featured Inclusion

Paul Vienneau: Why we have to fight our own battles

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – No surprise that the Premier’s Year End Message skips over how a group of wheelchair users had to sue the government because they were discriminating against us, and here we are four months later and the government has yet to get back to us that they have begun the process of fixing the problem. Instead we got a months late retroactive press release pretending they wanted to work with us all along.

And the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC), supposedly here to help groups fight for their rights, threw out our complaint twice, and only read it after a Supreme Court Justice told them they have to follow their own mandate.

After all that, the NSHRC sent two lawyers to sit at a table at “our” human rights tribunal as “impartial observers.” I never even met them. For winning the case we should be an obvious pick for a Human Rights Award next year. After being given one for our work with the Bill 59 Community Coalition last year, and then having NSHRC leave us hanging on this one, I’m not as excited at the thought anymore.

The Premier trumpets his balanced budget in his End Of The Year Message, yet we have 152 type 3/4 bedsores on record, the worst kind. This is death by neglect, and he even defended cuts to care homes. I don’t join political parties, but this is pretty damning for the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia.

And then disabled people have to sue to be liberated from a mental hospital.

Until people are freed from these conditions, all the bragging about being open for business is hot air, or as I called in one if my NS Advocate articles, Farting Unicorns and Rainbows.

This shows why we have to fight our own battles. The government would still be gleefully discriminating against us if we didn’t sue them.

There will be a huge windfall of money from the legalization of marijuana. This money could go a long way toward freeing institutionalized disabled people and placing them in their chosen communities where they could and should be allowed the money to hire and direct their own attendant care. Maybe even pay for a hospital we badly need, without making the P3 mistake we have made in the past with schools.

You want a legacy to be proud of, elected officials? Follow through on the promise of Bill 59 and your mandate to enable Nova Scotians to live better, safer, fuller lives in their communities of choice.

Stop talking about stadiums and shiny baubles and set disabled people free. It’s in your power to do so.

See also: 

With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.

Subscribe to the Nova Scotia Advocate weekly digest and never miss an article again.




  1. Thank you for your astute analysis. Yes Indeed the government of Nova Scotia continues to prioritize stadiums and big Indusrty while neglecting the very basic human rights of people of varying abilities in the Province of Nova Scotia . The ability to live in Community ,to be treated with dignity and respect and to move about and access services unobstructed is a very basic human right.
    Jo-Anne Pushie

Comments are closed.