ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES
NEWS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PREMIER HARRIS MUST REJECT LEAKED
GOVERNMENT PLANS THAT BREAK PROMISES TO
1.5 MILLION ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES
Friday, October 6, 2000 - A secret Harris Cabinet document, released by the Liberals this week, reveals that the Harris Government has mapped out detailed, cruel and cynical plans for systematically breaking its promises to 1.5 million Ontarians with disabilities. The leaked draft submission to Cabinet's powerful Priorities and Planning Committee reveals Government plans for an Ontarians with Disabilities Act which will do nothing new.
"This document exposes that Premier Harris cares only about marketing his
do-nothing plans while he continues to refuse to meet with people with disabilities to work out a meaningful new bill", said David Lepofsky, chair of the province-wide
non-partisan ODA Committee. "He promised us real and meaningful action, but plans nothing more than hurtful tokenism."
In the 1995 election, Premier Harris promised to enact the Ontarians with
Disabilities Act in his first term - legislation necessary to achieve a barrier-free Ontario for those who have a disability now or in the future. He also pledged to work together with the ODA Committee to develop this law. He has done neither.
Two years ago, the Harris Government introduced a toothless three-page bill
which did not require the removal of a single barrier anywhere in Ontario. It was widely condemned across Ontario, and died on the order paper days after first reading.
In the 1999 election, the Harris Government promised a new round of public
consultations, to be followed by a stronger law. The government committed in a 1999 all-party resolution to enact a Disabilities Act which is "strong and effective."
This leaked document shows Mike Harris plans to break every promise he has
made to Ontarians with disabilities on this subject. Yet he keeps claiming he is a
man of his word.
"We now know that Citizenship Minister Helen Johns' September 8, 2000
meeting to consult with us was a staged scam. She had already gone to Cabinet with her plans to pass a sham of a bill. Yet she claimed during our meeting that she is open to all ideas, wants to consult with people with disabilities on this legislation, and even wants us to publicize her availability to consult," said Lepofsky.
The ODA Committee has called for an urgent meeting with the Premier. It
challenges the Premier to categorically reject this document and to show that he will keep his promises, so that all Ontarians can truly and fully take part in Ontario life.
| Index Page | Press Releases | Action Kit |