Bad win­ter storm post­pones hear­ing

Dis­abil­ity ad­vo­cates will make pre­sen­ta­tions us­ing video con­fer­enc­ing

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

Nova Sco­tians will have to wait to have their con­cerns on Bill 59 — an act re­spect­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity in the prov­ince —heard at the law amend­ments com­mit­tee.

A sched­uled ses­sion was can­celled due to a bliz­zard sweep­ing across the re­gion on Mon­day. A video con­fer­ence of the pro­ceed­ings was to have been held to­day at 11 dif­fer­ent Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege lo­ca­tions across the prov­ince, in­clud­ing Syd­ney and Port Hawkes­bury.

The two-day hear­ing will be resched­uled for a later date.

Mar­cie Sh­w­ery-Stan­ley of Syd­ney, a long­time ad­vo­cate for those with dis­abil­i­ties, said the op­tion of video con­fer­enc­ing is a huge step for­ward.

“I’ve been ad­vo­cat­ing for this for so long be­cause it’s very ex­pen­sive for peo­ple to travel to Hal­i­fax to at­tend con­fer­ences and con­sul­ta­tions with the gov­ern­ment,” she said.

“The voices of peo­ple out­side of Hal­i­fax, for a long, long time, haven’t re­ally been heard be­cause they weren’t at the ta­ble, but now they have the chance with video con­fer­ence.”

The law amend­ments com­mit­tee is de­signed to give clause-by-clause con­sid­er­a­tion and to hear pre­sen­ta­tions from those in­ter­ested per­sons or or­ga­ni­za­tions about con­tents of pub­lic bills re­ferred to the com­mit­tee af­ter bills re­ceive a sec­ond read­ing in the leg­is­la­ture.

Sh­w­ery-Stan­ley said she was thrilled when she first heard about the video con­fer­ence op­tion.

“I thought this was a great op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple,” she said. “The is­sues in HRM (Hal­i­fax Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity) are dif­fer­ent from those in ru­ral ar­eas, and that’s been proven time and again, so I’m very pleased th­ese con­fer­ences are be­ing of­fered by the gov­ern­ment.”

Al­though it’s un­known as to how many video con­fer­ence pre­sen­ta­tions will be made, Sh­w­ery-Stan­ley said even if one per­son par­tic­i­pates it’s a big step for­ward.

“To me, that shows the gov­ern­ment that the ca­pa­bil­ity is there to con­sult with all Nova Sco­tians, es­pe­cially those in Cape Bre­ton,” she said.

“Hav­ing a video con­fer­ence op­tion with the law amend­ments com­mit­tee is his­toric, it has never hap­pened be­fore, so I feel we need to com­mend the gov­ern­ment for that.”

Sh­w­ery-Stan­ley had orig­i­nally planned to be in Hal­i­fax on Mon­day to present in per­son on be­half of the Nova Sco­tia Dis­abled Per­sons Com­mis­sion.

Stan­ley

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