Federal Budget: Paternity Leave, The Urban Daddy on CTV!

Yesterday was the 3rd Federal Liberal budget and if you paid any attention to the news leading up to the budget, you would have heard that this was going to be a “gender” budget, as our Prime Minister and Finance Minister hope to save Canadian “Peoplekind”,

What made it a “gender” budget was the inclusion of policies aimed to equalize pay between men and women and adopting a paternity leave benefit program which was implemented in Quebec just over 10-years-ago.

As a father of 3 children, I was lucky to have the opportunity to take parental leave with 2 of my three kids.  I was working for the Canada Revenue Agency, and the CRA topped up my salary from the 66% which I would have received while on EI, to 93% of my salary.

Who wouldn’t take advantage of this opportunity to support his spouse, bond with his children and help out with everything that comes with children, which is why I took 9-months with our first child, 4-months with our second child, and by the time our third child rolled around, I was in the private sector and took just one day.

So who better to speak on the government’s policy than me, right?

I was on the CTV News Network, live, in the morning with Marcia McMillan, and then in the evening, CTV Alberta Bureau Chief Janet Dirks interviewed my wife and I for a well done piece on what worked and what didn’t with regard to paternity benefits.

Watch the clip here; CTV Parental Leave The Urban Daddy

It was my first foray into TV – I have been on the radio quite a lot to discuss tax-issues – and I really liked it (except for the way I looked in the evening interview – exhausted!)

Here is how I feel about the Liberals intention vs plan of action; They talk a great game but always seem to fall short, with an ultimate cost to the taxpayers, for their plans.

They said that providing fathers to take 5-weeks off would lure more women into the workforce.


There were no new day care spots made available, nor any changes to the Live-In Caregiver program, so it left my wife and I puzzled as to how this was going to lure women into the work force.

Is it possible that behind this message was a belief that men don’t do anything around the household and that if, in 5-weeks – with them being home, changing diapers, cooking meals and keeping the house clean – men will realize they can help out at home, thus lessening the burden on women?

I think that’s a stretch, to say the least, but for $1.2 billion dollars – and starting in June 2019 – men will be able to take 5-weeks off with their partners to help, support and bond.  It’s certainly better than nothing.

It doesn’t change the stereotype that men don’t do paternity leave.

It doesn’t change the hesitation of some firms to hire woman who are in their child-bearing years.

It does make the Liberals look hip, and cool.

I just hope the last point wasn’t the motivation behind this initiative…



I’m Heading Back to Work after a 2 Month Paternity leave and 6 week sick leave… Joy!

Today is my last day at home before returning to work, after a 2-month paternity leave and 6-week sick leave, understandibly I am full of emotion.

I really felt that at the beginning of this leave that I would be able to get things done around the house, build a better relationship with my wife, form a bond with my son, finish my 2 BA classes, jump start my promotional business and socialize a little. But boy, was I wrong. Not only did I not see my friends, but because of our non-sleeping, very heavy son, and my lack of any sort of physical shape whatsoever resulted in, what we suspect to be, a herniated disk, or pinched nerve in my back. I’m waiting for the MRI results which should be here any moment.

So I go to physiotherapy twice a week now, and have managed to lose 10 pounds (a good thing) and my stretching and exercises are aimed at my lower back, abs and butt. That might help with the build a better relationship part… Butt seriously (pun intended) This time away from work has helped me put life back into perspective. I need to spend more time on me. I want to be in shape, I want that exciting career, and the pay and power that goes with it. I love politics and need to be involved in some way, and I really want to take cooking classes and guitar lessons (if only I could sing). I no longer need to eat all the time, especially snacks. I hate the way I feel after eating some 300 calorie treat. I took my wife for granted. Whatever I didn’t do, she would do. She’s like that. She’s a doer, and I’m a talker. I’d take on 10 tasks, knowing that I would really on remember to do 5 of them and actually do two or three of them. Because I don’t learn, instead of tracking what I agreed to do, I would have forgotten them while urban mummy wait, then understandably, question my work ethic. I need to learn to say no, AND do what I say I am going to do.

It’s been tough to say no, but in such a short period of time, I find the results much more relaxing for me.

I learned that graduate school will take care of itself. I enjoy the courses and do very well, whether I pour 30 hours a weeks into it, or 3 hours. I have to be productive and get the work done and enjoy the process.

I learned that I miss the company of my wife. Not that we used to go out often, but since both children have arrived, we are just plain tired at 8pm and want to unwind. She likes the internet, and I like to clean, take care of tasks and well, work the net too. But this pattern has become destructive. We are here together but not really together. We need to find a common task we can do together and I need to pamper the hell out of her. I really get it when she says that she wants to feel like she did when we were dating. Hell, back then, I was 29, no responsibilities and just wanted to impress this hot chick I met. Now? We take turns handing the baby off to each other bemoaning how long it has been since we managed to shower. Rough, eh?

During this time off, I wanted to set goals. I need goals. I want to make sure that what I want to achieve helps my family get closer. I want a clean house that is not covered in clutter, and I want to see my friends and our friends. I want more “guys nights out”, and more time bonding with our kids. I want my laptop back (the hard drive blew), and I want a good nights sleep. I don’t want a sore back anymore and I want to finally be in a position to make something happen in my workplace, whether it’s my current one, or a new one. The time is now!

2006 did not end well, and 2007 has to be a better year because for the first time in years, I am clearly seeing my future and it sucks, unless I want to change it. I do, and I can. So stand back world and watch out for me. I’m ready to make that splash in the pool of life, and for the first time in my life, I’m NOT taking a life jacket, just in case, but instead, I’m going to learn how to swim.

Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.


Back to the household…

Stewie decided to get up at 4am this morning… How thoughtful.

The Royal Rumble was yesterday, the only WWE PPV that I have ever seen in a bar, or paid for (except attending Wrestlemania 6). I missed it. I missed my 3 friends that used to do the wrestling thing with me. I have not heard from them in years. I have kids, they never will. Oh well.

Linus told me, over the weekend that he, “no like this Mummy… Want different Mummy”. Same for his little brother… Want different Stewie. Poor kid is going to miss me big time when I go back to work.

I am going to potty train Linus, and am calling out my 4 loyal readers (lol) for their tips, tricks and advice.

The new neighbours that moved in behind us, to whom I brought over an apple pie to welcome them to the neighborhood, but have not heard from yet, finally got blinds for their bathroom/bedroom last night. Thank goodness… The nightly nude show is coming to an end.

All the Dads in the playgroup are having another “Guys nite out”, Feb 6th at our place. On the menu is deli and a few starters, like chopped liver (yum). I love that we can all get together and bash the Liberal party of Canada.

Speaking of the Liberals… I watched the beginning of question period today and found it funny that new Liberal leader Stephane Dion was picking at PM Harper for his environmental record, when Dion was the Environment Minister under the Liberals and did nothing to help Canada. Hypocrite. Yet people still vote for these idiots. Sigh. I predict an embarrassing end for Dion in his role with the Liberals…