CANADA: Campaigning For Change

CANADA: Campaigning For Change

It seems that there is no place on earth that is immune to bigotry. Not even Canada, which has been regarded by many as one of the world’s last bastions of sanity. After a campaign that was eerily similar to the Trump-vs-Hillary battle, Ontario elected as its Premier a man who is eerily similar to Trump.

Since this provincial government took office about a month ago, the following has happened:

* The cap-and-trade program, meant to benefit the environment and combat climate change, has been scrapped.

*$100M dollars that had been budgeted for school repairs has been taken away. The school repair backlog in Ontario currently sits at about $15B.

* A basic income pilot program, which was enabling low-income people to do things like put a roof over their head and food on their table, has been canceled.

* Prescription drug coverage for people under the age of 21 has been removed.

* A budgeted increase in funding for people with disabilities has been cut in half.

* Money that had been slated for mental health supports has been taken away.

* With spectacular disregard for democracy, the Premier has decided to slash the size of Toronto City Council in the middle of a municipal election campaign.

* An updated health and physical education curriculum has been repealed. The sex ed component of this curriculum was teaching kids about consent, bodily autonomy, online and physical safety, and respect for members of the LGBT community.

The education system is in for a rough few years. A lot is going to change in the school boards. Funding is going to be taken away or redistributed. Curriculums are going to be replaced with older, outdated versions that are not relevant to today’s world. Teaching conditions are going to become more challenging, and students are going to emerge from high school without all of the tools they need to cope with the big bad world.

The time for me to sit back and complain about the government is over. I have decided that I need to be proactive in advocating for kids – not only my own kids, but all of the kids in my community. And so I have thrown my name into the hat for the role of school board trustee. If I am elected, I will be throwing all of my energy into ensuring that during this political upheaval in our province, the voices of the kids are not drowned out. I will do whatever it takes to ensure the wellbeing of students in my neighbourhood. I will join committees, go to meetings, propose new policies and defend our kids against attacks on their education.

Of course, I first have to convince voters that I am a better person for the job than the eight people I’m running against. Knocking on doors and talking to complete strangers is not my idea of a fun time. But if it gets me into a position where I can make a difference, it’ll be worth it.

Have you ever run for an elected office? What is the education system like where you are?

This is an original post for World Moms Network by Kirsten Doyle of Toronto, Canada. To follow Kirsten on the campaign trail, visit, or follow her on Twitter @kirstendoyle_to, or Instagram @votekirstendoyle.

 Photo credit: Peter Gabany

Kirsten Doyle (Canada)

Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny). Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels. When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum. Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!

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Toronto Traffic JamParents watch their child grow and exclaim that ‘Time flies!’ Or, on those endless afternoons where the cranky and over tired toddler simply will not nap, time drags on for an eternity.

As former residents of a major city and newcomers to Smalltown, Ontario, we’re adjusting to a different type of time – time without traffic.

Oh sure, we have traffic. Cars, trucks and boats (on trailers) go up and down the streets. And a friend told me about parents of kids at a school in the next town over picking up their kids on snowmobiles, but it’s a different kind of traffic than the choking gridlock that paralyses the Greater Toronto Area on a daily basis.

Our family is adjusting to life without traffic and on a more reasonable timeline, which only highlights how ridiculous our city life was. Two working parents with two kids in two different daycare facilities meant that we had to leave our home by 6:20 am every weekday to make the prerequisite drops just before squeaking into work just on time.

This meant the kids had to be up by 5:30 am to eat breakfast and stumble into clothes for the day. The birds weren’t even up! No wonder my oldest had serious behaviour issues – poor guy was exhausted.

Now as our family has grown to three children ages 6 and under, we’ve streamlined our efforts. One parent stays home, the other goes to work. Oh, and the oldest still has to be at school shortly after 8:00 am. Adding two children with special needs – with different therapist appointments and medical visits, and you have one busy family with serious time management issues. We’d have to drive for about 45 minutes (one way) to make those medical appointments (which were in the same city as we were; only traffic slowed you down to a crawl). So our family got used to leaving to go anywhere about an hour early.

Life in Smalltown, Ontario sure is different. If I drove for 45 minutes here I’d be in another township (or two)! Hubby and I find we do more in less time, and actually enjoy our drive through the town’s streets. A recent major shopping trip (one of those big box adventures, that required you to pick up stuff at other stores because it’s on sale) found Hubby and I sitting down for lunch with our toddler, wondering what to do with the rest of the day. We’d done a month’s worth of shopping in less than three hours, and been at three different stores too!

This is in sharp contrast to our city life, where lunch is a slice of pizza gobbled by kids strapped in car seats as a parent races to the next appointment or errand, all in an effort to save time. I’m not even going to talk about quality of life here. Check out my post, the Busy, Busy Month of May for more on this one. But back to time.

My daily commute is a perfect example of how time creeps away. Last year, for the first time in ten years my commute was under 20 minutes – without traffic. For ten years I’d been driving for an hour or more to work, and an hour or more from work. Around two hours each day, spent in my car. For ten years.

It makes me sick thinking about how much time was wasted, sitting and waiting for the car in front of me to move. Never mind the delays of an accident or construction – even my little 20 minute commute would balloon to over an hour if there was construction. (Which, as GTA residents will tell you, is nearly constant in summer time.) So as a family that has dealt with time-sucking gridlock, we love the freedom and new found time life in Smalltown brings.  The kids are happy, parents are happy, we’re all relaxed and so much less stressed.

Some of the things we’ve been doing include:

  • Spending time outdoors: Playing in the backyard kiddie pool after school! Playing in the backyard BEFORE school (unheard of!) Enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, instead of watching videos constantly.  In the winter we’ll be outside playing in the snow.
  • Visiting local Farmer’s Markets, Pow Wows and festivals.
  • Becoming active in the community – the library, museum, YMCA and Sports Complex and Ontario Early Years Centre are only a short walk away.

I just signed up the oldest for Boy Scouts (Beavers, actually for his age group) and my daughter for dance classes – all on weeknights, and all only a short drive or walk away. I wouldn’t even dream of this in the city. We’re doing more, with less.

In short, we’re living life, on our own time.

What do you do to save time or make the best use of your time in your day?

Angela blogs about her super-powered, special needs family at halfpastnormal.  They’re recently moved from Toronto, Canada to a small town in Ontario.

Toronto traffic jam photo credit to James D. Schwartz.  This photo has a creative commons attribute license.


Angela is a Special Education teacher who blogs about her super-powered special needs family. She has a 3 year old with Prader-Willi Syndrome and a 5 year old with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Sensory Processing Disorder. The odds of these random genetic events occurring at the same time are astronomical. "When you add our typically developing one year old baby boy to the mix, you have a very busy household!", she explains. Angela admits to having too many appointments, too many school problems, and being generally too busy as she tries to live life to the fullest. Please visit her family at Half Past Normal for more of their adventures! If you want to connect to chat, you can find her on Twitter @specialneedmom2 If you are interested in Special Education policies and procedures in Ontario – or just some excellent strategies and accommodations – please check out Angela's other site at Special Ed on the Bell Curve.

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CANADA: Keeping Our Daughter Safe

The minute my daughter was born, I knew that I would do anything to keep her safe. That I would pay any amount of money to ensure her needs were met, to keep her healthy, and make certain she grew up in a safe environment.

Even if I didn’t have the funds available.

When we found out that she had a peanut allergy, that feeling tripled.

We were lucky to have already had her placed in a daycare that was peanut free and aware of the dangers of introducing nuts into the environment. They took care to ensure there was a safety plan in place should she ever be exposed or require her EpiPen, and had an emergency contact form filled out and posted. (more…)

CANADA: Interview with Carol from “If By Yes”

CANADA: Interview with Carol from “If By Yes”

Where in the world do you live? And, are you from there?

I live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, but I’m not from here, originally. I was born in Ontario, and I spent a lot of my childhood in the Caribbean on an island called Curacao. When we moved home to Canada, we moved East to Nova Scotia, which is where both my parents’ families hail from, originally. I spent my teenage years there, and I went to university in New Brunswick.

My husband and I moved out West for the jobs and the mountains back in 2007. I love the mountains, but I miss my family, my old friends, and Halifax Donairs. I am slowly putting down roots out here, though. (more…)

Carol (Canada)

Carol from If By Yes has lived in four different Canadian provinces as well as the Caribbean. Now she lives in Vancouver, working a full time job at a vet clinic, training dogs on the side, and raising her son and daughter to be good citizens of the world. Carol is known for wearing inside-out underwear, microwaving yoghurt, killing house plants, over-thinking the mundane, and pointing out grammatical errors in "Twilight". When not trying to wrestle her son down for a nap, Carol loves to read and write. Carol can also be found on her blog, If By Yes, and on Twitter @IfByYesTweets

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