What’s up with those crazy socks?


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Tuesday, March 21 was World Down Syndrome Day, also called Crazy Socks Day. Down syndrome is known medically as Trisomy 21 and awareness of it is raised every year on the 21st day of the third month. Down syndrome is present in about 1 in 800 births across all races, genders and socio-economic conditions. This year, I honoured guests from L’Arche Winnipeg and the Manitoba Down Syndrome Society at the Manitoba Legislature with a private member’s statement on the day.

A recent study showed that 99 per cent of people with Down syndrome surveyed said they are happy with their lives. They love who they are. They love their families. They help us to be kind and considerate. They warm our hearts.

Our community is better when it includes people with Down syndrome. Let’s be sure to welcome them and make sure they feel valued and included.

<p>Supplied photo</p>
                                <p>Word Down Syndrome Day was March 21, when many people wear ‘crazy socks’ to raise awareness.</p>

Supplied photo

Word Down Syndrome Day was March 21, when many people wear ‘crazy socks’ to raise awareness.

The people who care for those with disabilities in our society also need to feel valued. Recent increases to minimum wage left disability support workers feeling underpaid. That’s why, in Budget 2023, our government increased the base wage for disability support workers to $19 per hour – up from $13.75 just two years ago. Our hope is that this will encourage more Manitobans to consider a career as a disability support worker. These workers provide an important service in our publicly funded, but often privately provided health-care system.

I mention that distinction because it seems some politicians are trying to mislead Manitobans into confusing private provision of health care with privately paid or two-tier health care. Private provision of publicly funded health care is paid for by taxpayers through the government. Every time you enter a walk-in clinic or visit your family doctor you are receiving privately provided health care. But it’s publicly funded – that’s why you don’t have to pay. About 75 per cent of all medical services in Canada are privately provided but publicly funded.

I believe adding more private provision of health care will help lessen the load on our hospitals and shorten diagnostic and surgical wait lists. What’s important to me is that everyone receives the care they need, when they need it, free of charge. How and where it is delivered is less important.

Manitobans believe that too. I know because as vice- chair of Treasury Board, I committed to reading every single comment made on EngageMB.ca for this year’s budget. That was a total of 280,000 words –about two New Testaments or the first three Harry Potter books combined. I was very impressed with the creativity, thoughtfulness, and sheer quantity of the ideas Manitobans had for improving our province. The best part is that many of these ideas found their way into Budget 2023!

If you have ideas, questions, or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact my office at 204-691-7976 or by email at office@jamesteitsma.ca

James Teitsma

James Teitsma
Radisson constituency report

James Teitsma is the PC MLA for Radisson.

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