ODA Action Tip
April 10, 2002
Make The Ontarians With Disabilities Act A Prominent Issue In The May 2, 2002 Provincial By-Elections In Nipissing And Peel-Dufferin-Grey-Wellington
Provincial by-elections have recently been called in two ridings, Nipissing (in the North Bay area) and Peel-Dufferin-Grey- Wellington (in the "905" area near Toronto). These will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2002. We expect a lot of media attention on these by-elections. The new Premier, Ernie Eves, is running in the Peel area riding, while outgoing Premier Harris used to represent the Nipissing riding and will be replaced as its MPP in that by-election.
The ODA Committee wants to make the Ontarians with Disabilities Act a prominent issue in these by-elections. We need your help no matter where you live in Ontario.
As a non-partisan coalition, we do not seek to elect any particular person or party. As we did in the 1999 provincial election and the three subsequent by-elections, we have three goals here:
(1) to get clear commitments from as many candidates as possible to support a strong ODA, and the prompt, effective implementation of the ODA 2001;
(2) to let the public know about the records of the three parties on the ODA issue; and
(3) to encourage voters to make the ODA issue a major factor in their decision when they vote in this by-election.
Because incoming Premier Ernie Eves is running in the Peel riding, and is widely expected to win without difficulty, we have a fourth goal in that by-election, namely:
(4) To obtain from the incoming premier specific commitments for action on implementing the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, passed last December.
Here is what you can do to help. You are encouraged to bring to the attention of voters the need for a strong and effective ODA, the need for the ODA 2001 to be implemented immediately and effectively, and the record of the three parties on this issue. The Conservatives promised to enact the ODA in their first term. They passed the ODA 2001 last December well into their second term, but have left most of its provisions "unproclaimed"(i.e. not in force) almost four months later. Many viewed the ODA 2001 as disappointing.
The Liberals and NDP both have actively supported a strong and effective ODA, and have repeatedly pressed the Conservative Government to keep its promises to us. They criticized the Government's ODA 2001 bill last fall as too weak, proposed sweeping amendments to strengthen it(most of which the Conservative Government voted down), and promised to pass a strong and effective ODA if elected.
To help with these by-elections, you can:
* contact our ODA Committee regional contacts in each of the two regions where the by-elections will be held. They will be working on coordinating our by-election efforts there. Offer your help. Your help will be welcome either if you live in the riding, or if you are somewhere nearby, especially if you might be able to get to the riding on occasion. Our regional contacts are:
- in the North Bay Riding of Nipissing, contact Barbara Anello at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- for the Peel area by-election, contact Chris Portelli at: email@example.com or (905) 826-0340
* find out when all-candidates debates are. Let us know when and where these debates will occur so we can pass the word on to others. Urge that these all-candidates' debates be held in accessible locations. Consider organizing your own all- candidates' debate on disability issues.
* ask questions about the ODAissue at all-candidates debates, or whenever candidates appear in person. We especially urge that you ask the Conservative candidates (including incoming Premier Ernie Eves, in the case of the Peel riding) these important questions:1. Now that four months have passed since the Government passed the Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2001, the Government has still not proclaimed in force a majority of its provisions. This means they are not now in force. Will you commit that the Government will immediately proclaim in force all its provisions?
2. Will incoming Premier Eves commit to meet with representatives of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, a widely recognized province-wide coalition which has led the province in this area? Premier Harris had promised in 1995 to work together with this coalition, but refused every request to meet in his 7 years as premier.
* download, print up and widely distribute our new ODA by-election fact sheet. This pamphlet can be printed on both sides of one page. Organize people to hand these out in public places, or leave them where public information is generally distributed. If you print it on two sheets, you can also post it on general bulletin boards. If you get it in an electronic format, you can email it widely to people in the Peel and Nipissing ridings.
* publicize the ODA issue in your local media. Inform reporters about this by-election issue. Write guest columns and letters to the editor. Phone in to radio call-in shows. Call or visit your local news media and urge that they give this issue real profile now and during the campaign.
* talk to people in the riding about this issue. Let other voters know how important this issue is to you, and encourage them to take it into account when deciding how to vote. You can do this at public meetings or even one-on-one by word of mouth.
* insist that this by-election be fully barrier-free.
* visit our web site http://www.odacommittee.net. There you will find more ideas for election action, posted during the 1999 election campaign.
* circulate this action tip on the internet, and print it up to distribute to others in hard-copy form.
* if you are part of a province-wide community organization, notify your offices in or near these two ridings. Urge them to distribute this action tip and our by-election factsheet. Any help with making copies of this action tip and our forthhcoming by-election factsheet is especially appreciated. Also, ask them generally to do what they can to get the word out on the ODA issue. Encourage them to do whatever they can to help ensure that all voters with disabilities will be able to get to the polling booths and to vote without facing barriers.
This is not just a good opportunity for those who live in these two ridings where the by-elections will be held. You can really help even if you live elsewhere. People who live outside this riding can plan to come there to hand out our ODA factsheet and to raise our issue with local voters. You can also contact people you know in these ridings and urge them to take the ODA issue into account when deciding how to vote.
Let us know what you can do!
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Last updated April 11, 2002