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October 19, 2007

Framing the debate on disability

This is pretty interesting stuff, especially the data on multiple disabilities. Rather than just one disability, those surveyed reported having nearly three simultaneous debilitating conditions. The recording of ths data is precise and fastidious. It seems so accurate that it must be A Good Thing to Know. Right?

Here is the whole disabiity debate in a nutshell. Our federal government has gone to great expense to catalogue our woes in 1991, 2001, and is near publishing 2006. They seem to want to help you, but somehow do not ask the correct question. They want to know what's wrong with you, not what's wrong with them. They should be asking how they can help, since they actually get paid for that.

The tactic is a diabolically clever marriage of two well-known debating tactics - "Shoot the Messenger" and "Bait & Switch". You are drawn into the discussion on the expectation that by being counted, someone will help you somehow, and you are alarmed to discover that nothing will happen unless you do it yourself. Blame for the whole mess belongs wth you. The questions that should be asked are ones like:

How can we help you?

  • A program to lower the cost of durable medical equipment

  • Exacting and enforced standards for the built environment

  • Retrofitting of inaccessible public buildngs

  • Closer monitoring of charities

  • Cell phones must be GPS enabled and talking

  • More reasonable rules on equipment replacement

  • Braille printers in every library

  • Priority to reduce the wait for pain manaement, psychiatric services

  • A ban on inaccessible transportation

  • A Canadians with Disabilities Act.

The purpose of a census is ultimately for government to learn how to empower its citizens. Did you ever feel that your life is a game of chess and the government is playing checkers?

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