On August 23rd we had the unexpected but most welcom visit of Mr Steven Fletcher. Steven was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1972. He attended The British School until 1978 when his family moved to Canada. There he grew up and joined the University of Manitoba where he got his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering (B.Sc.GE). Mr Fletcher was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004 and re-elected in 2006 – the first permanently disabled Canadian to be elected to the House of Commons. He served as the Official Opposition Critic for Health and was a member of the Standing Committee on Health. Prior to his election, Mr. Fletcher worked as an engineer in the Mining Industry until an automobile collision with a moose left him a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. He returned to University where he obtained a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). He was elected for two terms as the president of the student body at the University of Manitoba (UMSU). He also served two terms on the University of Manitoba Board of Governors and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). Mr. Fletcher was twice elected the President of the Progressive
Conservative Party of Manitoba and has played a leading role in many community organizations.
In 2006, when the Conservative Party took Government, Mr Fletcher was selected to be the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health. His efforts on behalf of Hepatitis C victims, and the leadership of Prime Minister Harper and Health Minister Clement, led to the announcement that all Hepatitis C victims in Canada will receive the financial compensation that is so long over due. Fletcher also championed the need for the full implementation and funding of Cancer Control, Mental Health and Heart Disease. In recognition of his hard work, Fletcher is a recipient of the Canadian National Cancer Leadership Forum’s (NCLF) inaugural Award for Outstanding Individual Leadership and the Courage and Leadership Award from the Canadian Cancer Society. Mr Fletcher has also been inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, he has received the King Clancy Award and he is also the recipient of Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee Medal for his contributions to Canada. Steven Fletcher refuses to let his disability define him, but says it has helped him realize what is truly important. “I have learned in no uncertain terms the importance of family, community, and a social and political system that helps, not hinders, individuals,” he says. “We are much stronger when we take the focus off of what people can’t do, and realize that we all have great potential!” Steven came to Rio on August leading the Canadian Delegation in the 11th World Congress on Public Health. More than 100 people joined the Congress. He had the opportunity to discuss current projects and work underway on public health issues and to meet the Brazilian President, Mr Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. And as if all of that was not enough, he managed to visit The British School at Botafogo and check out how different it looks from his ‘old days’, but also how similar it still is, bringing
back great memories and stories… It was a pleasure to have you here Steven! We hope you can come back soon.