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P.T. Barnum’s Secret AODA Advice Revealed

By Victor Schwartzman and P.T. Barnum
May 18, 2015

Am I breaking a confidence in writing I gave Brad Duguid secret advice on AODA? Is a sucker born every minute? (Actually, someone else said that but why not take credit?)

Minister Duguid contacted me through his computer. My physical body may be dead but on the internet we all live forever! He did NOT contact me because he thought the Opposition or the voters are suckers. At least, not exactly. He ALSO contacted me because of my political experience: two terms in the Connecticut Legislature and being the Mayor of Bridgeport. After politics I used my experiences to start a circus. Before politics I had a “museum” exhibiting the not exactly real “Feejee mermaid” and other “oddities of nature.”

Minister Duguid sought my advice because I could answer questions about hoaxes. Also because he thought I worked with people who had disabilities. He was in a pickle. The tenth anniversary of the landmark AODA legislation was fast approaching. How, he asked me, could he celebrate AODA without really celebrating it or saying anything? What should he do if the Opposition asks a question?

And the obvious question came up from the NDP on May 11, 2015. The question was, “Will the Premier admit that her government has failed Ontarians with disabilities and commit to increasing AODA audits in both the public and private sectors?” The Premier handed the anniversary question over to Minister Duguid. His entire answer is below.

“That’s a good question; I actually welcome the question.”

Not his entire answer but he really nailed this part!

“We have seen our compliance go up, Mr. Speaker, over the last 24 months, from 16% to 40%–a good increase, but not good enough as far as we’re concerned.”

I’m not sure where Duguid’s figures came from. They go against all the other information about compliance (didn’t he himself say a couple of months ago that 60% of businesses had not complied with AODA?) This was not a high point.

“We’re now coming up to our 10-year anniversary of the AODA.”

I think it already happened, but never mind.

“What a great time to celebrate how far we have come, because we are number one in the world when it comes to making headway on accessibility.”

Friends, see my work. “Making headway”? Love that phrase! And it is always good to say you are number one at something, even if it turns out being number one at “making headway” translates into “doing nothing.”

“When it comes to having legislated requirements, we’re the only province that has that right now. So we’re number one in the world for that.”

Again, always great to say you are number one! However, he forgot about human rights legislation for the past half a century. Or that all Provinces and Canada itself have human rights law. Or that other Provinces also have access legislation. But why sweat details? Let’s skip over this part.

“But also what a great time to assess how far we’ve come and how far we have to go, and the measures we’ll need to take over the next 10 years to reach our goal of full accessibility.”

Now I grew worried. Would he describe the “measures”? I held my breath. But Duguid came through.

“I welcome the member’s input. We will continue to work to improve compliance. We’ll continue to work to ensure that people with disabilities get hired throughout our employment system in Ontario. We’ve come a long way; we’ve got a long way to go. It’s something we’re very excited about tackling.”

My boy pulled it off! Continuing to work at whatever it is–that’s always good to say. Cleverly, he mentioned tackling AODA, but sometime in the future. He obviously has not tackled implementing AODA until now, but again let’s skip that part.

And that was his entire answer. Isn’t it great? He begins by stating he welcomes answering the question and then never does. My friends, I enjoy working for the Ontario Government! It feels like home!

Next: Minister Duguid Hears About Independence Day II Being Filmed And Cancels AODA Implementation Until He Is Sure The Alien Invasion Fails!

Victor Schwartzman contributes this weekly satirical column to Accessibility News and the AODA Alliance. Buy the first nine chapters of his current satirical fantasy novel, King Of The Planet, for .99 on Kindle at The unpolished first nine chapters has a “4 out of 5 star” review! He is currently polishing the novel. 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, He has had poetry and short fiction published, has edited novels. His email is