By Victor Schwartzman
December 9, 2013
December 3 was the International Day for People with Disabilities. The AODA Alliance marked the Day by listing nine priorities Ontario needs to be fully accessible by 2025. Premier Kathleen Wynne acknowledged the Day in her own way at a special media conference.
“We are proud to honour this Day,” she told journalists, “especially because it is only one day a year. Frankly, we would have a tough time honouring this Day if it was any longer, say a whole week. In fact, during National Access Awareness Week we missed a legislated deadline to appoint a new AODA reviewer. As a result, this year we worried we would not last one whole day to honour the Day.
“So we created a plan. We took an idea from daylight savings time, specifically the part where you Fall Behind. In our version, instead of the clock starting an hour earlier, the Day itself has one less hour.
“That is why this year in Ontario the Day will be twenty-three hours. If one way to gauge success is by how much we accomplish each Day, then obviously the shorter each Day is the more the Government can be seen to have achieved! Also, we know we can’t last a whole twenty-four hours on access issues and it was time to do something about that.”
The Day came and went, in Ontario more quickly than usual.
The following week, Premier Wynne called a second media conference. She told journalists that the shortened Day had proven to be a winner. “We demonstrated that we honoured disabled people better if the Day is shorter than a full day. Our efforts were concentrated and better organized, and certainly we had to spend less time on access issues.
“You must build on success. Therefore, we will shorten this very special Day each year by one additional hour. By 2025, twelve years from now, when AODA called for full access, the Day should be half a day long. By 2037, the Day will run out of hours altogether.
“And then something very special will happen. The Day will have ceased to exist.
“If the Day no longer exists it must mean that it is no longer required. And that will mean that by 2037, your Ontario Government will have solved all access problems in Ontario. We will have missed the AODA deadline of 2025, yes, but only by twelve years. Whereas AODA only hoped to solve access issues, our plan will end them!
“Access is definitely an achievable goal in someone else’s lifetime.”
One AODA Alliance advocate, contacted for reaction, said “We had an office pool about what the Government would announce. No one won. We thought the Government would support one or two of our priorities but none of us predicted this. Although we probably should have since this Government is all about turning back the clock.”
The AODA Alliance announced it would counter the Government plan by promoting a version of the Day which will INCREASE one hour a week until the Day is in effect continuously. Every day would be the Day.
Premier Wynne responded by taking the AODA Alliance to court–the International Clock Court at Greenwich. We are advised that the case will be heard in a timely fashion and visitors can watch.
Next week: The Twelve AODA Days of Christmas But Probably Not Because The Rhymes Are Really Hard And You Would Have To Sing It
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.