Canada, Travel

An open letter to Justin Trudeau

Dear Mr. Trudeau,

I have a bone to pick with you, obviously, why else would I be writing an open letter to you? But before we get into all that, let me firstly introduce myself. My name is Rachel Keogh, 33 years old (in 2 days), living in Toronto with my husband, Phil, and my fur babies (some people insist on calling them cats) Ruby and Frank, and I come from Ireland (insert leprechaun joke here). Myself and Phil moved to Toronto 5 years ago, after we tried and failed to get permanent residency in Australia, but don’t take that personally, I mean Australia has summer all year round, who wouldn’t want to live there? But with the Australia plan failing pretty quickly, and us not wanting to move back to Ireland at that time on account of the country falling apart, we thought “where else will give us a Visa with relative ease?” “ah yes, those friendly Canadians will”. And 5 years later here we are and we’re permanent residents (take that Australia).

Now, while I love your country, with your friendly and polite people, and your funny accents (aboot, eh?), your quirky words (tooque) and strange ways of selling milk (in a bag?? I have so many questions about that) and your ridiculously cold winters that literally freeze your nose hairs, I do have one VERY big problem with Canada. And it’s an issue that I am sure many others will agree with. It’s an issue that keeps me up at night, tossing and turning, it’s the one thing that prevents me from falling totally in love with Canada and it’s the reason why so many of my friends at home in Ireland ask me”why the hell would you live in Canada?” I know you’re on tenterhooks now, Mr. Prime Minister, so I’ll tell you – it’s your country’s despicable policy on vacation days.

Yes, you heard, me vacation days. When I moved here I was full of hope and dreams, full of ideas that I would get a job, save money and spend my time off travelling around this amazing country. When I look back I think “ppffff what a foolish girl I was”. I’m embarrassed now when I remember how I was planning to use my 4 weeks of vacation time, what was I thinking? Why would I dream that such a progressive, forward thinking country would give its people decent vacation days?! You’ll have to forgive me, I was young and innocent, I didn’t realize that the Canadian government had come up with a plan to reduce its population by working it’s people to death. But now I understand, I mean, how else are you going to kill off all the middle-aged people so they don’t add to the aging population?

You can imagine my absolute shock, when, in my first job as I sat down with HR to go through the usual boring HR policies and such, and the HR representative said “the legal minimum vacation days in Ontario is 10 days”, “but we give 11” she added, with a twinkle in her eye. 11 days???? Well let me write a letter to my parents to tell them that I have finally made it in life. 11 vacation days. I can’t, I don’t.. I don’t even like thinking about that day as it reduces me to a blubbering mess every time. I must admit that when I was made permanent in my job, I was bumped up to 15 days and that sir, has been the happiest day of my life to date. My husband Phil has 10 vacation days a year, I mean, honestly, that should be illegal as it’s not gpld for a person’s wellbeing. But really, there’s not a lot that Ireland can brag about, but in Ireland, the legal minimum annual leave that every worker is entitled to is 20 days. And the vast majority of employers offer more than that. Yeah. I’ll just leave that there for you.

Mr. Trudeau, I know your care about your country, and its people, and I know that you want Canada, and Toronto specifically to remain a place that is attractive to immigrants. So, for the love of god, please give us more vacation days. Days that us immigrants can use to go home and visit our families, days that we can use to travel this stunningly beautiful country, days that we can use visiting your neighbors to the south and realizing how glad we are that we moved to Canada and not the U.S., days that we can use shovelling all that snow out of our gardens, days we can spend walking around the city saying “sorry” to everyone we bump into. And it’s not just us immigrants that would be thankful of the extra vacation time, I’m sure our Canadian colleagues would also appreciate some extra annual leave given that they are worked into the ground already.

Now, I appreciate you have far greater things weighing on your mind Justin, especially these days (can I call you Justin?) really, I do. But I thought this would actually be a good one for you, nice and easy, I mean, you increase the legal minimum annual vacation days and your supporters love you even more, and your opponents, well what can they do? They aren’t going to openly oppose Canadians getting some well earned time off are they?? It might also win back some of the voters you lost in recent weeks due to the whole blackface incidents. Do it for us, for your country, for your people and for your buddy Leo Varadkar. And if you don’t do it, you’ll have to deal with a very angry Irish mammy when I keep telling her “I can’t come home this year ma, I don’t have enough vacation days”. And let me tell you, there is nothing scarier than an angry Irish mammy. Seriously, google it.

So I beg you, please give us more vacation days, I really don’t want to go back to Ireland but you’re not making it easy to stay.

And just FYI I plan to become a citizen next year and then you will really have to listen to me 🙂

Yours truly,

Rachel Keogh

5 thoughts on “An open letter to Justin Trudeau”

  1. Excellent letter! Did you hear about the vacation time Australian Immigrants get after ten years of working within one company? THREE MONTHS! And this is aimed towards immigrants being able to visit home.. How nice would that be 🙂

  2. Why aren’t taxes included in the price tag? It was a big political battle to introduce what is now called HST [Harmonizeed Sales Tax]. The parliamentary opposition insisted that the tax be ‘an obvious grab’ bymaking it explicit, rather than buried – hence, show the before-tax price, and the tax is extra.

    1. Thanks Bob, that actually makes sense! However, I would still prefer to see the final price on the price tag. The tax can be broken down in your receipt so that you can see how much extra the tax is.

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