Huffington Post's Canadian edition yesterday published an investigative report by a team of student journalists from the University of King's College detailing the housing crisis facing Nova Scotians with intelectual disabilities. There is not enough room in the system for all of the people who need a place to live. They languish on waiting lists that are hundreds of names long. Their families, in turn, must support them with scant financial, caregiving or community programming resources. Eventually the families get too old or sick to do it, making the situation for their relatives in rehab even worse. With so little room, placements...

The James McGregor Stewart Society, a small voluntary group with a single summer intern, has managed to pull off in a month what the Disabled Persons Commission of NS (annual budget: $600,000) and the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission ($2.1 million) have not achieved in the decades of their existence. It has surveyed the accessibility of MLAs offices throughout the province. The results will not be a source of pride for Nova Scotia or its legislators. The survey rated MLAs' constituency offices based on parking facilities, power door buttons, entrance accessibility, washroom accessibility, and proximity to accessible bus routes. Since accessible bus routes are...

A committee meeting at Province House this week has the potential to correct a logstanding injustice in the way Nova Scotia is governed. At the behest of the James McGregor Stewart Society, a disability rights organization, the House of Assembly Management Commission will consider requiring constituency offices to be fully accessible before MLAs can claim reimbursement of office expenses. You might expect this to go without saying in 2013, but it doesn't. Many MLAs' offices are only partly, if at all, accessible. They may have a level entry or a satisfactory wheelchair ramp, but lack a paved parking lot or an accessible...

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that New York City has become the first major municipality to adopt the new active symbol of accessibility, which Contrarian first wrote about in September, 2011. The result of a collaboration between Sara Hendren, graduate student at the Harvard School of Design, and Brian Glenney, philosophy professor at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, the revised icon recasts the passive, static International Symbol of Accessibility (demeaningly known as the "handicapped sign"), investing it with vigor and a sense of motion. The Chronicle reports: New York, in a move that could spark similar updates worldwide, has now agreed to use...

[Headline-related punchline at the end.] One reason behind my campaign [here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and most amusingly, here] to restore sanity to weather warnings and school cancellations is the tremendous cost these bureaucratic panic attacks impose on society. Every school cancellation begets a cascade of expensive waste: students missing school; taxpayers paying school employees not to work; parents losing work time to make last minute child-care arrangements; employers with missing or distracted workers; etc. Blogger Clark [NLN] at Popehat argues that Friday's unprecedented lockdown of commerce, transportation, and public events in Boston imposed a vastly greater cost with no...

Contrarian reader Joyce Rankin reacts to Contrarian's caution that justice will not be served by presuming a hearsay accusation of sexual assault to be true in every detail. I don't usually print reader responses at this length, but in the interests of fairness I will do so in this case without edits. Please, please, please don't be one of those men who keep doubting that a rape took place. Every woman knows that there are many many rapes that are never reported because the victim knows exactly what kind of a shitstorm she will letting herself in for and decides not...

I have more reader mail on the furore around Rehtaeh Parsons' death and the factors that led to it. Once again, a few preliminary points. Rehtaeh's family and friends are going through an unimaginably horrible experience, one they have handled with grace and courage. The one point that united everyone in this case is sympathy for their ordeal. It bears repeating that, if you or anyone you know are having suicidal thoughts, please call the toll-free Kid’s Help Line at 1-800-668-6868 or the toll-free Suicide Prevention Line at 1-888-429-8167. Also please check out this website, and this list of warning signs. In a post on April 11, I raised...

"To love someone," wrote Jean Vanier, "is to show them their beauty, their worth, and their importance." That can be a tall order, but a few Halifax members of the Asperger's Syndrome Parents' Empowerment Network give it a good shot in this short video, produced by Halifax filmmakers John Hillis, Michael MacDonald, Caley MacLennan, Kimberlee McTaggert, Andrew Starzomski, and Amy Spurway: H/T: Valerie Patterson...

In an email cri de coeur last week, musician Robert Speirs lambasted Halifax TV newscasters for publishing the names of five men allegedly lured into motel meetings with a police officer they believed to be a a 16-year-old girl. Bill Turpin, former editor of the late lamented Halifax Daily News, makes the case for printing names of people accused of crimes, even bogus crimes concocted to entrap them. I understand Mr. Speirs’ distress over the plight of the men identified as the accused in the on-line child luring case last week and his sense that the media are persecuting them. But publicity...

[caption id="attachment_11400" align="alignleft" width="125"] McGuire[/caption] [caption id="attachment_11401" align="alignright" width="125"] Cannon[/caption] In the moral panic that arose in response to Tom Flanagan's comments on child pornography last week, most of those who rushed to join the lynch mob were guilty of self-righteousness abetted by misrepresentation. CBC New executive Jennifer McGuire and University of Calgary President Elizabeth Cannon, however, deserve special mention for their failure to uphold the responsibility their instituions have for protecting controversial speech. Both had a duty to uphold a core principle of their organizations, and they weren't up to the task....