Ottawa, ON – Today, the Honourable Diane Finley, MP for Haldimand-Norfolk, challenged the Liberal government to end their discrimination against people with visual impairments by seeking unanimous consent to table a second enlarged petition that was previously rejected due to its size.
“Quite simply, I’m fighting to make sure that all Canadians have equal opportunity to express their opinions to Parliament. The current rules are just plain wrong: they discriminate against those with visual impairments, and that’s what I am trying to fix,” said Finley.
Last October, MP Finley attempted to table a petition that was enlarged by Reverend Paul Sherwood of Simcoe, Ontario so that his elderly parishioners could see it well enough to read it. The petition was rejected because it wasn’t “on paper of the usual size.” In response, MP Finley sought and received the unanimous support of her fellow Members in the House of Commons, and eventually got the petition accepted.
To keep this from happening to others, Finley asked the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to permanently change the paper size rule that prevents people with visual impairments from participating in Canada’s democracy and was given assurances that it would be “dealt with soon”. After nearly a year of inaction, MP Finley has brought awareness to the issue again by tabling a petition on enlarged paper signed by almost 200 MPs and Senators, each with some form of visual impairment.
“Right now, we are debating the Liberal Government’s accessibility Bill, which makes this issue extremely relevant. Ironically, it’s Liberal MPs on Committee who are preventing this from being fixed, and it was also Liberal MPs who refused to sign the new petition when I invited them to do so. That’s why I’m so pleased that they allowed me to table the second petition today. I hope that now they will allow the official rules to be changed soon. Nowhere else in Canada are there such insensitive and unreasonable rules for everyday citizens to speak their mind to government.”
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Original Point of Order
Office of the Hon. Diane Finley