Excerpt from the Official Report of
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(Hansard)


May 5, 2011

Lack of funding for services for developmentally disabled persons

S. Simpson: Yesterday in question period the Minister of Social Development tried to tell this House that the community sector was supportive of the B.C. Liberals' direction with Community Living B.C.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The B.C. Association for Community Living issued an immediate alert, repudiating the minister's comments, and their executive director, Faith Bodnar, sent him a scathing letter.

Ms. Bodnar's words in her letter sum up better than anything else the situation that the developmentally disabled are facing in this province under the B.C. Liberals. "We must ask ourselves if we are prepared to risk all we have accomplished in the last 55 years because our government lacks the vision to invest responsibly in the supports and services they need and deserve."

My question to the minister: when will he stop ignoring this crisis with Community Living B.C., with our developmentally disabled and take some action to provide those families and people some hope?

...

S. Simpson: What did the B.C. Association for Community Living and Ms. Bodnar say about the work that this government has done? This is what they said: "The reality that this legacy is in serious jeopardy should be of grave concern for us all. Insufficient funding to Community Living B.C. has meant reacting to crisis only and the real danger of relegating people to lives of isolation and subsistence as their supports and services are cut."

That's the B.C. Liberal reality with Community Living B.C. There have not been funding increases and general lifts. This minister tries to tell us that, but he could read this letter as well.

Again, what did Ms. Bodnar say when it came to the $13 million that he'll stand up and tell us about in a minute? They said: "It's targeted at a pilot project that will have no impact on wait-lists. This is why so many new families are coming to us in desperation, having been told that there are absolutely no supports available to them, with no light at the end of the tunnel."

That's the reality. Will the minister take some action, close the binder and do something for people who need your help?

...

S. Simpson: It's those 3,200 service providers who are represented by the B.C. Association for Community Living who are telling this minister that he is failing in his job. That's the reality.

This minister's credibility is failing fast. His statements in this House have been repudiated by the people on the ground in the community, by the service providers, by the families, by the people themselves, and he has not offered one single word. This minister has not offered one single word of concern or hope for these people who are desperate.

What are they saying? He talks about the funding that just keeps getting shaved away and shaved away. So what does the B.C. Association for Community Living tell us about that? This is what they say about those families: "Families who have supports and services are being pitted against those who have none and express real fears of retribution if they voice their concerns. Surely this is not what we want for people with developmental disabilities and their families in British Columbia."

Well, that's not what we want on this side. Will the minister tell us: what does he want, and what's he going to do to deliver it?

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