The political context of democratic engagement for people with disabilities ARCH Disability Law Centre 30 th Anniversary Celebratory Symposium “Human Rights.
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Presentation on theme: "The political context of democratic engagement for people with disabilities ARCH Disability Law Centre 30 th Anniversary Celebratory Symposium “Human Rights."— Presentation transcript:
The political context of democratic engagement for people with disabilities ARCH Disability Law Centre 30 th Anniversary Celebratory Symposium “Human Rights for People with Disabilities: Today and Tomorrow” Toronto, December 13, 2010 Michael J. Prince
2 Questions What is civic engagement? What is our current context in terms of challenges and possibilities? What are the prospects for democratic engagement by people with disabilities?
3 Types of civic engagement Citizen-oriented: Participation of individuals as particular persons or family members or voters Two-way dialogues between the state and non-aligned persons, “ordinary citizens” via deliberative processes Community-based: Participation of organizations for individuals, families, groups and networks Forging structural linkages within the movement and with various state locations and policy processes
4 Benefits of civic engagement For governments: Acquire information Dispel myths Enhance credibility of policy or service Strengthen public trust in state structures and actors Leverage resources Be seen listening For community: Expand inclusion Generate experiences Transform stereotypes of people with disabilities Advance reform agenda ideas Build civic capacity Foster sense of citizenship
5 Risks of engagement Cooptation/incorporation by the state Fragmentation of the disability movement Displacement of other important activities or issues for a group or sub-sector of the disability community Legitimating individualistic or bio-medical notions of disablement Being labelled as “special interests”
6 Context: challenges High and persistent rates of poverty Ambivalent public attitudes and support Complex and uneven disability movement Fiscal restraint by governments Weak memories and policy capacities in public services Unrepresentative organizations in staff Belated and scripted consultations
7 Context: prospects Provincialization of social policy Anti-poverty strategies in several provinces Accessibility/Inclusion legislation (Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, Québec) UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 29 – participation in political and public life) Recent reports on social policy reforms Outreach efforts by election offices
8 The importance of being engaged Acting upon our democratic rights as citizens Building momentum and solidarity within the disability community Creating alliances with other social movements and collectivities with shared values and goals Drawing notice, in public spaces, to inequalities, obstacles, and unmet basic needs Enhancing policy and program claims for inclusion and full citizenship
9 Thank you Michael J. Prince Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy Faculty of Human and Social Development University of Victoria email@example.com Disabling Poverty and Enabling Citizenship CURA http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/socialpolicy/poverty-citizenship