Vancouver Island

This video in no way captures all the things I did while visiting Vancouver Island, but it’s some of the high lights. I was amazed by the beauty of the island. Mountains, the Pacific ocean and spectacular architecture. Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful, but rugged feeling places in all of Canada.

We found the best taco truck I’ve ever had in Qualicum Beach. Tidal tacos cheap and fantastic!

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I know…Best day at work ever!!

It’s a place I will never forget. The people are friendly and relaxed. The sights are beyond belief. I could seriously consider moving out there at some point. They are hiring bus drivers all over BC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgChB3chOvs

Vancouver’s Gastown and Chinatown areas

I recently went to Vancouver to attend the very first Canada Council for Unifor. I have been a union member for over 10 years and sit on the executive of my local. It has given me the chance to travel to some awesome locations, but I miss my family so much while I am gone. I make videos and sometimes go to locations that I think they would like. I share what I see through the video.

I did want to go to Gastown in Vancouver, but the classical Chinese garden was for my partner  Heather. She loves plants so the bulk of the video is for her.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivkzL9PQ4ko

Vancouver is a city of startling contrast and when I get the time I will blog about the sights that I saw that are not in the tourist brochures.

Beautiful British Columbia

I recently had a chance to travel to the west coast of Canada for a conference with my union. Prior to the conference, I was able to take a trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island. This is truly one of the most beautiful places that I have ever seen! You do not even know which way to look. This is a small portion of the ferry ride on BC Ferries leaving Horseshoe Bay! The video doesn’t do enough to capture the beauty. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLI8NvbcMlY

Solidarity

There have been many difficult situations in the 2 years since I became part of the leadership of Unifor 4304. Things have gotten so much better. We have solidarity. We have a better relationship with management.

Attached is a short video where union leadership and management participate in a dunk tank and pie in the face activities at our annual picnic. All money raised was donated to a young family struggling with cancer in our local.

Unifor local 1075 at Bombardier Thunder Bay, Ontario

Over 900 workers are on strike at Bombardier in Thunder Bay. They want to reduce their pensions.

The CEO is one of the highest paid in Canada. They recorded record profits. One executive has a pension of $649,000 per year with a little over 6 months of service.

This corporate greed is shameful and I am proud to support the members of local 1075 in any way that I can!

Teaching the kids basic camping skills

I have been so busy lately! Even on vacation, I have kept myself too busy to really blog. I’m sorry about that, but there is just not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want and need to do.

http://youtu.be/7K2zdDxM82o This is a little video I put together. The kids are getting older now. My biological children have been camping and learning survival skills their entire lives. I had my oldest son at Algonquin park in Ontario when he was 6 months old. When you can hear wolves howling while you are sleeping, you have arrived!

I want to do a backcountry trip with the kids and dogs. The problem is that my step kids really don’t have outdoor experience. Their bio dad is more of a “sit on the sofa and watch hockey” kind of guy. The camping they have done was at a trailer park. Basically a field with trailers parked. When you have electricity and running water: you are not in the backcountry. This is not a criticism of their upbringing, merely a statement on the difference between my partner’s kids and mine.

This year, we went camping close to home and I started to train the kids how to do real camping. How to build fire. How to set a tent. How to use a cook stove. How to canoe. We were close to home in case anything went wrong. We also taught the dogs to go in the canoe. The last thing I want is to be loaded with supplies, ready to paddle to my island get away and the dog won’t go into the canoe, or even worse, tips the canoe.

This September, my partner Heather and I will be heading up to Algonquin to ensure she also is very skilled in a canoe and we will paddle around with the dogs. By next summer, we will be taking a trip so far off the grid! I can hardly wait!

Tara Westlake

A guy in his mid thirties started work as a bus operator in my workplace about 2 years ago. He is such a professional that out of the 50 or so new hires, he became “Rookie of the year”. That speaks to his character as there is tremendous pressure on these new people.

At the award dinner I sat with the rookie and learned that his wife had breast cancer and was fighting for her life. He did not have benefits and was paying out of pocket for these expenses. His name is Jacob and it’s a pretty significant achievement to start a new career, excel at this career, raise 2 kids and support your spouse as she fights for her life.

Well, she beat the cancer into remission and life carried on for the young family. Recently the cancer has come back and it has spread through this mother of 2 high school aged kids like wildfire. The prognosis is that the cancer is terminal.

Jake wants to be with his wife as much as possible in the short time they have left. He is obviously distracted at work and worries about mistakes. Honestly, if it was me, I would be a basket case. Please, if you have the means, make a donation to help this young family as their wife/mother is ripped from them by this horrible disease. Every little bit helps! http://www.gofundme.com/bup0tk?pc=tw_f_m