Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street


May 20, 2021

The Power of Disability host, Al Etmanski is joined by partners and disability advocates Tim Louis and Penny Parry. Tim is a lawyer, politician, and longtime leader of the disability movement within British Columbia. Penny has worked as a university professor, artist, and youth care practitioner. Tim and Penny share stories and learnings from 40 plus years of working on social issues in their own careers and together as a couple.

Tim delves into his experiences working as a lawyer under his mentor, Harry Rankin. He discusses issues with processes that keep supports and monetary assistance behind bureaucratic walls, and problematizes assumptions that disabled folks are fragile, vulnerable, or unresilient.

Penny considers her experience with mentorship, reflects on her teaching and work with youth and families, and shares how she sees her art practice as a means of moving people towards understanding, questioning, and social change.

"Everybody has the same basic needs. Somebody might need some help to get those needs met, but nobody’s got 'special needs.' Because once you do that, you’re not equal." — Pennny Parry

Read the transcript →


— Tim Louis’s website
— Penny Parry on Twitter
— Tim Louis on Twitter
— HandyDART Riders’ Alliance
— Tim’s recent blog ‘Just the Other Day’
Penny’s To Have and To Hold art exhibition on CBC News
Al Etmanski’s website
The Power of Disability: 10 Lessons for Surviving, Thriving, and Changing the World

Tim Louis

Tim Louis is a practicing lawyer who has been actively involved in Vancouver civic politics for over forty years. Tim has lived and worked in Vancouver all his adult life. From his early days as a law student at UBC – during which time he co-founded Vancouver’s custom transit service for people with disabilities [HandyDART], through to his terms as an elected official on both Park Board and City Council, Tim has listened to, and advocated on behalf of, communities across Vancouver.

Penny Parry

Penny Parry was born in Montreal and moved to BC in the late 1970’s. She has worked as a university professor, psychologist and artist, among other things. She is a former Child and Youth Advocate for the City of Vancouver. Penny has a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art + Design, and a BA and PhD in psychology.


The Power of Disability is a series of Below the Radar. Host Al Etmanski brings us enlightening conversations, featuring guests with disabilities who have been influential in arts, activism, science, and more. This series is a continuation of the work Al has shared in the book, The Power of Disability: 10 Lessons for Surviving, Thriving, and Changing the World, which reveals that people with disabilities are the invisible force that has shaped history.

See more in this series →