Posted in boo, Canada, Community, Daddy, events, family, Happy Boy, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto, urbandaddyblog

What Has Your Child Said Which Was / Sounded Racist?


Recently, on CFRB1010am, host Jim Richards covered a topic about when children might have been racist – by accident or by innocence.

I would have loved to have called in and told my story, however, I was unable to, so when I arrived at the location of my next client meeting, I took a few minutes to send a tweet to his show, the Showgram, outlining my story.

They replied!

My story was good.

So I figured I would re-tell it here, and here it is:

Back in the day, when my oldest was just a wee little boy – around 3 or 4-years old, I brought him to a Toronto Rock lacrosse game.

After being completely infatuated with the music and lights in the arena, he turned his attention to the game and asked me; “Daddy, which team do we want to win?”

“Toronto”, was my reply.

“Are they in black?”

“No, the Toronto Rock are wearing blue, red and white.  The Rock’s opponents, however, were the Philadelphia Wings, and they were wearing black uniforms. I told him, “Philadelphia is the team wearing the black jerseys. We do NOT like Philadelphia. Boooo, Philadelphia!”

“Okay, Daddy”, was his response.

Then Philadelphia scored and he said, “Boooooo.  Boooooooo.  Booooo… Black guys!”

I spun towards him and said, “pardon me???”

“Booooo black guys!”

“No, no, no, no, no!” was my immediate response. “We don’t boo “black” guys.  We boo the Philadelphia Wings.”

“Booooo Black guys!”, he yelled, now standing up and at a moment where it is really quite in the arena.

I explained to him again, that it’s Philadelphia that we hate… Everything Philly… The Wings, Flyers, 76ers, possibly the Phillies… 

The crowd around us was laughing, hearing the dialogue between us, and knowing that there was nothing untoward intended.

“Booooo Black guys!” he yelled again.

Now being the superior parent that I am, I felt the need to silence him while I educated him, so I stuffed his little face with cotton candy and orange soda (bad daddy!) and I watched the sugar coma overtake his little body while I explained that we are rooting for the Toronto Rock, and rooting against the Philadelphia Wings, and that what he said was not very nice.

He looked at me… like a half-drunk adult, and said, “okay Daddy, I understand”.

And never a word was spoken for the rest of the game.

TRIUMPH!

I’m such a great daddy!

… and then he fell asleep on my lap.

As the game ended, we walked to the subway, little tired, over-sweetened child and I, and we got on a fairly empty car. and he laid down on the seat and had a quick nap.

As the subway car sped northbound, it emptied a little bit at each stop, until the car held maybe 10-15 people in it.

Suddenly a little head popped up and with his eyes wide open, my son asked me this, “Did we win?”

“Yes we did”, I proudly replied. “Do you like lacrosse?”

“I love the cross” was his response.

And then at the top of his little lungs, he blurted out, “BOO BLACK GUYS!!!”

Without noticing the 4 young boys sitting across from us glaring at us, I reminded him that the Toronto Rock wore blue and that we cheered the blue team, and we booed the team wearing the black jerseys, not the black guys.

Then I looked up and saw the boys looking at me for a second until they burst into laughter.

They understood…

He’s not a racist, I promise! He just doesn’t like the team in black at the cross.

 

 

Posted in Canada, Daddy, family, Happy Boy, Life, Linus, news, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Spring is Coming! Not because a Groundhog said so but because MLB's Spring Training is starting soon!


I join the throngs of other people who scoff at the notion that a groundhog – a giant rodent – determines whether we are having an early spring or if there is 6 more weeks of winter.

Sure, groundhog day is fun for the kids – most kids, any way – mine just wondered how seeing a shadow influenced global weather patterns, but I don’t waste time explaining that to the kids – they’re old enough now, they tell me the truth about Groundhog Day.

Apparently, according to my eldest, farmers used the Groundhog to determine if there was going to be an early spring because the Groundhog likes to get a jump on the mating season, so they would cease hibernating and come out of their holes to find a mate so that when it starts to get warm, the babies will survive.

“Nothing to do with shadows, Dad. Groundhog day is about sex!”

Well, at least that makes more sense that the shadow thing.

But, being The Urban Daddy, I have to remind my children that the real telltale sign of spring is Spring Training for baseball, which is set to begin on February 21st this year when the first games are played.

“Yes, we know, Dad. You tell us every year. We hate baseball. The games are long and boring, the stadiums are empty, the players make too much money and half the league cheats.”

Ouch.

Nonetheless, while Groundhog day might come and go, and the fate of the seasons hinges on whether that silly groundhog sees it’s shadow or doesn’t see it’s shadow, the buzz of baseball is the true sign that the seasons are changing.

Batter up!

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, government, Life, money, Recommends, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Introducing Personal Banker


In effort to provide you, the reader, with the truth about your tax arrears and dealings with the Canada Revenue Agency, it would be a disservice if I did not provide information about companies who can help in addition to companies who can harm.

Companies who can harm you want to be paid a lot of money, right away. They won’t tell you what they’re going to do, or how they are going to do it. They won’t give you a progress update, and they’ll advise you to NOT contact the CRA for fear of “screwing up their work.”

Who operates like that?

Scammers do.

Companies that operate like this are usually fronts for trustees and when you balk at paying, say, $5000.00 for their services, assume that you are broke and send you to their other business, the trustee, so that they can save you by having you file a Consumer Proposal, not a Bankrutcy.

Same shit, different pile.

In both cases, you’re trading a tax debt that you can deal with, for really bad credit.

But they get paid, and you… Well, you’re a statistic.

That approach does not sit well with me. Never has. Never will.

What works for me is looking at a tax debt / problem from every possible angle, and consider all approaches. Then, having that conversation with you so that we can resolve it together and to your benefit.

An Example

Some debts can be resolved through re-financing. I don’t do that. I do, however, work with a couple of mortgage brokers who take care of that service. They provide low interest rates, and can work with liens on properties. Why can they do this but other firms cannot? It’s because when a group of like-minded businesses work together and share their expertise around the CRA, it is the customer who wins!

Another Example

Other tax debts can be resolved through a filing, or re-filing of tax returns. Again, I do not do that, but I work with a couple of accountants who take care of that for you.

I don’t recommend bankruptcy or consumer proposals right away, however should the situation really warrant one, then I have a couple of firms that I could recommend.

The Truth!

In the process of helping someone with their tax matters, I always look at it in depth so that I can suggest the best plan of action for resolving it, and then let the Taxpayer decide the path they want to take. I don’t tell them what to do. I suggest the options, and provide the steps for them to take in each scenario. If they need my assistance, I’m here to help. If, not, then I’m a shoulder to cry on, or a person who listens.

Personal Banker

Recently, a firm called Personal Banker came onto my radar. I met with the owners and absolutely love what they do and how they do it. They, like myself and my network, put the interests of the Taxpayer first and foremost and provide a service far more valuable that one could imagine.

Again, that’s my opinion.

What I like about Personal Banker is that they perform a function which I strongly recommend in the majority of the tax debt cases, and that is to have their previous 10-years worth of tax returns reviewed to ensure that all the eligible credits have been taken.

This is the best way to reduce a tax debt! If there are missing credits, that you are entitled to and were missed for whatever reason, you have 10-years to apply them and either increase a refund or reduce a balance owing to the CRA. The experts at Personal Banker apply the credits, for a percentage of the findings, and you can either apply them to your tax debt, or take the money and run.

It’s brilliant.

It’s what I recommend to people with tax debts, whether personal, or business. Everyone can use a bit extra money, and especially if it’s available to you, and you just didn’t know.

What’s more brilliant is that this company operates Canada-wide, and are growing on a daily basis.

Don’t believe me? Check it out.

If you think that there might be tax credits that you have not claimed, visit their website, sign up and let them do the rest.

If you have not filed your personal tax returns, they can take care of that for you for a ridiculous low rate (I told them they are way too low, so take advantage now).

If you’ve used them before, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, family, government, Life, money, news, Parenting, politics, school, Toronto

Ontario Teachers Working to Rule and Strikes. Some Facts: Does this make sense to you?


I’m not going to lie, but I’m on the side of the government in this dispute.

Fact: The Conservative government was elected in the province of Ontario.

Fact: The teachers unions were not elected.

Fact: The government of Ontario makes the laws and policies for the province.

Fact: Teachers unions do NOT make laws or policies. Their mandate is to look after the interests of their membership.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look a bit closer at my bias against unions – I don’t hate unions – I just don’t feel that unions have their place in every single field of employment. Considering that unions were created to give workers a collective voice against employers, I’m not sure today’s employees are so hard done by that they need a collective voice. Especially in light of the pattern or wage increase after wage increase.

That being said… Do the teachers unions, and their actions of rotating strikes benefit their members?

Fact: No.

Let me explain.

Many moons ago, I worked for a federal government agency which went on strike 3 times in the 10 plus years that I was there. In each case it was because we did not have a contract. That never concerned me because I had a job, I was being paid, and for the most part, enjoyed my job.

After living through a couple of strikes, I came to realize that striking was more than just walking off the job and forcing the government to give us a raise. I had never walked a picket line, why would I?

That was until the 3rd strike, when I started to do some math.

I realized this:

Our union wanted a 1 1/2 percent wage increase. The government wanted to hold salaries at the same level because times were tough.

We walked off the job for the week. I checked in at the picket line to receive my $50/day “strike pay”. After a week the government and union reached an agreement and we received 1%.

But…

We lost more than 1% while on strike.

So we walked the picket line and lost money.

That doesn’t make sense, now does it…

So let’s look at the Ontario teachers and use some very round figures.

Fact: The average teacher salary in Ontario is $92,000 per year.

Fact: The average teacher makes $1,769.23 per week before taxes.

Fact: The average teacher makes $353.85 per day, before taxes.

Fact: If the union accepted the 1% pay increase, Ontario teachers would have received a raise of $920 per year.

That means if the Ontario teachers are off the job more than 3 times ($353.85 x 3 = $1,061.55), then they will lose money once the new agreement is signed, even if you add in the $50 strike pay per day.

That’s crazy, right?

Unions forcing their teachers to walk the picket line in order to lose money. The Ontario government should thank them.

But beyond the lack of fiscal responsibility, comes the issues of government funding, special needs funding, class sizes and online courses.

Let’s briefly look at those:

  1. Government funding. Fact: The Ontario Conservative party has spent more money on the public education system than the previous Liberal government. Based on the fact that teacher salaries increase every year, the government would have to cut a lot in order to spend less. But they have not. It’s akin to the Democrats in the US telling media sources that they were going to impeach the President of the US before the President had even taken office, the rhetoric began to fly in Ontario before the government even announced how much the education budget was going to be. Interesting bargaining / foreshadowing
  2. The Conservative government has spent more money on special needs education than any party before them. Listen to the unions and special interest groups and you would be led to believe otherwise. When presented with facts, such as total dollars spent, these groups just state that the information is not accurate. That’s a convenient argument.
  3. Class sizes. So this is a tough one because there are no studies which state a specific class size is the perfect class size. It’s up to the Minister of Education to determine and not the unions. Dare I be skeptical here and say that of course class sizes are too big for unions. That means more work. It would be so much better – possibly – if it were a 1-to-1 ratio, because that means more teachers and more teachers means more union dues, which means a more powerful union. It also means more money that unions can spend on ads attacking the government rather than on education which they claim to care so much about.
  4. Online courses. I understand why the unions are all over this one. It means at the outset, less teachers, which means less dues-paying members, which means less power for the union. It doesn’t have to be that way, but with teachers salaries always increasing, it’s not like they’re going to suddenly give themselves pay cuts, right?The fact here is that Ontario was spent into massive debt and deficit amounts thanks to the Liberal government. Everyone who elected the Conservatives did so knowing that they were going to have to tighten their belts. (This over-spending must be a Liberal strategy to ensure that they get re-elected). Apparently the teachers and unions are exempt from this, and forgetting that these are our tax dollars being spent on their wages. I don’t even have children in the public education system anymore, but I’m paying for their salaries.

With all of that being said, spend some time browsing the Internet for countries and cities who have push for more online courses and you will find educated, high-achieving communities taking advantage of technology and moving ahead of the pack.

Heck, I completed my MBA online, and would have benefited from having prior experience taking online courses. Every organization that I volunteer with requires me to take online courses. Why is this good for the rest of the world, but not good enough for Ontario? Because the teacher’s unions tell us it’s a bad thing???

None of that makes sense to me.

What does make sense is the fact that these unions have decided year-over-year to put their interests over those of the students that they claim to support. If they really felt that it was all about the students, then let them run for election under that platform and see how they do. If they win, great, give them a raise. If they lose, then no more putting self-serving interests over top of the students.

Just my two-cents worth.

Posted in Life

Thursday 13: 13 Things that I do because, I’m a Dad. A Father. Therefore I do “Dad” things.


As a Dad and a father, things change, and there are now certain expectations or responsibilities which make me who I am. 

Here are just 13 things that changed when I became Dad.

  1. Changing expectations when eating vegetables.  My broccoli no longer includes the flourettes, instead my portion is the stems – the part that no one likes to eat.
  2. .. Yum.  But that would be plain cheese pizza because that’s what the family eats. Or, if I’m lucky. Otherwise, I get a whole lot of crusts, and I hope and pray that those crusts have some sauce or cheese on them.
  3. Leftovers? What are those? As Dad, leftovers are my meals.  After “Daddy, daddy, daddy, I want oatmeal for breakfast” and then after refusing to eat it, I pack it up, toss it in the fridge, and then I either eat that oatmeal for breakfast, lunch or dinner in the next few days.
  4. Sniffing or tasting food which someone suspects may not be suitable to eat. If it looks funny, smells funny, is close to the posted expiry date, or has been in the fridge just a bit too long to feed to the kids, it goes into my tummy. Yum.
  5. Cleaning up Poo.  All Poo, anywhere.  Kids, poo, toilet poo, poo in clothing, poo on floors, animals poo, things that might be poo…
  6. Cleaning up vomit… (see above). Nuff said.
  7. When there is a night walker in the house, I intercept.  If there is a line up to sleep with mommy, I move.  If there is a child falling out of bed, or anything nightly disturbance, Daddy is on the scene! That usually means that within a week, I’ve pretty much slept everywhere in the house, but that’s okay so long as everyone else has a good night’s sleep because I’m so exhausted all the time I can sleep anywhere, anytime.
  8. Carpool / Taxi service, call it what you want, but it’s daddy’s territory.
  9. Back-up school help in areas where I am so not qualified, often at the end of a long day:

“Do quotation marks go before or after the period or question mark?”

“Huh?”

“I think I missed that day in public school”. (Child not accepting that answer).  “There is an American way and a Canadian way.”

Still not buying it.

Stalling long enough to Google that question and come up with this answer:

“There is a difference between US and British/Canadian punctuation styles.  In the US, trailing periods and commas always appear inside the quotation marks, for example, “Let’s go to the zoo.” Or, another example, like the spelling of the word is “ampersand.” Or, final example, He said, “Go now,” and turned away.
But in Canada and in the UK, they follow the logical extension of the quote. The period or comma goes outside the quotation mark, except where the period is part of a quote. For example, He said “The day is long.” Or, the movie was called “Benji”.

How about question marks? Well, If you’re quoting a question then the “?” goes within the quotation marks, as in this example, Sally asked, “Where are you going?”

Not to be confusing, but if you’re asking a question about a quote, then the “?” goes after the quotation marks, as in this example. Did Sally say, “We are going to the zoo”?

Clear as mud, eh? I think I taught them to stop asking me questions.

  1. Act responsibly behind the wheel.  I can only slightly exceed the speed limit if everyone in my car is sleeping and if I do so without putting anyone in harm’s way (like weaving in and out of traffic).  Duh.  Learning to not swear at / talk to other cars was WAY more difficult.
  2. Going to the toilet will / has never been the same. If it’s not trying to figure out how the seat got wet when the boys are supposed to pick up the seat to pee, and how the floor got soaked when nobody in my family admits to having used that bathroom, like ever. Or when there is pee on the wall, or all the toilet paper is in the toilet, or someone forgot to flush, or the icing on the cake, whenever I’m in the bathroom and manage to lock the door only to have it unlocked and before I know it I’m face to face with a child.
  3. Promote the playing of sports for fun, while competing, but always within the rules.  I don’t want to be that Dad who forces my son to play a sport because I never had the chance or was good at it.  That’s the best way to build up resentment and that’s not what our generation does…
  4. Keep lines of communication open at all times, and make sure that children are able to read situations and most importantly that they are able to learn what it is that their mother wants / needs and to be sure that she gets it.  She did, after all, birth those kids which I think trumps (not the Donald) everything else that I can and do as a father / dad.

 

What’s changed for you?