Posted in #OHIP4IVF, Canada, Community, disaster, family, government, Life, money, Parenting, politics, Toronto

Ontario Provincial Election Primer 2018. Undecided? Read This!


On June 7th, 2018, Ontarians will get an opportunity to vote in an election which will shape the way our province runs for the next 4-years.

The decision we make, has to be made based on what is best for the collective whole, what is best for us, and what is best for the next generation of Ontario Taxpayers, and not based on what people will say about us, our Province, our Premier or our Prime Minister.

The task is a tough one, but let’s try to shed some light on the platforms and what to expect for the next 4-years, and see if that helps you decide who gets your vote.

In 2014, the Ontario Liberal Government made these promises;

Personal taxes

Liberal 2014 pledge was to “Raise taxes on top 2% of Ontario earners”

In order to see how they did, I pulled the Ontario tax rates from the Canadian Tax Returns from 2010-2018.

Ontario tax rates

2018: 5.05% on income of $42,960 or less, 9.15% on $42,963-$64,077, 11.16% on $64,077-$70,000,  12.16% on $70,000-$220,000 and 13.16% on income over $220,000.

2017: $42,201 or less @5.05%, $42,201-$84,404 @ 9.15%, $84,404-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, over $220,000 @ 13.16%

2016: $41,536 or less @ 5.05%, $41,536-$83,075 @ 9.15%, $83,075-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, Over $220,000 @ 13.16%.

2015: Less than $40,922 @ 5.05%, $40,922-$81,847 @ 9.15%, $81,847-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$220,000 @ 12.16%, and income more than $220,000 @ 13.16%

2014: $40,120 or less @ 5.05%, $40,120-$80,342 @ 9.15%, $80,242-$150,000 @ 11.16%, $150,000-$240,000 @ 12.16%, More than $220,000 @ 13.16%

2013: $39,723 or less @5.05%, $39,723-$79,448 @ 9.15%, $79,448-$509,000 @11.16%, over $509,000 @13.16%

2012: $39,020 or less @ 5.05%, $39,020 – $78,043 @ 9.15%, $78,043-$500,000 @ 11.16%, More than $500,000 @ 12.16%.

2011: $37,774 or less @ 5.05%, $37,774-$75,550 @ 9.15%, More than $75,550 @ 11.16%.

2010: $37,106 or less @ 5.05%, $37,106-$74,214 @ 9.15%, More than $74,214 @ 11.16%

 

As you can see, the tax brackets move year over year, and there have been additional tax brackets added. Here is how much Ontarians earned, according to Statistics Canada census.

According to Statistics Canada

Individuals by total income level, by province and territory (Ontario)
  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
number of persons
Total, all income groups 9,741,870 9,743,420 9,867,280 10,083,520 10,157,280
Under $5,000 872,840 799,690 805,190 855,500 764,990
$5,000 and over 8,869,030 8,943,730 9,062,090 9,228,020 9,392,290
$10,000 and over 8,155,630 8,245,590 8,375,390 8,562,450 8,748,520
$15,000 and over 7,219,670 7,322,660 7,457,070 7,655,920 7,878,190
$20,000 and over 6,301,960 6,416,620 6,545,820 6,745,310 6,974,390
$25,000 and over 5,530,610 5,645,750 5,772,340 5,959,770 6,184,900
$35,000 and over 4,334,550 4,460,560 4,582,210 4,749,620 4,948,440
$50,000 and over 2,852,030 2,972,470 3,087,320 3,230,610 3,394,390
$75,000 and over 1,404,030 1,487,700 1,574,090 1,668,890 1,771,250
$100,000 and over 658,520 707,620 766,990 819,960 886,190
$150,000 and over 231,310 246,520 265,550 278,330 305,590
$200,000 and over 122,190 128,140 136,290 141,740 157,450
$250,000 and over 78,370 81,210 86,300 88,600 98,750
$
Median total income 30,290 31,310 31,820 32,380 33,840

According to Statistics Canada, in 2015, there were 10,157,280 Ontario Taxpayers.

For the Liberals to increase taxes on the top 2% of them would, mean increasing taxes for approximately, 203,145.6 Ontarians, which would be every Ontarian earning over $200,000 per year.

It looks like that has happened, and I’m sure many would support that, but have a closer look at the numbers, and you will see that in 2013, the top tax rate of 13.16% applied only to Ontarians earning over $500,000, but that was dropped in 2014 to apply to Ontarians who earned over $220,000.

In 2013, if you earned $200,000, your tax rate was 9.16%. In 2014, it was 12.16%, and in 2015, it was 13.16%

That is a 4% increase on the highest income earners!

Wait until later in this post to see what the Liberals did to the “middle class” and how much their taxes increased!

 

Corporate taxes

In 2014, the Liberals promised to;

  • Maintain corporate tax rate at 11.5% for now
  • Increase tax rate on aviation fuel
  • Remove small business tax deduction currently used by large businesses

Fact: Ontario Corporate Tax Rates have a low and a high, and in 2018, the rate was 3.5%-11.5%.

The low end is one of the highest in Canada, while the high end is one of the lowest in Canada.

Under the Liberal government who states that Corporations must pay their fair share, the Ontario General corporate income tax rate was:

14% before July 1, 2010

12% June 30, 2010

11.5% after June 30, 2011.

 

In the most recent budget, the Ontario Liberal government matched the Federal Liberal government and got rid of the Small Business Deduction – which reduced the corporate income tax rate on the first $500,000 of active business income of Canadian‑controlled private corporations (CCPC) earned to 4.5%.

As of January 1, 2018, the lower rate of Ontario corporate income tax decreased from 4.5% to 3.5% and CCPC’s with taxable capital is between $10 million and $15 million are no longer eligible for the preferential corporate income tax rate of 4.5% on the first $500,000 of active business income.

 

Jobs

In 2014, the Ontario Liberals pledged to;

  • Increase minimum wage to $11/hour
  • Spend $2.5 billion over 10-years on a Jobs and Prosperity Fund to attract and keep businesses in the province
  • Spend $38-million in the Youth Employment Fund in 2014-15 until September 2015
  • Simplify and restructure Foreign Credential Recognition Program
  • Spend $25-million in the Aboriginal Economic Development Fund over 3 years to promote aboriginal business
  • Create a regulated crowdfunding system
  • Spend $75-million on a “wine strategy” to encourage exports of Ontario VQA winesAside from really jacking up the minimum wage which resulted in the largest loss of part-time jobs in the history of this province, the government spent a lot of our taxpayer dollars in areas which are difficult to measure the cost to job ratio.

Deficit

In 2014, the Liberals pledged to;

  • Balance the budget by 2017-18

Not even close! Between 2007-08 and 2018-19, Ontario’s debt grew from $157 billion to $325 billion.

One only has to look at this chart from the National Post to see the damage that Liberal Spending has done to the deficit, which we all have to pay back, eventually.

In 1985, the Liberals under David Peterson arrived, marking the defeat of Ontario’s four-decade conservative dynasty.

In 1990, Bob Rae became premier with the NDP forming Ontario’s government for the first time in history and their tenure coincided with the worst recession since the end of WWII, resulting in plunging revenues and growing expenditures in an effort to maintain services and stimulate the economy.

The resulting deficits were as high as $12.4 billion and saw the accumulation of $63.4 billion in net public debt.

By 1995, Ontario’s net public debt had reached $101.9 billion.

The NDP government was replaced in 1995 by Mike Harris’s Conservative government, which began expenditure reduction (cut costs) and restructuring to balance the budget as well as tax reductions to stimulate the economy.

Lower taxes, lower interest rates and a booming U.S. economy together helped Ontario’s economy rebound and government revenues grew, helping close the budgetary gap.

Ontario balanced its budget by 1999 but its net debt still grew to $138.8-billion under Ernie Eves in 2003 from $101.9-billion in 1995.

The defeat of Eves ushered in the Liberals under Dalton McGuinty in 2003 and then Kathleen Wynne in 2013.

This period witnessed the largest debt accumulation in Ontario’s history.

Between 2003 and 2014, Ontario’s net public debt grew to $287.3 billion from $138.8 billion – an increase of $148.5-billion.

The Liberals reduced it once, by $1.1 billion dollars after selling of part of Hydro 1, but that surely cannot be the only way to pay down the debt, can it?  Once all the assets are gone, what would they use?

Ontario has been a province since 1867 but 87% of its net public debt was accumulated in the years since 1990.

*** Interest on this debt is $11 billion a year! ***

 

Health care

In 2014, the Liberals pledged;

  • Increase hourly wage for personal support workers by $1.50 in 2014 and 2015 and $1 in 2016
  • $20-million to improve access to primary care physicians
  • Expand home, community and supported home care for 46,000 more seniors
  • Access to dental services for 70,000 more children in low-income families
  • Create low-income health benefit to provide vision care, drug coverage and mental health services to low-income families
  • Eliminate service waitlists for 21,000 people with developmental disabilities
  • $5-million to Children’s treatment centres
  • Expand and improve hospitals over a 10-year plan
  • Cap or cut hospital parking fees for frequent hospital visits
  • Establish Patient Ombudsman

 

Unfortunately, this Liberal government will be known for failing hospitals, failing patients, and failing to take full care of the lowest income earners.

Instead of free medication for the poorest Ontarians, the Liberals provided free medication for children.

Nursing homes are still over crowded. Hospitals are still over crowded. Doctor’s are leaving the province due to the Liberals poor negotiation / tax increase on them.

Pensions/Seniors

  • The Provincial Pension Plan to provide further retirement savings to the Canada Pension Plan

But thanks to the Federal Liberal government, this did not happen and while the concept was a good idea, the burden of cost for administering this program would fall to the employers, who have already been hit with increased taxes, and in 2014, had no idea what was to come with the sharp rise in the minimum wage.

 

Education

  • Implement full-day kindergarten for 4 and 5 year-olds by September 2014
  • Expand student nutrition program to 340 more schools
  • Integrate 60 minutes of physical activity into the school day
  • 3-year $150-million spent on technology and learning fund for tools such as tablets and cameras and professional development for teachers
  • $10-million to create Experience Ontario – Done – Experience Ontario is a pilot program for a limited number of recent high school graduates who have an interest in attending postsecondary education or apprenticeship training, but are uncertain of their next steps.
  • Keep 30% off tuition grant for post-secondary students – Hidden tax increase because if tuition drops by 30% and teachers / teaching assistants, etc., keep getting pay raises, then who gets to make up the difference… Ontario Taxpayers!
  • Build new post-secondary campuses and create spaces for 15,000 more students – this was announced – to be built in Markham – a joint venture between Seneca College and York University. Ironically, after the York University FINALLY opened, a mere 10-years later than it should have, the government plans to build this campus where there is no underground service… Can you say commuter University part 2.

 

Transportation/Transit

In 2014, the Ontario Liberals pledged to;

  • Invest $15-billion in transit projects in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, including the electrification of GO Express Rail and downtown relief line
  • All-day regional express rail GO service in Waterloo Region
  • Invest $14-billion in transit projects outside GTHA, including $1-billion in Ring of Fire transportation infrastructure
  • Two-way, all-day GO Train service in more communities
  • $2.5-billion for highways including expanding Hwy. 427 and expanding Hwy. 7 to four lanes between Kitchener and Guelph

They didn’t agree to speed up the building of current Toronto projects like the Eglinton LRT, or the proposed Finch LRT, which has been dragging along for 6-years costing commuters and business owners significant amounts of money each and every day. Ultimately, they can propose what they want, but they have to get the job done, and that has not happened, anywhere.  Traffic is getting worse by the day.

 

Consumers

  • Lower auto insurance rates by an average of 15% by August 2015
  • Create Consumer Bill of Rights

This pledge was a giant joke, as Ontarians pay some of the highest insurance rates in the world, while Ontario insurance companies make some of the highest profits in the world.  Additionally, what good is a Bill of Rights without any teeth? 

Family care

  • Pay for one cycle of in vitro fertilization – check. Good one!
  • Increase Ontario Child Benefit to $1,310 & index it to inflation afterward – done. Currently at $1378 per child per year.
  • Call on federal parties to include a national child care program in 2015 election platforms… Err, okay, this has not happened. Maybe they should focus on, I don’t know, Ontario!
  • Increase Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates for people with disabilities by 1% in 2014-15

Where was removing the Child Fitness Tax Credit??? Wasn’t mentioned but was removed – essentially a tax increase! Families put kids in programs for health and due to the tax incentive.  The removal of this credit is significant, sadly.

WSIB is killing Ontario businesses due to the costs to administer and it punishes the workers. This needed a major overhaul, but wasn’t touched.

 

Environment/Energy

  • Eliminate debt retirement charge on residential electricity bills
  • Develop program to reduce electricity bills for low-income families
  • Keep Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program to help businesses reduce energy costs
  • Expand outer boundary of Greenbelt over next six years
  • Promote urban forestry
  • Address algae problems in Great Lakes
  • $30-million over next 10 years to maintain Walkerton Clean Water Centre
  • $30-million over next three years to promote local food
  • $25-million over three years for cycling strategy CycleOn
  • Expand provincial trail network

I’m not even going to touch this disaster portfolio by the Liberals. They spent, spent and then spent more, and they taxed, raised, and increased anything and everything to pay for their out-of-control spending. Gas taxes went up, user fees increased, hydro coasts soared, Liberals went to jail, Liberals went on trial, and everybody had to pay.

 

Political reforms

  • Maintain MPPs’ salary freeze – still $116,500 as it was in 2008. Not even increased in line with inflation. That must suck.
  • Cap public sector and broader public sector executives’ salaries – check
  • Reduce number of government agencies by 30% in 2015

There are currently 28 Ontario Agencies;

Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
Government & Consumer Services
Environment & Climate Change
Citizenship & Immigration
Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Attorney General
Natural Resources & Forestry
Children and Youth Services
Municipal Affairs
Health and Long-Term Care
Treasury Board Secretariat
Tourism, Culture and Sport
Labour
Natural Resources & Forestry
Community Safety and Correctional Services
Education
Finance
Advanced Education and Skills Development
Transportation
Northern Development and Mines
Research, Innovation and Science
Energy
Infrastructure
International Trade
Housing
Children and Youth Services
Francophone Affairs
Community and Social Services

In 2010, I counted 26 of them. I’m sure there must be more, but merging them together doesn’t mean efficiencies were created, it just means fewer web-pages to have to update.

  • Introduce financial accountability officer – done
  • Give municipalities option of ranked ballots as an alternative to first-past-the-post in elections

After a review of the facts, this government has essentially lived up to their spending promises, however, there are 2 areas where I believe they failed miserably;

  1. Spending, and
  2. Taxation.

Increased spending where there is a balanced budget means the government takes in X amount of dollars in tax from Ontarians, and spends X amount of dollars.Unfortunately for all Ontarians, the government took in X amount of dollars from Ontarians, yet spent hundreds of billions of dollars more than they took in.

The effect of this spending means that Ontario has to borrow the money and has to pay interest on this borrowed money.

The amount Ontario has borrowed, or the deficit, currently stands at $325 billion dollars!

Imagine earning $100,000 per year, and borrowing $30 million dollars from the bank?  Then having to borrow more and more each year just to make the minimum payments on the interest to stay out of bankruptcy?  That debt will never be paid off unless you earn significantly more amounts of money, reduce all of your expenses, and if the lender agrees to reduce the interest.

If, however, the bank calls the loan, then you are bankrupt.

The same holds true for provinces.

The long-term effect of this irresponsible spending is that going forward for every X dollars the province brings in as tax dollars, there is an amount, let’s call it Y, which the government MUST pay in interest to the bank on the money they had to borrow. That means in order to balance a budget, they have to get even more money from Ontarians, which means even higher taxes, or they have to cut spending.

But if they cut spending, then they have to cut services, which is what they claim the Conservatives always do, so they don’t cut expenses or raise taxes, they do it in a much sneakier way so that you never know they are doing it.

One way this government has reduced spending and increased taxes, for example, is by getting rid of tax credits or deductions, such as the Child Tax Credit, or the Transit Credit. By not allowing these credits, the government no longer has accept less taxes from Ontarians and they win again because either these Ontarians will get back less taxes (because no deduction).

It’s brilliant.

It’s devious.

It’s immoral.

It’s like reducing the size of a jar but charging the same price. Consumers think they’re getting the same amount for their dollars, but in fact they are getting less and paying the same.

If the government told you back in 2014 that they would spend the province into bankruptcy and increase taxes by 3-4% on every Ontarian earning over $40,000/year while cutting credits and deductions, would you have voted for them?

Funny how that was never discussed…

 

Note: By moving the middle tax bracket, your $70,000 of income in 2014 put you in the 9.15% tax bracket, but in 2018, it puts you in the 12.16% tax bracket. That move increases taxes on the “middle class” without increasing the tax rate.  This was done while both the Liberal governments here in Ontario and Federally have been campaigning against the “rich and wealthy.”

These adjustments, along with the adding of levies, and user fees, and all those other words which mean tax, is just another way to prove that this government is underhanded and untrustworthy.

So instead of posting each parties platform and going through the pros and cons of each government, I decided to save everyone time and pull out what I feel really matters.

Liberals: More spending. Budget not balanced until 2024-2025.  Wave hands, and magically increase taxes on everyone over $50,000.

NDP: Even more spending.  Remove the power for governments to call an end to strikes. Debt and deficit to continue to grow.  Money to come from increasing taxes on the”rich” which we now know to be everyone over $40,000 per year.

Conservative: One or 2 years of deficit, then balanced budget and begin paying down the debt.  Plan to get more money into the governments pockets is not through increasing the tax rate, but by lowering taxes, gas, hydro, and letting Ontarians spend more money because 8% of that HST (consumption tax) belongs to Ontario.

Green: Increase spending for 2-3 years, no balanced budget for 3-4 years, and increased revenue to come from taxing the “rich” taxpayers and corporations.

 

Personally, if you ask, I’d rather tighten my belt buckle now and pay that bit extra in order to see the deficit reduced so that my children are not paying for this in the next 5-10 years.  Unfortunately, because the Liberals typically spend without consideration for where the money to pay for it will come from, it puts the next governing party in a bad light because they have to reduce waste, and cut where the Liberals didn’t want to.  It’s a great strategy to keep getting elected, but as a Taxpayer its annoying and unfair.

Good luck and get out there and vote!  It’s your democratic right!

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Posted in Being Jewish in Toronto, Canada, Community, Daddy, family, Life, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, urbandaddyblog

Holy Hell! Please Tell Me Today is NOT Monday!


I woke up this morning at 6am with a feeling of dread that today might actually be Monday…

I turned to my wife who was already awake and I asked her, “Is it Monday?”

“Yup”, she responded with a sigh.

It’s not that we hate our jobs, or that we had something to do today which we were dreading, but today came way too soon.

For those of you with multiple children – especially those of you with children in activities – know that this is one hectic time of year.

Programs are ending, programs and starting, and that means 8am-10pm programming and with 3 children and 2 parents, it means a whole lot of juggling and lots of mileage on the car!

Take Sunday for example.  My oldest boy umpires baseball, and as his baseball season came to an end yesterday, he found umpiring work at the Toronto Girls Baseball League, an upstart league created by Dana Bookman, which has taken the city by storm.  Very well run, extremely well-organized, and extremely well supported it’s been a huge success and is growing by leaps and bounds.  Our daughter has played in the league and would play more if it didn’t conflict with her dance classes.

As the oldest, and considering the park was close enough to home, he was the lucky one who had to make his own way to and from the games.  He gathered his umpire gear, made sure he found his bike lock, and set out his water bottle, snack and sun screen the night before.

His younger brother had Sunday school in the morning, followed by his Select hockey practice, followed right after by his baseball playoff game.  He made muffins in the morning which made him happy, and he loved his select practice and his baseball team won (even though he wanted to pitch and his coach wouldn’t let him pitch – which made him grumpy).

As an aside, he’s an outstanding kid – all about fairness and equality for everyone – he knows that he has pitched the least out of all the kids and out of frustration he declared that he’s not playing baseball next year.  Never ever again.  All of this because he’s had the same coach 2 years in a row and he feels that he’s going to get the same coach next season and that coach will not let him pitch.  It’s NOT fair.

Our daughter, fresh off a Saturday afternoon dancing at half-time of the Toronto Argonauts football game, had her day filled with another dancing gig at the Girl Expo Canada, which coincidentally was created and run by Dana Bookman along with Alison Cepler.

After that event, she headed downtown to synchronized swimming practice where 2 hours in the pool tuckered her out.

Back at home, the oldest had a play date with a former school mate, and by the time we all settled in together, it was 8pm and I left my equally exhausted wife with 3 hungry, tired children while I raced out to a 8:30pm business meeting.

I finally returned just before 11pm to find my wife laying in bed – too tired to sleep – but so tired she needed to sleep.  We planned Monday’s responsibilities and I headed down to the kitchen to clean up from dinner, and take care of the load of laundry she ran.

Midnight came very quickly.

She was still awake.

I was wide awake.

“You know, we’re going to close our eyes and it will feel like seconds before it’s Monday morning.”

With that thought, we closed our eyes…

 

(For those of you who are thinking about commenting that it’s our fault for having 3 kids, and for programming 3 kids and that we’re just being whiny for complaining… Yup.  Saved you from having to enter that comment.)

Just thinking about myself as a kid – my parents put me in the one program that they thought I should have been in – and that was the way it was done.  I want my kids to experience plenty of things – we’re smart enough to plan the schedules accordingly, but when programs overlap… So not cool.

 

 

Posted in Community, Daddy, family, Life, school, urbandaddyblog

But I Didn’t Get The Email…


“I didn’t get that email.”
“I never saw that email.”
“It must have gone to my spam folder.”

How often have you used any of those comments when you need to get out of a jam? We all know it’s a bullshit response, but we use it, it gets accepted, then you had better make sure that you find that email (usually sitting unread in your inbox) and respond to it.

But what if you really didn’t get the email?

Does anyone really believe you any ways?

This morning in The Urban Daddy household, my wife and I decided to run through our days after school drop-off (we have a lot going on, clearly) and she mentioned to me that she would be missing the kids swimming tonight.

Errr, I take the kids swimming… Me, and me only.

“Why?” I sheepishly asked, figuring that I clearly forgot some details about tonight.

“It’s parent-viewing tonight…”

“Oh” I replied, with zero recollection of this conversation.

“Didn’t you get the email?” was her reply.

Well, I did not get the email. I am not on the swim school’s email list. I have never been on that list, although I have been included many times and I have asked to be included even more times.

I’m not part of that club…

So we laughed, and moved on…

How about next week, when your son writes his math test through Spirit of Math.

“Huh?” was my response.

“Geez… Don’t you read the emails from Spirit of Math!?!”

“Nope… Not on that list either” was my reply.

I know I now have to get myself included on these lists, but really, after 5-years of swimming and 3-years of math enrichment, have I missed anything?

But I’ll get on the list anyways.

Posted in family, Life

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.  🙂