...to the website of the James McGregor Stewart Society. We want to change the outlook for people with disabilities. Please share this site with friends. Your contributions, comments and criticisms will add enthusiasm and vitality. Please participate by subscribing!

Enter your email address:

Statement of Purpose......... Take Action!......... Become a Member......... Contact

October 25, 2017

Becoming an UnPerson in Nova Scotia

(If you can't see the diagram, click the title to go to the blog or find it here).

This is how the new Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act appears to work.  The bill is almost 15,000 words long, so I welcome your corrections and additions.  I believe there are 2 major shortcomings:

  • The unwarranted trust in the medical profession
    • Given the profession’s long history of paternalism, especially as it relates to differences of ability, they are low on my list.  Why not lawyers?  Educators? Pastors? Nutritionists?  Scientists?  Why this act focuses on a group that has served people with disabilities so badly for so long is a mystery to me.  Imagine being a person having Down Syndrome and being assessed by a doctor who has counseled the abortion of people like you. Has the government hired Charles Dickens as the consultant on Disability?
  • The vague nature of “Capacity Assessment”.  
    • The few documents I can find, like this  or this seem trivial, inviting judgement by people with no real knowledge or grasp of facts.  There is no standard, no professional association. This act comes very close to saying “Just sign the contract, we’ll fill in the details later”

Given Nova Scotia’s own capacity for failing to protect its citizens, from Mi'kmaq people to African Nova Scotians to its continuing tolerance of indentured servitude in sheltered workshops and the huge errors it admitted in the discredited Incompetent Person’s Act, government needs to try harder.

Gus Reed

...he was abolished, an unperson.
1984 (Nineteen Eighty-Four)
Part 2, Chapter 6.

October 21, 2017

New interest in public rights of way

Two new Facebook Groups have started in Halifax.this summer, Haligonians on Wheels and Halifax Pedestrians and Walkers.

They have an obvious common interest in the Public Right of Way and sharing of points of view will be productive all around.  PROW standards will certainly be on the agenda of the new Accessibility Directorate.

Which way is this person going?
For people with mobility complications, of course, intersections need careful design.  I have a suspicion that HRM approaches the problem in the most pedestrian manner possible.  I wish they would follow some principles as they build and modernize infrastructure.  Here are the kind of basic principles I have in mind:

  • Safe
    • Driver gets information about pedestrian intentions
    • Keep driver and pedestrian apart
    • Stop using those stupid invisible stripes
      • or should people die for a balanced paint budget?
    • Get the pedestrian across intersections quickly
    • No signs or poles in the way
    • Make ramp part of the sidewalk, not part of the curb
  • Intuitive
    • Buttons placed correctly
  • Consistent and science-based
    • Compound slopes not permitted
  • Easily maintained
    • Set limits for tolerable interruptions
    • If it works for wheelchairs, it probably works for Bobcats.
This kind of departmental mission or policy statement is a good news story to be found on almost any city website, like this one from New York.  But not HRM, where you need to apply to find out even the most innocuous information.  Well, I'm not playing that game - I assume if they don't tell me their mission, they don't have one.  Or maybe the Russians are still working on it.  Grrrr. 

I thought I would revisit the site of the death of Bill Lee, a 73 year old pedestrian who I wrote about in 2014.

As you can see, even though a pedestrian was killed, not much has been done to improve this intersection.  It's a busy crossing, where trail users of all kinds meet the regular infrastructure.  There should be a protocol for evaluating intersections after accidents.  
  • Lighting
  • Driver and victim characteristics
  • Marking
  • Speed limits
  • Weather
Having a bunch of information would allow searching for patterns:
  • Kids on bikes on weekends
  • Pedestrian crossing at dusk in fog
  • Trail user during rush hour
  • The corner store closing at midnight
This would help prioritize and predict.  Tim Bousquet catalogs the events, but the imagination of HRM staff is limited to one variable at a time, so no progress is made.  I wrote a similar critique of an accident for HalifaxExaminer in 2015, but it met with the usual lack of response from the Lotus Eaters.  

Here are some good ideas from Trumpland, where there are requirements for hiking trails as well

October 8, 2017

uNclear Proliferation

I have a Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless who has instructed me never to leave a message on his voicemail.  I'm supposed to send him an email or text, and to await a response. 

My voicemail gets converted to text and transmitted by email.  I guess his doesn't for some reason, and he finds it inconvenient to do the lengthy retrieval of voicemail.

I like talking to him, but since he doesn't always reply to email or text, I'm uncertain about what to do.  I just accidentally found a long text from him in response to an email sent earlier today.  My phone was in the other room being charged, so I didn't hear the ding (if I had the sound on at all).  How can I respect his wishes and those of many others?

AOL Instant Messenger just died a convenient death, but Hydra-like has already been replaced by many others.  Facebook messenger, Twitter, Instagram.

I have one friend who prefers Facebook.  He has an email account, but if you really want to communicate, use Facebook.

Another friend, He Of Voicemail Fame, Tweets often.  I'll be glad to stop getting notified.

Others are only heard from when LinkedIn is announcing a promotion.  I congratulate them, but I don't really feel the need to know.

It used to be face-to-face, phone, or Canada Post.  I knew when to use what for whom.  Now there are so many channels that it's hard to keep track.  So I'll make it simple: if you want a response, email me.

Here's my latest attempt at classification.  What do you think?

PremiseGoes with email?Like it?CheckedCom ment
Announce ment
Full Tweet relayedI hate it - probably some Russian sent it.Never again!Tweet not, lest ye be Tweeted
Notification that some event has happened, but must view in native app
Ambivalent - Russians againEvery third dayLike Death and Taxes. 21st century party line
Google+NopeRarelyWhat is it, anyway?
LinkedInI'm too oldSeldomDumping it soon
Facebook Messenger
Conver sation
A nuisanceSeldomI get an email saying I have a message - go figure!
Words with FriendsNoNopeSeldomWho can even see the itty-bitty icon?
EmailLove itEvery hourwcreedh@gmail.com
PhoneSomeday it will be goneOnce a dayI only answer about 1 in 3 calls - mostly robocalls
Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumbler, PinterestDunnoDon't know what they areNeverIs this where I post nude photos of myself?
Gus Reed