By Stephen Pate with video from CBC – “There’s few jurisdictions in the world where somebody who’d have a adversity like I did early in my life, would be able to not only aspire to a position like this, but actually have it happen,” said Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley in a CBC interview with Dwight Drummond.
At age three, David Onley contracted polio, leaving him partially paralyzed. Despite the disability, Onley got an education, found employment as a journalist and then news anchor for City TV in Toronto. Throughout his career he was naturally an advocate for people with disabilities.
As the first Vice Regal with a disability, he tried to use the position to help remove some of the barriers people like him face.
“Accessibility was enabling people, whatever their disability, to achieve their full potential.”
The CBC interview de-emphasizes Lieutenant Governor David Onley’s advocacy work for people with disabilities. The CBC is currently fighting a Human Rights complaint by another disabled journalist in Canada. The CBC contend in court that journalists cannot be volunteer advocates for charity. However, for Onley disability advocacy has been a constant effort throughout his life.
“David Onley is a respected author, broadcaster and tireless champion for persons with disabilities.,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Onley’s appointment press release.
After graduating from the University of Toronto with an ‘A’ average, his academic standing could not overcome employers’ reluctance to hire him.
“I actually, for a period of time, subsisted on government benefits. So I know what it is to be in that situation where you’re literally dependent on government benefits to keep body and soul together.”
” I ended up writing a bestselling novel, but I ended up writing it because that was the only thing I could think of doing.”
The book led to David Onley getting noticed, and the rest, as they say, is history.
With the British monarchy now on Twitter, and with their own YouTube channel, the Queen’s representatives in Ontario can also be more open, and CBC’s Rick Mercer took full advantage.
His Honor is especially proud of hanging out the Diamond Jubilee Award to so many amazing Ontarians, and traveling with his wife Ruth Anne, going from the smallest communities to the biggest ballrooms, meeting the remarkable people of this province.
“It’s been a spectacular six and a half years. The phenomenal and positive impact that it’s had for me, and, I hope, therefore, in turn for the people of Ontario, has been something that I’ll always remember.”
The video is copyright by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, use allowed under the Canada Copyright Act Section “29.2 Fair dealing for the purpose of news reporting does not infringe copyright if the following are mentioned (a) the source; and (b) if given in the source, the name of the(i) author, in the case of a work.”
By Stephen Pate, NJN Network