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January 7, 2018

Claredon George Robicheau September 05 1955 January 06 2018

My phone doesn't speak French, so whenever Claredon called for one of his chats it would announce "Call from Clar Don", missing the extra syllable.  It always made me chuckle and I will miss hearing it.

In the few years I knew him well, talks with Claredon were wide ranging, thought-provoking and always useful.  Like my phone, he sometimes shortened words as the ideas came pouring out.  "Disabilities" could be cut back by at least two syllables.

Claredon was pretty modest, so I don't know a lot about his career or how he started Transport de Clare, or how the idea grew.  But I do know that he embodies the common paradox of people with disabilities.

For Claredon was one of the most able people you'd ever meet.  Smart, generous, interesting, articulate, thoughtful, productive.  The list goes on and on.  Claredon was all about accomplishment.  His differences gave him insights that he used to help individuals, his community, the province and the country.  He knew the economics of being able to live at home, of being able to get to a job and of participating in your community.  He acted on his ideas.

What more could one ask from life?

I never visited Claredon in Clare, but I had the privilege of sharing a lobster feast with him (he provided the lobster from his family business) last summer.  I thought I was a decent lobster cooker and shucker, but Claredon knew all the subtleties, gleaned from a lifetime in and around the fishery.  He was so proud of his community, and we, in his other community, are so proud of him.

He was a force for good, justly deserving and so pleased with his Human Rights Award.  He leaves a vacuum, but he mentored many who will take up the banner.  He will be missed, and we honor his achievements.

Gus Reed

December 18, 2017

HRC workflow, continued

Last spring I did a couple of posts on the workflow at the Human Rights Commission.  In the meantime, four others and I have a complaint wending its way to a Board of Inquiry.  The Board Chair has been named and last week we had a conference call to settle on a date for a hearing.  It will be in July.  This is a disappointment, as our initial complaint was filed in July, 2016.  So it will be 340 days from complaint to hearing

Expecting to learn how badly we have been treated, I looked at the 3 Board of Inquiry decisions made in 2017 relating to disability. 

Time to

As you can see, our 340 days to a hearing is a blink of an eye compared to the 900 day average.  But my disappointment is not diminished.  In all 3 of these cases the finding was for the complainant.  

So the question is why it takes 900 days before you even get a hearing?  I know cases differ, but really, 900 days?  

Like the seige of Leningrad.

November 28, 2017

A failure of leadership

One of life's most important lessons is to avoid personal attacks.  It's OK to say a decision is "stupid" but it's not a good idea to label those who reached the decision in the same way.  They're misinformed or misguided.

Under those rules, misguided and misinformed people at Metro Transit have made a monumentally stupid decision.

They've considered their alternative facts and decided to buy 40 paratransit buses.

Gerry Post, tireless citizen advocate, has been waging this battle for years.  So have I.  Gerry makes the compelling point that there are cheaper alternatives that give better service.  He wrote Mayor Savage:

Dear Mayor Savage,
I just received notice of a HRM tender for 40 paratransit Buses, which came as a big surprise. After all the discussion regarding an alternative para-Transit business model that:
1. Cost less;
2. Improves service for the disabled
3. Supports getting more accessible taxis on the road
4. Prepares HRM for the future conversion to Autonomous Buses; the biggest cost will be severance (estimated at $100k per driver) - must reduce the hiring of new drivers; and
5. Supports the private sector.
It seems the administration is stuck in a rut, which is costly to the citizens in both in money and service delivery. This tender will continue the status quo for many years to come, this is the time to consider the alternative business model.

After 4 years of discussing this, with broad based support within the disabled community the current tender indicates a lack of understanding and respect by the administration for the citizens it serves.

Submitted respectfully,

Gerry P

For my part, I'm more concerned that HRM is operating a separate and discriminatory service contrary to the Charter.  This decision, made in the policy vacuum so characteristic of HRM, has the effect of making second class citizens of some residents.  While the decision may have some practical considerations:
  • A deal on 40 buses
  • Idle drivers
It's up to leadership to consider the larger issues:
  • Responsibility to taxpayers
  • Service level
  • The future of transport
  • The fair treatment of all Haligonians
  • Benefits to other sectors
I'm full of questions:
  • What is it about "less expensive" that Council fails to comprehend?
  • What is it about people with disabilities that brings out the worst in others?
  • Are we begrudged the means to get to jobs? (here is a CBC article about how we are treated)
  • Shall we satisfy HRM's bias by being unemployed and supported entirely by taxpayers?
The tender is an affront to people with disabilities, who have worked tirelessly to change HRM's outlook with facts, patience and understanding. Instead we have been met with misrepresentation, condescension and indifference.

This decision has the effect of ignorance, bigotry, waste and stupidity. Those who made the decision are misguided and badly informed.  Their leaders fail to provide leadership.