Lessons from the World of Disabilities

Maudie – the Genius and Life of Painter Maud Lewis

When then President Richard Nixon commissioned two paintings from Nova Scotia artist Maud Lewis she agreed provided that he pay in advance. Ms Lewis didn’t know who he was. Which is not surprising since her world existed within a sixty-mile … Read More

If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It

“My name is Liz and I have Down syndrome.” She strode onto the stage without notes, without preparation, and seemingly without a care. A hundred pairs of eyes were anticipating her spoken word poetry performance. A recipe for disaster. A … Read More

When Einstein’s Scared I’m Scared

That line from the anti-nuclear bomb folksong “Atomic Talking Blues” has been swirling around my brain since the release of recommendations by the joint Parliamentary Committee on physician-assisted dying. The song refers to Einstein’s sober conclusion that we are not … Read More

Economic Citizenship – Setting the post-RDSP agenda

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) enables Canadians with disabilities to do something most of us take for granted, save money. Already the accumulated amount in registered plans across Canada exceeds $2 billion. By itself, this is not enough to … Read More

Kirsteen and Cat Main – Making Words Visible

I used to see her hanging around art festivals.  Like every young poet with something to say.  Waiting. Waiting for a chance to share her poems.   …A single tear falls remembering the happy timesSo far and few betweenAnger not … Read More

John Ralston Saul – Speed Does not Equal Intelligence

John Ralston Saul from the Foreword to Through The Eyes of Artists, 2004 Nina Hagerty Centre for the Arts … those of us who are lucky enough to have been close to a person with disabilities know the talents they … Read More

Phil Allen – The One Most Likely to Succeed

When Phil Allen was 27 his friends helped him escape from the Saskatchewan Institution where they were kept against their will.  They figured he was the one most likely to make it and come back to help them. They were … Read More

Jean Vanier – the Earth of Community

Imagine if we were drawn to each other not just because of our talents but also because of our darker thoughts, pettiness, secret vices and betrayals?  Would we realize how much we have in common?  Would we be as quick … Read More

Margo Button – An Unhinging of Wings

Margo Button is an award winning poet.  She wrote her first collection of poetry in honour of her son Randall John Button whose mental illness eventually led to his suicide.  The following poem is from, The Unhinging of Wings which … Read More

Margaret Heffernan – Personal Responsibility

Margaret Heffernan's new book is, Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril. Willful blindness is our collective capacity to 'go along' with what everyone else is doing; to carry forward with the familiar, to turn a 'blind … Read More