Self Advocates of Semiahmoo member Madison Van Oene speaks with a candidate for White Rock council at a “mixer” hosted by the group Monday afternoon. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Message for Peninsula candidates: ‘People with disabilities are very much voters’

Self advocates of Semiahmoo host ‘mixer’ with White Rock hopefuls

An all-candidates mixer hosted by the Self Advocates of Semiahmoo this week was a reminder to candidates who are vying to represent White Rock to not discount the impact people with disabilities can have at the polls.

It’s “to show the candidates that people with disabilities are very much voters, and very much interested in the cause,” SAS chair Alexander Magnussen told Peace Arch News Monday – just six days before the provincewide civic elections – as group members and others mingled with mayoral and councillor candidates.

At least a dozen candidates turned out for the 90-minute mixer, which was held at Semiahmoo House Society’s South Surrey clubhouse and opened with five SAS members speaking to five issues of concern – housing, transportation, accessibility, employment and community.

READ MORE: Self advocates to host White Rock all-candidate ‘mixer’

Madison Van Oene said the community is “in desperate need” of accessible curbs, bus stops and beach access.

“It is extremely hard and frustrating for people with mobility issues to safely get to the beach,” Van Oene, who relies on a power wheelchair, told the crowd.

She said yellow paint along curbs would help people with mobility issues distinguish between the curb and road.

“I believe the community we live in needs to be for everyone,” Van Oene said. “To be part of the community we have to get there and to get there we need safe access points.”

Sierra Dean spoke to the importance of having opportunities to be in the community, while Krista Milne said she likes being independent and having responsibilities such as a job and volunteering. Manjeet Ghangass said financial independence enables her to “have the freedom to make my own choices on what I need and want in my life”; and West Bosma said volunteering and giving back to the community “makes me proud.”

Magnussen said the mixer “really brought everybody together.”

The candidates were invited in advance to provide printed responses to questions on the five issues. Copies of the responses received – not all candidates responded – will remain at SHS until closing Friday (Oct. 19) for anyone interested, SAS involvement co-ordinator Jill Glennie told PAN.

She described voting as “one of the really level playing fields.”

Some candidates who attended tweeted from the event, expressing appreciation for the opportunity and stating it was great “to learn more about the work that SAS members do in the community and how the next city council can help” and “hear the needs of a part of community that is often overlooked.”

Advocates PAN spoke to said voting was important to them to “help make the community better.”

Magnussen, a Surrey resident, told PAN Saturday’s election will mark his second time going to the polls.

“I started last year because I was unaware that people with disabilities should vote,” the 30-year-old explained.

“Everyone should vote.”

He noted SAS did not host a similar event for Surrey candidates due to the sheer volume of people – eight for mayor, 48 for eight councillor seats and 27 for six school trustee positions – running for election in that city.

READ MORE: 84 seek civic office in Surrey, 30 in White Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Around 50 people attended an all-candidates “mixer” hosted by the Self Advocates of Semiahmoo at Semiahmoo House Society Monday afternoon. The event was planned as an opportunity both to get to know White Rock mayoral and councillor candidates, and let the candidates know that people with disabilities are also going to be casting ballots in Saturday’s election. (Tracy Holmes photo)

SAS chair Alexander Magnussen addresses the crowd prior to inviting five fellow SAS members up to speak on areas of concern for the group. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

Tour de Delta cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

This year would have been the event’s 20th anniversary

Psychologist’s advice on parenting in the pandemic

SFU psychology prof Dr. Tanya Broesch, with expertise in child development, discusses short and long-term impacts COVID-19 pandemic is having on children and parents alike

Thousands of ‘PPE’ donated in Surrey, where one care home is ‘preparing for the worst’

SafeCare BC’s Operation Protect drive involves drop-off dates in Guildford

‘Shocking decision’: Surrey soccer club won’t offer refunds to 350 teams for cancelled tourney

Registration fees would top $171K for Surrey Mayor’s Cup, called off due to COVID-19

‘We must each do our part to protect each other from COVID-19’

Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon discusses steps government is taking to reduce burden on B.C. residents

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Abbotsford man who tries to start gas-station fight gets sprayed with gasoline

Suspect returns with knife and throws it at victim, but is quickly arrested by police

Abbotsford family of 5 who was stuck in Vietnam is now back home

Janzen family sends ‘huge and heartfelt’ thank you to everyone who helped

Most Read