Decades of CRAP
Canadians have been misled by the Conservative Party of Canada. Hysteria and fear-based propaganda are favourite tools in their political war chest. A well-sung phrase by MP Mike Lake, who has positioned himself as an expert and worldwide speaker on Autism, is “early intervention is critical” when it comes to the treatment of Autism in children. Yet he still refuses to support any national Autism strategy for over a decade, despite the passing of such a motion in 2006, and then in 2017 has been lobbying for $19 million for an ASD business plan in the best interest of himself, stakeholders and party.
Please note: This is a working document. There is a huge pile of dirt to expose and we are still in the process of digging it up. As you read these facts, ask yourself the following questions: Who was consulted? Who was represented? Whose interests were served? Did any of these actions conform to existing legislation, or to recommendations from the Senate, or even to UN standards on the rights of persons with disabilities? Who has the power? Do we not have lobbying rules in place to protect public funds, not to mention our very democracy, from self-serving politicians and their friends? Where is the money? And at the very least, where is our National Autism Strategy?
Check back often for updates or follow us on Twitter @crapwematter.
- “Out of the Shadows At Last, Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada”, a report produced by The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, prompts discussion about the need for a National Autism Strategy in Canada.
- Une pétition sur le traitement de l'autisme est rédigée et affichée à CanadaAutisme.com, fournissant des milliers de signatures communautaires aux députés pour dépôt à la Chambre. La pétition demande au gouvernement de créer une chaire d'enseignement supérieur en IBI / ABA dans une université de chaque province et d'inclure le traitement de l'autisme dans Medicare. La pétition a été déposée 88 fois par des douzaines de députés. Peu de temps après son arrivée à Ottawa, le député Mike Lake s'est réuni dans ses nouveaux bureaux avec deux membres de la communauté et a présenté plusieurs pages signées de la pétition. Bien que le dépôt d'une pétition ne soit pas synonyme de soutenir une pétition, Mike Lake est le seul député que nous connaissons qui a examiné la pétition sur l'autisme et l'a immédiatement rendue, déclarant qu'il refusait de la déposer.
- En juin, le sénateur Jim Munson a demandé au Sénat d'entreprendre une enquête et de faire rapport sur la question du financement pour le traitement de l'autisme et sur la nécessité d'une stratégie nationale sur l'autisme.
- La motion M-172 est présentée par Andy Scott, député libéral de Fredericton (Nouveau-Brunswick), le 27 octobre et adoptée le 5 décembre. La motion demande au gouvernement fédéral de créer une stratégie nationale sur l'autisme qui comprendrait: le développement de preuves les normes basées sur le diagnostic et le traitement de l'autisme; la mise en œuvre de méthodes de financement novatrices pour les personnes autistes; l'octroi de fonds fédéraux supplémentaires pour la recherche sur l'autisme; et la mise en place d'un programme national de surveillance de l'autisme. Il n'y a aucune trace de la participation du député Mike Lake au vote.
- Louise Fleming, ancienne présidente de la Société canadienne d'autisme, et Joe Fenton, ancien ministre conservateur de Santé Canada, ainsi que la députée néo-démocrate Penny Priddy, le député conservateur Mike Lake, le député conservateur Steven Fletcher et dix autres députés le cours de l'année.
- Un groupe de travail sur les troubles du spectre autistique est formé par le premier ministre conservateur Stephen Harper, le député conservateur Joe Oliver et la députée conservatrice Rona Ambrose, qui aurait sélectionné Laurie Mawlam, alors directrice générale d'Autisme Canada (une nouvelle fusion de l'autisme). Société du Canada et la Fondation Autisme Canada) pour aider à élaborer un plan pour un partenariat canadien sur l'autisme.
- Laurie Mawlam a fondé et présidé l'ACTSA: l'Alliance canadienne pour les troubles du spectre autistique. Au moment de la rédaction, elle est actuellement trésorière / présidente sortante, supervisant les activités financières de l'organisation, qui n'ont pas encore été divulguées. La CASDA a finalement été constituée en 2015. Autisme Canada publie une déclaration remerciant le gouvernement pour 800 000 dollars dans son budget
- In March, The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology releases “Pay Now or Pay Later: Autism Families in Crisis, a Final Report on The Enquiry on the Funding for the Treatment of Autism.” This report sets forth a broad range of recommendations for immediate action, including funding, public awareness and exchange of knowledge, research, human resources, future financial security for Autistic children, income tax benefits, and most importantly consultation with Autistic individuals, who were to be given equal input and representation at an ASD symposium hosted by Health Canada. Of utmost importance was the need to establish a National ASD Strategy involving the consultation of all stakeholders, including Autistic individuals, who would advise on the components that should be part of the Strategy, such as treatment, research, surveillance, awareness campaigns, community initiatives, education, respite care for families, etc. Also recommended was the creation of an Autism Knowledge Exchange Centre, which would include an Internet-based web portal for access to reliable data and credible links for those seeking Autism information, and be mandated with the dissemination of best practices based on authoritative research and scientific consensus. This Centre was to be at arm’s length to the government.
- May 2, MP Mike Lake tables a motion for the protection of Canada’s elusive endangered species, Bigfoot.
- Bill C-304, tabled on May 17 by Shawn Murphy, NDP MP for Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island), was defeated on 21 February 2007. It proposed to include Autism therapy under the Canada Health Act. In addition, it required the Minister of Health to convene a conference of all provincial and territorial ministers of health for the purpose of working together to develop a national strategy for the treatment of Autism. MP Lake was busy at the time establishing himself as Champion of ASD and Big Foot, and Chicken Little of the Canadian Health Care Act. He voted NO to Bill C-304 and issued a statement scolding MPs out of concern for families and warning of impending doom if the bill passed. Lake referred to children’s health concerns as “Wedge Issues.” Parent organization BC FEAT responded, saying, “If a statutory amendment will affect other parties, the traditional Canadian procedure is to consult with those parties and attempt to develop consensus. Negotiations occasionally result in surprising and positive outcomes, as was the case with the Health Accord of September 2004, which involved billions of dollars and specified specific medical services (except autism). There is a crisis, which by any measure is an epidemic, and the federal government has had 11 consecutive years of budget surpluses. There is no reason why the federal Minister of Health could not raise this matter and the potential amendment with his provincial counterparts. If this element of the Bill is so problematic, why not have the Standing Committee on Health examine the Bill and explore alternatives such as the ‘Combating Autism Act’ in the U.S. Regrettably, now that Bill C-304 is dead no House committee will have a chance to explore the feasibility of this process or alternatives.”
- Supreme Court of Canada case Auton (Guardian ad litem of) v. British Columbia revolves around the question of whether or not the equality rights of children with Autism under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Canadian constitution) was violated if the children were not provided medically necessary treatment, particularly in the form of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA/IBI). The decision of the provincial Supreme Court supported the parents who brought the case.
- The Supreme Court of Canada reverses the decision, finding that the provinces were not required to provide all medically necessary treatment except for the core medical services. This finding created what Justice Roe would call a “nonstory,” not providing a discernible beginning, middle, or end, or a redefinition of obligatory health care in Canada. The remaining controversy surrounding the treatment, particularly as connected to the story of Autism as a different way of being human as opposed to an illness or disability, also cast influential doubt on the story presenting ABA as a virtual cure for Autism.
- Mid-March, all Members of Parliament receive written correspondence along with a puzzle piece ribbon lapel pin to be worn in the House of Commons for World Autism Awareness Day, promoted by Autism Speaks Canada. This symbol is no longer in use by progressive advocacy organizations due its history of stigma and misrepresentation.
- March 27, CASDA Leadership Committee and members attend “Autism on the Hill” hosted by QuickStart in Ottawa.
- CASDA Leadership Committee members Dave Mikkelsen and Richard Burelle attend an MP/Senator Autism Awareness Reception in the Speaker’s Lounge hosted by MP Mike Lake, Senator Jim Munson and MP Glenn Thibeault.
- March 28, Dave Mikkelsen and Richard Burelle attend a meeting hosted by MP Mike Lake with the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development to discuss issues relating to individuals with ASD. Calls were put out to all the members to provide input into the position paper.
- April, CASDA receives national exposure in an article written in The Globe and Mail by Andre Picard, a well-known Health Columnist.
- June 19, the Leadership Committee meets face-to-face for a full day strategic planning session, with guest and host Frank Viti from Autism Speaks Canada. It is at this meeting that they commit to embarking on a National Needs Assessment Survey, hiring a Program Manager, recruiting a researcher, and engaging with partners at the federal level.
- October 28, thanks to Frank Viti at Autism Speaks Canada, the CASDA Leadership Committee meets with representatives from the Canadian Association of Community Living, Sinneave Family Foundation, and Autism Speaks Canada, about the proposal “Ready, Willing & Able.” After much investigation and discussion among the Leadership Committee and members, a vote of all the members is taken on November 7 on whether CASDA should partner on the proposal. The vote is unanimous in favour of the partnership. We all know now that as part of the February 2014 budget announcement, $15 million over three years was awarded to this project.
- CASDA releases a National Needs Assessment Survey in August, claiming representation from almost 6,000 Canadians, of which only 125 are individuals with diagnosed ASD. This research is admittedly flawed, representing mostly English-speaking, Caucasian, affluent, male respondents.
- Given special acknowledgements in the CASDA Survey report are Senator Jim Munson, “…for starting the political conversation about the needs of Canadians facing the challenges associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder and for keeping that conversation alive,” and MP Mike Lake, “…for his tireless championing on behalf of parents of children with ASD and his pursuit of collaboration among all stakeholders with a role to play in the autism agenda in Canada.”
- CASDA has representation on Public Health Agency of Canada’s ASD Advisory Committee, as well as their sub-committee, the Knowledge Translation Working Group.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada is tasked with the development of a National ASD Surveillance System (NASS), in collaboration with provinces and territories, and with the guidance of an external, expert ASD Advisory Committee. NASS is a vital step towards understanding the impact of ASD in Canada and providing the evidence-based numbers needed to better inform policies and programs. CASDA has been represented on the ASD Advisory Committee since its inception in 2012, providing advice on the development and implementation of NASS.
- During this time, MP Mike Lake was openly fundraising for his own family, Autism Edmonton, Autism Speaks and CASDA, all of whom are interconnected by the Conservative agenda, on his parliament website, hosting CASDA on the Hill, attending AGMs, and public speaking on behalf of CASDA and its salaried Board. Autism Speaks provides funding for CASDA and only allocates 4% of its resources to families. The rest goes primarily into overhead, administration, and research into prenatal screening. This is the organization the Conservatives are setting up as Canada’s premier Autism authority. Look into “Boycott Autism Speaks”, for information on the gross neglect of this organization in both the United States and Canada.
- MP Mike Lake is bestowed with a lifetime membership to CASDA for his contributions.
- Canadian ASD Alliance Annual General Meeting April 1, 2014. In attendance: Laurie Mawlam, Cynthia Carroll, Dave Mikkelsen, Richard Burelle, Suzanne, Jacobson, Marg Whelan, Sally Ginter, Debbie Irish, Steve Horner, Jonathan Bertram, Rohan George, Geetha Moorthy, Ginette Munson, Jill Farber, Esther Rhee, Mary, Salerno, Bo Forbes, Mercedes LeDuc, Bill Loucke, John Manning, and MP Mike Lake.
- As part of the 2014 federal budget, Sinneave Family Foundation receives $11.4 million to pay for a national employment project involving centres across Canada. Instead, this money appears to have been spent on a 17,000 square foot facility serving Calgary families. No audited financial statements for this money have been made readily available.
- CASDA receives $2 million in federal funds to create a stakeholder working group, led by Minister of Health Rona Ambrose and attended by MP Mike Lake, and tasked with the development of a plan for the Canadian Autism Partnership that would address key issues facing Canadians living with ASD and their families. Contrary to the Senate Committee report’s emphasis on consultation with individuals with ASD, not one “stakeholder” on the eleven-member group is an identified Autistic person. Also of note is the “less than arms length” relationship of the committee to government, as recommended by the Senate committee report. Exactly how these funds were used is unclear, as audited financial statements are not readily available.
- In November, Conservatives lose to a majority Liberal Government.
- MP Mike Lake is positioned as the Oppositional Member of Parliament of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH).
- MP Mike Lake lobbies for $19 million in federal funding for his Canadian Autism Partnership Project, on behalf of his family, friends at CASDA, and its funding members including Autism Speaks. This violates the exclusions defined in the Canadian Fundraising and Conflict of Interest Act, which allow for fundraising by an elected official if it affects the office holder as one of a “broad class of the public,” is of “general application,” and the “remuneration of benefits received are by virtue of being a public office holder.” MP Mike Lake’s fundraising, lobbying, and preferential treatment given to partisan stakeholders were performed throughout the last decade as a Minister and now as a Member of the Opposition Party. The Act states, “…the public office holder must not solicit funds if he or she is also a member of the House of Commons and sits on the House of Commons committee that has dealings with the company or organization.” As a Member of Parliament, he breached privilege when he deliberately misled the House with his motion, which not only excludes the very people he claims serve, but denies assistance to the families who desperately need it. Furthermore, any potential conflict of interest must be declared and reported on the Ethics Commissioner’s public registry. None has been reported for public record.
- CAPP also excludes meaningful participation from the Autistic Community. Only seven homogeneous Autistics were selected to sit on the working advisory group. Disability Law Centre in Canada has a board of directors which is consumer-controlled, and more than 50% of positions on the board are filled by people living with disabilities. A majority of the Canadian Hearing Society’s board of directors are culturally deaf, oral deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. All members of the board of directors for the Canadian Council of the Blind are blind or living with vision loss. Why then is it acceptable for a Canadian Autism Strategy to include actual Autistic people only in token roles and not at the leadership table?
- A retired civil servant is published in the Toronto Star calling for real leadership from the Liberal Government: “Unfortunately, CAP falls far short of offering autism families across the country any relief. CAP gives an overview of their proposed structure (board of directors, national director, 11 employees, advisory council), a mission (address issues related to autism using a shared leadership approach), and a process (consultations, issue identification, agenda setting, problem-solving, mobilization, evaluation, measurement, monitoring) — but that’s about it. In other words, the CAP proposal involves the creation of another bureaucracy. Those involved with the working group and their supporters may be excited about the prospects of a new bureaucracy, but many in the autism community — myself included — are shaking their heads in disbelief. The last thing autism families need is more bureaucracy. What we need instead from the federal government is real leadership on autism — and we need it now.”
- MP Mike Lake and Global Citizen Canada ask for tweets to Minister of Health Jane Philpott, to pressure her for support of Lake’s $19 million-dollar Canadian Autism Partnership. So far, it has earned over 2,000 tweets, showing a broad base of, albeit misguided, support for Autistic Canadians. This campaign refers to ASD as a “death sentence” and is misinformed regarding the Conservative regressive Ableist Party’s inaction for the past decade, party focus on Eurocentric upper class families, their funders, and their party-driven agenda.
- May 30, the Liberal government votes against the Canadian Autism Partnership in the House of Commons. MP Lake embarks on a smear campaign, calling out Liberal MPs for ignoring the needs of Autistic Canadians.
- June 21, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer speaks in the House of Commons against the Liberal party, to a rousing display of support from both the NDP and Green party leaders, revealing Autism and children’s health to be the very partisan “wedge issue” MP Lake warned about eleven years ago.
- CrAP: We Matter is born.
- National Post releases an article by Maura Forest "In rare display of unity, opposition hammers Trudeau on 'cold-hearted' autism funding decision"We have highlighted as an interesting piece of CAPP unraveling is a quote from Dermot Cleary, chair of the board of directors of Autism Canada aka Chair for the founder of CASDA Organization regarding the "has concerns about what it sees as another “level of bureaucracy.” “We just felt that this project was not ultimately going to be successful,” he said. “We just did not have confidence in its efficacy"
We have had enough of this CrAP and DEMAND REAL CHANGE. Have you had enough crap? Tell us about it!
United Nations. (2006). CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES.
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