Addressing the Rotary Club of Ladner on October 11, 2016, Member of Parliament for Delta, Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, spoke about her family living in Ladner and said that they were looking forward next summer to the new splash park led by the Rotary Club of Ladner, in partnership with the Corporation of Delta. Addressing the Rotary Club of Ladner on October 11, 2016, Member of Parliament for Delta, Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, spoke about her family living in Ladner and said that they were looking forward next summer to the new splash park led by the Rotary Club of Ladner, in partnership with the Corporation of Delta. 
Her address provided a glimpse of her personal and family life, and an update on constituency activities and legislative policy being rolled out at the federal level, and on her portfolio of Sport and Persons with Disabilities (below).Persons with Disabilities (below).  
photos by Chris Offer

 

On the Sport mandate of her portfolio, Qualtrough said that the federal government was involved in anti-doping regulation and international development through sport. Sport is also part of the government’s relations with First Nations.

She says, “We are working through sport as a tool for reconciliation with our indigenous peoples.”

A national strategy on concussion in sports is another priority in conjunction with the provinces and territories.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities describes recreation, according to Qualtrough, as “the lowest level of investment that we, as Canadians, make in infrastructure.”

She said the outcomes of that relatively low investment are low fitness levels, lack of physical literacy among children and Type 2 diabetes. She conceded that this investment is a tough one when there are so many other infrastructure investments needed in all communities, such as roads and schools.

Regarding the other mandate of her portfolio, Persons with Disabilities, Qualtrough said she was charged by the Prime Minister to lead a national accessibility consultation that will lead to a world class piece of accessibility legislation.

“As a person with a disability who’s dedicated her professional legal career to human rights and employment law, I am very proud and excited about this work.”

She reported that 50 percent of all complaints that come to the Canadian Human Rights Commission are based on disability, which makes a statement when there are many other areas of concern in human rights areas, such as race, religion and sexual orientation.

“There’s a gap in the legal system that this law will fill. While we have very strong human rights legislation in Canada, the system is such that we often have to wait until somebody is discriminated against before we help them. We rely on individuals to pursue systemic complaints.”

She added, “Barriers are bad for business and bad for communities.”

She referred to attitudes in hiring practices as one example. There are estimated to be 53 percent of Canadians who have a disability or have somebody close to them with a disability. The employees, customers and vendors in that context represent a value of $40 billion in Canada and $1.7 trillion worldwide. She adds that she has not used restaurants which do not have wheelchair accessible washrooms and conferences will tend to avoid hotels which do not have facilities to support accessibility.

“The national in person process on accessibility consulation began in Whitehorse last month with sessions in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba planned or in progress and another 17 more to go in all 10 provinces and the territories, with rountable discussions and town hall meetings.”

What has been regarded as “accommodation” in the past for those with disabilities is now giving way to more of a focus on “innovation”.

In thanking her, Rotary Past District Governor and Ladner Rotarian Chris Offer said he was glad the Minister had recognized Rotary for its leadership in the global campaign to eradicate polio, having met many older Canadians with disabilities due to polio as children.

Offer encouraged her to ask her cabinet colleagues to continue the partnership of the Canadian Government with Rotary in funding polio eradication, along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, other governments, foundations and hundreds of thousands of Rotarians.