Well it has been a very active week politically and disappointing week if you are living with a disability. Some politically positive stories and some very negative stories regarding disabilities. I connect the two because the fate of so many persons with disabilities is linked to the mood of politicians. You can’t promote positive change for marginalized groups when the politicians are angry with the electorate.
On the national stage we have a Democratic Reform Minister who has been pushing his Fair Elections Act finally accepting the reality of the need for some amendments. This act is one of the biggest erosion of democracy we have seen in Canada in the since the Emergency Measures Act in the early 70’s. The Minister, Pierre Poilievre, maintains this is the best piece of legislation since sliced bread supported by every Canadian out there. Well not so according to hundreds of thousands of Canadians signing petitions everyday, provincial electoral officers, former Auditor General Sheila Fraser, the Canadian Chief Electoral Officer, the former Canadian Electoral officer and hundreds of other constitutional experts from around the world. And why is this a problem? Well when you look at the history of this particular government there always seems to be a negative backlash and the marginalized pay the price.
I am half way through a new book called The Tragedy in the Commons and this read really substantiates my fears in regards to our deteriorating political system.
Then in BC we have a government that will undoubtedly be kicking into a heavy damage control process following the murder/suicide of the mother/son in Prince Rupert. The BC Ministry of Children and Family Development maintains service were in place to help avoid this situation. The facts speak differently. When is our government going to get their heads out of their ass and start looking at what is really happening to people in this province living with a disability. Please politicians wake up and make your bureaucrats responsible, not for budgets lines but for people.
Just this week we had a power wheelchair dependent gentleman in Vernon living on $1100 a month pension refused subsidy for his bus pass. According to the program his income is to high. What the hell? How can anybody living on $1100 a month not qualify for the assistance programs that are out there? These programs shouldn’t be based on what your income is but what your output is.
That $400 basement suite or that $600 walk up apartment isn’t an option to someone in this situation. Politicians and bureaucrats, give your head a shake, use some common sense and you will realize there are all types of extra costs associated with a physical disability. Plus we all do not want to live in an extended care centre. Many of us want to be a contributor to our community and society as a whole. We don’t want a hand out, we need a hand up!
In this same week we have a school system make last minute changes to the rules that would have allowed a young 15 year girl to attend a school exchange program. And why? Because she is on the autism spectrum! Hello school authorities, you were well aware of her disorder when she filled out the application and spend months doing her fund raising. What kind of message are you sending to students with disabilities?
This week I finally got around to transferring my drivers licence from Alberta back to BC. I even got the same drivers licence number I had when I left this province almost five years ago. But when doing the paper work ICBC discovers I need hand controls. Well duh, yes and that hasn’t changed from the 18 years I had the previous licence but I still needed to go to my doctor so he could sign a $75 form stating, “yes, Terry is disabled and needs hand controls”. I’m pretty sure that $75 could have gone towards the subsidy for the gentleman in Vernon’s bus pass for two or three months.
I’m getting pretty fed up living off the table scraps of the government bureaucracy. The disabled are a product that creates a lot of jobs. Even worse we have become a reason for government bureaucrats to exist so they can interpret policy that is really aimed at keeping people like myself from exercising my right to self determination. Enough is enough!
Just one man’s opinion!