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Dear old Dad

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This Sunday is Father's Day.

I am one of the lucky Canadians who can claim to have the best father in the country. My brother and I have enjoyed his (and my mother's too but her day was last month) unconditional love and support our entire lives.

Neither of us would be who or where we are today without him. I'm pretty sure he knows that. But just in case he doesn't I've got his father's day gift all ready to go. Because nothing says thanks and I love you more than - oh wait. I can't tell you what I bought him. He reads this blog.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the greeting card holidays, dads get short shrift compared to moms.

The National Retail Federation in the U.S. estimates Americans will spend $9.8 billion on Father's Day gifts and meals and activities this year, about $94.32 per person. While that is up slightly from last year, it's still significantly lower than the $14.6 billion, or $126.90 per person spent on Mother's Day.

Why we spend less on dad than we do on Mom is anyone's guess. Maybe moms are just easier to buy for.

While moms are still more likely to take on more responsibility for kids as stay-at-home parents, single parents, and take more parental leave when kids are born, dads are getting more into the act.

 

According to some stats posted by Statistics Canada in time for Father's Day:

  • In 2006 there were 8.1 million dads in Canada compared to 9.2 million moms.
  • That same year, 20 per cent of single-parent families were headed up by dad.
  • In 2008, 12 per cent of fathers outside of Quebec planned to take parental leave up from 9 per cent in 2004. Within Quebec, 82 per cent of fathers planned to take parental leave, up from 22 per cent in 2004.
  • In 2009, 12 per cent of two-parent families with a stay-at-home parent assigned that role to dad. That was 58,000 families with a stay-at-home dad. There were 437,000 families with a stay-at-home mom.
  • Perhaps the most discouraging statistic is that neither mom nor dad spend as much time with their families as they did two decades ago.
  • In 1986, dads reported spending an average of 250 minutes per day with their families - 4.17 hours. Moms were slightly lower at 248 minutes per day, or 4.13 hours.
  • In 2005, dad's family time diminished to 205 minutes per day or 3.42 hours, while moms spent on average 209 minutes, or 3.48 hours.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.

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