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 - Dan Soprovich
Answer 1. My family and I have not been directly impacted by disability, and therefore I cannot respond appropriately to the question. To fully understand the issues, I believe that one has to "walk a mile in the shoes" of the disabled and their families. At best, I can try to understand the issues.
Answer 2. I have volunteered as Chair of Focus on Employment Inc. for approximately the last ten years. The goal of Focus is to find employment for disabled members of our community. It is the strong view of our organization that, as long as the employment enhances the lives of the disabled person, we are successful. It doesn't matter if the individual works two hours or forty hours, if it makes their life better we are successful. My time with Focus has provided me with some understanding of the challenges respecting access to employment. Perhaps the greatest challenge is convincing employers that the disabled can, and will, contribute positively to their operations. More and more, employers recognize that there are a number of 'bottom lines' important to the success of their business, one of which is social responsibility. For the last five years, government has frozen the budgets of Focus and other non-government agencies that deliver these programs, and this has impacted ability to provide the services. I would move immediately to restore these budgets. I would also initiate a review to determine current needs within the riding of Swan River.
With respect to the other accessibility challenges within the Swan River riding, the following comes principally from someone who has a far better understanding of disability issues, has lived with disability issues, and is trustworthy.
Another very significant accessibility challenge for many people living with a disability is reliable and low cost transportation. Transportation has a direct effect on the ability to access many aspects of life, such as employment opportunities, education, healthcare, shopping, and recreation. This is particularly true for people with intellectual or mental disabilities. The lack of transportation in areas of rural Manitoba without public transportation must be addressed. I would immediately determine needs within the entire riding, as the basis for the best solution. One option would be to increase funding for Handi-van services or to create a similar service to provide the additional needed capacity. Within Swan River, there are a number of programs and service providers for the disabled, all filling their own niche and rarely communicating with each other. I would work to create a centralized location where people living with all types of disabilities could access information on the services and support available to them. I would also investigate opportunities to locate the various programs in fewer facilities, where that is appropriate.
Manitoba Liberal Party Candidate - Shayne Lynxleg
No response received
New Democratic Party Candidate - Ron Kostyshyn
Answer 1. Three serious illnesses have made life tough for my family members. MS, severe arthritis and my dad's brain tumor that ended his farming career and brought me back to the family farm from a job with a Saskatoon engineering company in the 1980s. It was a challenging time, but it brought me back home and led to a more-than 30-year farming career and the realization of how important good health care is.
Answer 2. Distance and retention/recruitment of professionals. residents of small rural towns need to travel great distances for specialized care. We have done much to improve Telehealth and diagnostics closer to home, but we fight continually to hold and replace the professionals we have. Working with communities to attract talent and keep them is key.
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba Candidate - Rick Wowchuk
Answer 1. My family has been very fortunate in that no one has suffered any disabilities.
Answer 2. Having been an educator for thirty-five years I worked with students with physical disabilities and mental challenges of various sorts that gave me an awareness of the challenges faced by persons with varied disabilities.
If I am successful to represent this constituency I would work with support organizations to advocate for persons with disabilities. I have seen the need and feel I would be a good advocate on their behalf.
Persons with various disabilities can be a part of the community and the workforce if proper support is provided.