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?
The Green Party of Manitoba Candidate - Jeff Buhse
a. For myself, I have personally been affected by a disability my whole life – I have dyslexia which went undiagnosed until my fourth year of university. So this greatly affected my ability to study and read.
b. In my career, I work in Student Accessibility Services at the University of Manitoba, so I see the barriers systemically in place each and every day. I have learnt how to work with and accommodate for my disability but spend my days helping train students and staff members how to do the same and how to become advocates for themselves.
c. The Accessibility for Manitoban’s Act touches every aspect of my job and I am happy to see it in place, but Manitoba needs to come up with a way to properly enforce its regulations so we can avoid the errors that Ontario experienced with the AODA with their lack of compliance to ensure we have a truly accessible Manitoba.
a. Many of the issues I see within St. James are the same ones that causing trouble all around Winnipeg and Manitoba. An obvious one is Handi-Transit – the list of issues has no end and something needs to be done. Winnipeg has done a good job of bringing in physically accessible buses, but its ability to clear snow from sidewalks and bus entry points has not improved; by investing in increased active transportation corridors and snow-clearing equipment, Scandinavia has seen that this has also doubled to increase accessibility for those with mobility concerns and I would like to see that supported here. By shifting to a more people friendly infrastructure (walking, cycling, etc) and maintaining this infrastructure properly, not only will we see an increase in bus ridership and active transport use, but car-centric thinking will decrease and we will see an increase to accessibility.
b. The other area that is much more my area of expertise is digital accessibility. Those with visual, auditory, and other perceptual disabilities have a large hurtle to get over just in accessing government documents. I will educate and work to ensure that government entities are fully compliant with the AMA Customer Service standards and Information & Communication standards.
Manitoba Liberal Party Candidate - Michelle Finley
Answer 1. My grandfather was disabled for many years following a workplace accident. He adapted his lifestyle as best he could while living on a very limited income. Better access to affordable mobility aids would have increased his ability to leave the house. Our whole family was impacted by my grandfather’s disability because he was frequently housebound and we were often limited as to where we could go with him. We adapted as a family because there was no other way.
Additionally, my family has been impacted by mental illness and addictions.
In 2015, I lost some of my hearing due an injury. My hearing loss has resulted in me making adaptations to my daily living and gave me a new perspective on living with an unseen disability.
Answer 2. The biggest accessibility issues in St. James are access to reliable public transportation, access to affordable housing, and the lack of meaningful employment that offers equal pay.
I am committed to the promotion of a guaranteed annual income program as a means to raising those living on fixed incomes out of poverty. I am also passionate about ensuring that all new housing developments make a portion of their units accessible.
To correct the employment inequality issue, I would like our government to invest in small business loans to those with disabilities as well as providing incentives for employers to hire people with disabilities.
To improve access to public transportation, I would like to work with community partners to create a not-for-profit ride-share organization dedicated to the transportation needs of those with disabilities. It is my hope that such an organization would be a major employer of those with disabilities.
The Manitoba Party Candidate - Brad Gross
No response received
New Democratic Party Candidate - Deanne Crothers
Answer 1. Having an uncle who was a quadriplegic, I saw firsthand how many systems needed to be in place and working together to provide him with a good quality of life, every day. He lived at home with my aunt who was his main caregiver, and they had the support of their children and his closest siblings. So many aspects of his daily life needed to be well organized and tightly scheduled in order to run smoothly. I remember most his unfailing sense of humour.
Answer 2. Within St. James, I believe one of the greatest challenges for those living with a disability is transportation. Transportation is key, not only for practical purposes such as getting to a doctor's appointment, but also in maintaining a social connection to community. I'd like to see Hand-Transit services expanded here for all community members that might need to rely on it. I also think that more employment options for those who wish to work but may need some accommodations by potential employers would be greatly beneficial not only for the individual who would like to work, but also for local businesses who may not realize how great these kind of arrangements can be. Here in St. James we have SCE Lifeworks, a fantastic organization that works with business to help coordinate jobs for people living with a disability. It's an organization I've been engaged with before and I'd like to work more closely with them to increase job opportunities here in St. James for everyone in an equitable way.
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba Candidate - Scott Johnston
Answer 1. As a school trustee I have had experience ensuring students with various disabilities have their needs met. Educational Support Services, educational assistants, special education programs including life skills and work placement, specialized transportation, accessibility and accommodations at schools are examples of the types of programming required to meet the needs of students with disabilities. I understand the advantages of mainstreaming. I plan to take this experience with me as your provincial representative.
Answer 2. With an aging population I believe we need to support our seniors with productive home care support. There is a greater demand for personal care home beds. We need to address backlogs by creating more beds and satisfying local demands.
I support an active St. James seniors` centre with staff and programs to help educate and counsel our St. James seniors with disabilities.
It is imperative that sidewalks are maintained to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities. A new PC Government is committed to spending 1 billion dollars a year on infrastructure. St. James will see benefit from this investment.