Liberal Investment in Disability Issues Welcome But Must Be Re-Profiled

For Immediate Release

June 2, 2004

Liberal Investment in Disability Issues Welcome But Must Be Re-Profiled

Prime Minister Martin's announcement yesterday of $1 Billion 'over five years for a program to family caregivers including spouses, children and close relatives of seniors and people with disabilities' "misses the mark," said Marie White Chairperson of CCD. "While we agree caregivers need support, such an investment does nothing to remove the barriers we, as people with disabilities face, in our day to day lives: our needs in the areas of transportation, training, education, employment and income support remain."

Canadians with disabilities were pleased to see in the last Throne Speech and Budget the Liberal's commitment to addressing the needs of Canadians with disabilities and we continue to look for significant leadership from the Prime Minister on our issues. Those announcements while smaller in scope than this campaign announcement moved in the right direction.

"We need assistance to live independent lives, to participate in our communities," said Linda Stiles a member of CCD National Council. "We need a National Disability Related Supports Program to invest in those services and programs that enable us to be full and equal citizens."

"Family and friends are vital to people's well being and we acknowledge their importance in making our lives richer and fuller, but we want to be in control of our own destiny, we do not want to be simply 'cared for'" said Barb Anello of CCD.

"Since the program details have not been determined, CCD urges the Prime Minister to work with persons with disabilities and their associations to ensure that the primary focus of any new initiative puts control of resources and supports in the hands of individuals with disabilities and removes barriers to our participation." said Marie White Chair of CCD. "The days when simply assisting others to care for us are gone, we want full and equal citizenship. By making our communities and public institutions accessible we reduce our dependence on family and caregivers," stated White.

"Canadians with disabilities recognize the Prime Minister's interest in addressing disability issues, however, the Prime Minister needs to work with us to determine the best use of resources. This billion dollar announcement is the largest investment in years, lets work together to use it wisely," said Laurie Beachell National Coordinator of CCD.

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For More Information Contact:

Marie White CCD Chairperson (709) 739-8233
Laurie Beachell, CCD National Coordinator (204) 947-0303