The Trudeau Government Tabled Bill C-35 on June 22nd, 2021 which is an act to create a federal disability benefit on top of provincial benefits. In this proposed bill, any funds coming from the federal government will not be clawed back by the provinces. The Canadian Disability Benefit in which this bill will create will be heavily reliant on the federal definition of what a disability is to qualify. Many advocates have stated in the past that it is extremely difficult to qualify for the Disability Tax Credit, and it excludes a lot of the disabled in the process. The Trudeau Government pledged last year to look at changing the federal definition of disability for more people to qualify for the tax credit. That has not happened since.
The positive part of this bill thus far is in the preamble. It recognizes the Canadian Accessibility Act, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and for the second time in Canadian history, our obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The negative part of this bill – it looks to be all politics and getting the hopes up of people who are disabled ahead of an expected election call in the fall, which would see this bill die on the order paper.
The Trudeau Government fast tracked an unconstitutional piece of legislation Bill C-10 that would give the CRTC sweeping powers to regulate copyright protected works online before the MPs return home for the summer break. The bill later got shot down by the Senate as being unconstitutional. So why was it so important to fast track an unconstitutional bill through the house of commons lobbied by the extremist wing of the entertainment lobbies, rather than fast track bill C-35 instead? I would really like to know the answer to that.
With bill C-35 passed through first reading (legislation requires 3 readings in the house of commons, and after the second reading goes to a committee stage for amendments), there’s no chance that Bill C-35 will reach the Senate for study and royal assent (royal assent means made law) as MPs head for their summer break. This looks to be more of a political move ahead of a federal election, to which I find extremely unethical.
If an election were called in the fall, the Liberals could use bill C-35 as cannon fodder against Doug Ford and the Conservatives in voter rich Ontario. The Ford Government in Ontario has done extraordinarily little for those who are disabled in the province and has ignored calls to increase the province’s disability support payments during the COVID 19 pandemic. Bill C-35 would be suggesting that the federal Liberals are doing something with respect to the disabled in the country because Conservative Premiers have ignored the disabled during a national emergency.
Playing politics with the disabled is nothing new. This is something that the Liberal Wynne Government did twice just before heading into a provincial election in Ontario. The first was a commitment to change Autism supports in the province (to which she later gutted and retract after massive public backlash). The second was to increase the disability support payments in the province in an election in which the Liberals lost.
The biggest gripe I have in dealing with any level of government regarding disability supports, is that the disabled are not treated as people, rather pawns. Decades of passing the football and using the disabled as political weapons, is exactly what’s lead to the lack of support to our most vulnerable, and it must stop. Whether it be provincial or federal politicians, these people need to understand that the disabled have rights in this country. Playing on those rights to garner political capital close to an election period I find rather disgusting behaviour.
What I think the disabled need ahead of any election, is a commitment from all parties to work together to help lift the disabled out of poverty and neglect, and to stop politically weaponizing the disabled at their parallel. It is not fair, and it hurts. Support for the disabled should be solidified and not dependant on the government of the day.