Thursday, 8 August 2013

Gone fishin' til Aug. 12

Thanks for stopping by the Cam Tait Blog!

We are taking a little break but will be back with an all new Cam 'n Eggs format to start your days off with a smile, the Camburger at 12 noon to sink your teeth into an issue, and a gentle way to end your day with Tea with Tait in the evening.

We'll be back Aug. 12 after a short vacation.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Tea with Tait - Tuesday evening

Some great advice for what could be the most exciting day of your life: tomorrow.

(We're looking for 1,000 names on a petition against the Disabled Adult Transportation System implementing a new two-hour policy Sept. 1. We are questioning how the new change was communicated to users and the potential lack of independence. To sign the petition please click here.)

The Tuesday Camburger: Why I was a lucky man last weekend

I just enjoyed one of the best weekends I have had in years and there were many great things about my time in Meota, Sask. — 30 km north of North Battleford: the spectacular weather, sitting in the cabin’s deck right above the beach of Jackfish Lake, and then going for a two-hour cruise along the parameter of the lake; watching motorboats and waterskiers weaving back and forth; only looking at the clock once a day when I got up; looking at my computer bag for three days and not opening it once because, I assured myself, work could wait; and looking through an opening in the spruce trees, just to the left of the deck, for a spectacular Saskatchewan sunset.

Sharing the weekend with people added to its magic. My brother Brad and his son—my nephew, McLean Cameron—and cousin Terry and his wife Carolyn, a couple we have hung around since we were all in high school and their three kids: Dylan, Kayla and Meagan. My good friend Bob, who heard the stories about Meota, got a chance to experience it himself.

Just south of the cabin and a little east is the cemetery where our parents and grandparents along with many other relatives and friends are buried. I thought of them—my heritage—as the waves slowly rolled onto the beach and the sunlight gently danced on the water. It was one of the most soothing feelings I have had in a while. I was exactly where I wanted to be on the weekend. I  am, indeed, a lucky man.

(We're hoping for 1,000 names on a petition by Aug. 19 against a two-hour cancellation policy the Disabled Adult Transportation System is implementing. As on today at 12 noon we're sitting at 172 signatures. Click here to sign!)

Wednesday Cam'n Eggs with CRAIG SMIPSON

Congratulations to CRAIG SIMPSON of Hockey Night in Canada who is hosting the 25th anniversary of the Never Say Never Golf Tournament today at the Belvedere Golf Club, a fundraising event for spinal cord research.
Top of the mornin' to you, Craig.

(If you have a great community event to start the morning with, please send the details and a picture, if possible, to by clicking ORDERING CAM'N EGGS!)

Friday, 2 August 2013

Tea with Tait: Who is more inspiring: the coach or the player?

My friend:

This gave my shivers down my spine, and, reminds us ask ourselves: what is our very best?

I am part of a petition to the City of Edmonton to reverse a decision for a new two-hour cancellation policy the Disabled Adult Transportation System wants to implement Sept. 1. We are looking for 1,000 names by August 19 so we can deliver it to Edmonton City Council: so people with disabilities can have greater flexibility, so we, too, can continue to inspire ... and give our very best.
Please click here to sign the petition.

Challenge Insurance is the title sponsor of the blog. Please click here for an on-line quote.

The Friday Camburger: A sneaky move by DATS Administration

I smell somewhat of a rat with the Disabled Adult Transportation System and their new two-hour cancellation policy. Especially the timing of implementation: September 1. The civic election in Edmonton falls on Oct. 21 So I have to seriously wonder if they picked the Sept. 1 date so this wouldn’t become an election issue. And, from where I sit, it shows another form of disrespect and heavy handiness. Whoever made this decision should come forward and issue a public apology.

I sent mayoralty candidate Kerry Diotte an email Thursday to ask his stand on the new two-hour cancellation policy. Kerry took part of the Canadian Paraplegic Chair Leaders event and spent a day in a wheelchair. Here is Kerry’s response.

"I believe we must make DATS the best it can be and if there are issues, I,as a mayoral candidate, want to understand them and make sure we have a DATS system that truly works for the clients. I'd be eager to hear concerns and I want to see them addressed.
"Let anyone who takes DATS let me know how we can make this service better."

Contact Kerry through is website

We will be asking other candidates for their responses in the upcoming weeks. For now, we’re at 153 names as of 11:30 a.m. Think we could reach 200 by the end of the day. Because, unlike DATS administration, we are not trying to fly under the radar.

Cam 'n Eggs

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Tea with Tait - Thursday evening

The Thursday Camburger: "Survey said ..."

On Sunday we petition  against the Disabled Adult Transportation System and the new two-hour cancellation policy be introduced Sept. 1. As of 11:30 a.m Thursday we have 130 supporters. Folks have also shared their thoughts on why the signed the petition. Here are some examples …

Sandra from Calmar:

“My mother in law has short term memory loss and changing this policy is going to confuse her again.
Shauna-Lee from Edmonton:
“I work in a day program for people with severe developmental disabilities. This will almost eliminate our ability to access the community. I am thoroughly disgusted with the lack of consideration and the lack of dialogue. Have any of the powers that be even considered what this really does to the individual who use the service? I'm sure it looks great on paper but how about talking with the users to figure out the reality of the situation.”


Vickie from Spring Lake, Alberta
“I have many friends who use DATS, I stand in solidarity with them.”

Moyra, from Edmonton:

“Services for persons with disabilities must undertake consultation with the people they service - if transportation services for persons without disabilities underwent changes without consultation the public would be outraged, and rightly so. Public policies and public services MUST be developed through consultations and cater to those with the most needs. I have witnessed mistreat of people with disabilities for far too long. Politicians must support services for those with disabilities and speak out against discriminating practices. DATS has a responsibility to educate themselves and realign their services for those they intend to serve! Edmonton politicians we are depending on YOU!”

Cindy from Edmonton:

“For 30 years I have watch the disabled community make leaps and bounds in their efforts to live their lives in the community as we all do. In the past 5 years I have been watching all this hard work be abolished by government agencies and other who make changes without consulting the people it directly affects. DATS needs to understand that their clients have serious health issues and cannot plan their lives 24 hour ahead of time. Unfortunately medical issues arise unexpectedly and cannot be planned 2 hours ahead of time; this is a fact that cannot be changed no matter how much DATS tried to punish people for canceling 30 minutes prior to their pick up. DATS needs to speak to their clients and deal with issues on a one to one basis.”

Teresa from Edmonton:

“The new policy infantilizes people with disabilities. They need to be able to accomodate their work and personal transportation needs just like any other citizen - with access to reliable public transit that is as similar as possible to that provided to the general public.”

Ken from Edmonton:
“It is very disheartening to watch all the hard work done for persons with disabilities over the past 40 years be discarded and ignored by those who are not directly impacted. DATS is a wonderful service and needs to remain caring, compassionate and understanding that their clients deal with daily struggles relating to their health and cannot plan like most individuals can. It is unfortunate but they need more time to cancel as last minute health issue arise on a daily basis and are unavoidable. DATS, as with all government agencies and providers need to educate themselves before trying to change policies and procedures.”

Nicola from Edmonton:

“People need to be able to get around. Sometimes plans change within less than 2h, and scolding disabled adults like they are naughty children over it doesn't solve the issue and is just disrespectful and compromises the dignity of these people.”

Top of Form

Rosalina from Edmonton:
“As a caregiver, I am responsible for making and cancelling trips for my clients. I cannot determine when they are going to be sick or have a need to be toileted and cleaned up 2 hours in advance. Would DATS prefer that we send the clients on the bus sick &/or smelly?”

Jamie from Edmonton:

“The worst form of imprisonment doesn't come from committing a crime. It happens when our government(s) and our society fail those who are living with disabilities.”

Thursday's Cam 'n Eggs — words from John Lennon


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Tea with Tait -- Wednesday: Cup No. 3

Thirteen minutes may seem long for a video. But not this one. A father's love for his son ... Enjoy!

 Click here to sign a petition against a new Disabled Adult Transportation System policy 

 Click here for an on-line quote from Challenge Insurance in Edmonton

The Wednesday Camburger: Does DATS think Edmontonians with disabilities are NOT busy?

There are many different angles to share about the new Disabled Adult Transportation System policy, which is scheduled to roll through Edmonton streets Sept. 1. DATS users are being asked to cancel rides two hours before their scheduled pick-ups, 90 minutes more than tee current half-hour cancellation policy. Today, let’s discuss the possible perception DATS administration has of Edmontonians with disabilities: that we are really not that busy.

Perhaps such at attitude still exists from decades ago when people with disabilities were yet to be mainstreamed into employment and school programs. So maybe an outing could be cancelled two hours before a trip because folks didn’t have many things going on. Over the years, though, people with disabilities garnered more services which increased our independence. We became part of the community and our lives became busier.

It’s somewhat frustrating to understand why such an integral support system — transportation — is taking away from our independence. People with disabilities in Edmonton have busy lives. In today’s fast-pace society we need the flexibility to make changes at the last second. Now, under the new two-hour cancellation policy, if we don’t comply within the given time frame, we will be sent a letter from DATS, slapping our wrists. I am sorry, but this isn’t fair.

We have launched a petition against the implementation of the two-hour policy. If you want to show your support, please sign it.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Monday Cam-burger: MISSION - 500 names on DATS petition by Friday (PLEASE CLICK ON THE HEADLINE FOR MORE!!)

We started a petition against the City of Edmonton Friday, asking them to stop a new policy for the Disabled Adult Transportation System starting Sept. 1. DATS is asking users to cancel their rides two hours before their scheduled pick up. The cancelation policy, as it stands now, is 30-minutes.

As a DATS user (I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair) I feel this takes independence and dignity away. I have been disabled my entire life and I feel the new two-hour policy could very well limit what I can and can’t do. I wonder, too, how people who are newly disabled and now use DATS. They need all the re-enforcements and positive policies to help them adjust to their new lifestyles to be contributing community members. I have to seriously wonder what the two-hour policy could do to their incentive.

The other thing concerning me is the lack of consultation DATS had with the users and why they would rely on research from Dallas and Seattle — not much snow there, folks — and enforce the a two-hour policy in Edmonton.

Let’s aim for 500 names by Friday to give the petition a boost. If we can make that statement we can go to the City of Edmonton. And you never know what could happen from there?

Tuesday, July 29 - Cam ' Eggs

Friday, 26 July 2013

Tea with Tait: When a friend has a good day...(PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL POST)

I am really happy this evening for a friend of mine who is getting a chance to do something he loves to do. And, selfishly, I am thrilled he will be in town for a while, because, even though I don’t see him as often as I would like, I have been worried he might leave town. I’m talking about Mark Scholz. I met Mark in the fall of 1997 when he came to Edmonton from Halifax to Edmonton to co-host The Big Breakfast (remember that?) on A-Channel.  Mark and I started sharing time together and formed a great friendship. I can honestly say he is like a brother to me and we have had a few special times together.

Mark is a great drummer. My father played clarinet in a small “orchestra”  — Dad’s words — in Saskatchewan. Dad loved telling stories and Mark loved listening. When Dad passed away Mark was a pallbearer; when my mother passed on Mark and I drove to the funeral together. We’ve travelled together and have had many, many laughs together.

I also know Mark as a very talented broadcaster. I never understood why Mark and A-Channel parted ways. He free-lanced for CBC Radio for several years, but nothing permanent. Until this morning: that’s when 630 CHED announced Mark and J'lyn Nye will co-host the 630 CHED Afternoon News starting Aug. !9. The duo will fill in the 2 to 6 p.m. Time slot, while, in another move announced by the station, Dan Tencer and Andrew Grose have been given the keys to the 9 a.m. to 12 noon slot.

Mark is a dear friend. And any time a friend has a good day, so do I. 


A petition against lack of communication with people with disabilities — revised Friday at 5:15 p.m.

We’ve started a petition today against the Disabled Adult Transportation System on their new policy, set to roll into gear Sept. 1. DATS is changing their cancellation policy from 30 minutes to two hours without any consultation with their users. We petitioning the policy — and the lack of communication DATS had with their users: they only shared the news in the DATS newsletter — after the policy was changed.

We’ve seen this lack of consultation rodeo before. In June, Alberta Health Services made wide sweeping changes to home care without — you guessed it — any consultation. In fact, (I know from personal experience as I am a home care user) when existing home care programs were asked to submit proposals, we were told if we called our MLA or the media our proposal could very well be disqualified. Why does the word bullying comes to mind?

Perhaps we’re seeing a trend. I think we need to make a statement and encourage all levels of government to have better consultation with people with disabilities before making significant changes. But, first things first: the DATS policy. If we get enough signatures by Aug. 1 on the lack of consultation with users on the new DATS cancellation policy we will deliver the petition to Edmonton City Council. One never knows: maybe City Council will reverse DATS cancellation policy. After all, we will have talked to people to get their input. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

DATS not the way to show respect when making changes

Brenda Lewis made a comment which sums up our Monday meeting with Deanna Crozier, director of the Disabled Adult Transportation System.
"I hate being belittled and having more and more restrictions that are demeaning and break my spirit,” Brenda, a long-time DATS user. We met with Deanna to discuss why DATS is implementing a new policy where users have to cancel their rides two hours in advance starting Sept. 1.

With the city of Edmonton growing as well as specific needs of some DATS users with kidney issues and users with dementia, DATS is trying to get more trips. And while that is fair, the way DATS conveyed the message is not. There were two very vague statements in two DATS newsletters: the most recent being 121 words explaining the policy is changing. There was no mention of DATS participation in a 2010 peer review by the American Public Transportation Association with representatives from Calgary, Ottawa, Seattle and Dallas since January 2011. I find it curious Edmonton does not have the same climate as, say, Seattle and Dallas, in the winter — yet they are implementing a two-hour cancellation policy as the U.S. cities.

This information certainly should have been shared with DATS users. Absolutely. On Wednesday morning in an e-mail exchange, Deanna said “more information will be added to the DATS page of the ETS website, an August e-Bulletin will be sent to e mail users, a “Cancellation Bulletin” will be distributed on the DATS vehicles in August, and additional information will be in the September, 2013.”

Mayor Stephen Mandel
The story has drawn the attention of mayor Stephen Mandel. His office contacted me Monday afternoon the Mayor will meet with DATS to ask how the policy was compacted to the public and “and how they plan to deal with the implications and inconvenience to DATS users.”

This story is far from over. I respectfully ask that you vote on the poll on the right side of the post. Because people with disabilities are being bullied by DATS and it must be stopped. I give the last word to Brenda Lewis.

"We are not second, third or fourth class citizens but you wouldn't know it by the disregard and disrespect we are shown fairly often. If they listened to their clientele, who have no other option for transportation they might find some common ground — but the fact is, they never listen. This is only the tip of the iceberg of deterioration."

July 24 - Cam 'n Eggs

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. 

—Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Welcome to Tea with Tait, the first cup

Part of the excitement of a reporter is to make some educated guesses about an upcoming announcement. So we’re going to have some fun right now and speculate — isn’t that a great word? — on who might be in the announcer’s chair at 630 CHED in the 9 a.m. To noon spot soon. It’s been vacant since Dave Rutherford, who was scheduled to retire at the end of this month, was taken off the air in June. Rutherford criticized QR77 in Calgary for their coverage of the flooding in southern Alberta. Management wasn’t impressed. 

QR77 named the replacements for Rutherford earlier this month: Roger Kingkade and Erin Kelly in take over the mid-morning slot Aug. 19, giving the show a local flavour. Rutherford was carried on 630 CHED in Edmonton and CHED has yet to make an announcement. So let’s have some fun. We’re going to keep the theme of two co-hosts, one woman and one men and see who might make a good fit. 

Ladies first. 

CHED might want to keep things in-house, moving J’yLn Nye from FRESH-FM — a sister station of CHED — into the job. Nye has a ton of experience from her television gig as late-night anchor on Global. She’s personal and has a lot of energy and has done a great job filling in after Rutherford left. 

Eileen Bell reads the afternoon news on CHED and has one of the best voices is town. She knows the right questions to ask and when to ask them. Bell has been around Edmonton for almost three decades and has a great sense of community. 

OK, men … 

Dan Tencer does a great job in the evenings with Inside Sports and with Edmonton Oiler broadcasts on CHED. He’s a great talent. Does he want a shot at a news talk show? You have to wonder. 

If CHED wants to go outside of the building, how about Mark Scholz? He proved he has the stuff it takes for live television and radio. Scholz came to Edmonton in 1997 and was a co-host of the Big Breakfast on A-Channel where he gained vast popularity. He has also worked for CBC AM in town. 

If I were a betting man, and I’m not (right honey?) — but here’s my vote.



The Cam-Burger: A Royal Reminder

I have never been a Royal Watcher (so I may be in error capitalizing both words) so the media treatment of the birth of the new baby in London is a little curious to me. I understand the deep tradition of the monarch and I respect what they represent. But all the hype, the excitement and the media coverage … well, I don’t understand.

I do understand anticipation, though. We need to celebrate the wonderful untapped potential we all have as we make our way through life. Some of us saunter; others gallop, while others trudge through daily activities. Whatever speed we have, we’re members of communities — local, nationally and internationally — and we bring countless skills, talents and opinions. Perhaps, then, that’s what we should be celebrating today.

We need to view the new son to Prince William and Kate as a reminder of the millions of new babies who are born every day.  We need to be challenged by this: to remind ourselves we to embrace every new child as much as we can and give them everything we can — and more — so they can succeed. We need to view them with limitless optimism; for they are our future … regardless or not if they become king one day.