NDP Social Services Critic David Forbes was glad to see his ‘Respectful Language Initiative’ passed into legislation.
“We know that language has a strong impact on our perception and treatment of people,” Forbes said. “We also know that people with intellectual disabilities are offended by the use of terminology making use of the ‘R’-word.”
Based on President Barak Obama’s ‘Rosa’s Law,’ which required all government laws with the ‘R’-word to be re-written with the words ‘intellectual disability,’ the initiative, which began as a Private Members Bill introduced by Forbes, was re-introduced by government and passed into law.
“The bill was intended to remove the last traces of the ‘R’-word from Saskatchewan’s statutes,” Forbes said. “I also hope the government will now proceed with ensuring that all government print- and line-material are also free of any negative references, and that more respectful language be used wherever and whenever possible.”
“While I am proud of my part in forwarding this legislation, I feel that the entire assembly deserves some recognition for their part in passing this historic law,” Forbes said. “The entire legislature worked together to make sure that this worthy goal would be reached, and that partisanship would not get in the way.”
“I am happy to hear that the ‘R’-word has now been removed from all government documents and legislation,” said Laurie Larson, Vice-President of the Canadian Association for Community Living. “This is an important moment for individuals with intellectual disabilities in our province. David Forbes took the concerns of People First SK seriously and took action to ensure that citizens with intellectual disabilities are referred to with the respect they deserve. I am proud of the leadership David has shown to address this issue.”
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