warrens world

Thank You

My friends thank you so much for all of your support for the provincial election section of Warren's World.
Your demonstrated care in the issues makes all the difference. You all are the reason we created this advocacy section for the provincial election in the first place -- to get the issues of people with disabilities out there to the leaders.
The fact that more than 50,000 of you participated in this forum is a sign that these issues matter. The fact that many of you took the time to register an e-vote suggests that caregiving is something that affects all of us.
Hopefully, the elected leaders of Ontario's parties will work toward building upon the caregiver policies we currently have (which are good), and strengthening these to create a world model of a comprehsenvise caregiver strategy (which is where we should be).
And remember, advocacy is about raising awareness and making change. Elections come and go, and elections are only one forum through which to voice our concerns. You can continue to express your support and voice your concerns in this site, because, for us, our work is just getting started.

What If?

Today is the last day of political campaigning for the 2007 Ontario Election. Tomorrow is, of course, voting day.

What would happen if no one voted? I mean, absolutely NO ONE. Not a single person casting a single vote anywhere in Ontario.

What then would happen?

Well, it hasn't happened before. But if it did, you might be surprised to learn to controls the helm.

The Lieutenant Governor makes the final choice in such an extraordinary instance. While his is a more ceremonial role, his constitutional role would kick into full gear.

As I say, this has never happened. But what if it did? It very well could if people continued to insist that they're not going to vote.

Personally speaking, you know what really annoys me is that fact that this election has not been the public debating of real, human issues - issues like caregiving, helping the elderly, enhancing ODSP, and disability issues in general. Sure, there have been one or two mentions, but that's NOT enough.

Governance is about doing the things that no one else can or will do.

If we're not prepared to even talk about these issues during the elections that lead up to governing, what has become of us?

Did I Get Your Attention?

My friends completely ignore my previous blog. I was Just KIDDING and trying to reflect how many people are feeling. I was not kidding about the Raptors though. GO RAPTORS. Sorry I am a basketball fanatic. Of course it is important to vote. Get
out there and do it!

It's All BS

My friends, I have seen the light. For the entire election period, I have been telling you to VOTE VOTE VOTE. Upon reflection I am not sure it really matters. For those of you saying "Warren you have done a complete 180", if John Torry can change his mind I can to. For those of you who think politicians are full of BS, you're probably right. How do we know they are telling the truth and are going to make real change anyway?
Go do something better instead. I recommend the following:
* Take your girlfriend to dinner and a movie - works every time. In terms of a movie I recommend the Kingdom even though I can't stand Jamie Fox as an actor.
* Go out with your friends to your favourite establishment and have a good time.
* Purchase tickets for the upcoming Raptors season. I strongly believe we will make it to at least the second round of the playoffs this year, as last year's first round exit from the playoffs was a great learning experience.
Before I was dead set on voting, and now I am not sure at all. One thing I do know is that the Raptors will not let us down like our politicians have GO RAPTORS!

A Successful Debate

Yesterday we headed down to Brock University for the accessible all candidates debate for the candidates in the riding of Welland. The candidates are:

John Mastroianni - Ontario Liberal Party
Ron Bodner - Ontario Progressive Conservative Party
Peter Kormos - Ontario New Democratic Party
Mark Grenier - Ontario Green Party

Brock University professor Paul Hamilton did an excellent job of moderating the debate and the candidates responses to audience questions were intriguing and entertaining as the covered a variety of topics.

My friends, a sad reality about this year's provincial election was very apparent. While the candidates were engaging and the audience participation was fantastic, the number of people that attended the debate was lower then expected. As the saying goes " It's the quality, not the quantity."

This reinforced the point I made in a previous blog that people care about the issues but the majority of them are not going to vote because they believe politicians are a bunch of liars and will say anything to get elected.

Nevertheless, the debate was a success and I want to thank everyone who made it possible.

For those of you that are not planning to vote on October 10th, I simply ask that you do not whine like a baby when the smoke clears.

Politicians Do Nothing but Blow Smoke???

At least that is the feedback we are getting as to why the number of votes for the introduction of a caregiver strategy have not been as high as expected. However we have received over 50000 hits since we put up the provincial election website less then two weeks ago! Thank you all for your continued support. Your demonstrated care makes all the difference.
Many people are telling us "why should I vote if politicians do not listen." If you do not vote you give politicians the easy way out and they are left unaccountable for the issues that matter to you.
If you are still wondering if your vote matters, just think back to the 2006 federal election and look at what your votes did for the advancement of national disability legislation. The Prime minister announced it and your votes definitely contributed to that.
Your vote does matter! I strongly encourage all of you to vote for the caregiver strategy and cast your vote on election day. You have more power than you think.

Debate Tonigh

My friends, the day has finally arrived. The accessible all candidates debate we are hosting takes place tonight at Brock university. We expect a huge crowd thanks to the great support that we have received from our co-workers, the community in Welland and Brock University. All of the necessary accommodations are in place and now it is time to hear what the candidates have to say about the issues, in particular disability issues.
 
I just hope Barney does not show up.

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

In Today's Session of Political Science...

Today we were treated to a very informative, though-provoking and intriguing presentation by Dr. Edelgard Mahant, who is a professor in the Political Science Department at York University.

Professor Mahant came to educate us on what exactly the Referendum on October 10th is all about.

Voters will have the opportunity to say Yes or No to a new system of voting and political representation in Ontario.

I was overwhelmed to learn that this proposal would represent the biggest change in Ontario elections since women were given the vote in 1920. That was a very good thing, and very easy to understand and implement.

This proposal that we will be voting on is extremely complicated, and I'm not sure if most people will really understand it if the system were adopted. Equally important, I'm a little worried that, because of its complexity, people won't even vote on the Referendum question - which means that a small percentage of voters might be changing our entire system.

Yikes!!!!!

What's interesting is the fact that this issue has not even been introduced or debated in the Legislature. It wasn't even mentioned in the Leaders Debate last night. How can this be?

I want to personally thank Professor Mahant for taking the time out of her busy schedule to educate us on this very important issue. I only wish that all of you could have been there to learn about the Referendum question.

It's a critical. Please take the time to learn more about what it means, and, most importantly, what it means if you do not vote. If you don't take the time to learn more, it's impossible for you take make an informed decision.

Here's a link that describes the advantages to the proposed system:
www.youbigdecision.ca

And here's a link that explains the disadvantages:
www.nommp.ca

Sharing is Caring

Today we received our first stories and experiences in the Feedback section.

I was encouraged to see that people really do want to share and express their experiences. But the stories themselves I found really touching.

I know that's sometimes difficult or intimidating to express feeling and personal. But it's these stories that help inspire others and help them appreciate something that might not have fallen within their universe of experience.

To Barbara in Lindsay, and Judy in Toronto, thank you for helping others appreciate how important the caregiver - even the informal ones - can be in improving and enhancing everyone's quality of life.

About An Hour and a Half Down the QEW

As you all know we are hosting an accessible all candidates debate in the riding of Welland on October 4th. Yesterday, Steve, Neil and I went to Brock University to check out the room that the debate will take place in. Brock has a great campus and is beautiful in more ways than one. It is without question the best campus that I have been to in my life, tied with Ryerson of course.
We met up with the very warm and friendly Tara Franken who coordinated the room for us. She took us to the room and it was truly a sight to behold. The room is perfect. Not to big, not to small, just right. It is exactly what we need, accessible from every angle.
It proved to be a very long day, with many other meetings, but it was all well worth it.

Do You Care?

My friends, we are at it again. During the 2006 federal election we asked to show your support for national disability legislation by voting and sending a message to the Prime Minister.
Now you have the opportunity to show your support for the introduction of a caregiver strategy to recognize those that care for others.
To show your support, all you have to do is click on the "I Care" link, follow the instructions and a message will go directly to the leaders of the Green, Liberal, NDP and PC parties indicating your support for the introduction of a caregiver strategy.
Caregivers are vital to the well being of our society because they provide help to those in need, especially seniors and those with disabilities. Without caregivers many people are unable to care for themselves and ultimately experience a poor quality of life.
Caregivers provide help with everyday tasks such as feeding, bathing, changing someone's clothes, cooking and much more.
The care that caregivers provide allow people to enjoy and contribute to society, and remain in their homes and communities. For example, because of caregiving people can get to their jobs and go out socially.
Whether your caregiver is a loved one or worker, caregivers are lifesavers. Vote and show that you "care".

Referendum on October 10th: Yes or No?

On election day, voters will have the option of voting for a referendum. A lot of you may be wondering what voting for a referendum means. The current voting system is known as first past-the-post. In the current system, there is one vote for each candidate in each electoral district, and the candidate with the most votes is the winner and will be the representative for the electoral district in the provincial legislature.
In contrast, voting for for mixed member proportional representation means that you support a mixed system which is a combination of the first past the post system and a proportional representation system.
One vote is for a local member in each electoral district and the other vote is for a political party. Votes for parties will be used to determine the number of 'List Members' each party gets. This is where proportional representation comes into play.
If a political party is entitled to more seats than it won locally, 'List Members' are elected to make up the difference. 'List Members' can only be elected from a political party that received more than 3% of these votes.
In the end, a political party's overall share of seats will roughly equal its share of the total votes for parties in the province. The party with the most seats in the legislature, including "local members" and "list members", will form the government.
Is the proposed "mixed" system a good thing? I am not sure but it is definitely something to think about on October 10th.

Debate in Don Valley

Yesterday was a first for me. It was the first accessible all candidates meeting I have attended in my life and it was the first accessible all candidates meeting being put on by our group. Ontario March of Dime, CNIB, the Canadian Hearing Society and the Canadian Paraplegic Association have joined forces to coordinate three accessible all candidates meetings in three different ridings in Ontario for the first time in a provincial election.
Yesterday's debate was hosted by CNIB and CPA and featured the candidates in the riding of Don Valley West. The candidates are:
· Adrian Walker - Green Party
· Kathleen Wynne - Liberal Party
· Mike Kenny - New Democratic Party
· John Torry - Progressive Conservative Party
Christine Elliot substituted for Mr. Torry because he was unable to attend.

barney

The debate was intriguing and entertaining. As the debate began, a political protester dressed in a "Barney the Dinosaur" outfit entered the room with a negative sign about one of the candidates. "I love you, you love me." There was no love in the room for this Barney who was escorted out of the room.
The debate had a big crowd with people with disabilities and those without disabilities and was accessible in every way. Accessible features included attendants, intervenors, captioning and sign language interpretation. This is what inclusion is all about.
The debate questions and discussion were very interesting. People with disabilities will be happy to know that all candidates said that ODSP needs to be increased. Will they deliver if they are elected? That remains to be seen.
This debate was of particular interest to me as the candidates are in my riding. Who am I going to vote for? My friends, I can't tell you that.

Food For Thought

My friends, on my way to work this morning, there was one thought I could not get out of my head kind of like my favourite rap song. If I can vote why can’t you? Think about it. Election day is three weeks away.

People Need to Talk More about the Issues People Need to Talk More about the Issues

I was reading the paper this morning and came across some very disturbing information. The TTC is increasing its fare prices. In November, 15 cents will be added to the cost of tickets and tokens, bringing the price to $2.25. The Metropass will cost $109 compared to the current cost of $99.75. My friends I can feel all of our wallets getting a little thinner. OH NO!
This measure is being taken to prevent a cut in service. I find it to be very interesting and disconcerting that no candidate running in the provincial election is talking about accessible transportation as an issue. I simply ask WHY NOT?

The Biggest Part of An Election Is Improving The Public Good

In a previous blog, I told you all the "common sense" reasons of why it is so important to vote. However, the heart of any election is about improving the public good. I would like to share a personal example with you all that I have experienced in my 24 years on planet Earth. Like most of you, I like to go out with a few friends for evening.

When this happens, usually nature calls (big surprise!). While people who do not have a physical disability can just run to the washroom, I have to search for an accessible washroom. An accessible washroom is one that has a grab bar and is big enough for the stall door to close once the wheelchair or scooter is inside. I can really many times where establishments would claim their washroom is accessible but when I get there it is a different story.

Sometimes I would get to the washroom door and the door would be to narrow for me to even enter the washroom and I would to travel THREE blocks to find an accessible washroom, and traveling three blocks when you feel like your bladder is about to explode is not the most comfortable feeling. Other times, the bathroom would have an accessible stall but it would not be big enough for me to close the door behind me once my wheelchair inside.

As a result, I would have to get out of my chair and crawl on my hands and knees in a public washroom as if I was an animal just to close the door behind me and use the washroom which is extremely humiliating but "when you gotta go, you gotta go."

This is one of the reasons why I think elections are so important because politicians are the ones you have the power to make change on a broad scale, change such as implementing more accessible washrooms in establishment across the province. Just imagine if one of your loved ones was in the situation I just described and was not able to get out of his or her chair like I did.

Accessible washrooms benefit everyone including people with disabilities, mothers with babies and elderly people.

The experience I just shared with you is just one example of how voting in an election can improve the public good and I hope it encourages you to go to the polls on election day.

How Do I Vote If I Have A Disability

How Do I Vote If I Have A Disability

Many of you may be wondering "how do I vote if I have a disability?" What are my options available to me if I am deaf, blind or have a physical disability? The link below will direct you to the Elections Ontario website, and it provide you with information on how and where to vote for people with a variety of disabilities. You also have the option of voting in advance before the election on October 10th.

http://www.elections.on.ca/en-CA/Voters/AlternativeNeeds/

Furthermore, if you are unable to vote yourself, you have the option of voting by proxy. Voting by proxy occurs when someone you trust votes on your behalf. For more information on voting by proxy click on the link below.

http://www.elections.on.ca/en-CA/Voters/HowCanIVote/VotebyProxy/

My friends', having a disability is NO EXCUSE not to vote. As a wise man once told me "Don't delay vote today."

Election Time Means Voting Time!

Well my friends the 2007 provincial election is coming and October 10th which is election day will be here before you know it. Elections give all Canadians the opportunity to let their voice be heard by voting. Some of you might be saying “Warren, why do you always bug us at election time to vote. It is USELESS!” A lot of you may be thinking the following thoughts:
 
  • “Elections are a waste of time.”  
  • “Politicians only pretend to care about me and the issues that matter to me so that they can get my vote. The reality is politicians could care less about what matters to me.”
  • “My vote does not matter because I am only one person of millions and the elected politician will not address what matters to me so I am not going to waste my time and vote.”
 
Whether you believe it or not, the reality is YOUR VOTE COUNTS! Voting has so many benefits. I think that it is important to vote for the following reasons:
 
·        Many young people probably do not vote because they feel that politicians do not care about youth issues, but by not voting, young people may be sending a message that they do not want to hear from the politicians.
    
·        When politicians have advanced warning, that young people are not voting, they are more likely to not be concerned with their needs and desires.
·        If you vote, it shows you care, and you get to take part in Canada’s democratic process, which is your right.
·        By voting, you have a say in how society is governed.
·        Your vote counts. When you vote, it only makes our democracy stronger.
·        When you vote, you elect the people that make laws and polices that govern how we live together as a society.
·        Voting for your desired candidate is a great way to advocate for the change you want to occur. If you don’t vote, your voice is silenced.
 
Most importantly, if you do not vote YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN about policies, laws and legislation because you did not vote.
 
Whether you are basing your yote on a particular issue or on the polices and values of a particular party, or whatever reason you have to vote, I urge everyone to use the power that they posses and let their voice be heard by voting.
 
By voting, you chose to be part of the solution and not the problem. On October 10th take a few minutes out of your day and vote. Trust me, you will not regret it!