Questions Asked of Candidates
1. How have disability issues affected you and your family?
2. What do you see as being the greatest accessibility challenges within your constituency and what will you do to address these challenges?
Green Party of Manitoba Candidate - Ileana Ohlsson
No response received
Manitoba Liberal Party Candidate - Ian McCausland
Answer 1: Just the other day, a fellow I knew growing up stopped into the campaign office. Our families belonged to the same church, although he was a few years younger than I. He has a physical disability. Together, we reminisced about the good old days, being teenagers in the 80’s. we shared stories and a few ‘remember whens.’ Because our paths had diverged after junior high, he caught me up to speed on his life’s journey. As he spoke I was taken aback by how different our education and employment opportunities had been. His disability, although only physical, appeared to have manifested less integration in school and consequently in his education, and therefor employment opportunities. I felt badly for the injustice and for an old friend.
It was a very telling moment for me that shed light on a system which put someone with a physical disability at a disadvantage. In essence, we were the same he and I, and yet our life paths were quite different.
While I appreciate we’ve made real strides in this area, I will always continue to be mindful of the day-to-day challenges faced by people with disabilities.
This realization spurred me to dive one level deeper in my thoughts and planning around best practices, especially when it comes to accessibility issues within our constituency.
Answer 2: Mobility issues for seniors continue to be one of the biggest challenges faced in our riding. This past week I toured several active lifestyle programs, such as elderobics, Pickelball and line dancing - activities which promote a lifestyle to ensure seniors remain active, both in body and mind.
Transportation issues remains a concern for those faced with mobility issues as many people search for alternatives to Handi-Transit.
Mother Teresa said, "I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
I hope to champion efforts to find solutions when I am elected the MLA for Assiniboia.
New Democratic Party Candidate - Joe McKellep
Answer 1: For the last 20 years of her life, my grandmother lived in a wheelchair. I saw firsthand the struggles she faced on a daily basis, whether it was challenges regarding mobility or accessing services.
Answer 2: There are many older buildings here in Assiniboia that are still not fully accessible for people living with disabilities. We also have a lack of accessible transit options for people here in our community.
The Accessibility for Manitobans Act that the NDP worked on with the community was a historic moment in our province. The standards we are developing will ensure increased accessibility for all.
I will work hard to ensure that any new structures and existing structures meet accessibility standards. I will also ensure that we complete and implement the accessibility standards for transportation as soon as possible and work with all three levels of government to make accessible transit a priority here in our community and across Manitoba so that people living with disabilities have the freedom and independence they deserve.
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba Candidate - Steven Fletcher
Answer 1: In 1996 I was left a quadriplegic after a car accident. This drastic change in my life forced me to find ways to utilize my remaining abilities – first to heal, and then to move forward and lead a productive and meaningful life. While government at all levels provided critical assistance, there were also significant struggles with the bureaucracy, policy issues, and program access.
Over the course of the last 20 years I have had significant legal battles with government agencies in order to rectify problems within our system – some battles I have won and some I have lost. What I am proud to say is that the outcomes of those battles have had a positive impact on the lives of other Manitobans facing similar challenges. Those battles were not just for me. As a youngster my family would often go canoeing in remote areas of northern Manitoba and Ontario, and those experiences helped us develop strength and determination and a “get it done” attitude along with an understanding that complaining doesn’t help. That attitude and the support from my family was – and still is – critical to helping me continue on a positive path in life and to give back to the community. None of this would be possible without my parents, siblings, and their spouses. It is my goal to help make a society where everyone, regardless of their ancestry, who they are, level of ability or where they live, has the opportunity to reach their full potential as human beings. I believe government should be there to help when help is needed and get out of the way when it's not. I believe in the empowerment of the individual and in having individuals benefit from the fruits of their efforts.
Answer 2: Access to services is one of the major issues facing Assiniboia. Under the NDP government, Manitobans have suffered some of the longest wait times for health and emergency care in all of Canada. Until very recently Grace Hospital – which serves the Assiniboia neighbourhood – had THE longest ER wait times in the entire country.
When elected, the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba will establish a Physician Recruitment and Retention program for Winnipeg and rural communities in the province and reduce wait times for ER services through a dedicated Wait Times Reduction Task Force. Also, we need to look at the systemic barriers in society. The first step is to educate. Unless they have a disability most people would never guess what the barriers are. This includes better roads, sidewalks (while door knocking in this election I've almost disappeared into several potholes) thoughtful transportation, and accessible houses and public places. There's definitely room for improvement in the building code. Education will also de-stigmatize and remove stereotypes that exist about people with disabilities. For example, to this day because I'm in a wheelchair people sometimes assume that I cannot hear or think. Education goes a long way to correcting these wrong assumptions. As the public becomes more aware they will support efforts to create a society where someone of any ability can maximize their quality of life and contribution to society.