Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Valley View should be kept open as long as possible, says Green Party Leader.

A story in Saturday's Moose Jaw Times Herald has raised a number of concerns in my community, and I have sent a press release (below) to local media on the issue. The orginal story (that this press release is in response to) can be viewed at this link:
July 15, 2009

According to the Leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan, Larissa Shasko, there is a disconnect between the patients at Valley View and the three advocacy groups, People First Saskatchewan, SACL, and Valley View Family Group, who recently signed an agreement to ask the Saskatchewan Government to close Valley View. During the last provincial election when she was the Green Party of Saskatchewan candidate for Moose Jaw-Wakamow, Shasko met with a group of patients at Valley View who had requested to meet with each candidate because they had heard rumours of their “home”, Valley View, being shut down. “At this meeting, the patients who were able to communicate told me all about Valley View-- what they got to do, where they got to go, how the food was (which they said was excellent, by the way), and that they liked it there. They were happy to be there, but they were really scared that they would be forced to leave their home. Valley View is their home, and we have a duty to respect that and to ask the provincial government to keep Valley View open as long as possible,” says Shasko.

“After touring Valley View and meeting with the people who live there and after talking with many people who've worked there, it is clear that the best opportunity for inclusion of the patients at Valley View in all aspects of our community is being provided to them at Valley View. Furthermore, it is my understanding that the patients of Valley View are free to go out into the community as they wish to,” continues Shasko. “They are certainly not asking to have Valley View shut down, and advocacy groups need to listen to those they are advocating on behalf of.”

Shasko says she made a commitment to the patients she met with at Valley View to work with the provincial government to keep Valley View open as long as possible, and she will be keeping that commitment. In the coming weeks and months, Shasko will be arranging meetings with the Saskatchewan Government on the issue, and she will also be requesting to meet with the three advocacy groups to encourage them to sign a new agreement-- to work with the Saskatchewan Government to keep Valley View open as long as possible and to improve the care the government currently provides to those with intellectual disabilities who are living in our communities now.

According to Shasko, the hearts of those in the advocacy groups are in the right place, but somewhere along the line, there appears to have been a disconnect between the advocacy groups and the people at Valley View they advocate on behalf of. “I encourage People First Saskatchewan, SACL, Valley View Family Group, and Premier Wall to tour Valley View and to meet with the people who live there and work there.”

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