Canada is more inclusive and accessible than it was 30 years ago, thanks in large part to the influence of the Paralympic movement and its athletes, says a professor at the University of B.C.
Dr. Bruce McManus, a professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine, said people like Rick Hansen and former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan have shown us, through perseverance in sport and politics respectively, that nothing is insurmountable.
“We have created an ethos in Canadian society that … is exceptionally advanced compared to what it was 30 years ago,” said McManus, who will join former Paralympians Patrick Jarvis and Rick Hansen at the Chan Centre tomorrow for a dialogue on the power of sport to create social change.
McManus said that by exceeding our expectations, successful people with disabilities have helped change Canadians’ perceptions about disability and shown that it’s possible for anybody to adapt to and overcome their limitations with a new set of skills.
By changing our perceptions about disability, he said, we’ve become a more inclusive and understanding society.
“There are now very few facilities, including in the transit system, that are now inaccessible to people who have disabilities,” said McManus. “And it’s people like Rick Hansen who have shown us the way.”