Kirby asks Joan Burke to show compassion
Thursday, February 23, 2012
NDP MHA Dale Kirby (St. John’s North) attended an open house at a club for people with disabilities, and was appalled at what he heard.
The Longside Club, on Shaw Street in St. John’s, has operated for 25 years, serving people with disabilities in the capital city area. Between 60 and 80 people regularly participate in programs at the club.
“The fear the club members are feeling is almost palpable,” Kirby said today. “Because of the discontinuation of provincial funding for one of its programs, the Longside Club has been left desperately short of resources, and the people it serves are wondering whether they will have anywhere to go next week – or if a mall will be the only gathering place left for them.”
Kirby wrote to Joan Burke, minister of Advanced Education and Skills with Responsibility for the Status of Persons with Disabilities, last week asking her to review the situation as the Longside Club fulfils recommendations from a recent report to make the program more effective.
“I have not yet heard back from the minister, but I have written to her again stressing the urgency of the situation, and asking her to put emergency or interim funding in place,” Kirby said today. “A little compassion on her part could mean a great deal in the lives of the regular clients of the Longside Club.”