Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Policy denying disabled person stirs ire

Earlier today we posted video regarding a shale gas protester in a wheelchair denied entry to the Legislature yesterday for having anti-shale gas stickers on his seatback and carrier. According to building security, it's policy to disallow political slogan material into the House.

We received e-mail, and posts on our Facebook page, from readers registering outrage, ranging from free speech rights to comparing Alward to Hitler.

The individual in the wheelchair, Rick de Gruyl, e-mailed his MLA, Jake Stewart, with his frustration, saying the following:

"Sad state of affairs when Premier Alward does the "Hitler Thing" and puts himself above the taxpayers who voted for him. Yesterday at the Legislature I was refused entry as a disabled person in a scooter because of a bumper sticker. SHAME ON ALWARD!!!!!!! Watch the video at a/m link. I am disgraced and shamed publicly for being disabled. Disabled as a volunteer firefighter protecting the property and lives of New Brunswickers, now a slap in the face from Premier Alward.

Sincerely, Rick de Gruyl."

Stewart replied:

"Premier Alward would never do that. Premier Alward and our team have been making many improvements in the lives of people living with disabilities. We continue to work hard for all of NB.

Jake."

One of our readers submitted a link to the Legislature website citing Gallery Rules. We found no mention of policy forbidding the public from sporting printed materials with a political opinion in the gallery. We did notice one of the rules for the public gallery is visitors must abstain from applauding, yet protesters clapped for MLA Kirk MacDonald yesterday when he submitted the anti-shale gas petition, with no repercussions from security in the gallery.

So what gives?

We wonder where such a security policy came from that an individual in a motorized wheelchair; someone who was disabled through an accident while working as a firefighter helping a community, is denied access to the people's house for something as simple as a bumper sticker.