Canada’s own Mediterranean crisis …

It is estimated that around 1.5 million immigrants have crossed the Mediterranean trying to seek asylum in Europe during 2016, mostly fleeing civil war from middle east countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. From those 1.5 million, 4000 died (est. 2015).

One of those immigrants that never made it was Alan Kurdi, the three year old boy that drowned on a beach near Bodrum in Turkey, attempting to reach Europe and eventually Canada along with his family after two failed attempts to cross thru Greece.

The picture of Alan’s dead body on a Turkish beach shook Canada already embroiled in the middle of an election campaign, as her aunt Tina Kurdi had previously immigrated to British Columbia and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had denied previous refugee requests for the Kurdi Family.

I am of the belief that the picture of Alan  was the last nail on the coffin that brought down the Conservative Government of Stephen Harper and it was quickly used by the Liberals to assure Justin Trudeau’s win with the promise to bring thousands of refugees from Syria. (Estimated at 40,000 from Nov. 2015 to January 2017).

Fast forward to the 2016 United States Presidential campaign and the (unexpected?, unbelievable?) triumph of Donald Trump that has seen after it’s inauguration and first (erratic) month of government, mass travel bans to seven Muslim countries, threats of war with Mexico to fight the “Bad Hombres”, and  mass deportations of illegal immigrants.

This high level of intolerance and xenophobia south of the border, has prompted people (425 thru the Quebec / NY border, and 21 a weekend thru the Manitoba / North Dakota border, just in January) to cross illegally the Canadian border, literally jumping from taxi cabs and walking thru the border in harsh winter conditions.

One of them, Seidu Mohammed from Ghana have lost limbs and fingers due to severe frostbite after walking for several hours in -20C temperatures thru Manitoba’s farming fields, finally rescued by a truck driver.

If we can estimate that in just the first month of Trump’s government a little less than a 1000 people have tried to cross the border illegally, how many more will try to cross when the weather conditions are less risky, bringing in the potential of a humanitarian tragedy?

Myself an immigrant, I am of the firm belief that Canada needs immigrants and that these immigrants need to effectively integrate to Canadian society, but the desperation of entire families crossing under harsh winter conditions seems to be only the prelude of a humanitarian tragedy that Canada will have difficulty to manage.

Canada urgently needs immigrants. It is estimated that by 2035 Canada will be suffering from a demographic crisis just as today’s in Japan, where there is simply not enough young people to support the old, along with declining fertility rates.

And the world needs Canada, as an standing beacon of hope, tolerance and acceptance, to all those refugee families that literally risk life and limb pursuing freedom and the dream of a better future.

7 year old philosophy …

My daughter 7, complaining about homework and chores, looking at a picture back when she was a baby, sucking her thumb on my arms …

– Those were the good old days …


And then she looks at me and asks:

– Daddy, was Michael Jackson alive when you were alive?

-What do you mean “when I was alive”…

-When you were a kid …


Kia Sedona 2009 – Review. Thank you for the memories, but I have had enough.

Kia Sedona 2009, Dealer Dilawri Bank St. KIA, in Ottawa, ON.

Owned since new, bought with extended warranty 8 yr / 110,000 km.

The V6 3.8L engine is expensive on gas, but it rides well on the highway.

In general its a comfortable ride, but the reliability and durability is not there.

The van didn’t had any issues in the first 4 years of ownership, apart from regular maintenance always at the dealer.

The extended warranty was a good investment, I have used it fully, with multiple “free” repairs over the years, including, AC compressor, steering and suspension components.

Service #5 (Around 60,000 Km. / Year 4) is expensive, including full brake job, costing around $1200.

Multiple problems with sliding doors freezing shut during winter.

First strike was a misdiagnosed engine problem (Winter 2014), that at the end was due to the after market alarm. In hindsight, its never worth it to buy a car and then add an after market alarm, difficult experience with Future Shop (They are gone now, and I understand why), its better to buy the car with an original security system.

Car simply stopped starting, called CAA, to jump battery, which was not the case.

At the end, towed to the dealer, which spent 4 days and $900 to verify everything, couldn’t find anything wrong with the vehicle, and returned it with the alarm disabled.

Later in the summer, I downloaded the manual for the alarm, and verified the reset sequence from the remote. Re-enabled the alarm by plugging in a fuse and reset the alarm.

Everything worked. 30 minutes of internet research, and 15 minutes playing with the remote.

One one occasion, while my van was being serviced, I went to the sales floor, and they were having a VIP sales event, and without intention to buy a car, was wondering about purchasing a Sportage. After spending some time with a sales man, he gave me a weekly payment. I asked about the buying price for my van, since it has always being serviced by them, and they have access to the complete history of the van.  His answer was $1000, surprised I asked why so low, and his answer was around the lines ” … if you are not serious about buying, I am not serious about the price of your car …” Obvioulsy, I walked out of there.

The van started not to age well after a repair on the rear left sliding door (Summer 2016), power window stopped working.

Misdiagnosed at the dealer as the motor fault, turned to be the wiring harness. The harness is so expensive that KIA doesn’t sell it, that forced the technicians to “repair” it, although I am convinced that it was bypassed, since now there are exposed wires under the door.

The door was taken apart for the repair and after that noise isolation was gone, and the door didn’t adjust properly. Complained to KIA Canada to no avail, they trust that the dealer will attempt the best repair under the circumstances.

Autumn 2016, took the car in for switching the summer tires to winter ones. I was paying the dealer to store the winter tires.  I told the dealer to dispose of the summer tires, later when switching the tires, they called me to tell me that the winter tires were worse than the summer ones. I paid $120 for the storage of old tires that were not usable. At the end, they gave me a rebate on new winter tires (slightly lower than Costco) and didn’t charge for mounting them.

Last repair (Winter 2017) was a blown radiator, loss of coolant, engine overheated. Took it to the dealer, paid for the repair since according to them it was not covered ($800). Argued with the warranty, and it ended up being covered.

Van is now 8 years old / 100,000 km.

After the last two repairs with the warranty running out, I have lost trust in the car reliability and I have started second guessing the troubleshooting and repair quality of the dealer, added to very poor service on the sales floor, prompted me not to buy another KIA (or any other car) from the Dilawri network.

Sold the minivan for $4000, and got a good deal for a Nissan Rouge 2015.