"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Let's Talk Landon Webb Guardianship ~ Part II

I must admit that this was most definitely not what I had in mind for Part II of this series, as I had have no intention of making any further comment on Landon Webb's personal situation, However, comments such as the below from the editorial in yesterday's Chronicle Herald simply cannot go unanswered.
We are hopeful that the courts will rule that, no matter what Mr. Webb’s disability, he wants to live in society and should have the right to do so. No one should be locked up because he or she is disabled or needs appropriate support in order to live successfully in the community.
Really?

No one should be locked up because he or she is disabled or needs appropriate support in order to live successfully in the community?

I can see thousands of individuals with disabilities and their family members across the province shaking their heads in disbelief ... wondering why in the world this thought had not occurred to them, too.

At any rate, I sincerely hope both the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and Joe Q. Public can keep that concept in firmly in mind when the human rights complaint brought by three residents of Emerald Hall is heard later this year.

Yes, this is the very same human rights complaint where individuals had been forced to live in a psychiatric hospital for up to 13 years (with no end in sight) for the simple reason that the Department of Community Services either couldn't or wouldn't provide them with placement in the community.

The very same complaint where the investigation conducted on behalf of the Human Rights Commission found that “the existence of discrimination cannot be denied", yet, incredulously  the investigator recommended that the complaint be dismissed. That would have been the end of the matter had the complainants' lawyers not fought on and brought the matter before the Commission for a review, arguing successfully that it should go forward to a hearing.

News Flash #1: Individuals with disabilities who cannot live in the community without support need someone to provide them that support.

News Flash #2: Caregivers don't work for free - someone has to pay them a living wage.

And just who would that "someone" be? For the uninitiated, it would be the provincial government in the form of the Department of Community Service's Disability Support Program.

But what happens if you are forced to rely on a system where the wait list for residential placement currently sits at over 1000 people?

What are individuals with disabilities and their families to do when they want nothing more than to live in the community but simply can't move out of their family home, Emerald Hall or an institution because the Dept of Community Services won't provide the funding for the type of support the person
requires to be successful in the community?

Could there be anything the public could possibly do to help?

Oh, wait. I know. One really helpful move would be to bash an individual's family members for the continuation of institutions in Nova Scotia.
I have yet to meet anyone in the disability community who wants to see their family member housed in an institution. Have you?

* You might have noticed that the sarcasm was a bit thick in this post. That's something I generally work very hard to avoid, but sometimes a person simply has to use whatever tools are at their disposal to make people see that a spade really is a spade.

**
 Part III will, as promised, will examine take a look at the alternative being presented to guardianship at the moment - supported decision-making.

2 comments:

Yvette Cherry said...

My gosh Michelle, you really put this into perspective with your saucy sarcasm, thank you! If the "truth" of public opinion is considered then the very first human rights case needs to come against our department of community services. The atrocities and injustices committed against thousands of innocent people with intellectual disabilities in the name of "supported living" is undeniable. And the grief caused to thousands of families devastated by having to give their children into the hands of institutional care because of no other choice offered by their own family doctors and representatives of social services, should that go unpunished? If we punish the families then we would have to punish doctors, specialists, social workers, government administrators, politicians, teachers,and on and on. All these people have a hand in the injustice of abuse of the human rights of these individuals and probably least of all in most cases, the families.

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