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PREVENTION GOVERNMENT POLICY?
October 5, 2004
Through the past year I've been supporting Michelle Dawson, No Autistics Allowed, in her work in defending and promoting human rights for autistic Canadians, such as myself and those I serve.
As a constituent in your riding I would like to draw your attention to the following: http://www.sentex.net/~nexus23/sig.html
"...the portrayal of autistic persons by those claiming to represent us is inconsistent with the existing science and with scientific and ethical principles, as well as being in clear violation of basic Canadian values as represented by the Charter..."
I would appreciate your help in encouraging rational and balanced review of the facts.
Thank you for your time.
Mr. Ralph Smith
Dear Mr. Smith:
Thank you for your e-mail regarding The Autism Project, Ontario. I appreciate your efforts to bring your concerns to my attention.
It is estimated that 50,000 individuals in Canada have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). There is no commonly accepted definition or approach to diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders, and this is a major barrier to determining national trends. The Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) has provided almost $9 million in funding to a number of research initiatives investigating autism since June 2000. CIHR is currently funding a five-year study exploring methods of identification and prevention of autism.
Health and social services delivery, including for people with autism, is an area of provincial jurisdiction. I encourage you to direct your comments to the Minister of Children's Services at the following address:
Hon. Marie BountrogianniAgain, thank you for writing. Please contact me if I can provide assistance with any matter of concern.
Redman, P.C., M.P.
October 28, 2004
Dear Ms Redman,
We are both diagnosed autistics. One of us, a constituent of yours, Ralph Smith, recently wrote to you with some concerns about the rights of autistic Canadians and the absence of an accurate and balanced representation of autism and autistic people at the federal level.
Our concerns were triggered by an attempt to have tabled in the House of Commons a petition demanding that the Canada Health Act be amended to designate one specific autism treatment as "medically necessary" for autistics in Canada. This petition was written and distributed by and for non-autistic people. Three autistic Canadians wrote, posted, and distributed a response to this petition (please see http://www.isn.net/~jypsy/AuSpin/sig.html), which was linked in Mr Smith's letter to you.
In response to your prompt reply (dated October 15, 2004 and which is here http://www.sentex.net/~nexus23/tap_red.html), we would like to ensure that this is really the way a Member of Parliament, as a representative of the Canadian Government and the Liberal Party of Canada, wishes to address the issues Mr Smith clearly raised.
We also need you to confirm that your letter is an accurate representation of your Government's view of autism and autistic Canadians and our needs. Particularly, you wrote "CIHR is currently funding a five-year study exploring methods of identification and prevention of autism." We would like to know if we are justified in concluding that your government is as policy promoting the prevention of autism.
If it is government policy to work towards the prevention of the existence of people like ourselves, we believe it would be important for us to know.
We also wonder if you would respond to serious concerns from a person with Down syndrome, about the portrayal and rights of people with DS in Canada, by pointing out research dedicated to "the identification and prevention" of DS. We further wonder if you and your government share the values of those who wrote and are signing the petition described above. These values define autism as a disease like cancer, which must be eradicated.
Finally, if you are either unwilling or unable to address critical issues involving the human rights and the future of autistic Canadians, could you please direct us to somebody in the Liberal caucus who can?
Thank you again for your admirably rapid reply. We are looking forward to your equally prompt clarification of the matters above.
November 18, 2004
Dear Mr. Smith:
Thank you for your letter discussing the rights of autistic Canadians.
I have written to the Minister of Health to ask for his consideration on an amendment to the Canada Health Act to designate one specific autism treatment as medically necessary for Canadians living with autism.
I will ensure you receive a copy of the Minister's response. Please accept my best wishes.
Hon. Karen Redman, P.C., M.P.
cc: Michelle Dawson
April 19, 2005
Regarding your reply of November 18, 2004, I have not received a copy of your expected response from the Minister of Health. Also I do not support the request which apparently you have made on my behalf. I do not support your request for an amendment to the Canada Health Act.
I believe you have mistaken me for the parent of an autistic child, rather than the independent autistic adult which I am. While mistaking current issues regarding autistic people is far more serious an error, I believe your oversight would equate to your assuming I am heterosexual when I am in fact a gay male, or in anyone assuming that you are heterosexual or lesbian.
Prejudice against autistic people is well documented in the work of Michelle Dawson. That you have chosen not to reply to my joint inquiry with Ms Dawson is, I think, an illustration of your own disrespect, misinformation, and biases.
I am asking that you respond to, not merely evade, the issues we have put to you here: http://www.sentex.net/~nexus23/tap_red.html
To me, and to many other autistic Canadians, your reply regarding "identification and prevention of autism" is no more acceptable than would be identification and prevention of homosexuality. I am asking for substantial evidence that you are able to make critical distinctions in matters that have serious consequences for all autistic Canadians.
Inflexible positions resembling your own have always had serious consequences for all of Canadian society. As a gay male who now benefits from greater acceptance for people like myself, I am asking you to demonstrate that the concept of working toward tolerance and understanding has not been lost.
Thank you for your time.
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