If I Were Prime Minister

Why You Should Vote For Erica Ehm

by: Erica Ehm

If I Were Prime Minister

I have no desire to run for politics. Although I've been much more politically engaged since having kids, which I wrote about in this post, ultimately I'm too self absorbed with taking care of my family and business to become a public servant.

Having said that, I do believe how important it is to have your voice heard during the election and vote. That's why I connected with Karen Green and Emma Waverman who had just launched their Mom The Vote Facebook page and a fantastic Twitter #MomtheVote stream.  I decided to create a Mom the Vote section on YMC to allow mothers to share their point of view on this year's election.

I was kinda shocked to receive an email from the CBC's The National to be featured in their segment What I Would Do If I Was Prime Minister. It forced me to consolidate my personal stance on what's happening in Canadian politics and suggest real solutions.

I could have spoken about daycare, or maternity leave, of better health care and funding for the arts. But there is something bigger that bugs me. I think our political system is broken. We've lost faith in our political leaders who we see as promising the moon before an election and delivering significantly less when elected.

Why does this happen? I can only guess how back door deals are made and compromises happen. The behind the scenes give and take waters down our system and big ideas get done half assed. I have no idea how to fix a system so broken.

That's the inspiration for my speech that ran on the CBC The National news on Friday April 22.

In case you missed it, here's the text of my speech.

If I were prime minister :

I would insist on more transparency and accountability.
So many Canadians are understandably cynical about our current system, where politicians make promises they don't have to keep once they're elected.
No wonder voter turnout fell below 60 per cent for the first time ever in the last election.

If I couldn't deliver on promises I make during the election, I would step down. And that's a promise.

Canadians need to feel more engaged in politics and believe their voice actually matters.
That's why I'd allow more open votes in Parliament and less toeing the of party line.
Besides, no matter what party you support, you can't possibly agree with absolutely EVERYTHING in its platform.
This would allow locally-elected MPs to vote the way their constituents actually want them to vote.
And that's what I'd do if I were Prime Minister Erica Ehm.


The Lion King Reviewed

Why You Should Go

by: Erica Ehm

The Lion King Reviewed

The Lion King is now Broadway's eighth longest-running show in history. Very impressive! I first saw the play when it first came to Toronto around a decade ago. Last week, I brought my son to opening night of the latest production of Lion King playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre.

Here's why your kids (and you) should see it.

It's creative.
This is probably the most inventive theatrical production I've ever seen. The visual use of integrated puppetry was jaw dropping in its originality. The effect of the simulated animals is like visual poetry.

It's gorgeous
Everything about this show is stunning. The costumes are magnificent - drawn from African culture - the use of beading and African inspired fabric make for eye candy and help tell the story. I loved how many of the costumes enable the actors to become a living breathing set. The scenes with gorgeous dancers wearing stunning flower and grass costumes make the jungle come alive.

The story is timeless
Initially based on the Biblical tales of Joseph and Moses with some of Shakespeare's Hamlet sprinkled in, the storyline of father/son is mythic and resonates with audiences young and old.

The Music
Everyone knows the Elton John/ Tim Rice pop hit The Circle of Life considered the cornerstone musical number in the show. However, not enough is said about the stunning South African inspired music and melodies chanted throughout the show. The powerful voices from the cast fill the theatre - the cross cultural sounds a true musical treat.  My son and I loved the two percussionists who take over the balconies on both sides of the audience, adding an authentic element of rhythm and atmosphere.

The performances
Because this show is anthromorphic, it's always challenging making animals take on human qualities. In this case, the inspired direction allows everyone on stage to take on the personality and movements of the animal they're playing. Giraffes, birds, hyenas and, of course lions, stalk, fly and lumber across the stage. Their nuanced performances help us escape into a world of imagination.

As fantastic as all the stars of the show were, my son and I agreed our favorite performers were some of the smaller roles that stole the show - Brenda Mhlongo made the character of Rafiki a stand-out.

My only regret

My regret has nothing to do with the show. Instead, I'm disappointed my husband and daughter weren't at the show with us to enjoy this amazing show. I have a feeling I'll be seeing Lion King again soon, this time with my whole family.


Most Digusting Book for Moms

My Beautiful Mommy Isn't

by: Erica Ehm

Most Digusting Book for Moms

This showed up as a press release in my inbox.

I am pleased to offer one of your lucky readers a chance to win the book  “My Beautiful Mommy”: Ground-Breaking new children’s book on plastic surgery!"

I click on the site and my heart starts to race with anger. I am going to explode. A picture book written by a "world renowned" plastic surgeon for children to understand why their mommy isn't beautiful now, but will be once she goes through the expensive and painful process of reshaping her face or body.

How many ways is this wrong?

1. The most obvious one is perpetuating to children this horrible, insidious notion that their beloved mothers aren't beautiful enough because they don't conform to the unrealistic (and boring) standard of North America beauty. You know - big eyes, small nose, big lips, flat tummy, long skinny legs, perky ass,  boobs that are big yet perfect.

2. The first image of the book referenced on the site is of an illustration of a plastic surgeon explaining to her mom and her little girl that mummy needs a nose job.  What kind of lesson is this child learning? This, to me, is evil incarnate, planting the seeds of insecurity of a little girl. "Hmm, if mommy's nose isn't pretty, then mine isn't too."  Bastard.

3. The doctor is CHARGING $19.95 for this book. So not only is he preying and perpetuating women's insecurities so he can get rich, he's charging them more money to indoctrinate the kids.

4.The cover jacket suggests to read this book to "learn how an entire family pitches in to help mommy achieve her beautiful looks." Repeat after me Dr. Michael Saltzhauer, Mommy is ALREADY beautiful.

Allow me to quote from the book's press release:

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2007, one third of the 348,000 breast augmentations and 148,000 tummy tucks were “mommy makeovers,” or surgeries designed for women seeking to restore sagging body parts due to aging or pregnancy weight gain. “Plastic surgery among women, especially mothers post-pregnancy, is very popular and becoming a common reality. Cosmetic surgery can be a difficult topic to understand for adults; and even more so for young children. I wanted to provide my patients and other parents with a tool that speaks to kids in a kid-friendly way.”

Does this make you want to weep? I did and continue to cry from this bombardment of negative and irresponsible content from greedy publishers and mass media.

Shame on Big Tent Books for publishing this book and helping to decimate the message of innner beauty, strength of character and true self esteem - everything a children's publisher should be about.