Thursday, 16 May 2013

Time to bang the drum for Alberta's disabled

Perhaps the easy thing to do as we gather around the water cooler is to talk about the new downtown arena deal. It is the biggest story of the day, by an icing call and more.
It would also be the easy thing to do.
But, maybe starting today, some Albertans with disabilities cannot do the easy thing anymore. I am talking about people with disabilities that need to start speaking up against provincial government cutbacks.
I am one of them. And I know I have to do better.
Now over the half century mark, and with cerebral palsy, I really haven’t been a very strong advocate for my fellow brothers and sisters with disabilities.
I have gone on with my life, have been integrated in the workforce, and live in my own home in the community with services.
I am responsible for my own care and have the chance to control it.
I need to do more for others, and realize many people with disabilities are not as fortunate as I am.
There was protest Wednesday afternoon in front of the legislature from family members and people with developmental disabilities over $42 million in cuts.
They had signs and made statements because, sadly, nobody else does.
I am dating myself when I speak of the Alberta Committee of Disabled Groups of Disabled People, formed in the 1970’s. They were grass roots and were very vocal when news stories of provincial cuts to people with disabilities hit the headlines.
They are still around, known as Alberta Committee of Citizens with Disabilities.
Why haven’t we heard them bang the drum on this?
The Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities was struck in 1987, a direct tangible result from the Rick Hansen Man In Motion World Tour coming to Alberta.
What is their position on the PDD cuts? Are they planning a statement?
When Gary McPherson passed away three years ago the disabled community lost a powerful voice.
To my mind, we need a leader; we need someone, some group, to speak up to government and create meaningful discussions so all Albertans with disabilities can live with independence and dignity.
We need an unified voice.
Let’s start building that today before the provincial government does more damage.
Ideas? is my email.

1 comment:

Michelle cole said...

Well said :)