May 5th, 1999
Wednesday, May 5th, 1999: For Immediate Release
Ontarians With Disabilities Act Committee
Ontarians with Disabilities mark Monday, May 24, 1999 as Fourth Anniversary of Broken 1995 Harris Election Promise to Pass Disability Law
Monday, May 24, 1999: For 1.5 million Ontarians with disabilities, Monday, May 24, 1999 marks the fourth anniversary of Mike Harris' broken 1995 election promise. In Mike Harris' letter written on May 24, 1995 (copy below), he promised that:
"a Harris government would be willing to enact an Ontario with Disabilities Act in the first term of office within the economic goalposts of The Common Sense Revolution."
Now, four years later, Harris is campaigning for re-election on a claim that he kept all his promises. This promise was broken. Harris did not pass an Ontarians with Disabilities Act even though he had one year left in his mandate when the election was called. When challenged in the legislature by the Liberals and New Democrats on his government's inaction he (Harris) defiantly insisted that this promise would be kept.
"Across Ontario, voters with disabilities are putting together plans to take place over this week marking this anniversary of inaction as part of our campaign for a barrier-free Ontario," said David Lepofsky, Chair of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, the province-wide coalition to which this promise was made.
"People with disabilities will be mounting a grassroots blitz to get their message directly to voters. Planned actions include a Wednesday march in Windsor, a leafletting campaign in Toronto and a coordinated effort to get to all-candidates' debates and advance polls."
"This broken promise cuts right to the heart of this election's core issues," said Lepofsky. "The law we were promised would have gotten rid of the cruel and horrendous barriers people with disabilities face every day of their lives, in important areas like access to health care and education."
Both the NDP and Liberals have promised in this campaign to pass strong disability access legislation within specific time frames.
COPY OF MIKE HARRIS' 1995 ELECTION PROMISE
Office of the Leader of the Progressive
Conservative Party of Ontario
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8
Tel (416) 325-7800
Fax (416) 325-7810
May 24, 1995
Mr. David Baker
Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped
40 Orchard View Boulevard
Toronto, Ontario M4R 1B9
Dear Mr. Baker,
Thank you for your most recent correspondence dated May 3rd, 1995 concerning the proposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
As I indicated to you in my response of May 11th, 1995 to the Advocacy Resource Centre for the Handicapped questionnaire, a Harris government would be willing to enact an Ontario with Disabilities Act in the first term of office within the economic goalposts of The Common Sense Revolution.
The accommodation issue is often the stumbling block when it comes to financing access to post-secondary institutions, transportation, government publications, training programs and communications. We hope, through cost efficiencies achieved in other areas of government, to direct much needed funding to accommodation.
I would be pleased to work together with your Committee in the development of such legislation.
Michael D. Harris, M.P.P.
cc. Margaret Marland
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