need to actively go out there and reach out to the people, find out what needs fixing and work together in fixing it. It isn’t an odd concept, it’s the concept of working as a community. In my opinion it is time to create a system of neighborhood representation, not even necessarily through the ward system (that will be a whole other post!), but engaging people of different neighborhoods to get together with councillors several times throughout the year to discuss problems, to brain storm , and to find a few solutions. Let’s lose the “us vs. them” mentality. It’s time to wok together. It’s time to fix Red Deer.