I thought I'd update you all on my fight with the Royal Canadian Mint. I know I fight a losing battle, but sometimes that makes a battle more noble, don't you think? To remind you:
I went to the mint to see what kind of collectible coins they had regarding the Paralymics which will be in Vancouver next month. I found that they only had collectible coins, in the amount of 25$ for the regular Olympics. I shot off an inquiry letter asking if they were going to produce a similar coin for the Paralympics. The mint wrote back saying that, no, they weren't putting out a collectible coin but that had put out a couple and would put out a couple more circulation coins in the amount of 25 cents. The letter was full of self congratulations for being the first mint to acknowledge the Paralympics with a coin.
I then wrote to someone in public relations in the mint saying that I was shocked, appalled and offended that they had minted coins for the two Olympics that had such disparate values. I noted that they managed to make it mathematically possible to calculate exactly the degree of discrimination between able bodied athletes and athletes with disabilities. For those of you who don't do math ... 25 dollars versus 25 cents points to a valuing abled bodied athletes 100 times more, how's that for discrimination. I asked for both an explanation and for redress - simply, mint a coin of the same value for the Paralympics.
A long time passed after writing them the letter. And it truth, I was thinking, 'Dave, you've made your point, now let it go.' Then I got the letter back and I was incensed. One line in particular got me:
"But while the Olympic 25-cent circulation coins are intended for a uniquely Canadian
audience, the 25-dollar silver coins have been aimed at a much larger,
Oh, really? And they think that the Paralympics are a couple of guys in wheelchairs from Wawa? I couldn't believe that she missed the entire point of my letter and then went on to insult the Paralympics as games that are not of international interest. I decided then and there the fight was not over. That I would make as much noise as it is possible for one person to make.
I have since written to the Minister in charge of the mint, explaining that Canadians with disabilities still face prejudice in almost every aspect of living, from housing, to employment, to grocery shopping. That Canadian's with disabilities understand what it is to be devalued and now the mint, under her jurisdiction has demonstrated that One Able Bodied Athlete is equal to 100 Athletes with Disabilities. Well, thanks very much but, forgive the pun, we won't stand for that.
I got the standard letter back ... thanking me for my opinion and promising that the Minister would look into it.
I've pitched the story to the news media. It landed with a clunk. But it's difficult to get people interested in covering a prejudice that, in all probability, they have!
But something odd happened. I was on an elevator telling a friend about the issue. It doesn't take long to explain and it isn't hard to get. When we got to the ground floor and got out, a fellow on the ride with us, I didn't much notice him as he was behind my chair, said, 'That's just wrong. Good for you for complaining.'
This guy was a walkee talkee and he got it in only a couple seconds of explaining. As I think most reasonable people do.
But reasonable people don't run the country.
And that's the tragedy.
I'll update you on the battle as it continues.