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Civil Rights Now organizing people with disabilities for BC Election 2013

The advocacy group Civil Rights Now wants to see two changes in provincial law affecting people with disabilities and the group is mobilizing supporters to lobby every sitting MLA and every candidate for office this election to solicit their opinions on the two reforms.

CRN wants politicians to support two new bills, the Community Care (Direct Payments) Act and the Civil Rights of Persons in Community Care Act. The first would see government funding directed to residents living with disability for their individual use in arranging support functions, and the second would empower the provincial attorney general to investigate citizen initiated complaints and penalize individuals or organizations that fail to respect the rights of disabled British Columbians.

Cathy Grant, who was born with cerebral palsy, told The Tyee her own experiences motivate her to support the first proposed reform. She says that a nightmarish nine weeks in 2011, when her service provider cut off all services to her, would have been avoided if she had been able to control her own funding and negotiate terms of service, as envisioned by the CRN reforms.

CRN activists have met with Adrian Dix, Carole James and David Eby of the NDP and with Liberal Minister of Social Development Moira Stillwell. Other NDP figures attended the March 23 launch of the CRN campaign, including Powell River Sunshine Coast MLA Nicolas Simons and candidates George Heyman, Matt Toner and David Eby.

Paul Caune, CRN's executive director, told The Tyee that responses from MLAs and candidates will be posted on his organization's website. On Saturday, April 20 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Coal Harbour Community Centre, CRN will be conducting a campaign school training disabled British Columbians and their family members in the skills necessary to be effective political advocates.

[Editor's note: This is drawn from a longer report by Sandborn published today on The Tyee which you can read here.]

Tom Sandborn writes about labour and health issues for The Tyee.

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