Letter to the editor: Kenney should know what he’s taking from handicapped

Re: “Camp for developmentally disabled loses funding,” Oct. 29.

Today is a very sad day for our special people and our community’s most vulnerable.

As a father and legal guardian of a 26-year-old severely handicapped son, who was born with cerebral palsy, I was extremely saddened to read the news about more funding cuts for services for handicapped people.

Provincial funding for Camp L.G. Barnes is being withdrawn and I wonder now where my son will go for his summer vacation?

He had been attending L.G. Barnes campsite faithfully for 10 years now, and something that seems so simple, and what we would take for granted, will be gone forever.

The impact of losing such a special place will be felt forever among many disabled folks, not just my son.

From being able to interact with the animals, to being layed in a tube in the water to float on a hot summer day, is now becoming a thing of the past.

Many people do not understand that simple things we take for granted in our daily lives mean the world to those who do not have such easy circumstances or situations.

Jonathan has never walked or talked a day in his life, but L.G. Barnes was a place he knew, understood and loved. It meant the world to him, and yet it is one more simple thing in life he can no longer be part of.

Many don’t understand the level of comfort a place like L.G. Barnes can bring to our community’s most vulnerable; how such a small outing can make such a big difference.

This week, The Hub on Ross was closed permanently as well. I wonder what is next? Soon, my son will be confined to his group home, strapped in his wheelchair for 12 hours a day, only to be layed in bed for the other 12.

The swimming at Michener pool will dissapear, the vacation at L.G. Barnes already has. The Hub, now also a thing of the past. The Relax Crew next?

Premier Jason Kenney, you need to live one week in my son’s shoes. You would be quick to discover how many funding cuts would impact the quality of your life, how something you see as irrelevent and small is life changing.

I understand there needs to be cuts and funding changes, but you must realize you are taking everything away from someone who already has very little. What’s next? Do you want his wheelchair? Maybe his track lift?

You should be ashamed of yourself, good sir.

You cut anything and everything you want as premier, but why should it ever come at the cost of someone who can’t even defend himself?

Enclosed is a picture of my son at L.G. Barnes. Please have a good look at it. I hope you never forget it.

I hope you see it every morning when you wake up. That’s a smile that only L.G. Barnes can bring. I want you to know and feel you are the man responsible for taking it away from my son.

James Bast, Red Deer

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