An Open Letter from CCD Re: Robert Latimer Case

[November 1996]

To: Supporters of Disability Rights in Canada

The Latimer case signals grave danger for all people with disabilities. We must never lose sight of the responsibility which this danger invokes. If we are not all vigilant, too many more will be murdered like Tracy Latimer. Too many more will have to fight for their lives. Too many more voices will never be heard.

That is why the voice of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and its Member Groups spoke with passion throughout the public furor around Robert Latimer's conviction, sentencing and appeals.

We, as people with disabilities, are afraid for our lives. We are afraid that others could be empowered to decide whether we live or die. We are afraid to be in a society which weighs the severity of a child's disability in its judgment of whether and how to judge the actions of her murderer.

People with disabilities and our allies across Canada have been touched on a very deep level by the murder of Tracy Latimer. We feel Tracy's vulnerability. And we feel our own vulnerability heightened as our neighbors and colleagues suggest that there was something noble and human in what Robert Latimer did to his daughter. We grieve Tracy's senseless death. We are pained and horrified each time we see Tracy Latimer portrayed as a creature less than fully human. We are enraged by the insinuations that Tracy's life was not a life worth living.

CCD has been particularly appalled by the media portrayal of Tracy. The media continually focused upon her pain and portrayed her as less than human. In fact, Tracy attended school each day, she laughed, responded to music, enjoyed watching hockey games and sitting around family bonfires. The real Tracy was never seen by the public because the media portrayal of her was so negative.

Canadians with disabilities in response to this case came together with feelings of fear, vulnerability, pain and anger. People with disabilities came together to affirm our humanity, our passion for life and our solidarity. The Council of Canadians with Disabilities seeks support from other communities. In solidarity, we ask you to affirm that our lives are worth living. Taking our lives to spare us our pain and our struggles is a crime. A crime that must be met with the full force of the law.

CCD asks you to endorse the attached position statement. CCD will make public your endorsement of our position.

We trust that you will understand our position but would be most willing to talk with you further should you require clarification.


Eric Norman
National Chairperson


I ____________________________________ support CCD's efforts to ensure that the murder of people with disabilities is treated the same as the murder of any other person.





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To help further promote the fundamental human rights of persons with disabilities, you can also contribute to the Tracy Fund. (CCD, 926-294 Portage Ave., Winnipeg MB, R3C 0B9.)