Falling Behind is the title of a report by the Ontario Common Front published Aufgust 29 2012. You can download a copy of this report by googling “falling behind report Ontario”. It is also the title of a 2007 book by Robert H. Frank the larger title of which is “Falling Behind, How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class”. Both report and book are additions to the growing discussion of how the growing inequality leaves us all worse off. Also addition information cal be gained from excellent Podcasts available from TV Ontario’s Big Ideas. There appears to be an ever increasing agreement on the harm of inequality but less agreement on the solution. The inextricable link between Social Inclusion and Social Justice is made by this discussion. The inextricable link between declining Community and Social Capital and the risks to democarcy of increasing inequality is also made.
Years ago I commenced to keep a list of the top 50 books that I recommend on different topics. I had fallen out of keeping it up-to-date when the idea was revisited at a recent Succession Planning Workshop. On the way home I looked for a couple of books that I could add to my list of the top 50 books on Leadership. The first one I found was “This Will Make You Smarter” edited by John Brockman.
This book is the product of a number of thinkers who answered the question “What Scientific Concept Would Impprove Everybody’s Cognitive Toolkit produced by http://edge.org. The book as well as the website was a delight:
The explicit purpose of this book is to give us better tools to think about the world. Though written by researchers, it is eminently practical for life day to day. .. If you lead an organization, or have the sort of job that demands that you think about the world, these tools are like magic hammersd.(from foreword by David Brooks)
Every year an interesting question is posed by a leading scientist or thinker and the responses become a book. In this book I was intrioduced to the topic of Kakonomics-”our preference for low-quality outcomes” . The notion that coopertion is as important as competition was reintroduced to me as “the “snuggle for existence” and humans described as “giraffes of al;truism”.
Many of my books I recommend on leadership have more to do with character development, habit formation etc. This book is one of the more headier books which causes me to pause and take stockof the ideas that influence my behaviours. Without in any way wishing to down play the importance of character development or the importance of good habits, I beleive it is also important that we take time from our busy lives to think about our thin king and the stock of ides or framework through which we view the world. A couple of ideas in this regard. I have already mention edge.org. Anotehr web site with thoughful presentations on diverse subject base is ted.com. Other books I also highly recommend are books on “ideas” such as A.C. Grayling’s Ideas that Matter and The Ideas That Made the Modern World. And last but not least are books that look at the very subject of how we form our ideas and are in turn formed by them- Peter Berger’s The Social Constructio of Reality or the less heady “The Sacred Canopy”
Take a little time out of your busyy schedule to think about how you think. This will Make you Smarter
ntioned along with asy
Community consultants in KACL’s Adult Learning Centre have mixed feelings in response to the report, ‘Special-needs Voters Get Civics Lesson’ by CBC News and Radio (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ontariovotes2011/story/2011/09/28/ontario-votes-civics.htmlon).
While it is significant to realize that individuals with intellectual disabilities are under-represented in Canadian elections, the piece insinuated that Frontier College is tapping a new and undiscovered population of voters.
KACL’s Adult Literacy Centre provides access to information through a variety of formats depending on the unique needs of each learner. Many learners who attend KACL’s Adult Literacy Centre have requested support from community consultants to understand personally relevant political issues and the voting process itself. This has been an ongoing practice in the Adult Literacy Centre for over eight years.
Community consultants routinely encourage discussions about citizenship, self advocacy and the democratic process. Exact replicas of the current voting ballot, information about current events, candidates and party platforms are made available with audio video supports and clear language using text supported with symbols and other relevant graphics.
Adult learners are supported, individually in understanding available resources such as the voter registration card, ballot forms, determining polling stations, watching online videos about voting in Ontario and assistive voting technology, to identifying with political candidates, parties and issues important to them.
· Is a resident of Ontario
· Is 18 years old
· Is a Canadian Citizen
Has the right to vote! Elections Ontario has services and considerations for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Voters can bring a friend, staff or relative to assist in providing identification and obtaining and casting a ballot. Some poll locations will even provide assistive technology for voters (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2011/08/24/wdr-election-voter-assistance-technology.html).
Low literacy or physical disability does not need to exclude anyone from their right to vote!
Some insightful sites:
Kenora Association for Community Living
Community Consultant - Adult Literacy Centre
“A Meaningful and Satisfying Life for All.”
Hello. I am Russell Havill. I am a 68 year old senior. I came to Kenora in 1983. My brother approached Sharon White, an Adult Protective Service Worker employed by the Kenora Association for Community Living. She got me into the wood room at the Association’s Arc Industry.
I moved into the Adams block. I put my name into Ontario West Kenora Housing and was able to move into the Apartment I am living in now.
Kenora Association for Community Living got me a job at Gould’s nursery and I worked there for 9 years.
I participated in People First. a self advocate group for persons with disabilities. I joined the Kenora Association for Community Living as a member and subsequently got elected to the Board of Directors
I served as a member of the Provincial Self Advocacy Council for 7 years. I also served on the Board of Directors of Community Living Ontario for two years. To recognized my contribution on behalf of persons with Disabilities Community Living Ontario awarded me the James Montgomery Honour Award.
The Kenora Association for Community Living awarded me an Honorary Life Membership in 2011.
I believe in the valuable work of the Kenora Association for Community Living. They assisted me to live a very meaningful and satisfying life in Kenora.
I believe that everyone should be assisted to Live, Learn, Work and Play in their Community.
I support the Kenora Association for Community Living
At a recent provincial conference I had the opportunity to listen to reporter and Author Ian Brown, author of The Boy in the Moon. What impressed me about the author was not his story about his son, about his philosophy or any specific incident or story he told. What impressed me was his honesty, his frankness, and humanity. I bought a copy of his book The Boy in the Moon and I committed to myself to read the book in its entirety. For those who want a more fuller introduction to the bookI would recommend the books and videos listed at http://www.kacl.ca/hotlistkacl.html#boy . It is not an easy book to read - it isn’t even a pleasant book to read but at the end of the book I said to myself, “This was an important book to read”.
The theme that appealed to me the most was introduced on page 3″What is the value of a life like his-”.
This is a question that I think most every one asks of someone, sometime or other.
When I got into the disability field almost 27 years ago, the first answer I got was from a certain religious person who was conducting a funeral for an individual who had been served by our Association for many years. The answer that the religious official gave was that “he” had been born, had lived and died to bring those who were attending the funeral closer to God. In addition to thinking about how udderly weak, selfish and shallow this individuals conception of “God” was, I thought that the consumer diserved more credit. Since that time I have heard many others who have said in my consumers they saw the face of God or similar signs, when all I see is “John, Sussie or who ever is in front of me.
More meaningful to me is the phrase that I have heard from others speaking of their departed loved one, ” I miss him, he meant the world to me.”
“What is the value of a life like his?” The answerr can only be answered by a specific individual. When one says “We are all equal because we are loved equally by God”, or that “We are all equal because we are all some body’s mother and loved by that mother.” I listen politely but my thoughts are elsewhere.
The principle of equality of human beings or the principle of equality of value, is not descriptive but prescriptive. What we contribute to others or what values we hold to specific others is for that specific other to determine. The principle of the equality is not about actual contribution or value but raher about how we should treat human beings. The principle of equality makes sense to me, and I beleive that it should make sense to a society that wants a better world. Richard Wilinson and Kate Pickell in The Spirit Level, Why Equality is Better for Everyone provides soem scientific data.
Hello. I am Russell Havill, President of Kenora People First, a group of people who advocate for persons with disabilities.
I am a 68 year old senior. Before I turned 65 and had to live on Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), I had to scrape, and scrape and scrape to make ends meet each month. Sometimes, I would have to go without milk or meat at the end of the month. I couldn’t go out for coffee or do a lot of things I wanted to. Now as a senior I receive old age security and guaranteed income supplement.
Between 1993 and 2004 there were no increases to ODSP. Since 2004 there have been 8 increases to ODSP. Even with such increases the amount people on receive from ODSP buys 18% less than 1993. I believe persons with long-term disabilities should receive a guaranteed annual income equal to that received by Seniors. Help lift persons with disabilities out of poverty at least to the same level as Seniors.
The goal of KACL is to ensure that all people with special needs have the opportunity to live a meaningful and satisfying lifestyle and interact as an equal in their community by providing continuing opportunities for personal growth through education, training, support, advocacy and an informed public.
Included in the goal is the desire to achieve a measure of equality for those we serve.
Equality is desirable goal that any society should strive for all -not just the disabled. The Proof:
- People in more equal societies live longer, a smaller proportion of children die in infancy and self-rated health is better.
- People in more equal societies are far less likely to experience mental illness.
- People in more equal societies are less likely to use illegal drugs.
- Children do better at school in more equal societies.
- Unequal societies are harsher, they imprison a higher proportion of people.
- Obesity is less common in more equal societies.
- There is more social mobility in more equal societies.
- Communities are more cohesive and people trust each other more in more equal societies.
- Homicide rates are lower and children experience less violence in more equal societies.
- Teenage motherhood is less common in more equal societies. Unicef measures of child well-being are better in more equal societies.
- Further economic growth will not improve our health or well-being. For a better quality of life we need greater income equality.
- More equal societies spend a higher proportion their income on overseas aid and perform better on the Global Peace Index.
- Inequality fuels status competition, individualism and consumerism. It makes it harder to gain public support for policies to reduce global warming.
The equality trust has set up to provide education with respect to the bemnefits of equaity and may be seen at http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/
Under section 3.2.4 of the Association’s bylaws “Honorary Life Membership” may be conferred by the KACL Board of Directors on any person who over the years has made an outstanding contribution to the Association, and who has by his or her support and model, exemplified the high ideals of the Association. The award is not made lightly and in the entire life of the Association the award has only been given out 3 times to Lil Bays, Charlie Strachan, and Bill Grant. This year the Association recognized its 4th Honourary Life Member - Russell Havill.
Russell was first appointed to the Board of the Kenora Association for Community Living in 1993, He has been re-elected in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011. He was elected 2nd vice President from 1994 to 1998 and Vice President from 2010-11.
He was elected as a Board Member At Large to Community Living from 2003-2005.
He has spear headed numerous campaigns in the Kenora area to have institutions closed, to have ODSP increased and assisted in many other advocacy efforts with local MPP and MPs. He has represented persons with special needs in many committees and organizations including PUSH, and Accessibility Committee and has acted as the voice for many consumers with balance and respect. He has contributed as a volunteer in other organizations for which he has received various certificates of appreciation.
He has been previously recognized by Community Living Ontario when he received the James Montgomerie Honour Award for his strong commitment to promoting inclusion and equality for people with intellectual disabilities
In nominating Russell for this Provincial award Dave Barber, then President of Community Living Ontario indicated,
There is no querstion that Russell has contributed significantly to achieving the Goal of Community Living Ontario and the self-advocacy movement through his work with the Kenora Association for Community Living, the Kenora People First and of course our Community Living Ontario’s Self-Advocacy’s Council
Congratulations Russell Havill - on this well deserved honour.
On December 13 2006 the General Assembly of the United Nations, after considering proposals for a comprehensive international convention to promote and protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities adopted a Convention along with Optional Protocols which came into force upon Ratification by 20 Countries. The 20th Ratification was received on April 3 2008 and hence the Convention came into force on May 3 2008. Canada ratified the Convention on March 11 2010.
The Ratification represents another stage in the development of equality rights in Canada. The Convention requires the Government of Canada to monitor progress in achieving the commitments of the convention.
For more information see the following sites:
http://www.un.org/disabilities/ United Nation’s Enable
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ Major Human Rights Instruments
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/CRPDIndex.aspx Un Monitoring Body Website
http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=212 Parlimanentarion Guide
Humans come in different shapes and sizes; they come with different moral capacities, different intellectual abilities, different amounts of benevolent feelings and sensitivity to the needs of others, different abilities to communicate effectively, and different capacities to experience pleasure and pain. The principle of equality is not a description of an alleged actual equality among humans beings: it is a prescription of how we should treat humans beings. (Singer 2002, Animal Liberation).
But inequality is expanding.
Among the 24.6 million Canadian taxpayers in 2007, the richest 1% made more than $169,000 and had an average income of $404, 000. They took almost 32% of all growth in income in the fastest growing decade in this generation, 1997 to 2007 and by 2007 held 13.8 % of the income in Canada. The richest 0.1 made more than $621,000 and had an average of $1.49 million, The richest .01 made more than $1.85 million and had an average income of $3.83 million. In 1948, the top marginal tax rate was 80%, on taxable income over $250,000 which would be $2.37 million in 2010 dollars. The top rate in 2009 averaged across Canada was 42.9% above $126,264. In 2009, the financial research institute Investor Economics identifies 544,000 “high-net-worth” house controlled 67% of the total financial wealth in Canada. ( Armine Yalnizyan, The Rise of Canada’s Richest 1%, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/rise-canadas-richest-1(December 2010)
Canadian Business Special Edition Winter 2010/2011 reports that the top 100 richest hold $185.1 billion, up 70% since 1999. The top 20% hold 70% of the wealth. The writer asks the obvious question: Why hasn’t the spike in equality led to outright class warfare? The answer they give : ignorance and comfort. The population in general doesn’t realize the level of inequality that exists. And, as somewhat comfortable individual in Kenora, asks, “What’s the big deal, anyway. You can only eat so many hamburgers.”
Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in their 2009 book The Spirit Level , Why Equality is Better for Everyone, point out that everyone is better off with equality once minimum levels of wealth have been accumulated: less health and social problems, higher self esteem, greater community trust, lower mental health problems and use of illicit drugs, less obesity, less crime less violence etc. So is there growing dismay about increasing inequality? Apparently not.
On the Saturday following the release of the House of Common’s Federal Poverty Reduction Plan Report, the Toronto Globe and mail reported on some polls that had been completed during the recent past from 2004 to 2007 (2004 Canadian Election Study, 2006 World Value Survey; Angus-Reid 2007 and Environics) indicated:
In 2004, 61 % of Canadians outside Quebec agreed that “People who don’t get ahead should blame themselves, not the system.”
In 2006, just over half of Canadians gave more value to the statement “We need larger income differences as incentives” over “Incomes should be made more equal.”
In 2007 only 34% of Canadians polled agreed that poverty is a very serious problem”, 46 % said government programs to improve conditions for the poor are “having no impact either way” and
18% per cent said programs make the problem worse.
The Kenora Association for Community Living borrowed a paragraph from an earlier report to the Provincial government as its principle statement regarding the right to equality
All people in Ontario are entitled to an equal assurance of life opportunities in a society based on fairness, shared responsibility, and personal dignity for all. Society has a responsibility for the well being of all its members. The support that society provides is not to be understood as a gift or privilege, nor as charity to the disadvantage. Rather it represents a right to which all members of society are entitled.
Yet equality is a far away goal. Perhaps a more immediate goal is the alleviation of poverty. The greater number of Canadians with disabilities are living in poverty. Too often, as identified by CACL, their income is insufficient to benefit from tax credits like the Disability Tax Credit. Canadians with disabilities are too often served by inadequate, stigmatizing and ineffective systems of income support that were never designed to provide long-term income support. The goal of most government plans is not to get people out of poverty but to assist them to live in a state of poverty
Two federal reports, The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, Subcommittee on Cities, In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness in December 2009 and the House of Commons committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development, Federal Poverty Reduction Plan: Working in Partnership Towards Reducing Poverty in Canada (FPRP) report which recommended that government should get serious about getting rid of poverty rather than to continue to manage it.
Poverty among seniors has steadily declined from 30.4% in 1977 to a low of 4.9% in 2007 (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Financial Security-Low Income Persistence, Indicators of Well Being in Canada http:www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/.3ndic.1t.4r@-eng.jsp?iid=83, Reported in Page 27 of the Federal Poverty Reduction Plan).
KACL believes that such improvements have come about as a result of the introduction and expansion of federal income security programs such as Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) programs. While we welcome the recent addition of the Registered Disability Savings Plan we believe that this is insufficient for lifting people with Disability out of poverty.
This Association calls on all levels of government to work to immediately provide a guaranteed annual income at least equal to the levels provide by Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) ($14033 in 2010) to persons with disabilities.