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MR. CARRIER: Ian, I was listening to you, and all that was good stuff. I said: "Great!"
MR. CARRIER: Thanks for that presentation.
MR. WILSON: We had fun working together.
MR. CARRIER: Yes. That's how we were working. I think we were on the side, talking about the good old days. You know, when we were planning this institution for the future. It was how we were working.
Sometimes, we had some little, how to say, differences that would add to our work, but it would always finish with something like you saw this morning.
MR. CARRIER: I didn't prepare a speech. I didn't know I would speak.
I will just tell you something. One day I received an invitation to lunch from a gentleman I didn't know from an organization I knew, CNIB .
Yes, I didn't know anything. I knew almost nothing. In the past they had recorded something for a Montreal Institute, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, if I recall well.
It has been many, many years, but that's all that I knew.
My staff prepared an information document for me, which I didn't read.
I prefer reading afterwards. I learn better afterwards.
And I am always interested in a free lunch. So, yes, I went.
I met with Euclid, and we started to talk. Suddenly I thought of something when I was a kid in my little town. We were playing baseball, and among our friends we had a kid we didn't know was blind.
We didn't know he was blind, but he couldn't see. So Jean Alphant—that was his name—played baseball with the rest of us.
But because he couldn't see the ball, he was the referee.
But he was with us all the time. There was no problem. And that's exactly how I felt when I started to talk with Euclid about all kinds of things.
Now, what I just told you, just after I knew that I was coming here, I said: "Is it my imagination that did that? Was it true?" I phoned one of my friends from those days, Fernand.
"Fernand, it's Roch Carrier."
"Roch. We went to school together."
"Fernand, I want to ask you something. Was there anybody who was playing baseball with us and couldn't see the ball?"
He said: "Yes, Jean Alphant. Yes, that's true."
And I said: "But is it true that he was the referee?"
He said: "I doubt it. He couldn't be the referee because he couldn't see the ball."
MR. CARRIER: But he said: "But, I remember, we were fighting a lot."
MR. CARRIER: So probably he was the referee.
Anyway, that is what I was thinking about sitting at the table with Euclid.
We talked and we had one martini, two martinis...
MR. CARRIER: Three martinis...
And I think we were in great speaking terms.
Now, he invited me to go see the institution in Toronto. So, yes, I wanted to see him. I wanted to learn more. I had a nice visit. I saw all the technology.
Now, I didn't know anything – not much about technology. I saw all those machines to read, to use the information, to bring information, and I said: "Oh, we have something to learn here, at the National Library. We have to find some ways of providing the information."
Now, from there, we kept on talking. Finally, Euclid said: "I am ready to put $10,000 in a project that will be a study of the situation of people who have some challenges having access to printed material."
I didn't have a budget for that, but $10,000... okay. He put $10,000. I put $10,000. To finance a study across the country about the situation of people with challenges.
Now, I don't know how they did that study. But I was provided with a document that myself I could understand. It was clear. I had facts. I had solid facts. I had a vision.
Mr. Hugessen, did you pay yourself for your travels when you were doing that work?
MR HUGESSEN: I don't remember.
MR. CARRIER: So from there we decided that, based on the report, we had to do something. We created a committee, and they did great work since we are all here today and we have money now.
So that's how the project was started.
All I want to say is that I am not claiming any credit because I didn't do anything. What I did? I didn't prevent this thing to happen.
MR. CARRIER: Let's say, when there is a good idea I think the boss just has to clear the way and let the real people go at it. That's what you did, all of you, and thank you very much for that. I am really proud of you.
MR. MANNING: Thank you very much, Mr. Carrier.
As always, it's always very entertaining to listen to you speaking. Even if you don't have notes and weren't told that you were supposed to speak.
MR. MANNING: I now have the honour to introduce Mr. Euclid Herie to speak to us.
As Mr. Carrier has said, Mr. Herie was and has been intimately involved with the issues for print-disabled Canadians. He was a co-founder of the original task force with Mr. Carrier.
Today he is president of the World Braille Foundation.
Today he will talk to us about Louis Braille's birthday.