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Fletcher Makes A Grand Stand In House Of Commons
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 15, 2004

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--Steven Fletcher became a bit dizzy and short of breath last Wednesday when he stood up to address Canada's House of Commons.

During a question and answer period, the nation's first quadriplegic Member of Parliament used movements of his head to operate the controls of his new wheelchair, which lifted him to a standing position.

Fellow MPs applauded while the Progressive Conservative took a few moments to catch his breath before questioning Health Minister Ojjal Dosanjh about excessive waiting periods for people in the health care system.

"I guess with the excitement, I got a little light-headed but got the question in and the answer wasn't satisfactory," Fletcher told reporters later.

Fletcher became paralyzed from the neck down after a 1996 auto accident. He was elected in June to represent Charleswood-St. James, Manitoba.

"This will be the first time that everyone, except maybe my family, has seen me standing in nine years. So it's emotional in that respect," Fletcher said after the session.

"To do it in the House of Commons was another level of excitement, something I would never have thought possible even three months ago, never mind nine years ago when the accident happened."

Related photo:
(Canadian Press via CNews)

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2004/12/09/chair1.jpg

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