Photo of those participating in vigil at Manitoba Developmental Center on the International Day of Person's with Disabilities, December 03, 2004; after the announcement from Manitoba Family Services that they would be putting $40 million into the center.
UPDATE Fall, 2017: David Weremy fulfilled his goal of meeting with the CEO of MDC Tom Sidebottom, as well as the Assistant Deputy Minister of Families, Michelle Dubik. Dave did a wonderful job of sharing his feelings and his ideas toward moving the final 160 people out of MDC. We learned that a total of 50 people have moved out in the past 5 years, and another 30 people, MDC has been working on moving out over the past few years; 22 people have requested to move out of MDC and this will be their priority moving forward. As Dave told Tom and Michelle "We have a lot of work to do!"
On December 10, 2004 the Manitoba government announced that they would be putting $40 million dollars into the Manitoba Developmental Center (MDC) in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. This message was not received well by the community and many gathered in hopes that the decision could be reconsidered and dollars could be better used to support people to live their lives in the community.
In 2006, Family Services Minister Gord Mackintosh reconsidered the decision and reviewed how best to move forward with plans for MDC with a move more towards the community living model; the dollars were redistributed, with only $5M of the $40M being put into MDC.
Eleven years later those who came together to ensure all Manitobans would find their place in the community are left wondering what happened thereafter. We were seeing real steps towards MDC becoming obsolete, and Community Living being the only option for people labelled with an intellectual disability moving forward. But over time, small steps backward have led us to a lull in the "right to live in the community" movement, that was once so strong in Manitoba.
This is very concerning, especially to those who spent time or knew people who spent time living in MDC.
People First of Manitoba member David Weremy is one concerned citizen who really takes this topic seriously and wants to bring light to the subject again. David has written a letter to Tom Sidebottom; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Manitoba Developmental Center. In his letter, Dave has addressed his concerns about continuing to keep MDC open with no plan in place for it's closure, and has asked to sit down with Mr. Sidebottom at his earliest convenience to discuss the future of MDC.
Still shot from The Freedom Tour Documentary. David sits with family and shares memories of his time forced to live at the Manitoba Developmental Center.
Watch the Freedom Tour on YouTube here.