Fort Whyte

Manitoba Liberal Party (MLP) - Candidate: Willard Reaves

I have devoted nearly all my life to high school, university and when I played football for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins of the NFL, and still advocating for the rights of the disabled in Manitoba and around the country. Disability rights are human rights, and it is our duty to ensure that every person, regardless of their abilities, has equal access to opportunities and resources to lead a fulfilling life.

Education is the foundation upon which a bright and inclusive future is built. We must ensure that students with disabilities have access to quality education that meets their individual needs. This includes not only physical accessibility but also the provision of appropriate support services, accommodations, and specialized instruction. By fostering an inclusive educational environment, we empower students to reach their full potential and become active participants in society.

Employment opportunities are vital for individuals with disabilities to achieve financial independence and self-sufficiency. Yet, they face significant barriers in the job market, including discrimination, stigma, and inaccessible workplaces. We must challenge these barriers by promoting inclusive hiring practices, reasonable accommodations, and workplace accessibility. By embracing diversity and creating inclusive work environments, we unlock the untapped potential of individuals with disabilities and drive economic growth.

Moreover, healthcare should be accessible and responsive to the needs of people with disabilities. They often encounter additional health challenges and require specialized care. It is crucial to ensure that healthcare providers receive appropriate training to understand and address the specific needs of individuals with disabilities. Accessible medical facilities, assistive devices, and support services are essential to guarantee their right to quality healthcare.

Social inclusion is the cornerstone of an inclusive society. People with disabilities have the right to fully participate in community life, access public spaces, and engage in recreational activities. We must break down physical and attitudinal barriers that isolate individuals and limit their opportunities for social interaction. By fostering a culture of acceptance, respect, and empathy, we create a society where everyone can thrive and contribute their unique talents.

In order to achieve meaningful change, we must work together as a community. Governments, civil society organizations, businesses, and individuals all have a role to play in advancing disability rights. It is imperative that we enact and enforce legislation that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities, while also providing adequate funding for programs and services that support their inclusion.

Furthermore, we must promote awareness and education to challenge stereotypes, prejudices, and misconceptions about disability. By fostering a culture of inclusion and empathy, we can create a society that values the inherent worth and potential of every person.

In conclusion, the realization of disability rights in Manitoba requires our unwavering commitment and collective effort. We must work together to build a society that embraces diversity, breaks down barriers, and empowers individuals with disabilities to live their lives to the fullest. By doing so, we not only uphold the principles of equality and justice but also create a brighter and more inclusive future for all.

New Democratic Party of Manitoba (NDP) - Candidate: Trudy Schroeder

The candidate did not respond by our September 20, 2023 deadline

The Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba (PC) - Candidate: Obby Khan

Q: How have disabilities played a role in your life and the lives of your loved ones?

I have had the honour of being able to work with multiple organizations who advocate for and work with individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. Since my time with the Blue Bombers, I have been involved with some great organizations including Special Olympics, Easter Seals Manitoba, Variety Manitoba and DASCH Inc., many of which I have been able to remain connected with as an MLA.

Q: Which one of DMVote’s 5 priority issues is of the greatest interest to you and why?

Employment Opportunities is of greatest interest to me. Working with DASCH over the years, specifically, has allowed me to see both the possibilities and benefits of working with individuals living with disabilities. I believe that supporting individuals with disabilities to enter the workforce not only benefits those working, but their co-workers and employers. There are many other great organizations doing similar work, like SCE Lifeworks, who I was able to join for Take Your MLA to Work Day last October.

Q: Disability discrimination has made up the largest share by far of all the formal complaints lodged with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission over the last 20 years. What do you think accounts for this and what do you think needs to be done to address it?

Q: How have disabilities played a role in your life and the lives of your loved ones?

As someone who has experience discrimination for many years in sport, I believe fear towards people who are different is a major reason for discrimination. Additionally, individuals with disabilities often are not able to self-advocate, leading to a lack of awareness. Inclusion, whether it be in sport or work is critical will allow for a higher level of understanding for everyone. As well, many people are unsure of how to support individuals with disabilities when the opportunity arises. This is why agencies like SCE Lifeworks, DASCH are so critical as it increases representation and advocacy for people with disabilities.

Organizations working directly with individuals with disabilities already are working to increase awareness and education. I believe we need to support them so these organizations and the individuals they serve are included in the conversation of how to bring our community together and make life better for all.