CAD Summer 2011 Report By Doug Momotiuk, President
September 29, 2011
International Deaf Awareness Week
For this year’s International Deaf Awareness Week on September 18-25, the CAD has identified four points for promotion:
1. Deaf people have equal rights as first-class citizens.
2. Deaf people have a right to quality education in Sign language.
3. Deaf people have a right to Deaf schools.
4. Deaf people are the only TRUE experts on Deaf people.
We encourage affiliated provincial Deaf associations to write letters, organize rallies, or provide celebrations to bring the attention of the media and politicians (local, provincial, and federal) to the importance of Deaf rights and issues.
The World Federation of the Deaf passed a formal resolution in July that reaffirms the need to promote quality of deaf education and to call upon governments to take active measures.
Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD)
I attended the CCD’s Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg as the CAD representative on June 3 and 4, 2011. The Council members, CCD Board and former politicians reviewed the federal election outcome, cabinet members, government agenda, and community initiatives and events.
The federal government has promised to pull Canada out of deficit by the 2014-15 budget year by slashing $4 billion in spending annually. They will cut federal programs, but they have not yet announced which programs will be cut.
It is important that Deaf people meet their Members of Parliament very often to insist that federal funding programs for disability organizations such as the CAD must not be cut or cancelled. The CAD depends heavily upon its annual federal grant.
The federal government must respect and maintain investments in labour markets and disability supports, including Deaf supports. These programs provide long-term benefits for Deaf people. There must also be support and respect for people with disabilities who would like to establish their own businesses.
CAD’s Annual General Meeting
Seven provincial affiliates and CAD Board & Staff met at the Annual General Meeting in Ottawa on July 8 and 9, 2011. We distributed the reports of the Board, Executive Director, affiliates, CAD representatives to other organizations, and auditors.
Business matters included: amendments to the By-Laws regarding individual memberships and Board officers; writing letters in support of national Video Relay Service; writing to the RCMP and Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police regarding communication with Deaf people; writing to Statistics Canada regarding the Canada Census and involvement of Deaf groups.
The CAD Board members were elected or confirmed as follows: Sheila Montney, Past President; Doug Momotiuk, President; Frank Folino, Vice President; Marie-Josee Blier, Secretary; Aaron Montney, Treasurer. We will look for one more Board member as Member at Large.
We designed short-term and long-term goals for the new strategic plan. These include: international advocacy, recognition and protection of ASL & LSQ, social justice including Deaf education, transportation & travel, technology, emergency preparedness & national security, and financial stability.
The CAD presented a plaque to Jim Roots in recognition of his 25 years of outstanding and valued service to the CAD as Executive Director.
We presented the Council of Canadians with Disabilities Award to Wayne Sinclair of the BC Deaf Community in recognition of his leadership in negotiating the “New Era” document at the 2010 International Congress of Educators of the Deaf event in Vancouver.
The CAD wrote a letter to the Ontario Minister of Education in response to a letter from Voice for Hearing Impaired Children which was posted on their website on August 5th, 2011 concerning supports and services to deaf children. The CAD pointed out that all deaf children, not just those who happen to meet with Voice’s approval, need supports and services that will enable them to achieve quality education including Sign languages.
Voice states that it “supports listening and spoken language development” to the exclusion of Sign languages. The Deaf community believes wholeheartedly in true choice, true options – not one single option. Parents must be provided with balanced, impartial information on the full range of options including Sign languages.
All options must be funded to enable these children to obtain full and equal education that will provide them with the opportunities and the skills to achieve citizenship and enjoyment of human rights.