Denying disability support to P.E.I. residents suffering from mental illness is discriminatory and denies these Islanders the chance to better their lives, says Opposition MLA Sidney MacEwen.
He questioned Premier Wade MacLauchlan Thursday in the legislature on why the province has filed for a judicial review of a recent decision from a P.E.I. Human Rights Commission panel that ruled the province’s disability support program is discriminatory in excluding mental illness, and ordered the program to stop excluding people with mental illness from accessing financial support.
“Either this government recognizes the damaging and disabling effects of mental illness or it doesn’t,” MacEwen said.
“Its refusal to recognize mental illness as a disability requiring accommodation and recognition is deplorable.”
MacLauchlan explained the judicial review is necessary because the human rights decision amounts to a battle of jurisdiction – does a quasi-judicial body have the authority to dictate government policy?
“In this case it is really to clarify. It’s an important precedent involved in this case when you have the Human Rights Commission, in effect, overturning government policy. It’s very important to know and to clarify exactly what the implications are of that precedent.”
He stressed this legal challenge does not mean he is against the needs of Islanders with mental illness nor is he against the Human Rights Commission.
But MacEwen fired back, saying if he wasn’t against the decision, he wouldn’t be appealing it.
“A person with challenged or disabled mental health should be no different than any other person with…
A new engineering study indicates the Hillsborough Bridge may be able to support a pedestrian walkway attached to the side of the structure.
It may also be able to handle the extra weight of a pipe underneath the bridge to handle sludge from the Town of Stratford. That’s if the town and City of Charlottetown ultimately decide to go that route.
Darrell Evans, manager of design and bridge maintenance with the Department of Transportation, says there are a few questions that would have to be answered first.
“It has some additional capacity,’’ Evans told The Guardian on Thursday.
They need to determine first what kind of walkway it would be, what it’s made out of, in addition to other engineering factors.
“It becomes what does (a walkway) do to the actual stress of the members and what we can do to strengthen it if it needs strengthening. It’s not a simple, yes, it can handle a walkway.’’
Tests were conducted over four days on the bridge last August, which involved attaching sensors and other engineering equipment to the structure. The bridge was closed to traffic in 15-minute intervals over a five-hour period. Load was measured with and without vehicle traffic.
A series of load runs using real trucks, carrying a specific amount of weight, also took place.
All of the data compiled was used to determine whether the bridge could handle more weight.
“That’s where we found out we have some additional capacity. It is good news. It means the…