Aldo DiCarlo Comments On ACRG Meet The Candidates

Thank you to the organizers for the opportunity. If this event did not occur, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to reach out to so many people at once. I apologize to anyone I didn’t have the opportunity to speak to, due to the number of voters engaging me at once. Win or lose, I would attend this event in the future if it is repeated in the next election.
Aldo DiCarlo

Candidates’ Website Accessibility Issues Revisited

Commentary by Linda Saxon

I am not expressing my opinion as Chair of the Essex County Accessibility Advisory Committee, but rather as an individual with a disability and advocate.

On August 21, I mentioned that Lora Petro’s and Ken Grant’s websites had problems with accessibility issues that may present barriers to persons with disabilities.

Since then, mayoral candidate John Sutton’s site was activated and all three candidates were advised of the barriers.

The results of pointing out the problem?

Lora Petro – Answered, Changes Made
Lora Petro quickly made changes; although a minor issue was found, it was also corrected when pointed out.

Note: thank you!

Ken Grant – Answered, No Changes Made
October 2, response: 
I understand your concerns about my website, I do support residents/persons with accessibility/disability issues.  My website was not created by a professional web builder, I had purchased the site space thru a company (host) where you build the site yourself.  After purchasing my space and building the site with the software they provide I began looking at the “Options Category” before activating the site.  I noticed that there was no “Option” to allow such capabilities.  I contacted the company to see if there was anything that can be done for persons with disabilities who wanted to view the site.  The company had advised me that there was no option available for what I wanted and that I would have to hire a code developer thru a professional business to revamp my site.  Unfortunately the cost was extremely high and out of my price range for the two months that the site would be active.  Again I apologize!
Ken Grant

Note: I expect candidates to be knowledgeable about accessibility because it is a municipal issue and council is the decision making body. However, when a candidate’s platform includes, “Continue to develop and support accessibility issues,” I expect more. is free, domain registration is minimal and so is WordPress for Badeyes: A Beginners Guide at $9.99. The guide provides information about how to secure a domain name, network host, and install and maintain WordPress for both individuals and enterprises. The language is simple, lucid, for those who use a Screen Reader or those who don’t.

Alternatively, a web developer could have been hired for under $500.

John Sutton – No Answer, No Changes Made
Twice I contacted Mr. Sutton. In addition to the site accessibility issues, I asked, “if you’re offering rides to the polls, does that include accessible transportation?” I subsequently remInded Mr. Sutton, “to date you have neither answered my question nor corrected the issues.”

Note: One could conclude that Mr. Sutton is indifferent.


Commentary by Linda Saxon

The AODA Alliance has been a very effective voice for the disability community, raising awareness of barrier removal with provincial leaders, but has it trickled down?

I feel somewhat isolated and frustrated that action taken at the provincial level has little effect on my community – a small southwestern Ontario town that boasts about its history and the need to preserve it.

For over two decades, I appeared before town council, wrote letters to the editor, and campaigned for a more inclusive community. To date, I have had to rely on the human rights complaints system twice to have my rights enforced.

Following the AODA Alliance’s suggestion, I urged candidates to commit to, among other items, a municipal policy that no public funds will ever be used to create or perpetuate barriers against persons with disabilities.

Eight of the twenty-nine candidates responded; only one would support a policy, one would “commit to not place public barriers against persons with disabilities, unless it is for THEIR safety” and one would obtain further details before committing to a policy that would potentially limit the possibilities of the entire population.

In answer to the other accessibility related questions, not one candidate provided any specifics as to how she or he would improve accessibility. Some offered to consult with the Accessibility Advisory Committee or improve accessibility as budget permits.

As for the question to commit to specific plans to ensure fully accessible public transit and taxi services, a couple believed in full accessibility; others felt a taxi service is private enterprise and therefore we must always be careful in how and what we legislate if we are adding costs then the enterprise may not be viable and they simply shut down, thus affecting an even greater percentage of the population.

Another stated that public transportation, accessible or not, should not be a cost born by the town.

I also sought pledges from the candidates that no candidate will agree to attend an All Candidates event to be held in an inaccessible location. Only two of the twenty-nine responded; it has been there for some time, but personal assurances were made to have someone there to open doors for anyone who requires assistance and one will try to facilitate the installation of accessible entrances for the future.

Three candidates were advised their websites had accessibility issues; one made the required changes, one did not respond and one said he was told by the company he purchased the space from that he had no option other than to hire a code developer to revamp his site. Furthermore, the cost was extremely high and out of his price range for the two months that the site would be active, but he apologized.

I am really tired of hearing apologies and half-assed commitments to move forward; I want action taken regarding my right to equal access without having to fight for it or waiting for it to happen.

I would like for regional chapters of the AODA Alliance to be established with the hope that local voices would be just as effective at the local level as David Lepofsky’s is at the provincial level.

ACRG To Host Meet The Candidates Event

The ACRG (Amherstburg Citizens for Responsible Government) will provide an opportunity for citizens of ‘the burg’ to meet the candidates on:

Thursday Oct 9, 6.00 PM to 9.00 PM
AMA Sportsmens’ Association Club,
468 Lowes Side Road

As per the note on the ACRG website, this is not the “Chamber of Commerce” event.

The Chamber of Commerce events at the Verdi Club are October 15 for Councillor Candidates and October 16 for Mayoral and Deputy Mayoral Candidates.