Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee

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Please Support a Strong & Effective ODA


ODA Recent
News Summary
November 7, 2000

With so much happening so fast on the ODA front, we wanted give
you a quick summary update here.

1. The NDP challenged Premier Harris in the Legislature during
Question Period last week regarding his Government's plans on the
ODA. Follow this link to read more.

2. As example of action occurring during the current ODA Action
Week, ODA Committee London Regional Contact Cathy Vincent
had a column published in the London Free Press on
Friday, November 3, 2000. See below.

3. On October 26, 2000, Conservative MPP David Young brought
forward for second reading debate in the Legislature a bill to
declare June an official Deaf-Blind Month.
Opposition critics
said during this debate that while a laudible action, this bill
is no substitute for a strong and effective ODA. The full debate
in the legislature is posted on our website. Follow this link to read it.
If you want the text of that debate emailed to you, send a request to:

4. The NDP publishes frequent Email updates on current political
issues. This update recently included an item on the ODA. See

5. Liberal Sarnia MPP Caroline Di Cocco published an article
recently in a Sarnia newspaper which included information about
the ODA. See below.

6. As part of the ODA Committee's recent new contacts with
others advocating for such legislation around the world, see our
new links to other related web sites by following this link



London Free Press Friday November 3, 2000 Page A-13
Time to put teeth in Disabilities Act
By Cathy Vincent-Linderoos

It goes without saying that Ontarians do care about people with
disabilities. Yet Premier Harris doesn't recognize the non-
partisan grassroots coalition that has worked for nearly six
years to secure the passage of a strong Ontarians with
Disabilities Act (ODA).

He has neither met nor worked with us, though he promised in
writing in 1995 to do just that.

Harris's government callously ignores the pleas of disability
activists, people with disabilities, more than 100 disability
organizations, city council recommendations throughout the
province, and the public at large.

Harris ignores the media.

On reading a recently leaked cabinet document about the ODA, I
concluded Harris and his government must feel they are above us.
They must think Ontarians don't care about people with

They are wrong. Last June, the Multiple Sclerosis Society's
Ontario Division expressed frustration with the delay.

Since then, the Ontario March of Dimes and the Community Living
Association have followed suit.

The government must believe that columnists such as Christina
Blizzard, Kelley Teahen and Peter Geigen-Miller aren't worth
heeding. Recent articles in The London Free Press by these
journalists revealed yet more details about barriers Ontarians
with disabilities face.

Blizzard concluded that a law would be a small step in the right
direction. Yet nothing has been done.

There's a word for this. Arrogance. Read the leaked cabinet
document on our Web site at www.odacommittee.net and you will think
I'm understating the case.

Today, we will kick off ODA Action Week across Ontario.

It's up to you to decide how to you'd like to communicate with
our provincial legislators this week, given it coincides with
their home constituency week.

You'll find some tips in our Fall Action 2000 Kit you may be able
to use. If you can think of other ideas to help, let us know.
Contact names, addresses and e-mail addresses are all posted on
the Web.

If I've learned one thing from all this -- government arrogance
aside -- it's that this is no time to throw in the towel. Having
a disability is one thing. I may have to accept that, as a
person with multiple disabilities, I will always have to face
unnecessary barriers.

But I do not accept the status quo. And I don't want to ever feel
that I could have tried harder for others with disabilities.
There are over 1.5 million people with disabilities in Ontario

Please add your voice to ours and tell Mike Harris to put some
teeth into the Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

[Vox Pop provides a place for readers to comment on topical
subjects. Cathy Vincent-Linderoos is a regional contact for the
London and area ODA Committee.]



NDP News Digest: Nov. 1, 2000

Noisy November, mark your calendar ODA, parental leave bill,
backing labour, King's-sized donation

Feel free to share this with your E-mail list.

Visit the Ontario NDP website - www.ontariondp.on.ca

November 1 and 2, 2000

MANY QUESTIONS, NO ANSWERS Kicking off November, New Democrats
peppered the Conservatives with great questions on Wednesday
and, typically, the government's responses were pathetic....

And NDP Disabilities Critic Tony Martin attacked the
Conservatives for backing away from its promise to bring forward
an Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The government recently
issued a press release saying that disability access
requirements should be voluntary and agreeing with big business
that a law is unnecessary. "If voluntary compliance is the
answer, why do thousands and thousands of disabled Ontarians
face barriers to workplaces, to movie theatres, to public
telephones and other public and private services in this
province?" Martin queried.

DISABILITIES ACTION WEEK The Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Committee invites you, your family and friends to Queen's Park
on Wed., Nov. 15, from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to show your support
for full rights for people with disabilities in this province.
ODA Action Week is November 3-10 and the ODA Committee is
hosting an event on the grounds of the Legislature. Come one
and all and help achieve a barrier-free Ontario for 1.5 million
Ontarians with Disabilities through strong and effective
legislation. See you on November 15th!


Excerpt from a Recent Column in a Sarnia Newspaper
by Liberal Sarnia MPP Caroline Di Cocco

Sarnia This Week
October 25, 2000
Page Five

Seeking answers for
families in need

... Last week I attended a meeting to learn more about the issues
faced by people with physical and developmental disabilities and
their families. The provincial government has not honored to date
its commitment to provide an Ontario with Disabilities Act that
was promised in 1995 by Mike Harris. The US has had this type of
act since 1991. Organizations and individuals have been gathering
around the province to make the general public aware of this
broken promise. David Lopowski is leading this movement because
he believes that the general public does care about the most
vulnerable in our society.


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