power-of-disability, Social Justice, Podcast

The Power of Disability Part 5 — with Tim Louis and Penny Parry

May 20, 2021
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"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." — Penny Parry

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.

About Our Guests


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 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.


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