What a Deranged Man with a Knife Didn’t Do, Alison Redford’s Government May Just Accomplish
Heidi Janz, PhD
Five years ago, a man entered my apartment, demanded money, and began choking and stabbing me. He later, reportedly, told police that he had raised his knife to stab me in the chest, but a bright light appeared out of nowhere, scaring him so much that he stopped and fled.
Five years later, my existence is once again being threatened. But, this time, the threat isn’t coming from a deranged knife-wielding man; it’s coming from a provincial government that, I thought, was sworn to uphold my human rights. And I am becoming increasingly convinced that, once again, nothing short of Divine intervention will save my life, as I know it,
I live in Creekside Condominiums, and have my Homecare service provided by Creekside Support Services (CSS), a user-run cooperative for residents of Creekside who require homecare. With the support that CSS has been able to provide over the past 16 years, our members have been able to go to school, work, volunteer in the community and are participating fully in society. In my case, the flexible support that CSS has provided me has made it possible for me to work as a Professor at the University of Alberta, travel to speak at conferences, etc. The demise of CSS will in effect herald the end of my active career. This is my ultimate reward for a lifetime of striving to be a contributing member of society.
The unilateral decision of AHS to force all Albertans needing Homecare to entrust themselves to multi-national, for-profit service providers amounts to a willful negation of more than 3 decades of struggle by Albertans with disabilities for full inclusion in society. We are totally frustrated by the lack of consultation by Alberta Health Services and their failure to even let us know that this move was contemplated. Through the implementation of this policy, AHS will remove the flexible model of service delivery that has enabled us to participate in society. We will again become isolated. Furthermore, we will no longer have any real say in how, when, or by whom our essential personal care services will be provided. This poses a very real danger to our safety.
In fact, my 89-year-old father is so worried about my safety once my current caregivers are forced to leave that he is making plans to move into my condo to help care for and protect me.
My parents grew up in Germany under Adolf Hitler. I grew up listening to their harrowing storie of human rights evaporating as strangers barged into their homes at will and informed them of what they were to do. My parents also talked about people who had (or were thought to have) disabilities randomly disappearing from their villages.
These days, to my disbelief and horror, I find myself relating to these stories in ways that I never have before.
Is this really the kind of province that Albertans want to live in? For all our sakes, I pray not.