By Victor Schwartzman
September 16, 2013
The new Independent Reviewer of AODA implementation should be aware that the Ontario Government did not properly implement AODA because it feared …the Apocalypse.
In fact, the Government fears many Apocalypses! Eleven in total, and it started the eleventh possible Apocalypse this month when, after a delay of over 100 days, a person was finally appointed to conduct a new Independent Review. The person is Mayo Moran, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. Apart from her legal expertise, Dean Moran also has a significant background in human rights and access issues, along with years of experience with bureaucracies and governments. Therefore she needs a lot of advice on how to do her job.
Politicians are all about predicting potential Apocalypses and then avoiding them. The Eleven Apocalypses are the best place to begin understanding why the Government’s and other politicians acted as they have.
Potential Apocalypse Eleven began with Dean Moran’s appointment, as a new review could result in criticism. Past concerns were easily ignored but there is always the outside chance new criticism might be taken seriously.
The Government could not avoid the legal requirement for a new Independent Review. Other Apocalypses, however, can be avoided. Politicians, quite naturally, seek to avoid Apocalypses, and that affects how they react to implementing AODA, whether in Government or Opposition.
Dean Moran should be aware, and beware, the remaining Ten Potential Apocalypses politicians fear regarding AODA:
10. The floodgates will open Apocalypse. If AODA is properly implemented, other discriminated against people who are supposed to have rights (but don’t really) would insist on justice. Since everyone is a member of a minority group, politicians would face a legislative and political nightmare.
It’s easier to deny rights to a few than give rights to many.
9. The floodgates will close Apocalypse. If AODA failed, it would lead to human rights progress being delayed or even devastated, and the government would not want that…okay, just kidding. Different groups of potential voters are traditionally courted with offers of rights and government grants about rights. If AODA fails, this resource of potential re-electors will dry up because they will remember history.
8. The Election Apocalypse: progressive politicians face plenty of anti-progress forces. No time is a good time to antagonize the business community, service industry or municipalities. But people with disabilities can be antagonized as they are used to it.
7. The Social Apocalypse: the public is not ready for people with disabilities to go around like everyone else. One or maybe two who have acceptable disabilities, but that’s all. Aren’t people with disabilities better off in an institution, where you can feel sorry for them, hopefully before lunch and plans for the afternoon?
6. The Financial Apocalypse: putting ramps over steps and making elevators accessible for sight impaired people alone will drive businesses into red ink. Making aisles wider will shove them into borrowing money they cannot pay back. Hiring people with disabilities will force many businesses into bankruptcy. And municipal politicians will have to raise taxes to renovate streets and buildings and change hiring practices (please see Election Apocalypse, above.)
5. The Cable TV Apocalypse: things are pretty good right now, with physically perfect naked people making love and then shooting people (usually other people, but not always.) This is a successful entertainment formula. The cable industry fears that under AODA at least one disabled person must be on the cast of every television show produced in Ontario. The local cable television industry will collapse if it must include people who are not physically perfect, especially when naked.
4. The Productivity Apocalypse: one worker with a disability is okay. Everyone feels better and it makes it much easier to never hire other people with disabilities. If AODA succeeds, however, there will be more than one person with a disability in a workplace. That would be unsettling, leading to staff having discussions and new thoughts and maybe even monthly book groups. Corporations must be focused on what pays, and they see no profit in access rights.
3. The Ecological Apocalypse: if all the people with disabilities get outside it will be an ecological disaster. Trees will be cut down not only
to supply the paperwork required under AODA, but also for ramped up production on canes, crutches and ramps. Entire forests will be chopped down and rubber plantations devastated (wheelchairs). This will lead to environmental tragedy, especially for the cute furry animals living in the forest when it is not hunting season.
2. The Transportation Apocalypse: sidewalks and malls and offices would be clogged with new traffic that goes SLOW. Ontario will no longer be first
to market. Merging on sidewalks and supermarket aisles and office hallways will become a nightmare!
And, perhaps the worst Apocalypse of all:
1. The Apocalypse Apocalypse: God set things up for a reason. If we interfere with God’s plan, God will be VERY angry and could destroy Ontario, or certainly parts of Mississauga. You can talk about changing things as long as you don’t do it.
Next: AODA Committees: A Strategy To Apply To Your Job When You Don’t Want To Work