DISABLED PERSONS COMMISSION–Accessible Transportation Main Focusfor Yarmouth Man Bill Crawford will be celebrating this International Day ofDisabled Persons, Dec. 3, on the roads of Yarmouth County. “My priority is to champion the cause of inclusive transportationwithin rural parts of Nova Scotia,” says Mr. Crawford, a memberof the Disabled Persons Commission and a long-time advocate ofaccessible transportation. For Mr. Crawford and others,transportation is an essential part of accessibility — toemployment, recreation and other opportunities — for peopleacross the province. Mr. Crawford’s participation on the Disabled Persons Commissionis a real-life example of the theme for the 2004 InternationalDay Of Disabled Persons — Nothing About Us Without Us. The International Day of Disabled Persons is set aside each yearto celebrate and acknowledge the experience and capabilities ofpeople with disabilities. The 2004 theme is a reminder thateffective policies and programs depend upon collaboration amongpeople with disabilities and all levels of government. Mr. Crawford works to secure accessible transportation, adequatelighting, easy-to-understand signs and spacious passages, onlysome of the aspects of daily life that people often take forgranted. His participation on the Disabled Persons Commission isone way he, as a person with a disability, can inform and guidepolicies and programs for persons with disabilities. The ideas and perspectives of community members like Mr. Crawfordenable the Disabled Persons Commission to influence governmentdecisions. Recently, for example, the commission provided inputon the framework for an updated federal-provincial employmentinitiative for people with disabilities. This framework willsupport people with disabilities in becoming employed, succeedingin their jobs and remaining in the workplace. It will also assistemployers as they get ready to hire people with disabilities. The Multi-lateral Framework for Persons with Disabilities wasdeveloped after almost two years of discussions and extensiveconsultations with the disability community, including theDisabled Persons Commission. As a result, it better reflects theviews and needs of persons with disabilities by providing a morecomprehensive, yet flexible, approach to programming. Mr. Crawford has been an advocate for people with disabilitiesfor more than 20 years. He became involved with the commissionthree years ago, and is now in his second term. He says theopportunity to work with government ministers and communityorganizations across North America has been a worthwhileexperience. Mr. Crawford says the commission is a true working partnershipthat has supported initiatives for better transportation andaccessibility, like the Dial-a-Ride service provided byHandicapped Organization Promoting Equality. This service helpspeople with disabilities and seniors in the Yarmouth region getto work, school and recreation. “Better accessibility allows people to be contributors in thecommunity,” he says. “Any community that supports transportationand access is better for doing so.” The Disabled Persons Commission was created in 1990 to advise theprovincial government and educate Nova Scotians on issuesconcerning people with disabilities. According to the Statistics Canada Participation and ActivityLimitation survey, Nova Scotia continues to have the highest rateof disability in Canada, with about one in five Nova Scotiansreporting a disability. -30-
21 November 2008Any increased risk that El Niño conditions, the periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean that can have a serious impact on climate across much of the world, may develop later this year have receded, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced today. “Surface waters remain only marginally warmer than normal in the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific, and not strongly organized large-scale sub-surface warming has emerged,” the WMO reported its press release reviewing current El Niño and La Niña conditions.El Niño and La Niña bring significant temperature fluctuations in surface waters of the tropical belt of the Pacific Ocean: an El Niño event sees a rise in temperatures and La Niña witnesses a drop in normal temperatures.These temperature changes are strongly linked to major climate fluctuations around the world, especially in Latin America, Australia and East Asia, which can last for a whole year or more. The strong El Niño event of 1997-1998 was followed by a prolonged La Niña that extended from mid-1998 to early 2001.“Forecast models are in general agreement that near-neutral conditions will prevail through the remainder of 2008, and that there is no substantial risk of El Niño or La Niña through the remainder of 2008 and indeed into early 2009,” WMO said.Tropical Pacific conditions and forecast models will be closely monitored over the coming months, however, as experts can not make definitive projections for the phenomenon’s favoured time of year of March to May. The WMO warned that anyone using the ocean should still keep their guard up against extreme weather conditions.