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President's Message

It has been some time now since our first convention. What a phenomenal success it truly was. The first national convention of our organization has positioned us for a year of increased growth, greater involvement of our members in working on the issues that affect people who are blind, and a greater recognition from governments and agencies that people who are blind, can and will, speak for themselves.

At this time, I would like to acknowledge the work of the organization's founders. These are individuals who had the dream and commitment to establish an organization that would spread the positive message of blindness across Canada. An organization that is firmly grounded in the positive philosophy of the National Federation of the Blind of the United States. The organization's Past President Dr. Paul Gabias, has worked tirelessly to ensure that we adopt many principles of Federationism in our own organization.

Some of my goals for the next year include membership development in eastern Canada. In order to be a truly national organization, we need increased representation in all provinces. We need to attract groups and individuals that are committed to working on issues in a federationist manner. Also, we need to work more cooperatively with other organizations of the blind. In order to have true national strength of people who are blind, we can't continuously be having disputes between organizations of the blind. We should achieve consensus whereever possible. In addition, our voice has to be heard in the cross disability frame work. We need to ensure that in this area, our issues are not forgotten or ignored.

Specific projects will include developing committees to increase the memberships involvement on a number of national issues. Issues such as increasing the commitment to braille literacy, News Line, and disincentives to work are immediate priorities for the membership involvement. This will be a way to obtain views and opinions to ensure that our policies that we lobby government for, are supported by all of us. Increased membership participation will help to make sure that we are saying the same things to governments and agencies.

I am looking forward to a year of hard work. There will be successes and failures. We will be recognized for our positive work and we will be criticised for our methods. However, as long as we work together, our organization will get stronger and we will be doing our part to change what it means to be blind. Increasing the opportunities of the blind will guarantee that we take our true place as first class citizens once and for all. There is no going back, we can only move forward.