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…



Helping Support an Alternative to Traditional Left-Wing Media Coverage in Canada: The Rebel

Whether your political views are left-wing, right-wing, mainstream or a mix of all three, it has always puzzled me that Canada’s main news came from left-leaning institutions (and why institutions of higher-learning teach from the left as well – but this is a different issue altogether).

I’m not interested in getting into an argument as to the pro’s and con’s of left vs right, or to have people comment and stereotypically align the right with guns, anti-abortion and anti-immigration policies, much as I would not expect anyone to point fingers at the left for their union-loving, Robin Hood – take from the rich and give to the poor – approach.   There is a lot of every side to appreciate and to admonish.

Heck, in this Canadian election we have a very fiscally conservative approach from the NDP which has many voters confused as to where the parties lie across the political spectrum.

That aside, with the recent embarrassing treatment of SunTV – the CRTC refused to give SunTV a guaranteed spot on basic cable thus denying them the same exposure as provided to news channels operated by the CBC and CTV, and placed the channel very high up in the middle of nowhere making it very difficult to find – Canada is left without an opposing view on news stories of the day.

Heck, the mainstream media has referred to Prime Minister Steven Harper as the “Conservative Leader” and not as the “Prime Minister” regularly though out the Federal Election Campaign.

With the recent successful launch of The Rebel, Ezra Levant has taken the Sun TV staff, added, subtracted and tweaked the group to become an online powerhouse with regular reports posted on YouTube and the Rebel website.  Ezra, whom I know personally, believes in options for Canadians and he is passionate about presenting the news in the same way that folks at the CBC and CTV do on a daily basis.

The Ezra you see on TV is the Ezra who wants to attract viewers, bring attention to the station and do so through controversy.  If The Rebel were allowed to play on the same field as the other media outlets, you would see more of the Ezra who is deeply knowledgeable about all things Canadian, who worries about how Canadians can sustain a healthy, equitable life in Canada and who wants the best Canada possible.

With that, I have chosen to donate to The Rebel crowdfunding campaign to get them set up with a studio so they can begin to compete with stations which receive billions of dollars of Taxpayer money to operate.

I hope that you will share this, or consider supporting regardless of where your political views lie.

After all, its equality that the folks at the Rebel are looking for, for all Canadians, so let’s return the favour and help them get back into the game.

The link to their Crowd Funding page is hyperlinked above and I have included the link below:


Why Do I Blog? Why Do You Blog?

I often wonder why it is that I blog.  I wonder, during the day, if I’m wasting my time with this whole blog thing, and at night, I wonder the same thing, as I’m typing up my posts for the week. Is anyone going to read them? and if someone does, why, and in the end does it really matter? 

I’ve said this before, that I don’t write posts for others… usually… although I have been known to in the past – I won’t make that mistake again.

I try to write my posts with the view that this online journal is going to help me remember key points in my family’s life as we move from day-to-day, kid-by-kid, and event-to-event.  It’s nice to be able to look back and see what we did, for example, for my 1st child’s 2nd birthday, and use that in preparation for my middle child’s 2nd birthday, and still have that online when it comes time for my daughter’s second birthday.

I used to post about events that happened to me at my old job – but that turned out to be a colossal error of judgement as it revealed WAY too much about me and my family and opened up my life for judgement and criticism from those who knew that I blogged.

Going forward I share events and stories with like-minded individuals and use my blog as a forum to talk about me, the father of 3 kids, the husband, the manager, volunteer and human being.

I was content doing this for the people who came to my blog with regularity and maintaining a respectable number of daily readers.

All of this changed last Wednesday – for those of you who read my comments, you would already know – when I was reached out to from a local TV station regarding my interest in participating in a talk show on blogging as a Daddy-blogger.

Initially, I was dead set against the idea but after talking to some friends in the media, I met with the executive producer of this show and we chatted about what it is that I do and why. 

During this 15-20 minute chat, we talked about how I got started blogging, what my challenges are as  a Dad and why I like to blog stuff.  I answered the questions as best as I could and the more we talked the more it came back to me why it is that I do this in the end of the day. 

It’s because I love being a Dad! 

I started because my wife blogged and I loved reading her posts.  She is such a great writer (I miss her posts) and I wanted to have my take on family events too – we see things so differently.  Eventually, I added other topics to my blog, like work, the TTC, municipal events – like the condition of the streets – volunteer activities and my search for a new job.

I found my blog became the repository for everything that happened to me during the day – good and bad – and if you look back at some of my oldest posts, they have little rhyme or reason, as I used this blog for a dumping ground of my emotions. 

Doing that allowed me time to grow emotionally, and as a writer as I would go back and read comments and those comments helped me realize whether I was writing something interesting of something crappy.  The more I wrote my posts to those readers the less I became myself, but the more I wanted comments.  I wanted to be noticed.  I think deep down inside I wanted what some other bloggers I knew about had, like Cheaty Monkey and Redneck Mummy, I wanted to be able to write a post worthy of 30 comments or 200 hits… I wanted to be known.

Then somewhere along the line I realized that being the Dad of 3 kids, with a new job which I love(d), I had been blogging for over 4 years and with little in the way of hits or comments I just enjoyed using this forum to talk about what it’s like being an involved father. 

I was fortunate to have been in a position to have taken off 9 months to be with my first son, 4 months with my second, and yes, one day with my third, but on the weekends, they are mine and in the evenings I take care of their bedtime routine and I would not pass that up for anything in the world.

Sure I find there are times during the day when I wonder why I’m working (obvious reasons – to pay bills) because I just want to be home with my kids.  Yes, we do programs in the evenings and on the weekends, and sure every now and then I am able to walk them to school, be the class parent, or take them for a walk to run errands… I want them to be as involved as possible so when they get older they won’t be afraid to ask for what they want or settle for a job they do not like because they are too hesitant to make a move.

And while I do not have the burden of having to make the big decisions – schools, meals, camps, lunches, or stuff like that as my wife does all of that too much success, I am involved in the conversation regarding these decisions as much as I can.  My wife and I attended 5 or six schools before we chose the one my oldest goes to know and I went with my wife to speak to the principal of the new school that my middle child attends.  We visited camps, arranged sports events and we plan vacations that would be fun for everyone.  I like to be in control but where I cannot, I know my wife will have already done the legwork and spoken to people and will come to me when we’re close so we can seal the deal together and be comfortable that it is the right decision for us and our kids.

I try not to miss parent teacher interviews, I look at homework and often find myself asking my kids how their day was and what they did.  I worry about how they are socializing with their classmates, and between each other.  I worry about how they are to their teachers and try to get them to treat their nanny with the most respect possible.  I worry about how they are going to cope as they grow older. 

My oldest boy is so much like me that I want to watch his development and remind him that to be successful in school and in life he needs to be a little less goofy and a little more serious.  I remember about 6 months ago when he told me that he didn’t know; “When is the right time to be serious and when it’s okay to be goofy”.  I try to teach him.  My middle boy, on the other hand is all my wife and I want him to be a little less intense and a little more outgoing so that he can use his natural smarts to be the best he can be.

So getting back to why it is that I blog… I told this TV station about why I love being a Dad and why I didn’t really want to be on TV because I’m not the worlds’ most articulate guy all the time and at times I wonder if any of these posts even make sense on the screen after I type my garbled mess.  But the more I talked about myself and my enjoyment of fatherhood, I realized I could do this, and if they decided after meeting me that they wanted to give me a shot and have me on, I would do it.  Not for the potential for more hits, or more comments, but hit the opportunity to pass along to anyone that wants to listen why it’s great being a parent and to share some of the things we have encountered as a family and how we moved past them.

Trust me… If it’s going to happen, I’ll let you know…

… Maybe.  🙂