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November 23, 2000
For Immediate Release
Nov. 23, 2000

Ontarians with disabilities law needed now - McGuinty
Liberal task force points to need to bring down barriers

Queen's Park - People with disabilities are being pushed aside in
our society thanks to Mike Harris's failure to make good on his
promise to pass a people with disabilities law, Ontario Liberal
Leader Dalton McGuinty says.

"Mike Harris promised a law to bring down barriers faced by people
with disabilities," McGuinty says. "Instead, Ontarians with
disabilities are being pushed aside because of Mike Harris."

McGuinty made the comments today as he issued the report of the
Liberal Ontarians with Disabilities consultation tour.

More than 1.5 million people in Ontario have a disability. Ontario
Liberals launched a 15-community consultation tour on March 6 to
listen to how people with disabilities face an array of obstacles
on a daily basis. Headed by Steve Peters, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-
London, the tour heard about the effects of the Harris government's
policy of neglect.

"People with disabilities aren't asking for much," Peters said.
"They are just asking Mike Harris to keep the promises he made to

Over 600 people participated in the hearings. The resulting report
issued today gives a detailed accounting of the everyday barriers
that stand in the way of full participation by people with

"The message was loud and clear," McGuinty said. "Ontario needs a
strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act."

Mike Harris promised in 1995 that he would pass such an act within
his first term of office. Now well into his second term, a leaked
cabinet document indicates that Harris plans to escape this
commitment once again.

"It is clear from this report that goodwill and voluntary measures
are not enough to create a truly barrier-free society," said Ernie
Parsons, MPP for Prince Edward-Hastings and critic for Persons with
Disabilities. "What's needed is mandatory legislation, like the
Premier promised."

"By failing to make good on his promise, Mike Harris is pushing
aside people with disabilities," McGuinty says. "We live in a time
when we need full participation by all members of society. We can
not afford to leave anyone out."


Greg Crone

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