For those of you who might not know, we’re having a federal election here in Canada. I’m not a huge fan of electoral politics. I think there’s much more that we can do to influence social policy than cast our votes, and let’s be honest, the choice between three white one-percenters in 2015 says a lot about the level of change that needs to happen in this country.
Aside from that, it is a great time to push for change, while the public eye is on politics, and surprisingly disabled people are making space in election time.
There are some really exciting things happening in the disability movement in this election, and you need to know about them.
First is the Toronto Disability Pride March, happening tomorrow Saturday October 3rd. Full disclosure I am the founder and a co-organizer of this march, but even if I weren’t I would still be shouting from the rooftops, because this is going to be an amazing event and you all should be there. It starts at 1:00 pm at Queen’s Park at 111 Wellesly Street West, and wraps up at 99 Gerrard Street East with a post march celebration at 4:00 pm
We have some great speakers lined up including David Lepofsky of Barrier-Free Canada and the AODA Alliance, Diem LaFortune, myself, and Kevin Jackson. This is not just a time to raise disability issues, but also a time for disabled people who are not often involved to have their voices heard, and take to the streets as part of the community of disabled people. You can find the march on Facebook, and on Twitter @DisabilityPM hashtag #tdpm2015.
In Toronto, there was a election debate on disability issues earlier this week, you can still see the video.
There have also been some exciting developments with Barrier-Free Canada’s efforts to encourage all federal parties to commit to enacting a Canadians with Disabilities Act.
They’ve introduced a letter writing tool that makes it easier than ever to join the campaign. All you need to do is fill out a short form, and a prewritten letter will automatically be addressed to all the candidates in your riding.
You’ll have the option of changing the letter or sending it as is. And you’ll have the ability to easily share through email and social media.
The beauty of this tool is that there’s no need for you to look up candidates or to try to find their email addresses. We take care of all of that. You simply fill out the form, and you’re ready to go!
There are still a few hiccups with this tool, but I encourage you to check it out.
Please take two minutes to let candidates in your area know that you support the call for a Canadians with Disabilities Act. Then invite your friends and family to join the campaign. So far the NDP and Greens have promised to enact it, but we need more than a press release, we need action. Visit www.barrierfreecanada.org/campaign/. They are asking people to promote the campaign on social media with the hashtag #canadiansdisabilitiesact.
Elections are a great time to raise our voices as a diverse disability community. I will be raising more issues to not in the coming days, but until then I hope to see you at the march tomorrow!