Thinking about Canada Day

CN: Mentions of Genocide

On Monday July 1, we celebrated Canada Day.

In a lot of ways, this day is really an excuse to have a BBQ, drink a bunch, and go see some fireworks. While you will get people dressing up in red and white and waving flags, possibly singing the national anthem, as often as not most probably aren’t even completely sure what specific event is being commemorated.

This year however, amid all the bustle of helping prepare the home for guests, I found myself spending a lot of time thinking about what exactly it is we have been celebrating.

Continue reading “Thinking about Canada Day”

Thinking about Canada Day
{advertisement}

I’m Tired.

If ever there was a motto for our generation, this would probably be it.

I’m so tired.

I’m tired of my news feed being one atrocity after another. Of each new headline convincing me that I’ve finally reached the peak of shock and fury I could feel, only to be proved wrong when I read the next one.  Of watching the world seemingly falling apart at the seams.

I’m tired of listening to people make excuses while the body counts grow ever higher. Of quibbling over whether a problem really even exists or whether these are just a few bad examples. Of arguing whether genocide is too severe a word, or whether these here actually count as concentration camps. As though just the fact that these words could be applied isn’t horrifying enough. As though we shouldn’t be striving to stop things before they reach this point.

I’m tired of listening to people make excuses for why this act of violence is excusable and acceptable while condemning those just trying to defend themselves and others. Continue reading “I’m Tired.”

I’m Tired.

Politics, Public Relations, and Social Psychology

With the federal elections of both Canada and the US approaching, not to mention the constant political maneuvering happening across provinces and states, a lot of things are happening at once. It can feel like a whirlwind, just getting your bearings about one issue before the next one suddenly crops up demanding your attention. The breakneck pace of the news cycle means that a lot of the resolution or lack thereof of one issue often gets missed.

It’s the perfect setting to employ several tricks of social psychology that make it possible for politicians (and salespeople and so on) to change the conversation without ever having to convince the electorate of the issue. I’ve talked about at least one of these social psychology manipulation techniques before.

Additionally, it allows them to employ several public relations tricks to encourage several extreme side groups, while also counting on the majority of the population to forget about it before it’s time to vote.

It’s called a Test Balloon.

Continue reading “Politics, Public Relations, and Social Psychology”

Politics, Public Relations, and Social Psychology

Let’s Talk About “Unnecessary” Tests

Ford’s government recently proposed a series of cuts to what is covered by OHIP in the provincial budget. As justification for him depriving the population of Ontario of adequate healthcare, in particular those who happen to be poor, on social assistance including disability, or underage, were the claims that a significant portion of tests are unnecessary. He went on to claim that less than 4% of family doctors are responsible for ordering over 40% said tests, in a demonstration of how statistics and a lack of understanding can be used to obfuscate the truth.

Let’s start with the latter claim. While it may seem strange that such a small percentage of family doctors may be responsible for so many tests, it’s less surprising to those of us who deal with chronic illnesses.

Not All Family Doctors

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About “Unnecessary” Tests”

Let’s Talk About “Unnecessary” Tests

3 Comments on Politics that are Just Wrong

Whenever topics surrounding social justice come up, it’s not uncommon for certain phrases or responses to come up again and again. Although the specific wording might vary, the phrases share similar characteristics in common: they’re dismissive and are meant to shut down the conversation without acknowledging any need or responsibility for solving the problem under discussion. It’s not uncommon for otherwise well-meaning people to use these specious phrases because of fundamentally flawed initial assumptions.

It’s Just Politics

Continue reading “3 Comments on Politics that are Just Wrong”

3 Comments on Politics that are Just Wrong

Lest We Forget

I was driving along in the car with my dad, listening to the news on the radio, when the sign in front of the Legion building usually considered the Polish Legion, caught my eye:

“Lest We Forget”

Like most Canadians, I’ve seen or heard this phrase over a hundred times, especially at this time of year. It’s the phrase that goes along with the bright red poppies that will be adorning people’s coats in the next few days as we approach Remembrance Day.

Formerly Armistice Day, the date marks the official end of the First Word War when the armistice was signed on November 11 at 11 am. Since then it has come to be a memorial to all the wars fought since then and a remembrance of all the blood that was spilled in armed conflict. It is a remembrance of all the victims of the wars, of the suffering, and of the terrible price that was paid in human life. Over the years, as veterans of the First World War died off, it became more of a remembrance of the Second World War, and with it, the Holocaust.

Lest we forget. 

For all that I’ve seen the words countless times, on this particular occasion, they hit me pretty hard.

The news for the last few years has been like one punch to the stomach after another. It practically reads like an American parody of Nazi Germany: children stolen from their parents, people locked up in unsuitable conditions, increasing harassment and vigilance of the other, the attempt at erasing trans people from the law and from public record, targeted acts of violence and hate, every day seems to bring with it a new horror, a new tragedy.

Just this past week, the deadliest attack against Jewish people on American soil took place. The next day or so, another white supremacist tried to shoot up a black church and when he couldn’t instead shot at black people entering a store.

People readily identifying as and with Nazis, while people claiming to be left-wing or reasonable, defend their right to do so without fear of punishment.

Every day there is one message that comes through loud and clear…

We have forgotten.

Lest We Forget

Feeling Bad is Not the Same Thing As Being Sorry

CW: Discussion of Racism, Brock Turner, Abuse, Assault.

There is this concept that I was taught growing up Catholic. It’s basically this: in order to actually earn god’s forgiveness during the sacrament of confession, it wasn’t enough to simply perform a recitation of your sins. You had to truly be sorry which meant not only regretting having done it or “feeling bad”, but acknowledging and accepting that what you had done was wrong, as well as a determination to do what you could to not repeat the sin. Without these elements, one could not actually receive absolution – supernatural forgiveness.

I disagree with a LOT of Catholic doctrine and policies, not to mention the acts of the church itself, but there is a lesson in this concept, which when removed from its religious entanglements, has a lot of relevance to our modern society. It’s one, ironically enough, that many Catholics themselves forget as well.

Too often, we as a society act as though people are entitled to forgiveness, especially if they say that they’re sorry or demonstrate some sort of bad feeling about what they’ve done. Too often, the mental and emotional labour of a given conflict is forced on the injured party.

Despite having been the one initially harmed by the interaction or inciting event, the onus is still on the victim to solve the conflict through a demonstration of forgiveness, often while the initial harm remains unacknowledged or outright ignored in favour of prioritizing the transgressor’s bad feeling. Beyond that, there is this sentiment that even acknowledging that hurt was done, or in any way bringing up the result of the transgression is treated as an unfair attack on the inciting person.

College Humour made a humorous sketch video showing what is meant to be a hyperbolic example of this in a situation where a white man makes a racist joke “by accident” to a woman of colour during what appears to be a work party.

Continue reading “Feeling Bad is Not the Same Thing As Being Sorry”

Feeling Bad is Not the Same Thing As Being Sorry

War on Patients

For all the various experiences I’ve had as a disabled person, a long distance move is a relatively new one. I’m lucky in a lot of ways because the place I’ve moved to isn’t completely new. Although it has been 13 years since I’ve lived here, my parents have been here that whole time. As a result, I have access to certain resources that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Among these resources is faster access to a family doctor – the same one that has served my family since I was a kid.

I’m lucky because that’s not the case for most people. There is currently a pretty significant shortage of Family Doctors or General Practicioners as they’re sometimes called. Your GP is meant to be the point person of your medical care. They’re responsible for managing the big picture of your overall health – receiving updates from all your specialists, all test results, providing referrals to specialists, and in many cases managing the vast majority of your prescriptions.

As part of my move, I had to transfer my prescriptions from Ottawa to here. Since I was using the same chain of pharmacies, I didn’t much foresee a problem. That’s because I didn’t know about a law that prevents pharmacies from transferring prescriptions that are categorized as narcotics. It’s part of the ongoing war on patients masquerading as the various wars on drugs. The problem is that narcotics are the recognized treatment for a variety of different conditions including ADHD. If I needed a refill of my medication, in this case Vyvanse, I would need to find a family doctor and get a brand new prescription.

Continue reading “War on Patients”

War on Patients

5 Things the Straw Ban Argument Shows us About How we Treat Disability

five things the straw ban argument reveals about how we treat disability over a picture of the sun reflected in water.
In the last few weeks, the increasingly frequent straw bans have sparked debates across social media and even the news. For those who are unfamiliar, the Straw Bans are a new fad of laws that ban plastic straws in an effort to reduce ocean waste and plastic. The popularity of the law was inspired by a viral video featuring something sad happening to a turtle. Environmentalism is great, so what’s the problem?

The problem is that plastic straws are necessary for the survival of people with certain disabilities. Necessary for Survival. Without them People Will Die.

I wish I could say that that statement marked the end of the matter and the question of whether or not it is worth proceeding. Instead, what’s followed is endless weeks and arguments about whether we’re really sure that’s we will really actually die, and don’t we know that that doesn’t really happen.

While I’m not one of the people directly affected by this ban, I say we because while the specifics here don’t apply to me, I recognize all too well ALL of the arguments that showed up during the debates. They’re the same arguments I’ve faced whenever the subject of any disability accommodation comes up. These same themes form many of the backbones of systemic ableism. They are the arguments that are essentially used to excuse banning people from immigration on the basis of disability, the arguments against raising disability support payments, putting together socialized pharmacy care, building accessible housing, providing easy accessibility, and so on and so forth.

Continue reading “5 Things the Straw Ban Argument Shows us About How we Treat Disability”

5 Things the Straw Ban Argument Shows us About How we Treat Disability

I NEED YOU TO STAND WITNESS

CN: mentions of suicidal ideation

For the last little while, I’ve been struggling quite a bit. I’ve been trying desperately to fix the situation I was left in last year. I’ve been just barely getting by with help from friends, by taking out more debt, and by surviving off of stores I’ve had sitting by just in case.

Rather than getting any easier however, things have just been getting worse. My roommate had to move to BC for work and while I was able to find someone to take over his room, the rental agency had issues with him replacing my former roommate on the lease. I couldn’t very well leave my old roommates name on it, and my own financial situation means they are not willing to have it be in my name alone.

As such, I had to give my notice for the end of summer.

I knew the rental situation in Ottawa had gotten worse in the years I’ve been living at this place, but even so I was unprepared for the reality I am facing. The rent costs have skyrocketed to such a point, where $300 over what disability considers a reasonable housing allotment gets me a room in a house with six other people, and I can forget about the house being accessible, meaning I have no idea what to do with my wheelchair, let alone how to be able to live in a place I can’t physically navigate.

Essentially, the way things stand right now, at the end of August I am homeless.

Continue reading “I NEED YOU TO STAND WITNESS”

I NEED YOU TO STAND WITNESS