Today this blog is celebrating international day for persons with disabilities. The rights of persons with disabilities, and how they are treated in society are very important. Disability can strike at anytime to anyone. Over the past 5 years I’ve had two people close to me that lead very normal lives, and then the unthinkable happened and they ended up disabled for life.
The first was a good friend I grew up with. A successful business person that ended up with a benign brain tumor that had to be removed. The tumor ended up damaging nerves to the point where he became permanently disabled. The second was my brother, who this past summer during Canada day celebrations got into a serious car accident and lost the use of both of his legs and is in a wheel chair for life at the age of 19.
During this international day to celebrate persons with disabilities, lets remember that these people are often forgotten by society and politicians. Many can’t speak up and advocate to government for their rights and often governments (including in Canada) take advantage of that. Government policy surrounding disabilities is often viewed as a charity, when it should be based on the rights each of us are afforded under our own constitution and international law.
My mother used to say to me growing up: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” While we celebrate the many abilities that persons with disabilities have on this day, let’s not forget that these are people and they shouldn’t be treated any differently than those without disabilities. The rights afforded by our constitution should apply to all, not just selected groups.