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 - Kevin Nichols
Answer 1: Having suffered with Crohn's disease for over 30 years, I know what it is like having a disability. There is often a misunderstanding or misconception that if you cant see it, it isn't a disability. Having Crohn's, bouncing in and out of hospitals for a while, testing different drugs to find out what works, not knowing what will or wont affect my digestive tract, all play a part of how hard life can be and indeed is a disability. My life has become a life of anxiety when going to a new place, not knowing where the washrooms are(which is the first thing I look for at an unfamiliar place), how many people will be at the function or place, will there be enough washrooms for the event and of course, planning the day before what to eat so I know or hope that it doesn't affect me. This is just a part of how it has affected me.
For my family, I was up front with my wife before I got married, telling her I had Crohn's and all the possibilities. Also telling her that the doctor said that I may not be able to have kids because of the drugs I have had to take in the past. My married life has been lots of planning and plenty of cancelled plans, not being able to attend some functions because of stomach issues, going to functions and not eating when everyone else is enjoying the food. Sometimes it is a case of simply not being able to eat anything because I know I cant or my stomach wont tolerate it. My kids know what to expect, they are used to it but it was hard not being able to take them to some activities sometimes. There have been plenty of times where I haven't eaten because I know I don't have access to a washroom. There have been times when my kids playtime is cut short because they have to wait in the washroom because I cant leave them alone in a public place. They have grown now and are familiar with Crohn's and my issues and understand, but understanding doesn't make it any easier. There are lots of times where I feel extremely bad that I couldn't do more with them or for them. So having Crohn's has been a disability that has affected my family and myself.
Answer 2: One of the biggest accessibility issues are the sidewalks and the need to a few extra cross walks down Roblin Blvd. Some of the curbs need addressing to make it easier for the aging population in the area to easily use a scooter, or other mobility device in order to still maintain their independence. I think in order for me to know more about the accessibility issues I would have to ask a lot more. There are upgrades in the area and I know the local schools are upgrading at great expense in order to make accessibility a non issue.
Manitoba Liberal Party Candidate - Paul Brault
Answer 1: Although I have not had close family members affective with a disability, I have several extended family members affected with Asperger Syndrome/High Functioning Autism diagnosis. For a while behaviours had been confusing to our family. Now we know they doesn’t act that way because they're spoiled or because they're shy or because they're doesn’t like us – they act that way because they have autism.
I have been a long time volunteer for Winnipeg Harvest and have worked alongside many other volunteers with a variety of disabilities. Winnipeg Harvest believes that no individual should be denied the opportunity to volunteer if he or she has the skills and the determination to help them achieve their mission to help people step up and out of poverty. Volunteers often say that they reap great benefits from volunteering, and feel they receive more than they give. In my view, this is especially so in the case of volunteers with disabilities I work with at Winnipeg Harvest.
Answer 2: After knocking on the doors of thousands of residences in Charleswood, I was able to witness the extent of families that have their homes designed for accessibility. As an MLA it is important to serve the broad disability community – persons living with mental health, learning, developmental or physical disabilities- by helping them to overcome employment barriers and reach their full potential. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for members of the constituency by helping them become active contributing members of the community – be it on a volunteer or employment basis. I believe the greatest accessibility challenges within our constituency of Charleswood are:
- Competitively paid employment in the community
- Pre-employment and life skills training
- Recreation and leisure activities
I will address these challenges by working with community organizations that partners with government and business to assist people from all walks of life to achieve their educational and employment potential. I will work with stakeholders to ensure all Manitobans are seen for their ability and not their disability. In addition, the Manitoba Liberal Party will establish supports for those that need it most and if our study on Basic Income or Mincome is successful we will implement that to ensure those who need full supports have it.
New Democratic Party Candidate - Janna Barkman
Answer 1: Disabilities affect all families either directly or indirectly. Indeed, they have had an impact on my own family, which has taught me a great deal about the incredibly diverse range of abilities that people bring to the table. I believe that we should not view people for their disability, but for the unique abilities that each of can contribute to our communities. We must remove barriers and ensure that every Manitobans has the support they need so that their abilities can be realized to their fullest potential.
Answer 2: There are many older buildings in our community that are still not fully accessible for people living with disabilities. I will work hard to ensure that any new structures and existing structures meet accessibility standards. 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 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 - Myrna Driedger
Answer 1: I do have family members affected by disabilities. We have all worked hard to be an advocate for those family members. Sometimes navigating the system has been difficult but we have managed to figure things out. It does help me to have a better understanding of the many challenges people with disabilities and their families face.
Answer 2: Some of the greatest accessibility problems that I have been involved in are on behalf of my constituents who have had to fight for the supports they need. Some have been related to the school system, others have been about access to the right equipment or wages. I fully support that a PC government will undertake a comprehensive review of government spending that will result in more effective services and improved outcomes for all Manitobans, including those with disabilities and their families.