Curriculum Vitae

I contacted my Member of Parliament Ed Holder’s office yesterday to inquire about taking part in the processing of Bill C-54. After I forwarded one of my blog entries on the subject, I was informed that I might send my Curriculum Vitae to the Minister of Justice but they didn’t know if I would be successful. I was always under the impression that democracy was both interactive and inclusive.

To request a Curriculum Vita from an average citizen causes me to question who the government listens to and represents. In Canada, a Curriculum Vitae is a professional document which many psychiatric consumers would find exclusive and intimidating. It is a document usually reserved for lawyers, executives, professors, physicians and scientists. I am pleased this government calls on the expertise it is obviously lacking but Bill C-54 would benefit from input from individuals with lived experience.

I assume my Member of Parliament is confident in the fact that I and most citizens do not possess a professional history. I have no academic credentials, my publications are not academic, I have no research experience and my contributions and significant achievements pale in comparison to most.

Why does my government suggest I list my professional licenses and certifications? Why does my government request I list my scientific and academic research? Why does my government suggest I list the papers, books and publications I have written? Why does my government require my thesis or dissertation? Am I not enough as a citizen? What purpose is there in discouraging my voice?

I believe I am qualified to speak to the issue. I may be a common voice but I have had an uncommon experience and posses an uncommon perspective clearly not considered. I do not belong to any professional associations but that does not mute my 34 years of psychiatric experience.

I have always had the utmost respect for individuals with letters in front of or behind their names. They are hard fought and earned. At the same time I consider lived experience to be important. No physician can think or calculate their way into what I have experienced. It is one thing to walk the halls with a clipboard until 5 p.m. It is quite another to hear the key turn as you remain behind.

Are all citizens interested in contributing to democracy dissuaded or is it because of my apparent disability? It is distasteful either way. This is not a note of surrender. I will come up with a Curriculum Vita. Curriculum Vitae in Latin is “the course of my life.” If that is not enough it will be a shame on my government and a kick to us all.


14 thoughts on “Curriculum Vitae

    • Thanks Bill, I am happy to see you on my Blog. I appreciate all the likes and feedback you have given me over the past year. Blogging can be a lonely pursuit; thanks for walking with me. Wishing you all the best and strength for the rest.

    • You are also deserving of thanks for your candor and openness regarding your struggles. I usually read your blog on my phone which confounds me as to how to comment and like. Consider this a down payment of likes and thanks on what you share and will share. You do more than you realize.

      • Why thank you so much! I used to read blogs on my phone but like you’ve pointed out, commenting never works out. I just tried to read the Bill and it’s so long and confusing. This is clearly done, not just to be official, but to make us not want to question. Or maybe I’m a little cynical.

      • Yes the Bill looks intimidating. It’s unfortunate it can only be understood by a lawyer. They should have a sesame street version for those without training. I agree that it discourages interaction from the general public for whom they are written.

      • From what I could read and understand there are parts of the Bill that I agree with in terms of sexual offenders and such but since the good is lumped together with the bad and you can’t pick and chose this create problems.

      • One problem with the Bill is that almost any Forensic Client can be considered high risk initially. High risk does not mean treatment resistant. Medications and therapy can be very pronounced within a matter of months so the introduction of a three year term is clearly punitive. I’m sure you can attest to the fact that a person can respond well to medications and therapy. Placing calendar values to mental illness is detrimental if nothing else. Imagine that any of your setbacks meant 3 years of incarceration. Imagine no outside privileges for three years because of your present situation. If there is no allowance for improvement there can be no improvement.

    • Thanks Brenda. I am pleased to hear from you and happy to know you read my blog. Your vote of confidence is all the more meaningful considering your hard work over the years with mental illness. We sometimes recognize the volunteers who do so much but forget those employed for the same purpose. Please say Hi to Ken. Wishing you all the best and strength for the rest. Brett

  1. Good for you following up with this. It seems that a ‘first voice’ perspective should be vital in their deliberations about this bill. I’m quite disillusioned with the Harper government though; they’ve passed other bills with no regard to input of experts or anyone else that opposes their views. Good luck with it Brett!

    • I like your term “first voice”. It has always been my belief that those with lived experience have much to offer. First voice resonates with me as in reality it should be the consumers voice who is listened to first regarding any policy. We can have a panel to discuss the importance of nourishment and fluids but it takes a thirsty person to let us know where the fountains should be placed. Wishing you all the best and strength for the rest. Brett

  2. It seems strange to “like” something so unlikable but I have to tell you that what you’re saying strikes a chord and I am outraged at what you have to go through in order to create change in a flawed system, Brett. Keep up the great work my friend!!

    • Thanks so much for your comments and your encouragement. I have had people say it’s not my’re through this, it doesn’t affect you. Unfortunately, it could affect any of us. I have friends with mental illness who are still in the system and there are many who will go through the system. Forensic clients are the lepers of society. Despite what we may lack I have seen too many smiles and tears to remind me of the humanity we all share to turn my back. Wishing you all the best and strength for the rest.

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