Letter to Premier Harris
June 6, 1999
The Hon. Michael Harris
Rm. 281 Legislative Building
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Re: Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Congratulations on your recent success in the election. Four years ago, prior to the last election, you promised to work together with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee, to enact an Ontarians with Disabilities Act. In the Throne Speech which was read shortly before the election was called you made a commitment to move forward with this legislation and to consult with people with disabilities. You now have an opportunity to fulfill your original promise, as well as the commitment that you made in the Throne Speech. We are writing to offer to do whatever we can to work together with you to that end.
At the All-Candidates Debate in the St. Paul's riding held on the evening of Wed., May 19, 1999 at the Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, your Minister responsible for this issue, Isabel Bassett, stated on behalf of your Government that the Ontarians with Disabilities Act which your Government would pass would be strengthened, in comparison to your Bill 83 which died on the order paper last December.
In response to a question regarding the need for the removal of barriers, she said that the Ontarians with Disabilities Act would set standards. She also said in response to that question which used the example of barriers for which the municipal level of government is responsible, that the Ontarians with Disabilities Act would address those types of barriers. Members from various parts of the Province, reported that candidates from your party made similar commitments to strengthen the Bill when asked about the Ontarians with Disabilities Act during all candidates' debates.
The June 3 election result signals a clear mandate for a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act. As you know, both the Liberal and NDP parties gave strong commitments in writing that they would support a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act, consistent with the 11 principles contained in a resolution passed unanimously by the Legislature on October 29, 1998. The popular vote in this election shows that a clear majority of Ontarians have voted for these parties. These commitments will ensure that if a strong Ontarians with Disabilities Act is introduced it will have support from those parties.
In your public statements after the polls closed, you emphasized your intention to cooperate and work together with all in society, including those who may not have been included in the past. In this spirit, we ask that you agree to meet with us as soon as possible, and that you commit that the development and enactment of a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act will be a top priority for your Government at the very start of its second mandate.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
David Lepofsky, C.M.
Chair, Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
cc: Dalton McGuinty
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