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James McGregor Stewart Award Announced

The James McGregor Stewart Society is pleased to announce an award described in the following statement from the Community Foundation of Nova Scotia.  I can think of dozens of folks who deserve serious consideration, and I bet you can too.  Please nominate people who have worked so hard for themselves and their community.  The deadline for nominations is June 1.

-Gus Reed

New Award Recognizes Outstanding Citizen Living with a Disability

Halifax The Community Foundation of Nova Scotia is pleased to announce the launch of the James McGregor Stewart Award to recognize the achievement of a Nova Scotian living with a disability. The Award is named for James McGregor Stewart who overcame many barriers, despite a reliance on crutches throughout his life as a result of childhood polio. Mr. Stewart was a founder of one of Atlantic Canada’s leading law firms, Stewart McKelvey.

The Fund was established by friends of the James McGregor Stewart Society to recognize Nova Scotians living with a disability for their leadership, personal accomplishment or effective advocacy.

The Award recipient will be selected through a nomination process and nominees will evaluated for determination and achievement in conquering personal or externally imposed boundaries, with emphasis on leadership, personal excellence and advocacy.

The Award of $1,000.00 will be presented annually on June 30, the anniversary of the birth date of James McGregor Stewart.

The Community Foundation of Nova Scotia works with funders to make smart and caring investments in communities and people; we enable effective philanthropy. To learn more about this award and the others supported by the CFNS, please visit the website at www.cfns.ca

More Information
Warren Reed, 
James McGregor Stewart Society 

Angela Bishop, Executive Director
Community Foundation of Nova Scotia
(902) 490 5907 angela.bishop@cfns.ca

View a poster here
Make an on-line nomination here

Constituency Office follow-up

Parker Donham asked for a follow-up on the accessibility requirement for constituency offices.  Under the new rules, 31 of 54 offices (3 MLAs have 2 offices) are presently accessible.

6 have been granted exemptions for not having visible AND audible alarms, though I don't understand why they're too cheap to buy one.  Here's one for seventy-five bucks.

Geoff MacLellan of Glace Bay was re-elected and moved his office, which is still not completely accessible.  His lease runs out June 30.

17 have been grandfathered under the old (nonexistent) rules and have evidently been too busy to read the handwriting on the ramp.  These are (a couple in flux):

Baillie, JamieCumberland SouthRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016PC
Casey, KarenColchester NorthRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016L
Churchill, ZachYarmouthRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016L
Colwell, KeithPreston-DartmouthRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016L
Corbett, FrankCape Breton CentreRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016NDP
Glavine, LeoKings WestRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016L
MacDonald, MaureenHalifax NeedhamRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016NDP
MacLeod, AlfieSydney River-Mira-LouisbourgRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016PC
MacMaster, AllanInvernessRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016PC
Orrell, EddieNorthside-WestmountRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016PC
Porter, ChuckHants WestRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016PC
Regan, KellyBedfordRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016L
Samson, Michel PCape Breton-RichmondRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016L
Whalen, DianaClayton Park WestRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016L
Wilson, DaveSackville-CobequidRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016NDP
Younger, AndrewDartmouth EastRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016L
Zann, LenoreTruro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon RiverRe-elected MLA, due October 2016Not required until Oct 2016NDP

PC 5
Liberal  8
NDP 4

Not to make too much of the $89,234.90 each of these gets paid, I'd just say disabled taxpayers aren't getting a lot for their $1,517,010.30.  It's only democracy, not something vital like Mr. Leahy's tax credit.

I looked at a couple of places in Google Street View.  The Premier's place in Middleton looks pretty thin on the accessible parking requirements, but I'm holding fire until I can get to Middleton with a television crew.   

My suspicious nature got the better of me when I looked at Randy Delorey's Antigonish office in Street View.  Remembering his office is on the 2nd floor and doubting the 2 story building has an elevator, I asked accessibility advocate Anne Camozzi to have a look.  She reported completely:

They have some issues with signage which I pointed out - mainly there are two entrances to the bldg. one says Randy Delorey and there's a flight of stairs.  If you did not know, there is no signage to indicate a second entrance further from Main St. also marked Randy Delorey with a push button door and elevator.  I pointed out the need for signage at the first entrance.
Once off the elevator there are two fire doors to get through to get to his office. I needed help with those doors. His assistant was very obliging.  They had changed all their doorknobs to levers
The main door to his office is narrow but got my big power chair through just barely. It is def not a 36" door. Inside OK.  Its a very tight turn in.  The accessible washroom is not in his office but in the nearby Dept. of Environment office on the same floor.  There's a door I could not open to get to the Dept. of Environment area where the washroom is located but by knocking on the door someone can come from Environment and opened it. I pointed out this needed to be signed.  Others more able bodied in a chair could probably open the doors.
Did not have time to try the washroom and was worried about my power chair and tight spaces.His assistant seemed keen to know what was working and not working and came downstairs to more fully understand the signage.

So there you have it.  Two thirds Accessible, One third dragging their feet (knuckles).

Gus Reed

Hoops, Nike, RFRA, Etc.

In the US, the NCAA basketball championship ran head first into the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  The governor of Indiana sustained withering fire for this bit of legislation, seen as a license to discriminate against LGBT citizens.  There was heavy criticism from the business community, threats to leave the state, conventions cancelled - the governor backed down.

North Carolina, which is a peculiar combination of progressive and far-right, is on the cusp of the same problem.  A RFRA is working its way through the legislature, but this time the governor is ambivalent, having been read the riot act by IBM, one of the state's largest employers.

It's interesting to see how business has been the leader.  The only important measure is whether employees do their job and whether customers have money.  Why would a LGBT person apply for a job where they're not wanted?  Why would they shop at stores that disparage them?

In an analogous way, the business community in Nova Scotia supports efforts to make Nova Scotia more accessible.  Jim Cormier, Atlantic Director of the Retail Council of Canada made this remarkable statement in a submission to the Minister's Advisory Panel on Accessibility Legislation:
RCC members support efforts to create a more accessible province.  Not only do retailers believe that it is the right thing to do, they also know the importance of creating a welcoming customer and employee experience to success in what is an intensely competitive retail sector. Whether it be through their in-store or online offerings, retailers are continually evaluating their client service, the physical structure of their stores and their vicinity and even the public transportation systems that help move customers and employees.  Improving accessibility to retail business gives retailers better access to potential customers.  More customers usually means better sales and thus, RCC is supportive of reasonable measures that will improve accessibility across Nova Scotia.
Cormier goes on to urge careful implementation, but the clear support from retail business is refreshing, especially in the face of years of government inaction.  "Just do it," Cormier seems to say.  Is he a Nike rep?