Before closing the fall sitting of the Nova Scotia legislature, the Liberals pushed through a number of bills, including the controversial Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act.
Multiple groups have voiced concerns about the state of the bill, which passed its third reading on Thursday.
People First Nova Scotia, a self-advocacy group for people who have been labelled with an intellectual disability, was one of the groups.
“We’re frustrated, we’re upset. It’s like nobody’s listening to us,” said Jeannie Whidden, a member of People First Nova Scotia.
“In my opinion, it’s like we need to get out of the past and into the future.”
READ: Justice Minister says no outside expert confirmed constitutionality of Bill 16
Cindy Carruthers, the executive director of People First Nova Scotia, says that Canada was one of the first countries to sign the United Nations Convention for Persons with Disabilities.
“But this does not come anywhere close to international law, let alone our Canadian law,” she said.
“It’s breaching human rights.”
READ: Controversial law governing those with intellectual deficits heads back to legislature with no amendments
Bill 16 was introduced to replace the outdated Incompetent Persons Act, which Landon Webb successfully challenged in court last June.
Webb, 25, first made headlines after he was reported missing from the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Waterville, N.S.
During that time, his parents said he was incompetent and functioned at the level of a 10- to 12-year-old.
The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia ultimately found that parts of the Incompetent Persons Act were unconstitutional and violated Webb’s rights.
READ MORE: Incompetent Persons Act declared invalid, Landon Webb’s parents removed as guardians
Despite vocal opposition to the new Adult Capacity and Decision-making Act, it went ahead, largely unchanged.
“I just wish I was in government, I could change things I hope but I can’t, I’m not on government, I’m just a person with an intellectual disability,” said Dave Kent, president of the board at People First Nova Scotia. “I just don’t want anybody else to have their rights violated.”
“We speak for ourselves. We want people to speak for themselves, like I said, and nobody else speak for us unless we ask them to,” he added.
WATCH: Landon Webb case prompts change to N.S. law affecting people with intellectual disabilities
Carruthers says there are some positive elements to the Act.
“The biggest improvement I think is that they speak to prior wishes of the individual, that they have to be considered. Prior wishes and what they would like so that’s a significant shift and we were very pleased to see that,” she told Global News.
But Carruthers says the Act also has a serious problem.
“This new law grandfathers all existing guardianships into it, as if they were made under this law. So, all individuals who are under current guardianship are still having their basic Canadian rights breached,” she said.
Premier Stephen McNeil told reporters on Thursday that he believes the act is constitutional and that people are able to challenge their current guardianship orders.
“Anyone who wants to will have the opportunity to have their order reviewed under the current situation but if they choose to just live under the current order they have now, I think we should respect that,” he said.
READ MORE: Landon Webb case handled properly: minister
Meanwhile, People First Nova Scotia said they will continue to fight for change and hopes the government will rethink what they’re doing.
“We’re all human. We’re all equal and that’s what I believe in and always will believe in,” said Kent.
“We’re going to keep fighting, People First and People First Nova Scotia is gonna keep fighting, keep supporting people with intellectual disabilities and we’re definitely not going away,” added Whidden.
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