Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, in honour of the Disability Awareness Week which was celebrated at our luncheon in the Great Hall this afternoon, I would like to take this opportunity to once again call upon this government to move quickly in revising the income support policies in ways to understand and address the particular needs of those with physical or mental disabilities.
Madam Speaker, in a nutshell, the problem with the government's income support policies is that it's largely an effort to fit a square peg into a circle. Madam Speaker, generally speaking, it makes sense to encourage able-bodied and able-minded people on income support to train and to take life skills courses in order to maximize their potential for gaining better employment and eventually getting off the income support system. But what this does not recognize is that there are people in our society who are not able to ever work on a temporary basis or permanent basis, no matter what we do for them and no matter how much they want to. Right now our income support policies do not treat these citizens with the necessary sensitivity and comprehension.
Madam Speaker, it makes no sense to ask someone who is physically weak and on a waiting list for a heart transplant to attend a life skills courts to improve herself. This is what's happening out there.
Madam Speaker, it equally does not make sense to require someone with severe cognitive disabilities, such as Down's Syndrome, to ask them to take a training course and to take life improvement courses that would normally benefit able-bodied and able-minded people on income support. Madam Speaker, it also doesn't work for the government to insist that these people are left in abject poverty, supposedly aimed at encouraging them to get off the system, because we know no matter how much they want to, it's not possible.
Madam Speaker, when you know that there are those very small segments in our society who could never get off this income support system, I think we, as a decent society, must do what we can to help them in a different way. Madam Speaker, I believe those in our society who are clinically determined not to be able to work in any reasonable capacity should be given a certain minimum standard of living in the form of minimum government disability pension. Madam Speaker, in other words, this government once and for all has to understand and act on a deep appreciation that there has to be a separate set of policies and guidelines for those with special needs. Thank you, Madam Speaker.