Last week there was a lot of controversy around the Canadian National Exhibition (The CNE). , the CNE decided to cancel it's policy of allowing free admission to people with disabilities. There was such a big outcry that the CNE reversed this decision. I'm not really a fan of the CNE, but I do have some thoughts about this issue.
The other night, I was listening to a discussion about this on the radio. The host thought the CNE should be free for people with disabilities, saying that they can't go on the rides, one of a number of luxuries that they can't enjoy in life. I felt patronized by this comment. It's incorrect. Some people with disabilities can go on rides. Besides, many people who go to the CNE don't go for the rides - they go for other things like the food or shopping.
I have mixed feelings about the CNE giving free admission to people with disabilities. I think that it would be ideal for people with disabilities to pay full admission to the CNE and all other attractions. I think it would go a long way towards equality. Unfortunately, many people with disabilities don't have much disposable income. Their sole income is from ODSP and they struggle to afford the basics.
So while we talk about whether people with disabilities should get free admission to attractions, maybe we should really be talking about how to raise the average living wage for people with disabilities so they will have enough disposable income to enjoy going to places like the CNE.