(NEWS STORY FROM THE EDMONTON JOURNAL - 2:30 P.M.)
The easy thing to do is grab placards,megaphones and wear T-shirts to express outrage. And no doubt those things are going to surface today around the noonhour at the legislative grounds. A rally is planned to protest the government’s cut banks for people with developmental disabilities in Edmonton. I understand there’s fear and anger. I understand why people with disabilities and their families are going to express their emotions.
But is it time to take this to the next level? We’re entering unchartered water on several levels: a growing population with the number of people with disabilities increasing accordingly and a provincial government with — for whatever reason — decreasing financial resources. Things have to change. Absolutely.
And those changes are going to be across the board from assessments of service, to how programs how will run, to staffing, to many other things. On the other hand, people with disabilities have increasing needs that need to be addressed. To move forward, perhaps, we have to respect one another. We have to work with one another.
We have to have meaningful conversations. People with disabilities have gained the attention of the provincial government in the past few weeks. The government has heard, loud and clear, the unhappiness.
We need to move to the next stage of this.
We need both sides to talk; to come up with creative caring ways to move forward.
From where I sit, today’s demonstration needs to be as peaceful as possible and a willingness of to listen to each other and work together. If not, I fear this story will only continue and frustrations, anger and fear will only rise.