On the International Day for Persons with a Disability Paul Vienneau takes stock. Some progress, especially in the crafting of Bill 59, and a long way to go, he writes. “It’s as if the government thinks the work is done now. But change doesn’t come from from legislation. The legislation is merely the starting point.”
This weekend’s weekend video features Halifax musician, photographer, stalwart activist and Nova Scotia Advocate author Paul Vienneau as he hands out bottled water on a hot Spring Garden day. ““This helped me see that giving away water has become part of what I am doing with my life. It’s an antidepressant in 24 little plastic bottles.”
Paul Vienneau is one of the accessibility advocates who successfully challenged the government’s refusal to enforce health and safety regulations when it comes to accessible washrooms. After a long battle with the Human Rights Commission there finally was a human rights tribunal, and in September they won their case. Just this Friday the government announced that it accepts the decision. Paul is NOT impressed.
There are two accessible parking spots along the Harbourwalk South, where you will find the NSCAD Port Campus, the Nova Scotia Centre for Crafts and Design, the Mary E. Black Gallery, and more. Unless the cruise ships are in town, that is. That’s when the Halifax Port Authority shuts the spots down.
Warren (Gus) Reed is one of the successful complainants in a recent human rights case that considered the province’s refusal to enforce accessible washrooms in restaurants. Here Reed looks back on the tribunal in all its absurdity. “It is typical of the provincial authorities not to exercise any creative economic thinking. Accessibility calls for new approaches and less whining!,” writes Reed, who pulls out a calculator himself. The money spent on government lawyers could have been spent so much wiser.
In July we reported on a Nova Scotia Human Rights tribunal asked to decide whether to prevent people who use wheelchairs from washing their hands in a restaurant amounts to discrimination. Well, this time the good guys won, and the the province lost. Another loser was the NS Human Rights Commission, which did not want to consider the case until told by a judge to do so,
Our friends at the James McGregor Stewart Society report on a Halifax restaurant that went from a nicely wheelchair-accessible entrance to make-do.
Day one in a human rights inquiry into wheelchair access to washrooms in restaurants. It was quick, wrap up is tomorrow. Oh, and the case almost didn’t happen because the Human Rights Commission didn’t think it had merit, and the complainants had to take the Commission to court. Sound familiar?
Paul Vienneau, disability advocate, asshole with a shovel and sometime NS Advocate contributor, won an award for his disability advocacy. We went to the ceremony, and it was very nice.
“Exclusive lifestyles are profoundly antisocial. They lead to the creation residential and commercial ghettos. Inclusive culture makes space for and welcomes people of all cultures, abilities and income levels,” writes Kimberly Smith. We need more of the latter, and thinking about cohousing may get us there.