public education

I grew up in a small town of about 6000 people in rural Ontario. There were a few of us with disabilities in the area, but a small enough number that it was possible for those of us within that group to be at least vaguely familiar with each other. One I remember very clearly was a young man I’ll call Ted*.

Ted and I were not friends, in fact we had never met, but he was very much the nemesis of my childhood, by no fault of his own. At some point his parents had met my parents, where they heard all about his story and from that gleaned grand visions for my future. Ted used crutches, had plans for his future, and was a poster child for a disability organization. I was a rebellious, struggling stubborn kid in a power wheelchair. We were not close in age, and we had different disabilities. I was nothing like Ted, and I wasn’t really sure I wanted to be.

My parents just wanted what was best for their child, and with very few stories to draw from I can see why Ted’s story gave them hope. Eventually I carved out my own pretty awesome story, but there’s still something to be learned from Ted’s impact on my parents.

When I did interact with other children with disabilities, it was usually at summer camp. There, for a brief but blissful period of time all labels seemed to disappear. Of course there was still discrimination between kids, but there was also comradery in those shared experiences that I couldn’t find anywhere else. Brothers and sisters who knew what it was like to constantly be seen through the eyes of able-bodied people, and the loneliness that creates.

I moved away from that small town, and into larger urban areas where I met disabled adults who taught me important things about disability history. These were people who started disability organizations, and had protested for disability rights in their younger years. I was fortunate to have them as role models.

Not everyone is so lucky. Recently I saw a post on Facebook, in the picture a mom was sitting next to her physically disabled son in a public transit station, and she was crying. The post explains that she and her son were treated badly by fellow commuters while trying to use a public washroom. They felt her son was in the way and taking up space. It reminded me very much op my parents. What were she and her son to take from this experience? How would she use it to arm him for the world ahead?

The stories we share as disabled people might not be passed down through families, but they are still an important part of disability culture. Sharing stories of our leaders, the people who made it possible to where we are today, is an important part of how disabled people see themselves, as it is for the society that looks back at us.

My message to Health Canada. I welcome your thoughts.

Are wheelchair repair companies subject to any formal regulation or accountability in Canada, and if not, why is that? I am a disabled Canadian who has used an electric wheelchair throughout my lifetime. I have continually received appalling service from my repair company, including charges for unnecessary and incomplete repairs, lack of communication about the repairs or possible completion date, and wheelchairs loaned to me that were infested with cockroaches and bed bugs. Upon communication with others, I find that this situation is common whether the wheelchair user pays out of pocket or has social assistance. Why is there no accountability on something so vital to our quality of life?

Note: To date I have not found any accountability measures through repair companies, the manufacturers, or government. Also, it has been my experience that this accountability is not as much of an issue with the technicians, but with the administrative staff and others who profit from their work.

Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly Day School, Saturday, November 12th

 What are some of the forces that are driving the current crisis? How is it pushing forward the agenda of  business and governments to get working people and our organizations to tighten our belts and accept their calls for austerity? What forms is resistance taking around the world –what are the strengths and limitations of that resistance and what can we learn from it?

With the Ford administration’s plans to cut social services, dramatically increase privatization and attack the rights of municipal workers, what do we have to do to resist? How must we change the way we have been doing things in our communities and unions in order to prevent our isolation and loss of our livelihoods and key services?

Let’s collectively address these questions in an afternoon of information and critical discussion.

Day School Features:

  • Panel on the crisis with Sam Gindin, Stefan Kipfer and others;
  • Workshops on Community Action; Building Union Resistance and Challenging right-wing populist ideas and opinions;
  • Lunch
  • Panel and collective discussion about how we can strategize and resist coming attacks on worker rights and services with Mark Ferguson of CUPE Local 416; John Weatherup from CUPE 4400 and a speaker from Toronto Stop the Cuts.

Saturday, November 12, Ryerson Student Union, 63 Gould Street Toronto, 10:30 AM – 4:15 PM

Organized by the GTWA Public Sector Defence Campaign Committee.

Further Information: workingclassfightback@gmail.com

This Tuesday, there will be an information session with reps from Elections Ontario, where we will learn about about the work Elections Ontario is doing to improve the accessibility of the election process.
The session is from 6-8pm at the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto: 365 Bloor Street East, Suite 902.

Pizza, Tokens and Attendant Care will be provided.

Unofficial tentative list of organizations whose funding has been cut or
ended by the Harper government, including government agencies that supported
civil society groups. *

*Organizations/ watchdogs whose staff have been fired, forced out,
publically maligned, or who have resigned in protest: *

·          Canada Firearms Program (Chief Supt. Marty Cheliak, Director
General)

·          Canadian Wheat Board (Adran Measner, President and CEO)

·          Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (Linda Keen, chair)

·          Foreign Affairs (Richard Colvin, diplomat)

·          Military Police Complaints Commission (head, Peter Tinsley)

·          Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian
Forces (Yves Coté)

·          Parliamentary Budget Officer (Kevin Page) (funding cut)

·          RCMP Police Complaints Commission (Paul Kennedy, chair)

·          Rights & Democracy  (International Centre for Human Rights and
Democratic Development – Rémy Beauregard, President)

·          Statistics Canada (Munir Sheikh, Deputy Minister)

·          Veterans Ombudsman (Col. Pat Stogran)

·          Victims of Crime, Ombudsman (Steve Sullivan)

* Community organizations, NGOs and research bodies reported to have been
cut
or defunded*

·          Action travail des femmes

·          Afghan Association of Ontario, Canada Toronto

·          Alberta Network of Immigrant Women

·          Alternatives (Quebec)

·          Association féminine d’éducation et d’action sociale (AFEAS)

·          Bloor Information and Life Skills Centre

·          Brampton Neighbourhood Services (Ontario)

·          Canadian Arab Federation

·          Canadian Child Care Federation

·          Canadian Council for International Cooperation

·          Canadian Council on Learning

·          Canadian Council on Social Development

·          Canadian Heritage Centre for Research and Information on Canada

·          Canadian International Development Agency, Office of Democratic Governance

·          Canadian Labour Business Centre

·          Canada Policy Research Networks

·          Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women

·          Canada School of Public Service

·          Canadian Teachers’ Federation International porgram

·          Canadian   Volunteerism   Initiative

·          Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition feminine

·          Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA.)

·          Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples (Toronto)

·          Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada

·          Childcare Resource and Research Unit, Specialink

·          Climate Action Network

·          Community Access Program, internet access for communities at libraries, post offices, community centers

·          Community Action Resource Centre (CARC)

·          Conseil d’intervention pour l’accès des femmes au travail (CIAFT)

·          Court Challenges Program (except language rights cases and legacy cases)

·          Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Centre Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

·          Democracy Council

·          Department of Foreign Affairs, Democracy Unit

·          Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

·          Environment: Youth International Internship Program

·          Eritrean Canadian Community Centre of Metropolitan Toronto (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010)

·          Feminists for Just and Equitable Public Policy (FemJEPP) in Nova Scotia

·          First Nations Child and Family Caring Society

·          First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Program

·          Forum of Federations

·          Global Environmental Monitoring System

·          HRD Adult Learning and Literacy programs

·          HRD Youth Employment Programs

·          Hamilton’s Settlement and Integration Services Organization (Ontario)

·          Immigrant settlement programs

·          Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services (Peel)

·          International Planned Parenthood Federation

·          Kairos

·          Law Reform Commission of Canada

·          Mada Al-Carmel Arab Centre

·          Marie Stopes International, a maternal health agency — has received only  a promise of “conditional funding IF it avoids any & all connection with abortion.

·          MATCH International

·          National association of Women and the Law (NAWL)

·          Native Women’s Association of Canada

·          New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity

·          Northwood Neighbourhood Services (Toronto: (Funding cut by CIC in December 2010).

·          Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)

·          Ontario Association of Transitional Housing (OAITH)

·          Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

·          Pride Toronto

·          Réseau des Tables régionales de groupes de femmes du Québec

·          Riverdale Women’s Centre in Toronto

·          Sierra Club of BC

·          Sisters in Spirit

·          Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

·          South Asian Women’s Centre

·          Status of Women (mandate also changed to exclude “gender equality and political justice” and to ban all advocacy, policy research and lobbying)

Tropicana Community Services

·          Womanspace Resource Centre (Lethbridge, Alberta)

·          Women’s Innovative Justice Initiative – Nova Scotia

·          Workplace Equity/Employment Equity Program

·          York-Weston Community Services Centre Toronto

Compiled primarily by Judith Szabo and by Pearl Eliadis for “Voices”, a
coalition of organizations and individuals “united in defence of democracy,
free speech and transparency in Canada”.

Monday, March 14 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Trinity-St. Paul's Centre
427 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON

george galloway

In the first few weeks of 2011, revolutions have swept across the Arab world, toppling dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and threatening to topple one in Libya. Uprisings are also underway in Bahrain, Yemen, and elsewhere, as people all across the region – including in Saudi Arabia – stand up against tyranny and oppression.

Please join us for this special event to hear long-time anti-war and Palestine solidarity campaigner George Galloway talk about the current situation in the Arab world, and what we can do in Canada to support the Arab peoples’ struggle for liberation.

A discussion period will follow Mr. Galloway’s speech.

Tickets: $10 and up – or pay what you can

There are no advance ticket sales. Please arrive early to guarantee admission.

Organized by the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War

http://www.nowar.ca/ | info[at]nowar[dot]ca

I know there are bigger environmental issues out there than plastic bags, but it still is an important issue.  Seeing videos like this I can’t help but wonder what TV ads would look like if advertising companies used their skills more responsibly.