Edmonton woman makes national appeal for people with disabilities


Dr. Heidi Janz makes regular trips from her southside condo, past the lot where she grew up, and then onto Gateway Boulevard, turning west to enter the Edmonton International Airport.

As a playwright and award-winning filmmaker, her travel resume is not only impressive, but forms the basis for entertaining and, more significantly, often profoundly stimulating conversations.

Janz wheels the talk: she lives with a physical disability — cerebral palsy — which gives her a front-row seat and priceless lived experience that fuels her views with relevance and incredible insight.

Janz is traveling Tuesday. Her Ottawa treck is, perhaps, one of the most significant journeys Janz will be on.

Not only for her, but for countless Canadians with disabilities, their families and friends, for the medical profession and, honestly, for Canada as a country…

“Specifically, I’ll be talking about how the enduring barriers that Canadians face in living how, where, and with whom they want means that giving people with disabilities assistance in dying in lieu of assistance to live is ableism, not equality,” Janz said Monday.

“I’ve been involved in opposing death-hastening for disabled since the news of Tracy Latimer being murdered by her father in  1994.  At that time, I was very troubled by the way the mainstream media portrayed Tracy Latimer as just some kind of suffering bundle of flesh, rather than a fully human being. I was equally troubled by the way most of the public just unquestioningly accepted this portrayal of Tracy Latimer as a less-than-human being that was better off dead.  Ever since then, I’ve seen the lives of people with disabilities become increasingly devalued, despite Canada’s reputation for being an inclusive society.”

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