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BRITISH COLUMBIA ACCESS UPDATE

By Victor Schwartzman 
January 5, 2013

Hello (the rest of) Canada!  From Vancouver it’s your Accessibility News reporter Budd.  Here is this week’s B.C. BUDD UPDATE.   

B.C. GOVERNMENT CALLS ACCESS MEETING DUE TO SELECTIVE MEMORY LOSS

The B.C. Government said Lotus Land should lead the way on access issues.  Everyone thought, way cool: at least it did something during 2013!  But it said
it could not lead the way on access issues until it found out what they were.  So the Government called a super special meeting!    The “Leaders’ Forum”
is scheduled for January 15 so that 100 community leaders will explain to the Government what access issues are. 

Given the same 100 leaders have periodically met with the Government over the years to advocate on access issues, B.C. Budd’s curiosity was aroused.  Why
would the Government call for a meeting to ask for what it already knew? 

He phoned the Government.  “Apart already having had individual meetings with everyone who’ll be in the room,” he asked, “haven’t you done this already
back in 2005?  And repeated it in 2007?  Why the repeat of the repeat?”   

To his surprise, although in Lotus Land little is astonishing and nothing surprising, the Government was embarrassed.  It admitted it had forgotten about
access altogether for several years.  That was why, after 2005 and 2007, somehow 2009 and 2011 and 2013 fell through the cracks.  As did all the even years.

B.C. politicians periodically suffer from memory loss.  It could be the rain.  For example, forgetting his pledge during an election not to raise taxes
cost Premier Campbell his job when he raised them after the election.  But memory loss never previously affected so many politicians and senior civil servants,
over so many years, and so selectively.  Perhaps there is something very special about access!!

Given its admission, B.C. Bill had the Government assessed by a team of psychologists who concluded it not only had memory loss, but also a very serious
personality disorder.  Examples of denial of reality included the Premier stating she had a budget surplus when her own published figures showed a deficit. 
Or the Government’s opposing an oil pipeline because of environmental risks while promoting natural gas production which has similar risks. 

When it was concluded that the politicians and civil servants involved had mental health challenges requiring extended care, they were all immediately institutionalized,
and as part of standard procedure were started on anti-psychotic medications whether they needed them or not. 

Hahaha!  B.C. Budd was just blowing smoke at you! 

The diagnosis was not real (although for similar behaviour people have been committed.)  With the Government, the question is what is its commitment?  The
“Leaders’ Forum” is real, and may demonstrate the Government’s commitment.  Advocates gauge how seriously a Government approaches an issue by the resources
it invests.  How much has the Government invested in 2013?  It said it wanted to be the leader on access.  So far, it has called one meeting. 

The meeting is not for a full day.  The Government did not arrange the meeting.  Instead, it asked a disability organization to be set up. 

Sorry!  B.C. Budd meant to do the setup, because otherwise he would be implying ulterior motives by the Government.  No reason to think that here, cynical
isn’t Lotus Land thinking.     

Oddly, though, one result of the Forum before it has even been held is that community members are criticizing each other about it rather than criticizing
the Government.  Funny it worked out that way.

Should the Forum even be held?  Should the community support it?  Good questions but none about the Government which started this.  Once again people who
should be on the same side are eating each other rather than dining out. 

There is a reasonable criticism that the community should have refused the Forum to begin with.  The Government knows the information; action is required,
not talk.  It is also reasonable, however, to take any available opportunity to sit down with decision makers and impact policy.  For advocates this has
been accepted wisdom on how to get change on exactly these issues, over many years, decades actually, well centuries. 

On the other hand, the Forum is good because networking is important and the meeting allows that.  Also, attending can be cathartic for advocates who can
vent at decision makers who decide to do nothing.  On the other hand, attending the forum makes the Government appear to be doing something when it is
doing nothing.  On the other hand, you can go there and say that.  On the other hand, as we have seen, the Government may hear you say it but it has a
selective memory problem.

Golly. 

B.C. Budd is confused.  What a complex situation, all created by the Government asking a community organization to be the organizer.  Thank goodness the
Government, while doing nothing on access, had no ulterior motive about creating discord among access advocates.

Should B.C. Budd attend?  Fortunately, it turns out it is not a personal decision as no one invited him. 

The Forum will proceed on January 15 and two things are certain: it will last five hours and the dainties will be excellent.   

Next Week:  Nostradamus Predictions for 2014 Despite The Fact His Prediction He’d Do This Week’s Column Was Wrong; Also He Predicts People Who Don’t Read
His Column Will Have A Terrible Accident; Or, As Usual, A Column About Something Else     

Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly satiric column to Accessibility News–nothing in these columns is true except what they are about. His graphic novel (where each chapter is one issue of a community newspaper) is serialized on the great Canadian lit site, www.redfez.net. He also contributes a monthly poetry review to the online magazine, Target Audience (www.targetaudiencemagazine.com.), has had poetry and short fiction published (by someone else), and has edited novels.