Category Archives: Political Parent

Fernwood daycare protest (and a quick Halloween thanks)

A couple of very local notes in this post. First, a big thank you to all the municipal politicians who decided last year to ban the sale of fireworks at Halloween. For the first time since arriving here 14 years ago, it didn’t feel like I was living in a war zone. The kids slept thru the night and I didn’t have to listen to the neighbours dog bark everytime something exploded within 12 blocks of our house. Thank you.

Second, tomorrow is day 3 of a 4 day protest by the Fernwood Neighborhood Resource Group executive director Roberta Martell. Martell is on a 4 day fast from high atop the centre, protesting the lack of available daycare and daycare staff in the region. The centre (with an apparent waitlist of 400) has been forced to close because they can’t find qualified staff. If you happen to be in the area, pop by and wish her well. She’ll be on the roof until Saturday.

Dadventure in the news

Dadventure and fellow Dad blogger Vancouver Dad were featured in an article about Dad bloggers in the Vancouver Province over the weekend.

The reporter, Matthew Ramsey, contacted me last week about the story. One of the things that he told me that was new information to me was the new Stats Can figures that show the number of Canadian fathers taking leaves from work to spend time with their kids has increased from 38 per cent in 2001 to 55 per cent in 2006. As Vancouver Dad points out in his post about it:

But the dads don’t stay home for nearly as long. Two-thirds of fathers returned to work within a month of the arrival of the child. It’s no wonder. While mothers usually took formal maternity leave, the dads tended to use vacation time or unpaid leave rather than paid parental leave.

One thing I am noticing with my circle of friends is the number of parents who are splitting their parental leave benefits. The federal government allows for up to 35 weeks of parental leave for either parent, and I know a few parents who are splitting this time between both parents. Dads may take the final 8-12 weeks and Mom may re-enter the workforce a few months sooner.

It’s still far from the ideal (as outlined in the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Government of Canada’s Child Care Spaces Initiative released in the spring) where both parents could have equal lengths of time off in the first years of their children’s life, but it is a start. And is certainly is a lot better than prior to 2001 when the parental leave benefits were introduced.

Video by The Onion – For Kids by Kids

The Onion rocks. And now that they have added video, they’ve turned up the volume to 11.

Gap Unveils New ‘For Kids By Kids’ Clothing Line

Report recommends extending parental leave to 2.5 years

A panel appointed by the Conservative Harper government to find ways of improving access to child care is recommending that Employment Insurance benefits for new parents should be increased from the current 50 weeks to 18 months and eventually to 2½ years.

What is really exciting for Dads is that the report recommends that the benefit be extended to both parents. With the current 50 weeks, parents can split the time with one or the other taking it. With the new recommendations, both parents would be eligible for the full time available. Imagine. Both parents at home for 2½ years with their kids.

What a fantastic idea for our society to be able to give parents the financial ability to stay at home longer with their kids during those very important formative years, and still be able to transition back into the workforce.

There is also a recommendation that employers “top up” EI benefits to remove financial pressure on parents to return to work.

The government commissioned this report to find ways to ease the childcare crunch in Canada where demand for infant spaces far exceeds available spaces. Nice to see some acknowledgment from the feds that there is a shortage of high quality care in Canada and that this is probably the biggest issue facing working families in this country.

I urge every Canadian reader of this blog to email their MP and give full support to this report. Human Resources Minister Monte Solberg says he is in no hurry to act on these recommendations, so some public support would go a long way to keeping this report from being shelved.

From the April 16th, 2007 Globe and Mail.

The Conservative Budget, SAHD’s and the media

I’m reading our local newspaper this morning, digging to find reaction to the federal Conservative government’s new budget and the first non-politician quote I come across is from a stay-at-home dad.

Reymond Page, a stay-at-home dad in Winnipeg, says he would have preferred to see the money spent on health care, education and infrastructure improvements, something he sees directly impacting his family.

“Is this a short-term thing that’s supposed to fire up voters because the Conservatives are throwing money at us? Could that money be used to better effect?” said Page.

It’s really nice to see a media story where a stay at home dad isn’t the focus of the story, or portrayed like an anomaly, but instead is just another regular, everyday participant in our society.

As for the budget itself…man, this kills me because I loath the Conservatives. Actually, I loath the Alliance/Reform wing of the Conservatives. The old Progressive Conservatives were not so bad, and it seems there is much more Progressive Conservative than Reform Conservative in this budget.

True, there is no income splitting, which would have been even better for families where both parents work outside the home. This budget is going straight at the heartland of Conservative support – the single income family with a stay at home parent. Only in the Conservative mind, you have to think they see that parent as a Mom and not a Dad.

Overall, parents in Canada should be fairly happy – I know, I know, yes you can smell the slightest hint of praise for the Conservatives. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in his budget speech, “a single-earner family with two children and a $37,000 income will see its income tax bill cut by $620 or nearly a quarter.” That should pretty well get us parents back to even with regards to making the Child Tax benefit taxable income.

Most of that is due to a new tax credit of $310 per child under 18. There is also an increase in the basic personal tax credit for low-income spouses so that it equals that of the working parent, and an increase of $100 to $500 per year in federal government contributions to a child’s Registered Education Savings Plan.

There are still a few things missing from this budget for families, first and foremost a dire lack of quality, affordable daycare for many working parents. And in many parts of the country, housing costs are so high that it makes the dream of owning your own home just that – a dream. Address those two major concerns and you’ll make a lot of families in this country extremely happy.

Anne Coulter – wouldn’t it be nice if this was the beginning of the end?

I don’t usually blog about politics south of the border, and this has nothing to do with parenting or being a Dad but….

Oh, I can’t believe she said this, but I am very happy because it may shut this harpy up once and for all. Okay, I’m dreaming, but it’s good to see that even Republicans are questioning her judgement on her recent remarks.

Hmmmmm…forced into rehab. Not a bad idea, Anne, but is there a rehab program for debitchification?

Dear Stephen Harper. Thanks for the $100 $73. Now where do I spend it?

We attended our first family protest yesterday for an issue that directly affects our children – the lack of quality childcare in Canada.

In a nutshell, the federal government has decided that their childcare strategy consists of giving parents $100 a month (taxable, which is why it really works out to around $73 per month) to spend with as they wish on childcare under the guise that this will offer families “more freedom of childcare choice”.

It’s a crock, and here’s why. Continue reading

Sextuplet Jehovah Witness parents refuse blood

I’ve been following the case of the Jehovah Witness parent’s who gave birth to sextuplets in Vancouver, BC on January5th/6th and I can’t understand the parents logic.

In a nutshell, the couple has refused to give their babies medically necessary blood transfusions because it is against their religion. 2 of the babies have died, and now child protection authorities are stepping in to protect 3 of the remaining 4 children. Earlier this week, 2 of those children were given blood transfusions. The parents are responding by suing to authorities, saying the province has violated their constitutional rights.

Continue reading

Playground Bullies

I am posting this article in honor of the current Cancun summit between 3 of the western world’s most Conservative political leaders.

A new report from the University of California-Berkeley (the very heart of rabid liberalism, according to the article) says that:

Whiny, insecure brats who cowered with fear of being bullied on the playground grow up to be conservatives, while smooth self-confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grow up to be liberals.