Friday, May 6, 2011

"Saskatchewan Respectful Language Act" seeks to eliminate R-word

From the Regina Leader-Post:

An NDP MLA wants the provincial government to update its language on disabilities.

David Forbes on April 25 introduced "The Saskatchewan Respectful Language Act" that would see phrases and words such as "mental retardation, "retarded" or "retard" found in government legislation, regulations and materials replaced with the use of "intellectual disability."

Forbes said in a member's statement that such a move would follow in the footsteps of President Barack Obama, who last year signed a law that United States statutes would no longer use the terms.

In an interview, Forbes said there is a handful of examples in legislation and regulations, but what he called the "r word" also turns up in areas such as education curriculum planners.

"It became clear . this is still an issue and we need to make sure our language is appropriate - we mean what we say and we say what we mean - and this is hurtful," he said.

Premier Brad Wall said he's not sure legislation is needed, but he agrees with the thrust of the NDP proposal and the government will look at the bill.

"Do we have language like this? If we do, we ought not to," he told reporters.