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 - Lisa Omand
Answer 1: I have had friends and family deal with both visible disabilities (like mobility issues) and less obvious disabilities (like reduced lung function, learning disabilities, organ failure...) It is a constant juggle between negative remarks and looks from strangers, availability of services and support, added expense of equipment or medication, "advice" from well-meaning friends and family, plus the person and family's own emotions and concerns. Dealing with any disability is stressful enough, but adding the struggle of getting adequate support &/or treatment and negative stereotypes makes it unnecessarily more difficult.
Answer 2: The greatest accessibility challenge is the continued underfunding of local programs for the disabled, including the cutting of services, underfunding of wages and lack of transportation. If services and transportation are provided consisently and fully, with proper funding, it would not only help the disabled, but also add needed jobs into our economy. Years of cutting and underfunding programs has backfired and has made programs more inefficient and expensive while reducing the level of service.
As the MLA of Kirkfield Park, I will work to implement the Accessibility for Manitobans Act and fund it properly. The Green Party believes that all services should be decentralized with standards set through regulation but with local control over implementation. We believe that the cost to the government of higher wages comes back in greater taxes, more vibrant communities and more efficient service delivery. Greens invest in prevention, knowing that money which is invested up front for fair wages and good services will save money later.
Manitoba Liberal Party Candidate - Kelly Nord
Answer 1: I have two teenage sons that are both autistic. Disability issues affect our family very much due to the day to day struggles within their life and our family life.
Answer 2: There are physical and mental disability to overcome. Better accessibility for wheel chair entrance into and out of public areas still need to be installed. Finding gainful employment for the disabled is very important as I feel there is still discrimination for these people, restoring the special needs funding in education is also very critical to me. This was cut by the NDP last fall and the property taxes went up. Education should not have to suffer for anyone with a disability.
New Democratic Party Candidate - Sharon Blady
Answer 1. Years ago I had a roommate who was a paraplegic as the result of an accident. I saw on a daily basis the challenges he faced navigating the world from a wheelchair. Most recently, my family experience has related to challenges that have resulted from aging and illness, sometimes temporary or episodic, but no less identifying of the places that we as a society need to do better. I also studied barrier-free/universal design in university and have always tried to look at the world through that filter, recognizing the privilege I have as a presently able-bodied person. Accessibility is not just about design standards, it is about societal accessibility and the understanding that a community that is universally accessible in its design and social engagement and practices is the richest and most vibrant, as well as the most compassionate and successful.
Answer 2. Since being elected, I came across two specific challenges in my community and was able to introduce and pass two pieces of first-in-Canada legislation to address them. First, I worked to address the challenges of those who have service animals who were having their animals harassed and interfered with while the animal was working. My bill now means this is an offence where the consequence includes fines, compensation or even mandatory obedience training if the interference involves another animal. The second piece of legislation relates to those who are tenants and if their suite or building presents accessibility challenges over the time of their tenancy. I knew someone who became a prisoner in her own apartment as her disability and mobility worsened, and for whom the apartment itself was causing her injuries from falling and navigating a suite that couldn’t accommodate her changing needs. But her landlord would not let her out of her lease. My legislation means that if someone were to face those same challenges now, they could be issued a letter by their doctor indicating they need to move to a more accessible residence and their lease can be terminated as soon as a month, or the time they need to relocate to more appropriate residence. I will continue to work with my neighbours on challenges in this area if re-elected.
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba Candidate - Scott Fielding
No response received