- Thomas MuclairLeader of the Official Opposition in Canada, Leader of the New Democratic Party
- Leader, Liberal Party of Canada/Chef, Parti libéral du Canada Justin TrudeauLeader, Liberal Party of Canada/Chef, Parti libéral du Canada
- Maryanne KampourisNational Policy Chair, Liberal Party of Canada
Deaf Canadians Matter!
Hello Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, can you hear me?
Can you hear me? I cannot hear you. I am Deaf. Hearing is the only thing we can’t do… We can do anything else - and not hearing doesn't make us any less Canadian that everyone else! We love our beautiful country as much as you do. We love the quality of life here that is afforded to every Canadians, both citizens and newcomers.
Unfortunately, life for Deaf people in Canada is without many of the things you take for granted. We face much hardship, discrimination, inequality in employment, and poverty. We are not even able to enjoy our internet or technologies or facilities or events or anything you see and use in daily life.
Why? Canada has not enacted a law similar to the US “21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act” which would provide an entitlement for Deaf citizens to access media online with mandated closed captioning. Without captioning, online content remains mostly inaccessible for us. In Canada, we are left out, falling behind the times in terms of modern accessibility; Technology changed and the rules didn’t. We have no clue what politician may say on videos or ads online. We are unable to watch any video online even ESPN, HBO, Netflix, MTV or our national new sites (CTV.com or CBC.ca) because they choose not to provide closed captioning for some or all of its contents and are not required to do so.
Even more importantly, on the employment side, with all of the technological advancements available, communication barriers have been broken down. Today’s technology has revolutionized the workplace in terms of communications. With such a wealth of technology, incorporating the Deaf into a workplace environment should be fairly easy to do. You'd be thinking that it should have solved some of the unemployment issues, SO DID WE!
In federal election 2015 that Liberal Party won the majority, we the Deaf note that none of the parties have addressed the issues of accessibility; none have developed any remedies for the issues facing the Deaf communities across this great country with exception of promising Accessibility Act but falling short of mentioning anything on our issues.
WE ARE CALLING ON THE GOVERNMENT TO DEVELOP AN ACCESSIBILITY ACT that addresses the need to improve employment supports and opportunities for those with disabilities. One that addresses communication and media access for Deaf citizens to access government and public services including television captioning and Internet captioning.
lt is time to change our lives! It is time to allow us to contribute to our country! It is time for our country to hear us! It is time to put the Deaf on the election map!
We want to see all parties to speak up and offer what they want to bring to Canada so that the Deaf can become part of an inclusive Canada - beyond the 2015 election.
Our Canadian life is not privilege. It is our right. We are Canadian citizens!
I invite all Canadians speak up, contact your candidates, your MPs, wave your hands and demand change to break the silence. DEAF CANADA - make yourself known!
- Leader, Liberal Party of Canada/Chef, Parti libéral du Canada
Leader, Liberal Party of Canada/Chef, Parti libéral du Canada Justin Trudeau
- National Policy Chair, Liberal Party of Canada
Deaf Canadians Matter! I want to see AN inclusive Canada and TO KNOW that THE new Canadian Government will address the issues.
It's time to us to act and be heard.
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