Hello, my name is Paul Caune. I am the founder and Executive Director of Civil Rights.
Civil Rights Now! is a BC not for profit, all volunteer society. We have talked with dozens of BC voters with disabilities over the last year and the one fact that comes up repeatedly in these talks is fear: voters with disabilities are afraid of government, Health Authorities, businesses, School Boards, service providers and unions. And with good reason. More often than not in this province these powers can do anything to you if you are a voter with a disability.
Voters with disabilities need laws in BC that will fulfill the letter and the spirit of the Canadian Charter’s equality provision which guarantees every citizen, regardless of physical or mental disability, equal benefit and equal protection from the law.
What would such laws need to give voters with disabilities equal benefit and protection from the law? The golden rule and a good lawyer.
The golden rule is: He who controls the gold makes the rules. If voters with disabilities controlled the government dollars supposedly allocated to support them (this is called Individualized Funding); if they could hire whomever they wanted with this money; and if they could take that money where-ever they wanted to in BC, they would truly be a position to get the services they think best to support their freedom. But the golden rule won’t be enough.
When your civil rights have been violated you don’t need a good hug–you need a good lawyer. Voters with disabilities need government funding for lawyers to represent them in test cases about their civil rights. As the lawyers say: there’s no right without a remedy. Since most voters with disabilities cannot afford a good lawyer their rights have very little meaning because they have no way to enforce them. And that’s why government, Health Authorities, businesses, School Boards, service providers and unions can do anything to you if you are a voter with a disability.
Civil Rights Now! thinks BC voters with disabilities need:
- Law which gives the equality provision of the Canadian Charter practical force and effect in their daily lives.
- Law which gives them truly-portable, sufficiently-funded, consumer-driven Individualized Funding.
- Law which gives them funding for test cases involving their civil rights.
Civil Rights Now! launched a campaign in May 2010 to persuade BC politicians to commit that whomever of them wins the next election they will enact such laws. By so doing they will fulfill the letter and the intent of the equality provision of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, many decades after it became the supreme law of our country. How will BC voters with disabilities persuade legislators to enact such laws? Politicians will only see the light when they feel the heat. For more information about Civil Rights Now! see https://civilrightsnow.ca, email email@example.com or phone 604.928.1644