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Bill C33 failing Canadians who are blind

How many times do Canadians have to request a secret vote? I have known for many years that the way Canada provides people who are blind to mark a ballot is not adequate. The fact that we can't see, should make it easy for government officials to understand that if we have a special template to put our ballot into, with tactile areas to place our X in, we can't see if the ballot moved, thereby making our ballot void. Why is it that our federal government will not bring a way of voting that allows for a private secret secure vote? I am deaf-blind. Please try to view this bill from the perspective of Canadians who wish to vote in secret and with dignity.

Technology is used extensively by both the government and candidates during the time leading up to the vote. So why is it that Canada still refuses to even test electronic and telephone voting?

I am pleased with some aspects of the Government's electoral reform bill, regarding increasing the powers of the Chief Electoral Officer.

Bill C-33 does not provide for access to all candidates' meetings, candidates' offices, and the provision of campaign literature in various alternate formats and plain language. The federal government is knowingly excluding people from a fundamental right to vote in a fully accessible and inclusive manner. This is not okay in times where technology can change how people who are blind can vote in an equal way to how other Canadians vote.

Is it any wonder why Canadians feel confused by actions of our federal government, when on one hand the government introduces this inadequate bill, and at the same time The Minister of Sport and Disability is working to create Federal Accessibility Legislation which should ensure full participation in all activities associated with the federal government?

The Canadian Council of Persons with Disabilities, (CCD) has submitted several briefs to the federal government, along with other organizations of how the Elections act could be changed to provide all persons the right to a secret vote. I ask all senators to work at bringing a decent bill onto the table that recognizes Canadians who are blind have informed you how to change our voting system to one that is inclusive and accessible. We have given you all the information needed. It is time to be fair to Canadians who can't see to mark their ballot.

Penny Leclair Ottawa Ontario

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This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.