It is my privilege to bring remarks today on behalf of the Alberta Party caucus on today’s occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

We mark this day by first highlighting and commending the talents and contributions of persons with disabilities and the positive differences they are making in today’s world. Whether it is in the workforce, the community, in academia, politics, athletics, technologies and more, there are so many stories of people doing extraordinary things despite the odds stacked against them, physically or mentally.

Issues around disabilities are complex largely because it is difficult for many of us to comprehend the challenges of having physical or mental impairments, whether visible or not, and how they can affect our lives.

Getting around in the world is something many of us just take for granted. We do not give a second thought to our commute to work or shopping for groceries. For some the sight of a curb or stairs can be a large barrier. A crowded bus can cause debilitating anxiety. Signs, no matter how well placed or how largely the information is printed, do no good for someone who is vision impaired or has a cognitive disability.

In other words, far too many things simply do not work, and as legislators we need to look at how to help make changes that respect the needs of persons with disabilities. One in seven Canadians reports having a disability, and that number will only increase as our population ages.

We need to ask ourselves what we can do to make things even more inclusive for future generations. We can start by living more considerately. When we see something that should be improved, we need to bring it up in the proper channels. If we see something unjust happening, we should speak. When everyone takes the time to do these little things, everyone has a chance at succeeding and enjoying life. This can lead to big strides in creating a more accessible and inclusive society that we all want to live in

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