Good-bye Clutter

It has been months since my last blog post because my life got busier than expected. I landed a short-term position for the summer which involved working shifts, long drives, and an agreement promising not to write anything about the job on any form of social media. Consequently, I decided to avoid blogging for the duration of the job to be on the safe side. In addition, at the end of August I signed an oath promising never to discuss the gig after the completion of the contract. There is nothing to say other than I am happy that it is finished.

In the spring, we bought a new house and spent the month of May slowly moving from the cabin to the house. It is a three bedroom bungalow with a full basement. It was gutted and completely rebuilt five years ago, so it only needed some cosmetic touch-ups like new paint, window screens and a few minor repairs, except for the kitchen cabinets which required a new updated look. We used Rust-Oleum cabinet coating system to redo the cabinets. I am pleased with the end result, but I would not recommend this to anyone who does not have tons of free time on their hands. The whole process, starting with cleaning and deglossing, applying two bond coats, adding a decorative glaze, and applying a protective top coat to protect against stains and scratches, is extremely time-consuming. Here is a before and after photo of one section of the cabinets.

The new house has a wood and oil furnace in the basement. I don’t plan on using oil because it is too expensive. Last March I met a man when I was skiing on his property in my quest to find chaga. We started chatting and he ended up giving me enough wood for the winter. It was already cut and scattered over his lot. My brother helped gather it up and brought it to my place with his truck and trailer. Then Florian and I split it and piled it up to dry.

As for the cabin, we still go there two or three times a week to feed the stray cat and look after the garden boxes. I have no idea what I am going to do with this place. Even after I moved, the garage is full of stuff.

For example, I have a beautiful antique organ and a new exercise twister, but I have absolutely no use for them. I tried to give them away on kijiji, but there were no takers. Actually, that is not true. Two or three people would take the organ if I would deliver it. The Ab-Doer twister has only been used two or three times and it  costs over $300 on Amazon, but I couldn’t give it away for free!

In the end, these items and most of the other junk will have to find a new home in the local landfill. Although I hate to throw away things I have decided if I have no use for something in the foreseeable future then I am eliminating it from my life.  Otherwise, the garage will never be free of clutter.  I am determined to declutter the garage before I start my next job in a couple of days, so that means I better get started now.

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Support Canada by Hiring Canadians

hirecanadiansA labor shortage should be positive news for young people entering the work force and older workers with experience. Wages should increase and finding a suitable job should be easier. However, this is not the case in Canada because the Conservative government, under the guidance of Stephen Harper, has allowed businesses to employ Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs), making it extremely difficult for new graduates, youth, and older Canadians to obtain entry-level positions or jobs in the construction and service industry.

Recently, after the CBC Go Public Blog reported on widespread abuses and informed Canadians of the negative impact on domestic workers, the government implemented a moratorium on the hiring of TFWs in the fast-food industry. Unfortunately, this lasted only a few weeks before being reinstated. During this time, the government introduced a few more restrictions, increased fees to hire TFWs but did little to address the impact of the TFW program on Canadians seeking employment.

The Conservative government has not been able to come up with a strategy to deal with high unemployment in many parts of the country and the imaginary labor shortage in other parts of the country. Instead the Harper government continues to ignore the real motivation behind the TFW program which is to keep wages artificially low by flooding the market with an endless supply of low-skilled workers from abroad.

Canada does not benefit from an increase in low-paid, unskilled temporary workers. Instead allowing large numbers of low-skilled foreigners to work in construction, retail, restaurants and fast food establishments makes it more challenging for Canadians to find work.

To solve high unemployment in the eastern part of the country and fill any labor shortages in the western provinces the government needs to set up a program that increases the mobility of unemployed workers towards job opportunities. Providing internal migration incentives or assistance would ease labor market shortages in areas with not enough available workers. The growth of the TFW program has impeded labor market adjustment and reduced opportunities for Canadians to move to areas of low unemployment in search of a better future. As long as it is cheaper to pay airfare and medical coverage, provide accommodation, cover visa and other fees for TFWs than relocation costs of Canadian citizens then large corporations will not be willing to hire and train Canadians. Additionally, if there is a mismatch between available jobs and the qualifications of domestic laborers then companies must be encouraged to invest in training Canadians before opening the gates to foreign workers.

Given the present state of high unemployment across the country, it is extremely hard to understand why the Harper government continues to subsidize big business by allowing them easy access to the TFW program instead of forcing these companies to invest in hiring and training our own citizens.