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The Liberals Responds to BFM's Accessibility Questions

Jul 30, 2017

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We're pleased to share the responses from the Manitoba Liberal Party to BFM's accessibility questions related to the party's current leadership race.

Question No. 1: Will your party commit to provide for the full participation of Manitobans in your party's leadership race?

Answer: The Liberal Leadership Contest is a contest where party members elect the party leader so the events held and the means of communicating with those members might not conform to the situation outlined in your question.

Leadership contests provide opportunities to reengage with our members around the province and to attract new members. Membership is an on-going relationship. We work at creating conditions that are welcoming and that enable all our members to contribute to their fullest, not just at or during Leadership contests. It is simply in the best interests of both the member and the party to be open and inclusive and as barrier free as possible.

The on-going relationship with members means that we do things on an continuous basis to address barriers for them.

Here are a few examples of how we have worked to remove barriers:

  • We offer members the option of participating in the regular party meetings via conference calls to address barriers such as distance & mobility. We will be live streaming the leadership events for the same reasons.
  • Our offices are located on a route served by public transportation and are level grade accessible. We ensure that the meeting places we rent for off-site events can adapt to the needs of our members.
  • Members can submit questions for Leadership events on-line which adds people who have vision problems to those with mobility and distance challenges. Technology enables the visually impaired to use apps to enlarge websites so they can participate in the debate.
  • At events, we select venues that don’t have fixed seating and we have volunteers to direct people to those seats.

The direct relationship means that we try to work with the needs of our members as they arise to develop institutionalized practices.

Question No. 2: Will your party voluntarily comply with the requirements for the accessibility of public meetings and events that are described in the AMA's Customer Service Standard?

Answer: The Accessibility for Manitobans Act or “AMA” sets out a customer service standard for the public sector with implementation over a three-year period. It is currently under review to establish the details of compliance but the guideline is reasonable accommodation. We will be utilizing the best practices developed by the government and public sector as they meet the standard.

We adhere to a Customer Service Standard of reasonable accommodation which -given that the Leadership Contest is a member based scenario, would mean any accommodations made would likely turn into standard practices. If you know you are going to have the same needs on an on-going basis you are able to develop a standard approach that meets the needs of your members.

We accommodate needs as they arise but do acknowledge that there are limitations that we may overlook or that often involve reasonable notice. We include with any notices for leadership events an invitation to advise of relevant disability accommodations. For example “Let us know in advance if you require disability accommodations to participate” to ensure that members who attend that have needs are having those needs being met.

Question No. 3: Will your party encourage leadership candidates to ensure full accessibility of their individual campaigns?

Answer: We do encourage the Leadership Contestants to choose venues and modes of communication that enable participation and are welcoming. Leadership Contests bring in a lot of new members and successfully incorporating them are essential to building the membership support that contestants need to win the contest.

We asked the New Democratic Party, the other of our province's major political parties with a leadership contest underway, to answer these same questions. Click here to review that party's response to these questions.

We have or will also ask three accessibility-related questions to each of the candidates in the Liberal's leadership race. The deadline for candidate responses is September 28. We will post and share their answers on October 3.


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