The votes are in, Canadians have spoken, and we now have a Liberal minority. With a total of 157 seats and 36 seats more than the Conservatives, the Liberals have a “strong” minority.
This election saw the launch of our #MakeMSMatter campaign, which aimed to raise awareness about MS and our policy priorities. As part of the campaign, our MS community wrote over 19,000 letters to candidates across the country, almost doubling our initial goal of 10,000 letters. As a community, we urged candidates to make MS matter by helping us achieve our four advocacy priorities: employment security, income security, access and accelerating research.
During the campaign, we were pleased to have so many Canadians living with MS and their families sharing with candidates from coast to coast via these letters their very personal and profound stories of the practical and financial challenges they face in securing employment, income and disability supports. They also shared their daily struggle in accessing treatments, comprehensive care and housing, and moving around in the communities where they live. Finally, they shared why research is key to new treatments, better quality of life, and ultimately a cure.
This is why it’s so important for our federal government to implement innovative solutions to meet the needs of people affected by MS and we encourage you to continue to share the policy priorities outlined during this campaign.
Here are some things you had to say to candidates about why we need to make MS matter:
*Quotes have been edited for grammar and clarity.
“I am someone who lives with this disease and I will tell you it has impacted me in ways I never would have imagined. Not being supported and protected to work when able and living in poverty not by choice is a horrible way to live. It’s like being punished for getting a disease you never wanted in the first place every day. Nobody should have to choose to suffer more to put food on their plate or keep a roof over their head. To be discriminated in the work place and feeling like the government just doesn’t care.”
“I myself have been living with this disease for the past six years. Fortunately, I have been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis which means that, for the most part with the proper medications and exercise, my disease should not progress any further. However, not all are as fortunate as me. I’ve seen the daily struggle of some living with this disease and not being able to work really has a huge impact on their families. Especially when you factor in the associated costs of medication, message therapy, physiotherapy, special diets, home modifications, vehicle modifications and that’s just the tip of the iceberg so to speak. Hearing the words “you have MS” are absolutely devastating. But knowing that there are government policies in place to help you through it would greatly alleviate the tremendous amount of stress a person is dealing with upon diagnosis.”
“As a mother with two small children, MS effects me everyday. From the fatigue that doesn’t go away with any amount of sleep, or physical ailments like heavy limbs, blurred vision or having vertigo to the point of having to put my baby down before I fall over. I have had to adjust my life and in turn my family’s life so we can keep up in this fast-paced stage while dealing with an added burden. All while trying to make ends meet, as I was unable to working and raise little ones at the same time — it was all too much!! Therefore, my husband has had to pick up the slack and work sometimes three jobs to give us a great life and keep benefits available to pay for my expensive drugs that make life bearable. MS affects everyone differently and we need help and funding to show us that we are not alone. Please let us know we matter!”
From past successes like the passing of Motion M-192 (Episodic Disabilities), we know that collective action is powerful. With the support of Canadians living with and affected by MS, we will continue to create meaningful and lasting change that will improve life with MS. Through our combined acts of greatness, we hope to accomplish our goal of a world free of MS.