Autism Reality

An Autism Question for the Hon. Stephane Dion




The Hon. Stephane Dion, P.C., M.P.
Leader of the Official Opposition
Liberal Party of Canada

Dear Mr. Dion

An Autism Question

I am the father of two sons one of whom has classic Autism Disorder, with profound developmental delays, and I have been an autism advocate for the last eight years. This year I watched hopefully, but with no illusions, as Liberal MP Shawn Murphy of Charlottetown introduced Bill C-304, a Private Member’s bill, which would called for amendment of the Canada Health Act to provide coverage for autism treatments. As expected, Bill C-304 was defeated by the governing Conservative Party and its partner, the Bloc Quebecois. The Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party both voted, by and large, in support of Bill C-304. You personally cast a vote in support of the Bill.

Autism is a serious neurological disorder which affects 1 in 150 Canadians, including 1 in 94 male Canadians. Persons with an autism disorder can display a wide range of deficits including intellectual, communication, behavioural and social deficits. While no known cure exists, a treatment which has been empirically demonstrated in hundreds of studies to decrease the negative autism deficits, and in some cases virtually eliminate, these deficits exists. Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) has been demonstrated to improve the abilities in all these areas and improve the quality of life of autistic persons in hundreds of studies. Effective, early and intensive intervention with ABA, in addition to being effective in treating autistic children, has also been shown to save governments very substantial sums of money in provision of government services over the life of an autistic person.

Despite these facts, governments in Canada have an atrocious record in dealing with the Autism Crisis which confronts Canada and in helping these very vulnerable people. In British Columbia and Ontario governing parties reversed election campaign promises to provide medicare coverage for autism choosing instead to spend hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars to fight in court the parents of autistic children they had pledged to help. Mr. Dion I hope that you will not follow these shameful precedents, I hope you will not forget your vote in support of Bill C-304.

Mr. Dion, will you tell me, and other parents and caregivers of autistic children and persons, if the Liberal Party of Canada will, once elected, introduce legislation in the first year of your taking office as Prime Minister, to include autism treatment in medicare for all Canadians with autism regardless of residence and regardless of income?


Harold L Doherty
New Brunswick

June 10, 2007 Posted by | advocacy, applied behaviour analysis, auitsm disorder, autism advocacy, autism treatment, Bill C-304, Canada Health Act, Liberal Party, Stephane Dion | Leave a comment

Autism Supporter & Election Candidate – Stewart C. Paul (L) Tobique-Mactaquac

The current Conservative government of Stephen Harper, backed by the separatist Bloc Quebecois, voted down the Shawn Murphy motion to amend the Canada Health Act to ensure that autistic children, regardless of where they happened to live in Canada would receive government funded proven effective ABA treatment for their autism. The budget brought down by the Harper government gave $0 ZERO dollars for autism. Conservative MP’s across Canada have marched in lockstep uniformity to deny federal government assistance for autism even elminating funds for a well respected autism summer camp in Ontario. The next election will be critical for the success of efforts to put in place a serious national autism strategy in Canada and it is important to identify and support candidates who are prepared to support a national autism strategy. One such candidate is Stewart C. Paul the Liberal candidate for Tobique-Mactaquac here in New Brunswick.

Stewart is a long time friend, and professional associate, who has been very supportive of my efforts on behalf of my son Conor and of the cause of autism generally. He has pledged to support a national autism strategy if elected and he has the background to know how to offer effective support on the national scene. Stewart Paul is the Liberal candidate for Tobique-Mactaquac and a supporter of the cause of autistic persons on the national scene in Ottawa. If you live in the Tobique-Mactaquac area and have an autistic child or know someone who is autistic or if you are yourself autistic remember Stewart Paul when you cast your ballot in the next federal election.

Born and raised in the riding of Tobique – Mactaquac, in Tobique First Nation, Stewart Paul graduated from Perth High School, where he was active in student life and served as President of the Student Council.

As a young person, he was moved by the difficult social conditions and economic disparities evident in his home community, and developed an early interest in issues related to social justice, economic development, and education.

He attended the University of New Brunswick, where he took an undergraduate degree in arts (majoring in history and sociology), then a law degree. In addition to his BA and LLB degrees, he earned a Diploma in Social Leadership from the Coady Institute at St. Francis Xavier University. He is a 25-year member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of New Brunswick.

His first jobs were as an education consultant with the NB Department of Education in Fredericton, and as a Policy Analyst with the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa. In the early 1980’s, he co-founded the Mi’kmaq-Maliseet Institute in the Faculty of Education at the University of New Brunswick, a respected organization dedicated to the training and professional development of Native educators. He practiced law for several years in Fredericton before returning home in the late 1980’s to enter political life. He served several terms as Chief of the Tobique First Nation during which time much about the community was transformed. He maintained a private law practice in Perth-Andover throughout this time and to the present day.He also presently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Peace Hills Trust, a national financial institution. He has been married for 40 years. He and his wife, Sandra, have four children and nine grandchildren.

He brings experience to the table that spans job creation, education, health, natural resources, business development, and community infrastructure. He has strong skills related to leadership, management, and government administration. He has worked in regional and national policy development, and has experience with complex legal and financial negotiations. He is also familiar with Ottawa and the provincial government.

As a lifelong resident of Tobique-Mactaquac, he is committed to the entire region. He has been an active member of the Liberal party in this region for nearly 20 years, and he understands the challenges facing the region, and the aspirations of its people. He has much to offer, and would be a strong representative of the people in Ottawa. He is a seasoned political leader, a strong campaigner, and a hard worker.

He was nominated as the Liberal candidate for the Electoral District of Tobique – Mactaquac on April 28, 2007.

May 18, 2007 Posted by | autism disorder, Canada Health Act, election, Liberal Party, national autism strategy, Stewart Paul, Tobique-Mactaquac | Leave a comment

Good News from Ontario on Autism & Education – ABA in Ontario Schools

Good news for autistic students in Ontario. The government of Ontario is directing ALL school boards to provide Applied Behaviour Analysis to all students with autism.

TORONTO, May 17 /CNW/ – The McGuinty government is improving the learning environment for students with autism spectrum disorders by directing all school boards to provide Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), Education Minister Kathleen Wynne announced today.

“All students with autism deserve equal access to this vital teaching
approach that can improve their focus on individual projects and strengthen
their communication with other students in the classroom,” said Wynne.
“We are implementing our plan to ensure students with autism receive the
best education possible.”

The Ministry of Education instructed school boards today that they must
provide programs that use ABA methods to students who need it. This
directive is part of the government’s response to the recommendations of
Autism Reference Group report, Making a Difference for Students with
Autism Spectrum Disorders in Ontario Schools: From Evidence to Action,
received earlier this year.

The implementation of ABA will be supported by extensive staff training
starting with six to eight representatives, including superintendents,
principals, teachers, teaching assistants, school support staff and Special
Education Advisory Committee members, from each school board over the
next two months. This will be followed by school team training – funded
through a $1-million investment – for up to 1,400 principals, educational
assistants and teachers over the summer months.

Additionally, the government has provided a grant of $2.75 million to
the Geneva Centre for Autism. “We are very grateful for the government’s
support so we can provide further training on ABA approaches to school
staff in the fall,” said Margaret Whelan, Executive Director of the Geneva
Centre for Autism. “This investment will allow educators to help more
students with autism succeed.”

May 17, 2007 Posted by | aba, Applied Behavior Analysis, autism disorder, autism education, Dalton McGuinty, Liberal Party, Ontario, schools | 3 Comments