By CAM TAIT
I love waffles, darn it.
So, my critics — and, goodness gracious, I know they’re out there — will say that I am waffling. That one hand, clearly, doesn’t know what the other is doing. That my opinion changes whenever the wind decides to gust in another direction.
I accept that. I acknowledge that.
But I also think opinions can change as time goes on. Perhaps as we grow older we acquire different lenses to view important issues.
Apologies for the 78-word prologue. I do, however, deem it necessary for what I’m about to write.
Last summer, I questioned the provincial government’s announcement about an advocate for persons with disability in this space. I was, in fact, contradicting myself on a very personal manner: I was part of a provincial committee two years ago which voted in favour of an advocate.
And then to question it in a public forum?
“Tait,” the emails, tweets and texts said, “go enjoy another waffle.”
My argument was such a position could create more bureaucracy, more waiting time, and more — here’s the most significant issue — frustration that nobody is listening.
I am also in my second term on the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. I wondered how the two would mesh and come together without, alas, doing the same thing.
In recent conversation with several people, I think I have an understanding of how the two have the potential of working together.
The advocate recommendation of our committee, which was struck to review safety standards of Albertans with developmental disabilities, was made because we heard from so many people with the same wish: having someone to talk to.
Unlike the Premier’s Council, which focuses on systemic issues on policy, the advocate will work on individual cases.
There is a huge difference.
And for some reason – perhaps, honestly, ego and territory on my behalf – I didn’t see that. Nor did I support it.
I do now.
And I share my opinion at a time we all can have a say in the shape and tone of what the advocate position will look like.
But … the clock is ticking.
The government launched an online survey to gather input from Albertans — people with disabilities, families, friends, service providers, educators, physicians, recreational therapists and anyone else who has an interest of the future on disability in Alberta.
It’s a wonderful opportunity. But — and accuse me rightfully as a last-minute guy — the survey ends Saturday.
Sometimes, urgency causes us to swing or roll into action and create compelling content.
Here’s our chance to personally shape something which, given the aging population and the resurgence of the disabled consumer movement, will help countless people in the future.
I know, I know. There will be some folks who say I’m using this as a chance for personal gain. If you do, I apologize and assure you that’s not the case.
I see, now, I was wrong.
And if you want to talk about it, call me. We’ll go for lunch.
I’ll make darn sure waffles are served.