Letter to the Hon. Mike Harris,
Premier of Ontario
December 8, 2000
December 8, 2000
The Honorable Michael Harris
Room 281, Legislative Building
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1
Dear Premier Harris:
Re: Ontarians with Disabilities Act
On Wednesday, November 15, 2000, some 200 people with
disabilities came to Queen's Park to show their support for the
enactment of a strong, effective Ontarians with Disabilities
Act. Your Government has committed itself, on the record, to
passing strong, effective legislation.
In a spirit of non-partisanship, we asked all three party leaders
to meet with us at the Legislature right after Question Period
on November 15. Both Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty and NDP
leader Howard Hampton came to meet with us.
You were in the Legislature on November 15, during Question
Period, while we were just down the hall. You were asked by an
Opposition member during Question Period whether you would take
five minutes to walk down the hall to speak with us. We were
given to understand that you answered in the affirmative. Yet
you did not come to speak with the people with disabilities who
were in the building. It is unfortunate that you were not
willing to show respect for these voters by taking the short time
to come and speak with these people, or even to send a member of
your caucus as a substitute.
Premier, we are deeply concerned that your Government is on the
wrong track in its approach to the legislation that you promised
us, but have delayed and delayed on delivering. Instead of open,
accessible consultations, your Government has held limited,
sporadic, closed, invitation-only, selective meetings, often on
short notice, and not always in accessible locations.
Your Government says that the Government should "lead by
example". Yet your Government has squandered half a decade when
you could have been implementing strong new barrier-removal and
prevention legislation. Your example is one of using taxpayers'
money to create billions of dollars of new infra-structure with
neither a real commitment nor an effective process to ensure
that it is barrier-free.
We again wish to request an urgent meeting with you to address
this. An official in the office of the Citizenship Minister's
Parliamentary Assistant advised us that you require a month's
notice to book a meeting. We are therefore requesting a meeting
during the second week of January 2001, or as soon as your
schedule can accommodate it.
We are including a small sampling of written feedback for you
that people had wanted to share with you at the November 15,
gathering at Queen's Park. We do not see this, however, as any
substitute for an open-face-to-face meeting with you to discuss
this important issue in detail.
We want to help your government get back on track. If you truly
want to lead by example, then your first act should be one of
openness and collaboration, rather than continuing to ignore our
presence. It would be unfortunate for all citizens of Ontario
if your Government continues to ignore this opportunity to truly
make Ontario a society in which all have a place.
David Lepofsky, CM
Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee
cc: Helen Johns 325-6195
Norman Sterling 326-2913
Dalton McGuinty 325-9895
Dwight Duncan 325-2201
Steve Peters 325-7262
Ernie Parsons 325-4757
Howard Hampton 325-8222
David Christopherson 325-3189
Marilyn Churley 325-3252
Tony Martin 325-7111
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