Disability advocate Al Etmanski wants Canada to make history with a new guaranteed-income policy

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Globe and Mail

The paradox of being Al Etmanski as he approaches the end of a long and inventive career as an advocate for the disabled can be stated as follows: He doesn’t want anyone to write about his accomplishments because he feels it is no longer appropriate for non-disabled people to lead the world of disability. This is because people with disabilities now direct so many aspects of disabled life – in many cases because Al Etmanski laid the groundwork for them to do so.

Or, to put it another way: There is a fair chance (if you are an optimist) that in the next session of Parliament, Canada will make global history and become the first country to guarantee an annual income above the poverty line for individuals with disabilities. You won’t hear Mr. Etmanski claim any glory. But all the tracks lead back to you-know-who.

Last June, Carla Qualtrough – the former Paralympian who bears the ungainly title of federal minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion (she also happens to be blind) – tabled Bill-C35, The Canadian Disability Benefit. The benefit is intended to “reduce poverty and support the financial security of persons with disabilities.”

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