23 September 2007

Warren's World Measures the Pulse

The election pulse, that is.  And that pulse is not very good at all.  In fact, if that pulse were measuring the lifeline of voter interest in this election, we'd be seeing a monitor mainly showing a flat line!
Yesterday the crew took to streets to meet with and talk to the voters. Why?  Because it's the voters who are real decision makers, the ones who choose the course of governing, the ones who set the priorities for which issues will be the most important.  If anyone is going to help get accessibility issues on the radar, it's the people.
So what did they have to say?
Some people we talked to were very serious about voting, passionate about participating, and driven with their opinions on the election.  I was inspired by these people, but saddened that they were among the minority of those with whom we spoke.
Many did not care at all about the election.  In fact, many people either didn't care or were not even aware of an upcoming election.  The most common and disturbing response I received was "I do not vote".  Warren's World crew members would just look at each other, speechless.  And, believe me, if I'm speechless and have nothing to say, my friends, then you're witnessing a very rare occurrence.
Many people were dismayed with the political system and expressed a very pointed distrust of politicians in general.  There were dead-set against participating in any way.
You see, I find this very disheartening because if people don't participate or don't care, I'm not sure how we advance important issues, like building an inclusive society and achieving accessibility.
Maybe I'm overly romantic about inclusion and participation, about being a fully participating member of society.  Maybe it's because it's something that I can't take for granted.  I only wish that more people understood and appreciated just how much they have and what voting can actually mean for them.
On a more upbeat note, that was our first in a series of experience you'll be able to read about and listen to in this section of the website.
If you have the ability to participate, and you don't have any limitations (like mine) to doing so, don't take this for granted.  Participation and inclusion is something that many people struggle to achieve each and every day.

Warren's World -- Thinking about Welland

As many of you know, we will be heading to the riding of Welland next Thursday (October 4th). We, and CNIB, Candian Hearing Society and Canadian Paraplegic Association, will be hosting an Accessible All Candidate Meeting at Brock University, with representatives of the Green, NDP, Liberal and PC parties.

We thought that it's time for Warren's World to branch out, and do some outreach outside of Toronto.

So why Welland?

This among the more politically exciting ridings in Ontario. Long-time MPP Peter Kormos is running for re-election. Peter is also one of the longest serving MPPs in the current Legislature.

But things heat up with very strong campaigns from Ron Bodner of the Conservatives, John Mastroianni of the Liberals and Mark Grenier representing the Greens.

While newly formed for 2007, the riding of Welland is actually being re-established (there used to be a Welland riding), comprised of 75% of Niagara Centre, 21% of Erie-Lincoln, 2% of Niagara Falls, and .5% of St. Catharines.

It's a big riding. You can click on the link below, which takes you to a riding profile on CBC's website, and learn more details about the exciting riding of Welland.

http://www.cbc.ca/ontariovotes2007/riding/098/index.html

While some might say that this riding is naturally NDP (New Democrats have represented the area since 1975), the 24 years prior to that (between 1951 and 1975) saw a Conservative being elected.

So who knows?

Election Opinions: Food for Thought

Here's a thoughtful piece about the election written by Adam Radwanski of the Globe and Mail (September 27, 2007). What Adam has to say is certainly interesting.


There are, believe it or not, people who are genuinely passionate about Ontario's forthcoming referendum on electoral reform. I've encountered a few of them recently, on both the pro-reform and pro-status quo side. And they all seem to agree on one thing: there's a conspiracy afoot to ensure the other side wins.

Those in favour of the mixed-member proportional (MMP) system are convinced that the Liberals, having promised to bring it forward but unenthused by the prospect of it actually coming to pass, have deliberately doomed the reforms by tacking the referendum onto a provincial election that completely overshadows it. Those against MMP are equally convinced that the province's entire political system is about to be overhauled by stealth - that something Ontarians otherwise wouldn't vote for might slide through because the seriousness of it is being undersold.

Whether Liberal or Conservative, the next government will be overwhelmingly similar to the one we've had the last four years. But adopting MMP, with its likely stream of minority governments and its end to the domination by the two major parties, would radically change the way the province is run.

It's completely irresponsible to be settling that question in this way. It's not just people actively on one side or the other who should be peeved; it's everyone else being denied a proper debate that allows them to form their own opinions.

What do you think?
theadvocate@dimes.on.ca

Keep Em Coming

My friends, I am happy to say that we have received several votes for the introduction of a Ontario caregiver strategy. Thank you for your support. In order to make a caregiver strategy a reality you need to spread the word and encourage people to vote. The more votes the better. We are off to a good start but we have only just begun.

DAMN

I recently read a very interesting article by world renowned disability columnist Helen Henderson. The article was about an organization called DAMN 2025. DAMN stands for Disability Action Movement Now.
 
2025 is in reference to the year that government of Ontario is aiming towards to make Ontario completely barrier-free.
 
Damn has two main focuses. One is advocating for an increase to ODSP and the other is rejecting any legislation that stalls the advancement of accessibility.
 
Of these two focuses, ODSP is clearly the bigger issue. The most money a person can receive is $927 a month. However, depending on a person’s circumstances he or she can receive much less money. For example, if a person with a disability works and makes a few extra dollars a month, their ODSP income is deducted.
 
Fifty percent of a person’s earnings is deducted from ODSP, and a person with a disability finds a job, he or she could lose drug and dental benefits.
 
As fellow Toronto Star reader Anne Abbott put it “I was truly dismayed when I read the politicians' platforms because none really addressed disability issues. It is my hope that after that day, politicians will realize that people with disabilities are serious about change."
 
My friends, I could not agree more.
 
If you would like to read the Helen Henderson article on DAMN please click on the link below.
 
http://www.thestar.com/living/article/257929