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 - Patrick Wood
Answer 1. Our family has been affected by disability. My late-uncle struggled with limited mobility while he was alive. He struggled with accessibility to facilities and transportation to get to his medical appointments from his home after his diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. His home did not have a ramp which added to his daily challenges. Geographic location also played a role with my late-uncle’s challenges because there are limited programs available to people living with a disability in rural areas of Manitoba. It has been slow for rural communities to implement accessibility ramps, railings to entrances to public buildings and businesses.
Answer 2. Not enough is being done to address the challenges around disability. There is not enough funding to create programs for individuals living with a disability. Talking to people in my community a mother being one of them with a son living with mobility issues shared her frustrations for her son. She is glad to receive a home care aid in her home to help with her son. She shared that there are no programs available for people living with a disability in the community; she shared that any programs would benefit all people. Some of the other challenges include lack of accessibility ramps to public spaces, limited to non-existence of suitable handi-transit and transportation in rural areas. I would commit to make organizations accountable to put accessibility first for proper transportation and infrastructures in place and provide improved access for people living with disabilities. Increased funding is needed for education in many areas including the standards. More funding is needed to create programs and other areas of service delivery.
Manitoba Liberal Party Candidate - Tyler Duncan
Answer 1. Physical disability affects everyone in one way or another in these days, I myself have a great-uncle and cousin confined to wheelchairs and require extra supports. If we're talking about mental/emotional/cognitive disabilities then this brings about more health and educational aspects that I can go into extensively and will in answer below.
Answer 2. I believe that we all deserve equal access to funding and programs and having a disability should not be a reason to not receive adequate fair access to services. I will speak and advocate for our northern constituents in our riding to receive the programs and services offered are so minimal at this time. I often think about people who want the same standard of life and want equal access to programs and services as everyone else. I think about students I've gone to school with who have learning and cognitive disabilities who eventually have to leave our north after they're done school to find an assisted living centre away from the only home they've ever known, to be able to have any quality of life for themselves; because there is nothing for them here in this riding. So in closing, when I speak about people with disabilities, I believe a person with or without a disability should have the same quality of life as everyone else and I will speak hard and advocate for that at all levels of government to ensure fairness and equality for all of us.
New Democratic Party Candidate - Amanda Lathlin
Answer 1. I feel so fortunate to have had such incredible, caring parents who took it upon themselves to foster two boys, who I am now proud to call my brothers. My one brother lives with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and his experience has really shaped how I view the diverse abilities of people all around me.
When he first came to live with our family at 5 years old, he faced many challenges. He was unable to walk and doctors were not optimistic about his future quality of life or life expectancy. But my parents cared for him as they would any son.
He has broken through barriers many thought weren’t possible and is living his life to the fullest. He currently lives in Saskatoon, where he is working and living independently. I remember once helping him fill out a job application where he was offered the option to voluntarily self-identify his disability. He told me that he didn’t think he had a disability, and so, he decided not to self-identify. I’m proud to say he got that job. He helped me realize that we shouldn’t view people for their disability, but for the different abilities that make them such an important part of our families and communities.
Answer 2. It is difficult to single out one challenge. Each barrier to accessibility is equally significant to the person it impacts. However, my personal experiences and relationships have opened my eyes to several specific issues that I will work to address when re-elected.
The first is the need for more accessible physical spaces, including transportation infrastructure. Our roads, sidewalks, transportation services and buildings must be accessible to people of all abilities. I am proud that the NDP is committed to working with communities and organizations to fund accessible upgrades.
Access to disability and health services is also limited in many northern and remote communities. I have friends who have faced difficulties accessing the services they need, and some who have even considered moving in order to access needed support. We must support people living with disabilities to be able to stay and contribute in their own communities. By continuing to invest in health and other social services, the NDP will work to ensure that people living with disabilities have better access to the support they need, where they need it.
In particular, access to services is limited for families living on reserve. We are all Manitobans, and I believe that we should all have access to the same level of care and support. When re-elected I will work with all levels of government to improve access to services for Manitobans living on reserve.
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba Candidate - Doug Lauvstad
Answer 1. I, like many families, have been affected by persons some with physical disabilities, including disabilities as a result of polio and cancer. I have witnessed first hand the struggles with accessibility and accommodation. However, for me, having worked for many years in the post-secondary education sector, I witnessed many people struggling to work and learn within a society that neither recognizes, understands, nor accommodates people with learning disabilities. Thankfully, much progress has been made. Smart, capable, hard working people with visual perceptual problems, were unfairly labelled, and rarely accommodated. We are getting better as a society, but we have a long way to go — witness our retention rates in secondary and post-secondary. Failing to accommodate people with learning disabilities, limits our productivity, and more importantly, restricts people from realizing their full potential. We can and must do better.
Answer 2. My riding is a complex one with many communities spread out over many square kilometres. Many of the basic services — sewer and water for example — are not readily available in some areas. More urgent concerns — such as lack of housing — overshadow accessibility issues. Some communities have unemployment levels north of 70% and the economic and social issues that arise from this dynamic strain the abilities of all governments to respond. With respect to accessibility we, as a province, must embrace the principle of universal design so that all buildings and services are usable to all people without the need for adaption.