Officers and staff of the Canadian Media Guild are mourning the sudden and tragic death of Dianne Trottier, a member whose life in a wheelchair inspired us to change our perceptions of ability and accessibility.
Dianne worked at CTV before becoming a writer and producer at CBC News, where she worked on a variety of Newsworld programs in Toronto. She filled in on the lineup desk in Charlottetown last summer and was helping to develop the new supperhour TV news format in Fredericton when she was hit by car whose driver left the scene last Saturday night. She was a Guild picket captain in Toronto during the CBC lockout in 2005. Dianne also played wheelchair hockey — and a particularly aggressive version of that sport (visit http://www.ephem-era.com/TPWHL/Index.html). The CBC, the Guild and colleagues raised money last summer to sponsor her league, the Toronto Power Wheelchair Hockey League, to attend the North American championships in Minnesota.
It didn’t seem like Dianne was prevented from doing anything because of her wheelchair. But Dianne had to fight for what many of us take for granted: access to the places we work. TV control rooms built with steps in them were one major obstacle. So were the fire alarms that automatically shut the elevators down. These are but two of the barriers Dianne had to overcome just to do her job?.barriers that the Guild will keep pushing to have removed.
Dianne died in hospital on Sunday, at the age of 33. She leaves behind her mother, Patricia Trottier, her aunt, Anita McLaughlin, many colleagues at both CTV and CBC and close friends, including Michael D’Souza, the CMG’s director of human rights and equity. With Dianne in mind, Michael has pushed for changes to the way the Guild operates. He and former CMG member Tara Weber were the force behind a resolution that called on the Guild to move to an accessible office, which we did in 2007. There continues to be vigilance in ensuring that all CMG events, meetings and parties are held in accessible locations.
In addition to her many accomplishments in her short life, we will remember Dianne for the way she zoomed along Front Street in her wheelchair — a fitting image for someone who pushed so many of us to move forward ourselves.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been made.
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