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 - David Nicharz
Answer 1. During my battle with cancer ten years ago, I was house bound due to the effect of the chemotherapy drugs on my immune system. If I was to catch a fever-producing flu or cold, I would immediately need to be treated at the hospital with antibiotics. My iron count was so low that walking up my own stairway to my bedroom left me out of breath and my head pounding. In a sense I was lucky because I've been cancer free for ten years. I only had a short time being this ill, and it gives me a sense of what people must go through every day with permanent disabilities. I lost my only brother to mental illness in 1995. Mental illness is invisible most of the time, but has a serious effect on quality of life, and the lives of loved ones.
Answer 2. Also, I've spoken to people with mental illness and neurological impairments who have a very hard time getting on disability due to the difficulty in getting a doctor to sign off on their illness. This affects their ability to access the programs and funds they need to make their lives a bit easier. If you a person with a disability it is very difficult to find decent quality affordable housing in a safe neighbourhood. Everyone should be safe and feel safe and people with disabilities can have the perception of feeling especially vulnerable or actually be more vulnerable. Our Guaranteed Annual Income also takes out the stigma of having to apply for funding to meet basic needs which is especially important for people living with mental health issues. No one should have to apply repeatedly (i.e. on an annual basis) to financial assistance programs if they have a chronic condition (have a spinal chord injury which leaves them in a wheelchair; a mental health diagnosis like Schizophrenia). Doing repeat applications wastes everyone's time and is dehumanizing. We also have a severe shortage of Personal Care Homes in the province and the need is on the increase because we are not building at a fast enough rate. While many seniors have lived able bodied lives, as we are well aware, with age comes the deterioration of physical and mental abilities.
Manitoba Liberal Party Candidate - Shandi Strong
Answer 1: My family and I have not directly been affected by any disability issues. I do however have friends that are, and I know from their experiences how challenging it can be even to attend a simple event or go shopping, and in one particular case vote without assistance.
Answer 2: Most businesses in Wolseley are reasonably accessible, but several small shops have very narrow aisles and a few notable restaurants have no obvious accommodation such as ramps or parking. I think that in these cases the business owners need to be reminded that by not making their space accessible it is costing them business. I personally feel that this should be done out of acceptance and the understanding for another human being's dignity. It should not have to be legislated. But sadly it appears that the legislation will have to be required and enforced to ensure all citizens have access to the same places.
The Manitoba Party Candidate - Wayne Sturby
No response received
New Democratic Party Candidate - Ron Altemeyer
Answer 1. I live with a limited ability, as I inherited my father's hearing loss in both ears. I lost further hearing in one ear due to a repetitive noise injury I was unaware of at a former workplace. I now wear hearing aids, but prior to that I had a great deal of difficulty hearing what was being said unless I could watch the person speak and there wasn't too much background noise. I still have difficulties but the aides help a great deal. I recognize that this is a very mild disability compared to what many citizens live with every day.
Answer 2. Safe and affordable housing is the biggest issue overall here in the Wolseley constituency. With low-income rental housing units in such high demand, anyone whose abilities may be impaired either physically or mentally frequently face additional challenges finding a unit that they can afford, and that is accessible. The obvious solution is to build more housing, particularly for the most vulnerable people in our society. I am very proud of the housing projects our government has already supported, in partnership with community agencies. These include Greenheart Housing Co-op, UWinnipeg Commons, Fountain Springs, West End Commons, McFeeter's Hall and the Old Grace Housing Co-op. I am also proud that the NDP is the only party to commit to building 300 new social housing units per year – as requested by Make Poverty History - and our track record shows we know how to meet this commitment.
Other challenges are specific to disabled persons. Some of the more common concerns I am hearing on the campaign trail include mobility issues during the winter months due to icy sidewalks and a lack of snow-clearing, difficulties obtaining sufficient supports to live in the community, family respite and staff turnover among workers providing the community supports to disabled persons. Some of these issues, such as snow-clearing and decaying infrastructure, can only be solved with help of the City of Winnipeg. As the MLA, I would continue to advocate for additional supports for disabled persons, their families and their support workers. I believe the Manitoba NDP's election commitment to begin moving disabled persons out of the EIA (social assistance) program and into a guaranteed pension income would be an excellent step in this direction. With all the other parties talking about massive cuts to the provincial budget, only the NDP is willing and able to make the investments necessary to address the important issues raised by the Disability Matters campaign.
Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba Candidate - Raquel Dancho
No response received