The anticipated cuts will put people with developmental disabilities at risk

To read on the Calgary Herald:

By Darcy Henton, Calgary Herald

PDD protesters let province know cuts to funding will mean ‘people being alone and scared’

PDD rally at the Legislature in Edmonton on Wednesday May 15. Photograph by: Photo by Darcy Henton , Calgary Herald

Hundreds of people with disabilities, their caregivers and their families protested outside the legislature Wednesday against program and service cuts the government denies are coming.

Waving “stop the cuts” signs and chanting “Shame on you,” many of the protesters bused from Calgary to show the faces of the Albertans whose lives will be affected by cuts to the province’s Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) funding, expected later this summer.

Speaker after speaker expressed fears that an anticipated $60 million cut to PDD will eliminate programs that bring developmentally disabled Albertans out of their homes and into the community to participate in a wide range of programs and activities.

“In our community it will mean people being alone and being scared,” warned Nicole Fairbrother, a caregiver who said she is taking a pay cut to offset the impact of the cuts to programs for the 17 “high needs” Albertans in her organization’s care. “They are all incredibly at risk from these cuts.”

Some said they felt betrayed by Premier Alison Redford.

“One of the reasons I voted for Premier Redford is she said she would take care of the most vulnerable citizens in Alberta,” said Myrna Miller, of Calgary, who attended the demonstration with her 28-year-old son Fredrick Denicola, who suffers from a rare disorder called Costello syndrome.

“We just have to have a voice to let the government know that we have important people in the community and they need to be part of the community.”

She said PDD funding allows her son to have an active lifestyle and the anticipated program cuts could have a negative domino effect on his ability to participate in many of the activities he enjoys.

Calgarian Colleen Houston of Disability Action Hall said the cuts threaten the quality of life for developmentally disabled Albertans.  Read More.

PDD rally at the Legislature in Edmonton on Wednesday May 15. Photograph by: Photo by Darcy Henton, Calgary Herald