IN THE HOUSE ~ Question Period - to Minister of Transport on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, but in Canada access for people with disabilities is moving backward, not forward.

This week the Council of Canadians with Disabilities has withdrawn from the Minister of Transport's advisory committee because the government has refused to restore regulatory standards. Countries like the U.K., Australia and even the U.S. have them and they are moving forward.

Will the Minister of Transport commit today to restore regulated standards and equal access for Canadians with disabilities to transportation in Canada?

Mr. Speaker, that is no reassurance at all. It is not just transportation where things are getting worse. It has been nearly 3,000 days, in 1996, since the federal task force for persons with disabilities brought forward recommendations aimed at empowering Canadians with disabilities. Yet this report has been gathering dust. The government has not acted on virtually all the recommendations. Today, nearly 40% of people with disabilities live in poverty and half of our growing number of homeless are people with disabilities. We need a housing strategy and other measures.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Will the government commit now to take that report off the shelf and get to work immediately?