Manitoba Liberal Party (MLP) - Candidate: Walt Nilsson

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

New Democratic Party of Manitoba (NDP) - Candidate: Tyler Blashko

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

Disability plays a role in my life through my work. Working in the school system, I find myself working with youth and families facing a variety of systemic barriers to success. Children and youth have a right to accessible learning environments and it has become increasingly difficult to achieve this with larger class sizes, a reduction in EAs and other in-school supports. We aren’t giving all students the best chance to succeed if we don’t consider disability services in our planning.

In my personal life, I have aging family members who are navigating a reduced sense of mobility and a need for care. Reduction in homecare options and high levels of staff turnover because of low wages has impacted my grandmother’s ability to get access to home care supports as she ages and mobility becomes an increased concern. I recognize the urgent need for meaningful access for people across the generations to supports and resources.

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

All five of these priorities are so important and they are interconnected but the skilled workforce priority speaks to me in particular. The recognition of the role of Disability Support Workers speaks to the need for dignity for everyone. Manitobans with disabilities deserve a consistently high level of care. Disability Support Workers are an essential piece of ensuring that people get the care that they need to thrive in all aspects of their life.

While we have a caring and hardworking sector of Disability Support Workers, low wages and lack of funding for training have contributed to turnover in the profession, despite their commitment to this critical work. We need to see investments in this sector because a strong and valued workforce in the disability care sector will be important moving forward for thegreater inclusion of this growing group of Manitobans. Disability Support Workers deserve to be respected for the vital service that they provide.

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?

Unfortunately, I think considering disability in decision-making has often been an afterthought in many places, and the is problematic because it results in spaces not being inclusive for Manitobans with disabilities. Manitobans with disabilities have the basic human right to fully participate in all aspects of life, and that is not currently the reality for many in our province. Stigma and systemic barriers often prevent full accessibility from being achieved and Manitobans with disabilities are forced to file complaints when they are prevented from fully participating in spaces. This should never be necessary.

People with disabilities need to be at decision-making tables. In our work across all sectors, we need to meaningfully engage with the disability community early on when considering legislation, changes in policy and other actions taken by government. The Manitoba NDP will make sure the disability community is regularly consulted and included from the start – including as a part of our new Premier’s Business and Jobs Council.

Government needs to work with the disability community to implement and enforce the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, supporting education and awareness campaigns, and properly funding disability supports – including raising wages for disability workers. This is a critical way to combat stigma and ensure the full inclusion of Manitobans with disabilities in all spaces.

The Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba (PC) Candidate: Andrew Smith

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