I am really PISSED OFF and I need to say something.  If I don’t it will just turn into buried anger which is a highway to bitterness and I don’t relish the idea of being that “bitter old man down the hall”.  Anyway I am no Rick Mercer but I will rant anyway.

I just finished reading (well actually skimming, I will do a more in-depth read over the next few days) a report on the dismal classroom conditions in Alberta public schools.  And, again, it is the kids that need the help the most that are paying the price for those dismal conditions.  You can view it here if you are interested but be warned it could have the same effect on you as it did on me which is PISSED OFF.

I’m PISSED OFF by the type of public policy that leads to these conditions.  This is public policy that demonstrates a silo thinking mindset.  That is a mindset that doesn’t take into account the ramifications made by a decision or policy on other areas of the community.  It’s that “it’s all about me” thinking on an institutional scope.  That type of silo thinking does not contribute to the multifaceted concept of access.  If you have never needed it or experienced it, access to teaching aids is just as important as access to a building.

The regulations are there, the infrastructure is there, the need is definitely there but where is the political will.  The idea of enforcing these standards is now more about risk mitigation rather than community need.

I have spend over fifty years dealing with, advising on, preparing for, reviewing plans and impact studies, etc. etc. etc.  The national building code added accessibility standards (albeit a little dated now) in 1976.  Coming up to forty years and where are we.  Sure there may be more basic awareness regarding “physical” access and a few more ramps but a ramp doesn’t make a library completely accessible, (ask a person with a visual impairment).  We need to get past this “build environment” concept and start looking at shared space.

I’m PISSED OFF at a whole new generation of persons with disabilities adopting this attitude “things aren’t that bad”.  They are right to a point.  However our system is being eroded and too many of that generation don’t seem to recognize the shrinking pond that is suppose to hold our social safety net.

Physical access
Isn’t this good enough for you?

I’m PISSED OFF with a government that moves more to community self policing but then creates a system where one needs a degree to manoeuvre the administrative version of Never Never Land.  I’ve done enough appeals for people and know how complicated they can be.

I’m PISSED OFF because the only graphic I could find was the one above that stereo types access.  Again it is not just about accessing the building but having access to the services in that building.

I’m PISSED OFF because I do not have one sibling who has ever had a wheelchair accessible home.  So what does that tell you about a family of six kids?  And they don’t even see it as an issue.

I am PISSED OFF with the community.  The people who prefer to remain ignorant of the ever evaporating social safety net.  I know way to many people who only think of access when it’s time to meet up with Terry.  We need to break this mindset and start recognizing access for the complexity of what it is.  I am getting tired of these classroom conditions type articles.  Let’s change that.

But mostly I am PISSED OFF with those 40% of the community that failed to take advantage of their access to democracy, the polling booth!  The people who don’t go out to vote are the same types that don’t see access as an issue.  If you get hit by a car and wind up in a wheelchair that ramp will look pretty good.  But if your not using your influence to protect democracy and we continue to let it be eroded (check Bill C-51) no ramp in the world will make the lack of democracy accessible.

Just one man’s opinion



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