How Can I Help? Some Ideas #NoBanNoWall

If you’re wondering what to do or how to help

Collect yourself. I found this Nervous Wreck’s Disabled Guide to Stepping Up helpful. You might too.

What does your community need? Ask your local Mosque or Islamic Centre if they need support.

Consider asking your favourite shops if they’ll show their support with window signs.

Write or call your Member of Parliament

How to find your Member of Parliament

  • Please cc Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Liberal Party), Leader of the Official Opposition Rona Ambrose (Conservative Party), Thomas Mulcair (NDP), Elizabeth May (Green Party), Rhéal Fortin (Bloc Québécois).

Here’s a sample letter you can use.

  • Personalized letters are better, or letters from children in your life.

Here’s a sample phone script.

  • Letters are better than using social media. Your MP is obligated to respond to a letter.
  • Writing to the House of Commons doesn’t need a stamp, but if you can afford the stamp, write to their constituency office too – that’s the local office.
  • Focus on writing to your own MP. They pay more attention to their own riding.

Join a Protest or Vigil

Note of Caution: Many protests are coming together very quickly, without the time to organize accessibility. If you plan to go please keep this in mind, dress for winter, and bring a friend.

A list of events planned so far, put together by Women’s March Canada.

If you see racism or Islamophobia, and feel safe calling it out, call it out.

Also, self-care, self-care, self-care.

Have a suggestion for this list? Leave a comment below.

#NoBanNoWall #StrongerTogether

Voting not for our pocketbooks, but for our future


There’s been a lot of talk in this election about what we don’t want, but what about the kind of country we want for our future. I promised a post about this election, but it’s been challenging to wade through the bitterness, anger, and shameful outbursts of hate to find something worth writing about.

For the past decade this country has suffered the consequences of a paternalistic, patronizing leader who has been telling his citizens that they are mere taxpayers, and that he knows best. He’s wrong.

That said, there is a ray of hope.

There are pockets of people taking up space and raising their voices this election, Barrier Free Canada’s call for a Canadians with Disabilities Act is just one example.  There are also Canadians like Mohamed Fahmy, who spent years wrongly imprisoned in Eygpt due to government inaction, to return and remind us that we deserve better from those we elect, and we have the power to make change.

Such things are important, not just for the call to action itself, but for bringing back the demand for more than the status quo.

When Canada was first branded into being, many were denied the right to vote. Women, Aboriginal people (who paid a price in treaty rights), people of colour, disabled people all fought for that right. They fought for the right to vote, not so they could line their pocket books with less taxes, but so they too could be represented in a society they envisioned more equitable and just.

Regardless of who wins today, let’s take a lesson from those movements who dared to take up space, who called for a better world. Let’s not just vote, let’s honour them, today and all the days after that.

When all else fails, think of Thestrals

How do you talk to the people you love about privilege? It’s like trying to explain Thestrals to someone who’s never experienced death. It’s not in their reality, and therefore does not exist except as a sort of belief system by those of us who are actually oppressed.

Consider the following:

Quotes like “black and white people are not responsible for the mistakes of the past” (see “white privilege doesn’t mean what you think it means”. There’s also “let’s not take this Confederate flag business out on my favourite childhood show” (I’m paraphrasing here).

Or in a discussion about climate change, and that some of the world’s wealthier folks are taking out insurance against it while denying the existence of climate change publicly. This occurs while others are likely to perish do to events that were cause by the societies those same wealthier people reside in. The answer in this conversation? That “in history there is always been people who make it and people who don’t”.

These are the moments where a try not to vomit. I start a very angry blog post, delete it, take a deep breath, and think about the Thestrals.

How do I explain that my complaints about these comments, are not a claim to righteousness, but an understanding of history?

While we might not be directly responsible for that history, white people benefit from it.  One of the many benefits of privilege is that the people who experience that privilege never have to openly acknowledge it.

The history classes we’re given in school leave a lot out. They’re written by the oppressors, the folks that did the segregating, othering, abusing, and murdering of other people. Our whole society is built on those things, and it would take too much explaining for a public school classroom. Or at least this is what we’re lead to believe. It’s easier to turn the page then let it in.

Ok that was a little dark, and you’re probably about ready to close this page, but please don’t. Or at least if you must, read some history Consider why in 2015 it is still acceptable to overlook the wrongs of the past, and assume that people simply struggle because of choices they made.

Rights on paper are just paper. Rights are not simply granted, they are not earned or given. No legislated measure creates them. They are acknowledged by the people, and that is when rights have power. No justice can come without first acknowledging that or power and easier transition though life comes at the expense of those who are oppressed.

The fact that you’re encouraged not to see this is not a conspiracy, but a maintenance of the status quo, so someone can keep the upper hand.

If you feel powerless, don’t despair, we’re meant to feel powerless so we don’t create change.

Is this the kind of world you really want to leave behind?

A better world comes with a better understanding of ourselves and our history.

Why Disabled Canadians should care about Bill C – 51

Today I was asked why disabled people should be concerned about bill C-51. This was my response :

I’m not sure I’m understanding your question, are you saying that the serious potential for the violation of human rights is not a concern of the disability community? “Demonstrating without an official permit or protesting despite a court order, activities that are commonly carried out by Indigenous communities, environmental groups, the labour movement and many others, could be targeted by the new CSIS powers, even though they are fully protected under the Charter of Rights and international law.
These new powers to reduce security threats by CSIS agents are not defined. The only exclusions are acts that would lead to death, bodily harm, perversion of justice or violation of sexual integrity. Other internationally guaranteed human rights such as liberty, privacy and freedom of expression are not protected from these new CSIS powers.
CSIS agents can also seek authorization from Federal Court Judges for warrants to take action that violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and permits them to act in disregard of local law in the countries where they are operating.” (Amnesty International)

Many disabled people are concerned about this bill, as it impacts our ability to support our rights, and it impacts the rights of those who show solidarity with us.

Say no to Bill C-51! Find a local rally, sign a petition, and contact your MP.

More ways to get involved