By Victor Schwartzman, channeling Mickey Spillane
March 2, 2015
Welcome to Part Two. Did you miss Part One? To help, here is a summary of the situation: you missed Part One. Now that you are up to speed, here is Part Two:
I ached to roll up my sleeve and serve Wynne or Duguid a knuckle sandwich. But Albert Camus, standing next to me, shook his head. There is no point, except to relieve your tension, and you are always tense, so what is the point? And what exactly would you punch, my friend? Their moral failings? Al was right, of course. That was why I brought an existentialist.
I learned that we did not have and never developed our Courage to implement AODA, Minister Duguid told us. Now we have Provost Morans review. Almost 70% of eligible companies continue to break the law. Her report states we must do something about that. She recommends we create workable access standards and show leadership. The mug was as serious as a clown looking desperately for a laugh. Our response? We will de-emphasize enforcing the law. In 2015 we will slash the number of companies we will inspect. They wont obey the law so why make them? Instead we plan to set up pilot projects.
Al started to say something, then looked at me, sadder than usual. We have a long way to go. The road is washed out and we are lost. I say we turn back.
We had gone to the Premiers office to solve the disappearance of the Ontario Governments AODA Courage. We discovered instead that the politicians AODA Courage never existed! Give it your best, Al. Whats the point of coming here if we dont try?
He started to say something to me, but paused, and then turned to Premier Wynne and Minister Duguid. There are those who need a law enforced and those who are responsible to do it. Each side has a very different point of view of reality and time. People who need AODA enforced need access right now. You two politicians see access as needing to be implemented in 2025, at the last possible time. You miss the entire point of the law. There is lousy access now. Al looked at Minister Duguid. Now, not 2025. 2025 is the end deadline.
No, Minister Duguid replied. 2025 is the target date.
Premier Wynne put her hand on his shoulder. Brad, dont. She was poised. Mr. Camus, we know this is about access. In principal it is one of our top priorities.
I snorted and my grin wouldve froze their guts, if they had any. Where can I find that Principal? At the School Of I Dont Give A Crap?
Okay. We could use more Courage on access, Premier Wynne admitted. I dont know why any Ontario Government, including this one, hasnt developed it yet.
Sure you know, Al pressured her. You have the Courage for sewer improvements. We saw it talking with the head of a construction company. Why do you have the Courage for improving sewers but not for people with disabilities?
We need sewers, Minister Duguid blurted out, and added, And everybody likes sewers. Premier Wynne sighed.
You got a point, big mouth, I snarled at him. Maybe you can use it to make everybody like disabilities. A knuckle sandwich never looked better and it sure would taste right!
Al cut in. The answer is not to make people who have disabilities likeable. Why should their rights depend on that? No, the politicians must enforce a law their supporters and allies do not want. That requires Courage. Fear of re-election has not workedthe Government ignored AODA and yet was re-elected with a majority. The Courage must come from the politicians hearts. They must see enforcing AODA as decent.
Minister Duguid scratched his head, puzzled, but Premier Wynne nodded. Decent we could try for.
Add an s to decent and you get descent, I snapped at her. Descent down that Slippery Slope. Why did you get into politics, lady? I wasnt bothering with bozo. This is human rights and good for the economy. You can do it here and now. I used the old drill into her eyes approach. Start by setting your deadline not for 2025 but tomorrow. Do it, babe.
Id reached something deep inside her. There was a glimmer in her eyes, then a brightness. A mystical green energy burst from her. Yes, it was very small. Yes, it was green and looked like Slimer from Ghostbusters. But we had witnessed the creation of the very first Ontario Government AODA Courage!
Al pulled me back. Thats enough, Mike. Time to go. He was right. They both looked like shrimps on the barbieburned and resentful. So we walked away, leaving the new AODA Courage with the Premier and Minister Duguid. Wed done as much as we could I told myself. At least the Government made a start on having the Courage to implement the law. But I tell myself lots of crap.
As we left the building and walked towards the cabs, I turned to Al. I still think it would have been better to punch somebody.
Al looked at me. For once, I agree. At least we made a new friend. He pointed behind us.
I looked over my shoulder and saw the AODA Courage tagging along. Is it okay if I fly back with you guys? it asked. They werent very nice to me after you left.
I walked away from people who sought power to do something but forgot what they wanted to do along the way, and walked along the way with people who had learned not to bother with seeking power but to do what they wanted. Or something like that. Long sentences confuse me.
Next: New movie alert! The plot: a naïve AODA wants its needs met in a relationship with a powerful politician who has other interests. In theatres now: Fifty Shades Of AODA. (Content Warning: access abused.)
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.