The province is partnering to deliver a webinar to help make municipal elections more accessible for persons with disabilities and encourage more people to take part in the democratic process. “The webinar addresses concerns about accessibility, allowing individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, have vision impairments or experience transportation barriers to participate in municipal elections,” said John MacDonell, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. “Our goal is to encourage more Nova Scotians, and in this case those with disabilities, to run for local office and increase municipal and school board election voter turnout.” The live webcast, which will be close captioned, will be Tuesday, June 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. To register, go to www.ns-municipal-elections.ca/ and follow the Civic Engagement Webinar link up to an hour before the webcast. After entering a name, participants will be logged in. People who have trouble logging in can call 902-494-3456 or 1-800-263-6232. A recording will be available at the website after the event. The Nova League for Equal Opportunities, the Disabled Persons Commission and Dalhousie University’s College of Continuing Education are partnering with the province to deliver the webinar. “Getting involved in community and government is the single most important action a disabled person can take to bring about awareness of their issues,” said former MLA Jerry Pye. “I look forward to sharing my own experience as an elected official and an individual with a disability.” Gail Bruhm, provincial co-ordinator for the Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities, said the goal is to ensure that all who are eligible to vote, have a chance to cast a ballot. “We are actively working to raise awareness of barriers persons with disabilities face and increase accessibility during the election process in the province,” said Ms. Bruhm. “I have been delivering workshops throughout the province to help increase knowledge of municipal government as well as encourage participation on behalf of Nova Scotians,” said Jack Novack, professor, College of Continuing Education, Dalhousie University. “This session differs from our earlier workshops and provides a unique learning experience for the disabled community.” For more information, visit www.ns-municipal-elections.ca/ .
GREEN PARTY LEADER Eamon Ryan has compared Irish Water to the HSE following revelations that it will ‘waste’ up to €2 billion on overstaffing.Speaking to Colm Keena of the Irish Times, ESRI economist Professor John Fitzgerald said the overspend on staff will add to the cost of water for Irish households and businesses.“This is a shocking story that’s not learning lessons from the past,” Ryan told Newstalk Breakfast today.The HSE example is the right one – you don’t create a new agency and take on all the existing staff. It doesn’t take an ESRI expert who has worked in water regulation before…to understand. Irish Water, which has been embroiled in controversy for the past few weeks over consultancy fees paid out, is reportedly planning to employ more than 4,000 local authority staff until 2025 despite a belief that less than 2,000 people are required.Fitzgerald also told the newspaper that the new utility could have a major impact in Budget 2015, giving a €500 million ‘leeway’. It could ease national debt by up to €3 billion too, he said.Speaking on RTE’s Radio One programme, Today with Sean O’Rourke, Dr Edgar Morgenroth of the ESRI said efficient gains need to be made sooner, adding that it is “disappointing that we would have to wait such a long time” for staff efficiency to be implemented.He said there could have been a number of other ways to deal with this – such as, not assigning everyone in the Irish water sector to Irish water but perhaps redeploying them to other sections of the local authorities.“It’s not a quango”: Rabbitte defends €5.7m Irish Water ‘transition’ body