Living with disability

Letter questions whether government will improve conditions for the disabled

I feel compelled to respond to the excellent letter on your pages from Elisheva Benjamin in the Oct. 28 paper.

I completely agree with the points this lady raises, but feel that the subject needs to be expanded upon. It may surprise many to learn that significant disabilities in Canada account for an equal proportion of our population to that of seniors. That includes all disabilities, physical, mental and otherwise.

Both my wife and I have lived with cerebral palsy all of our lives. Physical ailments can provide equal challenges and frustrations to those of mental ones given the world we live in.

This is due to public perception in many cases. Unfortunately, people with physical problems are often perceived to also have mental challenges even though they may not. For this reason and others, jobs for the disabled are nearly impossible to find, and those of a permanent nature, even more so.

Lip service is given by many sectors of government and business saying otherwise, but in truth, these presentations have absolutely no substance. Believe me, it is very easy for a disabled person to become disenchanted with the work-a-day world and what it (or doesn’t) have to offer.

I completely endorse the current efforts to bring persons with disabilities rates up to $1,200 monthly and have them indexed.

This move is long overdue. However, I seriously feel that efforts to do so will be completely futile. The reality is that the disabled have no political clout despite our numbers or the willingness of some of us to speak out.

Given the current political realities, governments at all levels and of all political stripes are much too busy paying CEOs and others far more than they’re worth, since private business is now doing the same thing.

I wish the Disabilities Without Poverty Network the best of luck. They will need it.

Cam Clayton

Vernon