Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on December 1, 2011.
Each year the Canadian Paraplegic Association hosts a non-partisan, all party event on Parliament and asks for Members of Parliament to volunteer to spend the day in a wheelchair. My colleague from the Yukon, MP Ryan Leef, joined me and several other volunteers for this challenge, and what a challenge it was.
Although my arms have since recovered from this event, the memories will remain. I think one of the biggest surprises from my perspective was the amount of wheelchair accessible infrastructure that proved to be inaccessible. I found wheelchair access ramps that were blocked and used as temporary storage, a handicap accessible bus with a loading device that could not be operated, and a host of other challenges. Even accessing an elevator can be a formidable challenge given the limited room for manoeuvring, particularly in a place where people, often times with larger briefcases in tow crowd into elevators to make a committee or Question Period on time.
I believe that it is important that we always be mindful of the challenges facing those with mobility limitations and pay special attention to ensuring that we work together to improve access wherever possible. I would like to thank the Canadian Paraplegic Association for putting on this educational event and also a thank you to my colleague MP Laurie Hawn in assisting with recruiting volunteers.
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
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