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Ontario Government's
New ODA Bill 125

December 8, 2001

Shadow Hearings - A Public Forum on Bill 125
London, Ontario

Yesterday's barrier-free forum on Bill 125 that was co-sponsored by the
London/Middlesex Chapter of the MS Society of Canada and the
ODA Committee, London area
, was a dynamic testament to the talents,
persistence and never-say-die spirit of people with disabilities, their friends
and families.

Speaking passionately about the need and capacity for amendments to the
"fatally flawed" Bill 125 were Lisa Klinger, Lynne Swanson, Frances Bauer,
Deb Ellison, Gary Davies, Richard Yake, Crystal Easton, Ashfaq Husain,
Michel Lewis, and David Dimitrie
. Some 50 people, with and without
disabilities, were present and listened attentively to the presenters, as
well as to Liberal MPP Steve Peters, NDP disability critic MPP Tony Parsons
from Sault Sainte Marie, Conservative MPP Bob Wood and the Hon. Dianne
Cunningham, Conservative MPP.
One member of the audience had driven to
London from Burlington.

The ODA Committee members, friends and supporters all showed our
solidarity with one another and our understanding of one another's
unnecessary barriers in our comments, our applause, our ovations and our
interaction. Our eloquent and compelling expressions of frustration with the
Government's Bill 125 and our reactions to the unnecessary rush to get this
Bill passed before the Christmas break did not go unnoticed by the
Conservative MPPs. The Liberal and NDP Members were most supportive of our
calls for a strong, effective ODA throughout the duration of the forum.

The London Free Press sent a reporter, David Dauphinee, and a
photographer, Dave Chidley. BX93 from Fanshawe College London sent a
reporter. There may have been other media. The meeting lasted from 10:00
a.m. to 12:20 p.m. without a single pause and there were still people who
might have spoken if there had been any more time. Even those who did not
speak out loud spoke volumes with their physical presence to the pressing
need for a strong and effective ODA containing all the amendments we have
submitted. No prioritizing, we said.

I told Bob Wood and Dianne Cunningham that I expected them to represent
us and to go back to Queen's Park to fight for continued hearings into
January 2002 and not to tell me they might be able to squeeze a few more
amendments in before Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2001. We had copies of the ODA
Committee's final brief of amendments duplicated and available. We taped the
proceedings for MPP Bob Wood to give to the Hon. Cam Jackson. We had 2 ASL
interpreters in attendance. The newspaper coverage yesterday and today was

Cathy Vincent-Linderoos,
regional contact, ODA Committee, London area




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