James Beddome at the 2019 Launch of the Disability Matters Vote Campaign

Here is an audio clip and transcript of James Beddome speaking at the July 4, 2019 launch of the Disability Matters Vote Campaign in Winnipeg.

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MC: I would like to now welcome James Beddome, leader of the Green Party of Manitoba.

James Beddome: Thank you David for the introduction and thank you for the Land Acknowledgement earlier today. Thank you everyone for being out here. Look at all these people! I think you should be really proud of yourselves.

The 2016 campaign was really amazing, and I have no doubt the 2019 is going to be even more amazing. And I think you should really be proud of yourselves at how effective this campaign has been.

I think the sign to me is that I see signs popping up all over my neighborhood! I think to myself. “I haven’t got my sign up. I gotta get on it! You guys are out hustling us politicians.”

You know full credit to the disability community for accomplishing that. And what that shows is the capacity of the disability community and everyone that is here today.

As we’ve heard people comment already, we want people to work. People want to be involved. There is a lot of human capital in our society that we aren’t capturing. And if we work on that we’re going to have a more inclusive society. A better society that respects the diversity. Because ultimately, we’re all people. That’s really what I think its about.

One really important policy for the Greens is our Guaranteed Annual Income Policy and I’d really encourage you guys to go on our website and look at our 2016 platform on this, and we’re working on the details for 2019.

Poverty’s a major barrier for all Manitobans. And we look at the success of programs like Old Age Security and we want to expand it. We want a Guaranteed Annual Income for all Manitobans. We want to make sure that the most vulnerable are cared for. And if those of us who are doing a little bit well aren’t willing to take a few pennies and make sure we take care of everyone in our society then I don’t know what’s wrong with us. I think that that is key and the broader implications for those that are living with a disability, for our health care system, for our justice system are massive.

Greens want to take a more co-operative approach. Where we’ve seen Greens elected across the country — Elizbeth May — and now BC — and Prince Edward island — and New Brunswick and Ontario. They try to bring a more co-operative tone to government.

So, I want to acknowledge the past government and the current government with respect to doing some work on the Accessibility for Manitobans Act. We’ve got the first customer service standard under the previous government and now, standards for employment.

But there’s three more standards to do. We can’t wait a single term for a standard. That’s too long. We’ve need to get on it now. I’m glad to hear we have the acknowledgements from other parties that we’re going to see it implemented in the first term. We want to see all the standards implements. [applause]

That’s why we need to put Greens in the government. We’ll hold them accountable. And more than that, it also becomes about priorities. There’s so many issues out there. I’m not going to be able to get into all of them. But it becomes a matter of making that a talk or a funding priority.

I’ll give you one example with respect to mental health. In New Zealand and the United Kingdom they put about 11% of their health care budget into mental health. We put 5%. Into mental health. It’s about those types of priorities and making access to assessments for people who might need it, particularly for the two year waiting list for students who have autism to get assessments — these are the types of problems that we have — and that I don’t have to tell people there and I mean the people out here, that’s what I enjoy is talking to you. And hearing what issues you have.

I want to acknowledge Katherine Hlady. She’s out there. She can’t always be so much out in the crowd because she has multiple chemical sensitivities. It’s hard for her to breath air. So even being around a crowd is a challenge. So I’ve been corresponding with her on email.

So, there’s so many issues out there. And obviously I can’t address them all. But a lot of them I think, if you look at our platform, even our Guaranteed Annual Income, I just wanted to touch on that one, is the point I forgot to mention which is that, the sad fact is that is that I think many people support workers that are helping those living with disabilities, would themselves be a beneficiary of our Guaranteed Annual Income. That’s wrong, that’s outright wrong. We need to respect the caring professions more.

This is what we want, an inclusive, dignified society. David you made the comment that people have to chose between groceries or a buss pass. Well we want to make the buss pass free too. That’s all I have to say.

It really was a pleasure to meet everyone out here. I’m going to have a chance to mingle with the crowed afterwards, so please come talk to me. I think that’s what’s most important is to listen to you. Thank you for the work that you’re doing and holding us politicians to account.