By Victor Schwartzman
December 30, 2013
2013 is already being flushed away by 2014. The past year’s disappointments are swirling down the drain and into the sewage treatment plant of time. To sum up 2013, it made one potty.
AODA became law in 2005, but on paper only. It was gradually supposed to get real, but after almost a decade even a snail would be frustrated. Capping it off, in 2013 the Government was forced to fess up that 70% of Ontario organizations missed the latest required deadline to submit information forms. The Government’s response? It sent a few of them letters. For Ontario businesses and municipalities, it was business as usual. Even planning to do planning is far off.
2014? We have some Resolutions for your consideration.
10 PREMIER WYNNE AND MINISTER HOSKINS’ NOSES. The rest of these Resolutions are for you, but let’s start with the two politicians most responsible for the non-implementation of access legislation. Every time Premier Wynne or Minister Hoskins do not quite tell the truth about AODA, their noses will grow a little longer. By the end of March, they may find it hard to enter a small room.
9. PACE YOURSELF ABOUT AODA IMPLEMENTATION. AODA has until 2025 to be implemented. You’ve been worrying a lot about AODA since 2005. 2013 has given you headaches. If you continue to become increasingly upset, by 2017 there won’t be anything left in your tank. You will burn out. There is no rush here. You have many, many years of non-implementation ahead of you. Spread out your worrying, and never before you eat. Pace yourself.
8. IMPROVE YOUR HABITS. Improving habits is on this list because it is a classic New Year’s resolution. Why is it a classic? Because most of us let our habits go. We rarely wash them and often let the stitching unravel. You can also let your hobbits go, but that is something else. So improve your habits. For example, resolve to develop the habit of writing businesses and municipalities which do not support AODA.
7. GET TO KNOW YOUR POLITICIAN BETTER. Go down to your local constituency office and sit there all day. Let everyone know about your AODA concerns. Refuse to leave. Bring lunch. Show up regularly until the politician is embarrassed enough to do something helpful. You could go to the Legislature, but the politicians there have security guards to stop the public from reminding them of their duties.
6. ALL POLITICIANS WHO FAIL TO ENFORCE AODA WILL TURN BLUE. They’ve made us blue so why should they not be blue too? It would make it easier to spot the bad politicians. Yes, perhaps this is not a resolution you yourself could do or which is realistic–unless you are handy with paint.
5. BOYCOTT BUSINESSES AND GOVERNMENTS WHICH MISS AODA DEADLINES. Boycotts can help change happen. Unfortunately, about 70% of Ontario businesses have ignored AODA. So a boycott would leave us with no place to buy stuff. And it is hard to boycott the municipal government where you live. So a boycott is out. Stop! That is exactly what they want–to be ignored. So the boycott is in! Stop! What happens if we have to buy popcorn or a snow shovel? Wait: resolve to think and discuss.
4. YOU WILL NO LONGER BE CO-OPTED. This has nothing to do with whether you live in a co-op. We should resolve to look at the whole mechanism of how we get change allegedly happening. Thirty years of activism appear to indicate that meetings with Ministers and attending conferences has produced zip. Would AODA have been necessary if all the previous cooperating had gotten anywhere? The sandwiches are always good but the main course is never there. Perhaps starting with the politicians is the wrong end of the equation.
3. EAT LESS FRIED FOODS, CHOCOLATE AND ICE CREAM. Long term health planning is a great resolution. Although this does nothing to improve AODA implementation, it should mean that you will be healthier and live longer, and can continue to push for access implementation for decades to come. Perhaps one day, if you live very healthily, and are prepared to accept long term semi-cryogenic stasis, you will finally live to see AODA fully implemented.
2. TAKE A COOKING COURSE. Taking a cooking course is always a popular resolution. Oddly, although everyone eats, very few people learn to cook properly. We usually do not stop to see the details of how life works, why things happen or do not happen. We just chow down quickly and move on. Access is a recipe. Get the ingredients and cook up some on your block.
1. I WILL LOSE WEIGHT. No, you won’t. If people make this resolution every year, that tells you something. You might lose your weights in the gym or lose your wait in line. Those pounds, however, will probably stay on. So don’t make this resolution because you won’t keep it. Wishful thinking is satisfying until tomorrow shows up. For 2014, perhaps the best resolution is for us all to learn to be more honest with ourselves in terms of wishful thinking, including about AODA.
Those are our top ten New Year’s Resolutions. The best part? They are REUSABLE! Try them out in 2014 but keep them handy because almost certainly you will want to use them again.
Next: Nostradamus Predictions For 2014
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.