Disabled Canadians Get the Back Seat -- Again

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Compare the headlines from the Vancouver Olympics 2010 to the Paralympics and you might notice that the stories do not include anything about sexy athletes, but talk about Brian McKeever being partially blind, but 100-percent focused “It’s time we pay as much attention to our disabled Canadians and celebrate their accomplishments to the same extent we do for our able bodied Canadians."

Is discrimination still alive and well in Canadian society?

For two weeks we were bombarded with the “Own the podium” program that Canada reportedly injected millions of dollars into -- promoting our athletes and encouraging Canadians to do the same. The question is -- how much attention are we giving to the Paralympic athletes who are also part of the OTP program?

“This is typical of much of Canadian society,” says Patsy Copus, President of Singles Canada Ltd. "We celebrate our able bodied athletes in Vancouver – then the TV cameras and crowds go home and we forget about our athletes who have achieved greatness against odds most of us would find debilitating”. Copus admits it upsets her that we do not give our disabled athletes the attention they deserve.

Copus knows very well the discrimination against the disabled -- she sees it every day. In addition to her http://www.singlescanada.com site she also operates http://www.datingdisabledsingles.com -- a site that caters to disabled singles in Canada, USA, UK and Australia. Dating disabled singles.com is not only a dating service, it is also a meeting place for like minded people who may share the same disabilities or want to reach out and talk to others. She is also launching a Facebook page for the disabled to increase awareness about dating disabled people.

“We say we are inclusive of all in Canadian Society -- but the fact of the matter is we accommodate as an afterthought. " Copus cites recent incidences where disabled people were not accommodated at voting stations and notes that Canadians often do not consider the needs of the disabled when planning or attending events. “The same goes when it comes to things like communication options or even dating sites. I was was shocked to see so many large dating sites that did not even show photos of disabled men and women”.

There are over 2 million disabled Canadians between the ages of 18 and 64 years of age according to a Statistics Canada 2001 survey. More than half of them are single – and like anyone else have many of the same needs and desires as able bodied Canadians. According to Copus, they would enjoy the same attention we give to our able bodied athletes for their accomplishments. From voters not being able to access poll booths, people in wheelchairs not being accommodated at large events, to singles not being able to find a service that supports their needs.

“It’s time we pay as much attention to our disabled Canadians and celebrate their accomplishments to the same extent we do for our able bodied Canadians," says Copus who regularly supports disabled athletes at several different levels. She will be cheering on and watching the Paralympic events even though they are not covered as extensively as the regular Olympics were.

Please contact Patsy Copus for additional comment or interviews

About Patsy Copus

Patsy Copus was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 20 years ago. She is the founder of Singles Canada an online dating service which she founded 10 years ago. Several years ago, Patsy met with several disabled customers after receiving their emotional pleas to find them a partner. It was then that she realized that a site for disabled singles was needed and launched http://www.datingdisabledsingles.com.

She has also launched a Facebook page which she plans to use to educate more people about the needs of disabled singles.

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