Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why Members of Parliament constituency offices are operated as taxpayer financed tired, old bucket shops!

Good Day Readers:

While Ms Welch's article is interesting perhaps it misses some salient points. For starters, Stephen Harper would like you to believe his recent cabinet shuffle was focused on the "new/next generation" of voters but was it? The key six cabinet posts were the same old, same old, Conservative apparatchiks/recycled retreads all of whom were men.

MP's have an office budget so how do they spend a significant portion? Mailing partisan, tired, black and white flyers extoling the alleged virtues of their Member and Party they represent. Many voters view these akin to flyers for fast food establishments so trash them without reading, that, or you'll seen them scattered on the floor of appartment lobbies. Not to single out Ms Glover (heaven forbid) but is she an exception? Hardly. And if you're going to have a flyer geared to the needs of the visually impaired, for God sakes make the Braille authentic.

Parliamentarians have websites right? So why not post these fuzzy, warm, feel good flyers there rather than insisting Canada Post distributute them at taxpayer expense to every bloody household in a riding? Besides, if you're trying to reach the "next/young generation" isn't the internet where they reside? Who in this day and age doesn't have a computer or at least access to one?

Clare L. Pieuk
Useless Braille in MP's flyer
Glover mail-out can't be read by visually impared
By Mary Welch
Sunday, July 28, 2013

Shelly Glover (CP)
Doreen Demas

Saint-Boniface MP Shelly Glover sent out the one-page flyers, known as householders, last week promoting the Harper government's record of removing barriers that stop disabled Canadians from joining the workforce.

Some of the text was rendered in Braille, but the dots are not embossed, making the Braille useless to any visually impaired person who must feel the dots to read.

'It's pretty silly, and actually I think it's rather insulting to Braille users' - Activist Doreen Demas, decrying the flyer

"It's pretty silly, and actually I think it's rather insulting to Braille users," said local disability activist Doreen Demas, who is visually impaired.

She said there was some chatter about the flyers among Winnipeggers she knows with visual impairments.

Winnipeg public relations consultant Jocelyne Nicholas spotted the flyer amid her parent's mail at their home in St. Boniface and tweeted a photo of the flyer's faulty Braille last week.

"It was literally a piece of paper with a picture of Braille on it," said Nicholas. "My immediate thought was 'that's bizarre. What's the point?' "

'It was simply a visual representation' - MP Shelly Glover, defending the flyer

After Nicholas tweeted a photo of the flyer, she learned similar flyers had arrived in mailboxes in Tory MP Lawrence Toet's riding of Elmwood-Transcona. Other media have reported similar flyers have surfaced in Peterborough, home to MP Dean Del Mastro, and in Ottawa West-Nepean, home riding of Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.

Nicholas said it's odd no one caught the error since party mailers would get a lot of scrutiny by many people before hitting mailboxes.

"I just found it a little off-colour," she said.

The taxpayer-funded flyer, printed on plain computer paper, touts the government's Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities and notes that "unfortunately, disabled Canadians are sometimes limited by inaccessible workplaces."

Demas said the Braille flub compounds what she says is lip service among government staff when it comes to information and services in alternative forms useful to the blind. She says she often has to push federal government staff to follow the official policy and provide documents or forms in Braille.

"Improving accessibility will remove barriers and help create jobs and economic growth."

Glover, reached Saturday, said the householder was never meant to include Braille and MPs don't have the ability to add the embossed dots to flyers yet.

"It was simply a visual representation," said Glover.

Conservative householders, which allow MPs to update constituents on local issues, have come under criticism in recent years for their overly partisan tone.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 28, 2013 page A3


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