Book’s Criticism of CNIB Appears Justified

By Alex Porzecanski and Md
Times Colonist March 30, 2011

Re: “Book incorrect on CNIB’s role,” letter, March 27.

I find it intriguing and greatly disturbing that John Rafferty, CEO of the CNIB, chooses to call Graeme McCreath’s book The Politics of Blindness “poorly researched and filled with inaccuracies.”

This book was written by a blind person with personal experience with both the British and Canadian Institutes for the Blind. It relates his personal
experiences and frustrations with a system that he views as paternalistic, and that employs methods that do not equip the blind to become independent.

He has also done extensive research, as seen by his many bibliographic references that accompany the text.

The inadequacies of the CNIB appear to include, but are not exclusive to:
The failure to teach Braille early on (relying instead on large print material that is woefully inadequate for the poor level of vision of many
blind people), not providing guide dogs and the equipment (for free or at a significantly reduced cost) visually impaired people need to function in a
job paying anything above the minimum wage, never mind university education
and other professional training.

My personal experience of 30-plus years treating visually impaired patients has tended to confirm McCreath’s own.
I believe that people should buy the book, read it and come to their own conclusions, as questioning the status quo is a motivator for bringing
about change.

Alex Porzecanski, MD
Oak Bay

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