[nfbwatlk] FW: [List] The Current

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Wed Mar 16 20:09:12 CDT 2011



From: list-bounces at cfb.ca [mailto:list-bounces at cfb.ca] On Behalf Of Mary
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 5:00 PM
To: list at cfb.ca
Subject: [List] The Current


This morning Graeme McCreath was interviewed for twenty minutes on The
Current, CBC Radio's flagship morning news and opinion program.
Congratulations, Graeme, for speaking out so forcefully about our needs and
rights as blind Canadians.

If any of you missed the show, you can listen on the web at 




The Current reads letters from listeners on the air.  We can all help keep
Graeme's message in the minds of The Current's staff and listeners by
sending comments.  To do so, go to 



Unfortunately, you will have to solve a kaptcha to submit your comment;
that's an issue worthy of our attention another day.  I believe it's worth
the effort to get the kaptcha solved in order to help staff know that
listeners care about the topic and support Graeme's call for change.


It would be interesting to read the comments you submit on this list.  Here
are mine.



Graeme McCreath correctly points out that the institutional needs of CNIB
frequently conflict with the needs of blind Canadians.  Due to its charity
structure, the Institute has a greater insentive to satisfy its donors than
truly to serve its blind consumers.
The agency has monopolized all matters relating to blindness in Canada and
frequently acts to preserve that monopoly, often to the detriment of
effective service.
Monopolies tend toward complacency; why worry about being innovative when
there's no competition.  At worst, unregulated monopolies can exploit their


The long term solution would be to break up the CNIB monopoly, foster
competition, and/or institute external oversight to monitor the agency's


Like most blind people in Canada, I often meet members of the public who
assume CNIB provides me with everything I need -- babysitters for my
children, someone to clean my house, free adaptive equipment.  I neither
need nor want an agency for the blind to take care of me as if I were a
small child. .  I believe the widely held assumption that I am helpless is
due, at least in part, to CNIB's fund-raising mantra of "cradle to grave"
service.  All in all, CNIB's give to charity message is a disservice to all
blind Canadians.
Blind Canadians need effective skills and attitude training in order to
reduce the effects of blindness to the nuisance level.  That kind of
training doesn't exist in Canada; so far, the British Columbia government
refuses to pay the cost of sending blind people to innovative training
programs outside of Canada, like the ones Graeme McCreath mentioned.


It would be hard to find better evidence of the profound need for good
training than the incredibly sad reading at the end of the segment.  New
fathers often feel nervous around infants, but it's deeply upsetting that
blindness addede such pathos and fear to that father's experience.  Instead
of worrying about how he was going to move, Ryan Knighton should have been
enjoying a pleasant walk with his new baby.  More than the economic
disadvantages Mr. McCreath mentioned, I believe Mr. Knighton's story speaks
to the profound cost of poor training and the culture of charity.

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