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Autistics Allowed: Autism Society Canada Speaks For Itself
RESPONDS TO NO AUTISTICS ALLOWED
19 Nov 2003
Dear Ms Dawson:
Thank you for
your letter of October 23, 2003, concerning the funding the Autism Society
of Canada (ASC) received from Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).
I have noted
your position on this issue and HRDC officials have discussed this with
the Autism Society of Canada. HRDC officials have reviewed the files
for the Autism Society of Canada and have determined that the organization
is eligible to receive both organizational and project funding under the
Terms and Conditions of the Social Development Partnerships Program.
Society of Canada has indicated that they will continue to address your
concerns and I encourage you to communicate and work with them.
Thank you again
for taking the time to write and express your views.
ALLOWED RESPONDS TO JANE STEWART
1 Dec 2003
I have received
your 19 November, 2003, response to the 23 October, 2003, Open Letter regarding
HRDC's funding for Autism Society Canada (ASC). Your response is
completely dismissive of and disrespectful to autistic people everywhere.
It equally disrespects non-autistics who believe autistics are people of
worth. Here's a sample of the many questions, consequences, and conclusions
arising from your response.
embraces dishonesty, prejudice, and injustice:
You, and the
HRDC officials you mentioned, have replied with disrespect bordering on
contempt for autistic people. In the Open Letter, I quoted the Office
for Disabilities Issues criteria for organizational funding of National
Disabilities Organizations, as well as terms and conditions for Social
Development Partnerships funding. Then I listed verifiable evidence,
amounting to proof, that these criteria, terms, and conditions are being
flagrantly violated by ASC. The categorical rejection of the entire
Open Letter by yourself and HRDC is an unequivocal rejection of fairness.
Instead, you have in effect embraced dishonesty, prejudice, and injustice
as your guiding principles in disposing of authentic and well-founded autistic
wholesale dismissal of the Open Letter:
You and HRDC
could not locate one single issue of concern in the entire Open
Letter. All issues were equally and summarily dismissed. This wholesale
dismissal defies credibility; it is the sweeping judgment of political
and personal prejudice rather than an honest assessment of the evidence
unconditional support for ASC:
In your and
HRDC's response, you've said nothing about how exactly ASC has managed
to comply with the terms, conditions, and criteria I quoted in the Open
Letter. For instance, how is ASC managing their problem of choosing
to have no consumers in its governance? I need also to know how ASC
is promoting our "inclusion and full participation as citizens in all aspects
of Canadian society", or addressing our "social development needs and aspirations".
Since consumer control is possible in an autism society, and since ASC's
routine denigration and exclusion of autistics prevents our inclusion in
society and mocks our needs and aspirations, you and HRDC need precisely
to explain the basis for your unconditional support for ASC.
ignores the evidence:
Most of the
evidence I provided about ASC's ineligibility for its HRDC funding can
be verified through public documents. These include the Senate Standing
Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology's meetings about mental
health/mental illness, transcript for the 26 January, 2003, meeting; the
decisions in Auton; the motion in Ladouceur; the White Paper arising from
the CARW; ASC's website and press releases; the Autisme 2003 website;
media reports about John Churchi, Chelsea Craig, and Charles-Antoine Blais;
the judgment in the Blais case; media reports using ASC's misleading
statistics; further evidence (outside ASC's website) of ASC's cost-benefit
analysis; and so on. Issues which cannot be documented have witnesses
and evident consequences, as in the CARW and the ASC board meeting which
barred autistics. Issues involving non-public documents could be
verified by obtaining and reading these documents, should anyone at HRDC
be interested in doing so.
criteria versus HRDC's criteria for autistics:
you and HRDC decided that ASC is eligible for funding. In doing so,
you're saying that your established criteria and standards can safely be
ignored when consumers are autistics. That is, the terms and conditions
are applied differently to autistics so that ASC can misrepresent, endanger,
and ostracize its consumers--as the evidence shows--and still gain your
and HRDC's full approval and financial support.
agrees with ASC about the place and worth of autistics:
to dismiss all evidence against ASC also argues that you, your government,
and HRDC share ASC's view that autistics are a fiscal and social catastrophe,
in effect a plague, and so have no place or worth in society. This
apparently leaves ASC free to damage and endanger its consumers with HRDC's
backing. I want to know if there is any action by ASC that
HRDC would object to and refuse to fund, or if, when it comes to autistics,
is eligible for HRDC-funded denigration and exclusion:
disabled people, or "other vulnerable or excluded populations", would you
and HRDC consider disrespecting the way you are disrespecting autistics?
Who else merits this level of injustice? People with Down syndrome?
Blind people? Aboriginal people? You are sending a strong message
about what your government and HRDC believe autistics deserve.
consults with then parrots ASC:
statement that ASC "will continue to address my concerns" raises the likelihood
that HRDC officials did not read the Open Letter at all and simply consulted
with ASC about what to write in reply. The possibility that your
staff has misled you about the nature and gravity of the Open Letter, and
about their own diligence, must in consequence be considered. I shouldn't
have to point out that the Open Letter documents the ways ASC addresses
autistic concerns. You are telling me that these injustices will
continue, with your and HRDC's blessing.
cannot make the Open Letter disappear:
Your and HRDC's
dismissive non-response to autistic concerns, and your decision that our
struggle to achieve basic human rights is too frivolous and trivial to
bother with--reactions familiar to autistics everywhere--are now on the
record. The Open Letter continues to stand as true, and the changes
it demands remain credible. The Open Letter has not been challenged
as to its substance.
human rights violations are respectable:
take note that my respect for all autistics and my emphasis on our many
strengths, which I expressed in the Open Letter, are judged by those supporting
the status quo at ASC to be negative, destructive, unreasonable, and symptomatic
products of my autistic anger. At the same time, the entirely malign
views of autistics promoted by ASC, and now by yourself and HRDC, are seen
as positive and constructive, respectable and praiseworthy.
ASC, and the judgment of history:
never been kind to those who promote intolerance, or to those who stand
idly by, protecting their interests, while human beings with differences--of
gender, race, orientation, or ability--are ostracized. I will never
forget that the requested three accurate lines of print on the White
Paper, to mitigate a fraction of the damage done to autistics at the CARW,
were too much to ask from ASC and HRDC. Many others won't
forget. I am asking you and HRDC to reconsider your disrespectful
decision and your show of contempt for autistics in Canada and elsewhere.