Letter to the Hon. Mike Harris
from Steve Harris
April 7, 2000
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PREMIER
April 7, 2000
The Honourable Michael D. Harris
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, ON, M7A 1A1
This correspondence is in response to your letter dated March 31, 2000 to Mr. David Lepofsky regarding a request for a meeting with yourself to discuss the proposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Premier, it is a cruel and hurtful slap in the face to Ontarians with Disabilities that you would have Chris Breen, your Director of Tour and Public Events, respond to Mr. Lepofsky instead of responding yourself. I assume that it is no small coincidence that a staff member responsible for booking your tours would disregard this letter so callously. My invitation to both yourself and Minister Helen Johns to attend the open, public consultations I
held throughout the province during the month of March with disabled persons were also ignored.
It was during the 1995 election campaign when you personally promised, in writing, to enact legislation, within your first term of office, to remove and prevent barriers for persons with
disabilities and that you would work with the committee towards achieving that legislation. That was your personal promise, Premier. It has been five years, two elections and three Ministers since you promised action. Without your personal commitment to this
legislation, the present inaction will continue.
Last spring, the electorate of Ontario heard a great deal about how you could provide "Strong Leadership for a Strong Ontario" and were bombarded with a list of promises made and promises kept by your government. It is no secret that you set the agenda for this
Province. I implore you, Premier, to find one hour of your time - that you have not been able to find in the last five years - to show some leadership and meet with the committee to whom you made a promise and have not kept.
In Mr. Breen's letter to the Ontarians with Disabilities Act committee, it states that the Hon. Helen Johns, Minister of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, has met with Mr. Lepofsky and
members of the organization on numerous occasions. The sad reality is that Minister Johns has met with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act committee once formally, and did a brief 3-minute walkabout at Queen's Park on November 23rd, 1999 when members of the disabled
community across the province assembled to hear the debate on my resolution. A debate that you, personally, absented yourself from.
I believe that an apology is in order for having your "spin doctor" respond to this issue, when it is your mandate and promise to the electorate. I strongly urge you to make whatever arrangements you must, in order to provide time to meet with David Lepofsky and the
Ontarians with Disabilities Act committee.
I look forward to your immediate response.
Steve Peters, M.P.P.
Cc David Lepofsky
Hon. Helen Johns
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