Conservative disability mailout uses braille that’s unreadable

OTTAWA CITIZEN July 25, 2013

An attempt by the Conservative Party to highlight job creation for
disabled people fell flat when it sent out flyers with a message printed in
braille lettering that cannot be read by the blind.

The so-called “householder” pamphlets, prepared by the party’s research office and sent out by MPs using their parliamentary mailing privileges,
were intended to flag the government’s efforts to help people with disabilities enter the workforce.

The headline on the document, Supporting Jobs for All Canadians, is also written in what at first glance appears to be braille. But the dots used to render the Braille letters are printed in ink and are not embossed or raised using a braille printer.

Blind people “read” braille by passing their fingertips over the tiny dots.

If the letters cannot be felt, they are useless.

“It’s absolutely unreadable for a person that would use braille,” said Jim Tokos, vice-president of the Canadian Council of the Blind.

Tokos said government has the ability to print messages in braille, and he noted that Canada’s new currency has braille on them.

He called the failure to use this printing system for the householder a “lacklustre effort” and said that “for a person without sight, it does no
justice for them.”

The householders bear the image of each MP sending them out and note that the Conservative government renewed funding for the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

“Unfortunately, disabled Canadians are sometimes limited by inaccessible workplaces,” the flyer says.

“Improving accessibility will remove barriers and help create jobs and economic growth.”

The householder has a survey asking which of the political parties is “on the right track to improve accessibility,” including a QR barcode that can
be read by a smartphone.

It appears the householders were prepared for the MPs by the Conservative Research Group, the same office responsible for controversial mail-outs that used feminine imagery to mock newly-elected Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau earlier this year.

The party’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Conservative MPs Dean Del Mastro, Maurice Vellacott and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird are among those who sent out the householders.

Braille was developed in France in the 19th century by Louis Braille, who based it on a code used by Napoleon’s armies to communicate by writing in the dark.

Reproduced from