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l’azile » 2011 » March

March 15, 2011

staring back in the glass

catherine @ 12:04 am

Today, I attended a conference organized by a consumer group. It was a mainstream event, not a dedicated event on disability and, as far as I know, I was the only person with a disability there. I was tired this morning, I have been struggling with insomnia lately, so I arrived late and to be honest, I did not feel like being there. But I am glad I was because it turned out to be an interesting conference on the impacts of information technologies on consumer rights and interests. Also, I met up with some people I know from another organization and spent the day with them.

Anyway, lunch was provided by the conference organizers and it turned out to be a bit fancy, with big banquet tables and table clothes and linen napkins and fancy silverware and decent fare that reminded me of hotel food. As is often the case in these types of situations, you find a table where there is room and you end up eating with complete strangers. So my two companions and I spotted a table that still had some empty seats and therefore joined a small group.

When you are a person with a disability, you spend a lot of time in your life either being ignored or receiving an unreasonable amount of unwanted and occasionally inappropriate attention. Today was the latter. All through lunch, this woman seated at our table stared at me. Or, more accurately, she spent most of the lunch staring at my hands. I could feel her stare on me and when I would look at her, as a way of letting her know that I was aware of her staring at me, she would hurriedly look away. And as soon as I looked away, she would stare at me again. I could feel her gaze bearing into me, I could see all the questions forming in her face. I almost called her on it but then that would have made things even more uncomfortable for everyone so I did my best to ignore her. But the truth is her behavior made lunch rather tedious.

Continue reading staring back in the glass

March 9, 2011

help save public Internet access in Canada

catherine @ 7:23 pm

Seems like only yesterday, I was blogging about the possible end to the Community Access Program (CAP) and its Youth Initiatives, which provide affordable access to the Internet and training programs for disadvantaged populations in Canada. But actually, I first wrote about the Community Access Program way back in 2007.

And as I write these words tonight, I realize there is a reason why this feels so fresh and that is because this is the story every year, or so it seems. Every year, the federal government threatens to cut the program and every year, numerous communities in Canada mobilize and bring the program back from the brink. For example, see Michael Geist’s blog post on the subject from March 2010.

So it is the story again this year and I hope you will all do what you can to support the various initiatives working towards ensuring the survival of this crucial program. Write to the Prime Minister and Tony Clement, Industry Canada minister responsible for this program. Write to your Member of Parliament, to your mayor and to anyone else you think can help make a difference.

The good folks at Internet for Everyone, spearheaded by the awesome Communautique, have made things easy for you by even enabling you to write to all these people with a simple click of your mouse (or whatever other device you use). So you see, you really have no excuse not to take a few minutes to support this initiative.

Go! Mobilize! Save the CAP!

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