I have lived in the GTA for most of my life, and I’m happily raising my kids in Vaughan, where my two children (my son is seven and my daughter is five) attend public school. I absolutely love this community of ours. Our diversity, our complexity and all the amazing people bring me joy every single day.
One thing you can say about me is that I believe in public service. From an early age I have volunteered my time and labour toward worthy causes, whether working with the homeless downtown or training journalists on human rights reporting in post-dictatorship Ghana. While in West Africa I did a bit of my own reporting on human rights issues (for instance the treatment of criminal suspects and the suffering of refugees from war-torn Liberia).
Recently I have been helping out at the Yellow Brick House, a women’s shelter in Richmond Hill. They are always in need of resources, so if you have money or items to donate please click here.
I think I would have to say that my most intense volunteering experience was in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I drove down and worked with Habitat for Humanity. Thousands of homes had been flooded and ruined by the rising waters; our job was to put on Tyvek suits, filter masks and hard hats, and enter homes that had been abandoned since the flooding. Due to the threat of toxic mould and assorted vermin (up to and including alligators), we had to dispose of almost everything: furniture, electronics, kitchenware, clothing, photos, you name it. The experience was a devastating reminder of how fragile life can be — and how important it is to make the most of our time on this earth.
Professionally, most of my work experience centers around writing. I worked at CBC Radio One for many years (off and on from the early 1990s to the mid-00s). I also worked as a copy editor at a newspaper in China, where I lived for five years. For the past decade I have been a stay-at-home dad while working as a freelance writer (my wife Stefania is a successful entrepreneur).
Despite all I have seen and done in this world, the most important role I’ve ever played is being a dad. Parenthood brings with it a long list of challenges and labours that you can never really understand unless you’ve done it, but the most unexpected part of fatherhood, for me, was how much of a learning experience it is. Seeing the world through the eyes of my kids has completely changed my world. It’s made me more empathetic, more dedicated and above all it ensures that I listen to the thoughts, feelings and opinions of all my fellow human beings, whatever their worldview or background.
This, in a nutshell, is who I am and what I’m about. If elected, I will bring every ounce of my dedication and my passion for service to my work.