A guiding light for the Canadian Media
Guild (CMG) was snuffed out in a weekend hit-and-run accident
in New Brunswick.
Dianne Trottier, 33, whose life in a wheelchair inspired
many to change their perceptions of dis/ability, died Sunday
after being hit by a vehicle the previous day in Fredericton.
The writer and producer was described by
Carrie Ann May, president of the CBC Toronto location unit,
as "a talented, thoughtful, determined woman who, though
small in stature, had a giant heart."
Michael D'Souza, the CMG's director of human rights and
a close friend of Dianne's, says she and former CMG member
Tara Weber were the force behind a resolution that called
on the Guild to move to an accessible office, which it did
in 2007. There continues to be vigilance in ensuring that
all CMG events, meetings and parties are held in accessible
Dianne was at CTV before becoming a writer and producer
at CBC News, where she worked on a variety of Newsworld programs
in Toronto. She was in Fredericton to help develop the new
supperhour TV news format.
Besides work, Dianne had a passion for
sports. She played wheelchair hockey – and a particularly
version of that sport.
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.
"Dianne exuded pride in all she did, her sports, her
life and work," says May. "She was a person who
believed that news and telling stories strengthened the community
and that her work at CBC connected Canadians."
Dianne served as a Guild picket captain
in Toronto during the CBC lockout in 2005. "As a member of the Canadian
Media Guild, her work ethic, determination and character
helped strengthen the union," says May. "In a year
that has seen more than its share of obstacles, the loss
of Dianne's skills and optimism will surely be felt by those
whose lives she touched."
It didn't seem like Dianne was prevented
from doing anything because of her wheelchair. But she
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.
The Guild has set up a memorial page on its website and
invites Dianne's friends and colleagues to send their comments
and tributes to firstname.lastname@example.org for posting there.
(This is an edited version of an article and comments that
first appeared on the Canadian
Media Guild website.)