By Victor Schwartzman
January 2, 2015
As I write this, it is two days into 2015. Already the New Year is a major disappointment. Two out of three of my New Year’s Resolutions have yet to come true, and likely never will. But I should not be cynical. Yes, 2015 is the future, and the future is now here and it is disappointing. But I live on hope. I have high hopes for 2016.
For a long time, 2001: A Space Odyssey was my reasonable hope for the future. I was 23 when I first saw the movie in 1968. It predicted a hopeful near future where people colonized the moon and were reaching out to the other planets. As the years went by, that future was always just years away until it dwindled to today’s reality of no moon colonies and a tiny space station which has no cool toilets. Disappointing!
Similarly, when even younger I watched Walt Disney’s tv show. The Tomorrowland segments predicted we would soon zip to work in personal helicopters, and that work would be easy because robots would do it. The robots did come along and do a lot of work. But we’re all still waiting for our helicopters and rocket boots, and even if they did come along some of us were laid off because of the robots. Disappointing!
As Hobbes once said to Calvin in that wonderful comic strip, “The problem with the future is that it keeps turning into the present.”
Which, of course, brings us to my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions about the Ontario Government’s implementation of AODA.
Way back in 2005, when AODA was proclaimed, we all had great hope for its future. AODA did not have to be fully implemented until 2025 but surely now that the legislation existed it would create wheels, and those wheels would turn quickly. Everyone would jump on board the access train.
Instead, almost ten years later, 2014 ended with only a single set of access standards developed and 70% of eligible Ontario businesses not filling out basic AODA forms, much less implementing access plans. To date, implementation of AODA by the Ontario Government has been a disaster of Poseidon Adventure proportions. All the good intentions were turned upside down and AODA is struggling to keep its head above water!
I had hopes going into 2015, and wrote three helpful AODA New Year’s Resolutions. Naturally, they are Resolutions for other people. Regarding the resolutions, I feel neither responsible for doing anything myself, nor even the need to be fair. (To explain, I live in British Columbia and, worse, am a columnist.)
Minister Duguid: He should begin 2015 with leadership. He will state it is not “early” in implementing AODA, and wants it fully implemented within two years. He will give it his top priority.
To date, leadership can wait.
Premier Wynne: She should begin 2015 by stating that one Minister responsible for AODA has never worked. AODA covers too many areas. Instead, she will make her entire Cabinet responsible for implementing AODA, and commit to fully implementing AODA within two years.
She appears to stand behind Minister Duguid. Way behind him. Regarding the Cabinet and access implementation, when you knock on the wood it sounds hollow, and when you open the door there is nothing inside.
David Onley: He should begin 2015 by, if he does not already know them, learning relaxation techniques. As Minister Duguid’s AODA “champion” he has yet to be given any apparent budget or authority. And Minister Duguid has made it clear he is in no rush. Yet Onley, an honourable person, will doubtless want to accomplish something. That is why he will need to learn relaxation techniques.
I made those Resolutions and now here we are. 2015 has arrived. Perhaps I am not being fair in only waiting one day, but I already covered the fair part. The first two resolutions appear to have failed. Minister Duguid missed an opportunity to make a stirring New Year’s speech. Premier Wynne has been silent about any implementation strategy. As for the third Resolution, we wish him well but no word has been heard from Mr. Onley–maybe he’s thinking over his “champion” status.
Next: Nostradamus Claims He Predicted My New Year’s Resolutions Would Fail!
Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly column to Accessibility News. Buy the first nine chapters of his current satirical fantasy novel, King Of The Planet, for .99 on Kindle at http://www.amazon.ca/King-The-Planet-Victor-Schwartzman-ebook/dp/B00NE0CCRC or read the earlier drafts and current chapters for free, on the King Of The Planet Facebook page. It has a “4 out of 5 star” review already!
His graphic novel The Winnipeg Weakly Herald (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, http://www.redfez.net. He also contributes to http://www.targetaudiencemagazine.com. He has had poetry and short fiction published, has edited novels and hosts two writers’ circles. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.