Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Wife and I Were Discriminated Against The Other Night

And Frankly Scarlet, We Don't Give A Damn

Last week, our noble Head of the Ontario HRC was chronicled as she bayed at the moon or thundered at the bay, by the Thunder Bay Chronicle, as she railed on about Access as a Human Right. Let's not quibble folks. It's right there in the Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

See in the teeny, weeny fine print, after d. "freedom of access." Well, maybe you don't see it, but Barb Hall and her minions do, along with several other made up rights, but I digress.

Well, the other night, my wife and I attended the Toronto Raptors exhibition game against the Philadelphia 76er's at the John Labatt Centre in London, and there we were discriminated against. First, we qualify as disabled people, been that way for almost 6 years now, me from an auto accident, and she from autoimmune diseases. For me, the challenge is from the brain injury I incurred making it difficult to filter out noise, and to concentrate for lengthy periods of time. For her, the pain she endures is arthritic in nature, and pervasive.

But, we wanted to see the game that was in town, for our first time.

Here is the Barb Hall victim version of our trip to the JLC, and encountering unmitigated discrimination against our persons.

Our daughter had to drop us off in front of the JLC a half hour before game time, because parking in the area is not close or sufficient for my wife's needs. We worked our way to our seats in advance of many of the fans to avoid the jostling, and the noise.

The crowd was fairly raucous during the game, and it made it difficult for me to concentrate much of the time. Meanwhile, the proximity of the seats in front of us to ours, made sitting for the duration difficult for my wife. With all the confusion that occurs in the concourse, we were unable to leave our seats at the intermission to get refreshment, and so had to remain in our seats at that time.

After the game, we had to wait for the area to clear before leaving our seats to avoid risk of injury. We then had to phone our daughter for a ride home, and on arrival at home immediately went to bed. The next day was largely a write off for us as we attempted to recover from the fatigue of the game.

I'm sure that I could whine more and find enough to make a complaint about if I were inclined.

However, I am not, so here's what really happened.

Yes, my wife and I are disabled, not a condition that we chose, but conditions that we learn to live with and adapt to. Accordingly, our daughter offered to drop us off and pick us up at the gate to make it easier for us to enjoy the game. She is very thoughtful and we appreciated her assistance. So, we were off to a very good start, specially since it was raining cats and dogs.

We went early to avoid the crush that can happen, and to get seated with more ease than a little later. I get confused by noise and my wife is challenged to climb stairs so we accommodated our needs by arriving a bit early.

There was lots of excitement in the game, and lots of it around the game, with the Dance Pack, and the Raptor doing their thing, as well as the scoreboard action. The crowd got into the game, as we had expected and so it got noisy from time to time.

At the intermission, we stayed in our seats, but should have gotten up and stretched as my wife had significant pain in her legs by bedtime, as a result of not moving much for about 3 hours.

By the end of the game, we were both fatigued, but had enjoyed the experience of a basketball game. The only disappointment was that the Raptors lost.

Our daughter picked us up and we got home shortly thereafter. It is London after all, and we live only about 3 miles from the JLC.

Conclusion. We enjoyed ourselves, though we are not as likely to go again for some time to an event at the JLC, not because of anything the JLC should do differently to accommodate us, but because it was fatiguing.

I don't want Barb Hall making venues like arenas or restaurants have to change their way of doing business to accommodate us. I don't have to go there, and I don't have a right to go anywhere and do anything that pops into my head.

Barb Hall, stop giving me rights because some group of left leaning gimps are making noise at you. Use your head for more than a hat rack. You move with every breeze that blows over your bow, and find a new cause celebre to crow about. Last week, it was Access. This week, Tenants Rights. Next week, I cringe to think what you have up your sleeve for next week.

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