By Chris Lewis | Feb. 10, 2021
A Lakeview man is hoping election season is the right time to get his concerns heard.
Hubert Ryall has been dealing with the provincial and federal governments for some two decades in his efforts to give people living with disabilities a better opportunity for starting and maintaining businesses in the province.
Ryall says that those with disabilities are pretty limited when it comes to income, and being able to own and operate their own business would provide them with not only a potential for more reliable income, but a sense of purpose.
“There’s no funding for people with a permanent disability,” Ryall said. “The funding is not there, first of all, because (disabled people) are not in a workplace and often don’t have the income to pay back a loan.”
Ryall said that as a disabled person himself, he does not feel represented when things like the Charter of Rights speaks on topics such as inclusion.
A sense of independence and providing a service to society is something Ryall said many disabled people would benefit from greatly, however, his efforts to see funding provided for it has fallen on deaf ears.
Ryall hopes with this election to have his concerns heard by the party leaders.
“There’s just not enough people fighting for us,” he said.
Ryall said he has been chatting with candidates for the Liberal Party and the PCs, and was not entirely disappointed by those conversations, but still fears his concerns will be put to the wayside once the election is over.
At 70-years-old, Ryall said he has not yet given up hope. He described it as chipping away at a concrete block, and hopes to make a breakthrough soon.
“I was told that once that concrete starts to chip away, people will start to follow, start to hear me,” he said. “So, I’m still chipping. If I don’t take a stand for the people behind me, then what future will they have?”
Finances tend to be the biggest burden for people living with disabilities, according to Ryall. Although he said he has thought about bringing his case to the court system, it would take a lawyer working pro bono for him to get anywhere with it.
“And what do you get from a pro bono lawyer?”
Ryall’s calls for action date back to the Danny Williams government, and said very few people have spoken up. One of Ryall’s biggest points behind seeking entrepreneurial funding for disabled people is the often periodic and sporadic nature of the work offered to people with disabilities.
He said that these odd jobs rarely last long enough to be considered gainful employment, and usually only provide people with enough work to qualify for other support programs.
“What about the people who want to make a living in society, and give back to that society?” Ryall asked. “What about the people who want to hire people with disabilities, and make them feel like a real part of society?”
Ryall said during election season, the province’s politicians will be more inclined to hear him out.
“If you had a dream of creating something that could not just put people to work, but make them feel important and human … why not fight for that? That’s what I’ve been doing. I just hope they hear me this time.”