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 - Signe Knutson
Answer 1. My family is greatly affected. I, myself, have lupus, and experience extended periods of debilitation of my feet and hands. This has made accessibility an issue, even at my own apartment building where I have request a handicapped access door, and nothing has been done about it yet. Also, communication can be difficult as I only have so much of a pain/energy threshold, and being a busy candidate, I need to budget my time to accommodate recovery and rest. My son is on the autism spectrum, and we have experienced a lot of difficulty with school. I feel he needs a much more individual curriculum for his needs. Financially we need to be very careful with our budget.
Answer 2. Most buildings are older and don't have proper accessibility. Many public buildings have stairs without ramps and doors with knobs rather than levers or automatic buttons. I will personally advocate for the implementation of accessible modifications, and further, to ensure that all new buildings are designed with accessibility integrated. I would like to see grants be made available to small businesses and landlords to fund accessibility to their places.
Manitoba Liberal Party Candidate - Alain Landry
No response received
New Democratic Party Candidate - Greg Selinger
Answer 1. We often make the mistake of thinking disabilities are someone else’s problem, but if we’re honest with ourselves we realize they affect every family at some point. It isn’t always obvious or visible. It can be the effects of aging, which I’ve seen in my own family members who have struggled with severe arthritis that can make it difficult to climb stairs. It can be declining eyesight or hearing, which make it difficult to understand and communicate with other people. Or, as I’ve also experienced in my own family, it can be a mental-health issue that creates barriers to participation or relationships.
And when disabilities don’t affect us directly, they can rob us of the joy of getting to know so many wonderful, creative people who we may never meet because of the barriers that restrict their options.
Everything we do in government must take into account the barriers that exist – physically and in our attitudes – as we enact legislation and implement policies to improve the lives of Manitobans.
Answer 2. Here in my own community, the accessibility of many older buildings is an important issue. One in particular comes to mind – the St. Boniface Post Office, which was built in 1906 and has always been such an important part of our community’s heritage.
However, being an older heritage building, it posed several accessibility challenges to local residents. Canada Post proposed relocating the offices to a new location, but it was deeply important to our community that accessibility be enhanced, while also maintaining the historical significance of the building. As a community, we joined together and encouraged Canada Post to retrofit the existing building and build a ramp. Through this, I learned that it isn’t just our physical spaces that need to be accessible, it is our community heritage and history that must be accessible as well.
But I truly believe that Manitoba’s greatest challenge to accessibility is not the physical world, it’s in our attitudes. The most difficult challenge is overcoming the stigma and misinformation that exists about the needs and capabilities of people living with disabilities.
Everyone can contribute to their communities – they just need a fair chance. That’s why we established the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, which requires the development of accessibility standards in customer service, employment, information and communication, transportation and the built environment. This act requires government and business to take into account the needs of people living with disabilities and when fully implemented should go a long way to improving accessibility in all aspects of our lives. We’re all better off when everyone has a chance to join in.
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba Candidate - Mamadou Ka
No response received
Not Contacted Due to Lack of Candidate-Specific Email Address
The Manitoba Party Candidate - Jason Wiebe