Monday, October 13, 2008

Medicare for autism now! - Tuesday's federal election - Make your vote count!

This may be the most heart-felt plea I've ever made. As you probably know, I've been involved for the past three years with the effort to get Medicare coverage for science-based, proven effective treatment of autism, a neurological disorder that has reached epidemic proportions in recent years across North America. Unlike the case south of the border, our federal government remains indifferent to the plight of these children and their families. These individuals are some of the most vulnerable among us and they desperately need and deserve our help.

What can you do? As you enjoy this Thanksgiving weekend, hopefully in the embrace of your family or close friends, think about the character of the person you want to represent you in our country's Parliament and vote accordingly.

The Medicare for autism Now! campaign has exposed much in the past few weeks. In particular, it has revealed that in our 14 "target constituencies" from coast to coast, candidates for the Conservative Party either don't want to help children with autism and their families or, worse, don't care enough to state their position. See our web-site: They are evidently indifferent to the fate of their fellow Canadians. Such people have no business being in elected office! The accompanying ads, which appeared in 16 newspapers, in seven of our "target constituencies", from Nova Scotia to BC between October 8th and 10th, give you a sense of what candidates for the different political parties believe.

Jean Lewis, our campaign's chief spokesperson, and I have just returned from a eight day tour of target constituencies in Ontario. It was most instructive. In particular, we spent three days in Parry Sound-Muskoka, political home to Canada's health minister, Tony Clement. On Wednesday evening, we attended an "all candidates' forum" in Bracebridge. Jean referred Mr. Clement to the horrific case of a nine-year-old autistic boy who died in Montreal, in April of this year, seemingly due to the negligence of his classroom teacher and aide. Jean asked the minister, "How many more autistic children will die before you act? How many more autistic children will fail to thrive, to reach their full potential before you act? How many more families with an autistic child will suffer devastating emotional and financial collapse before you act?" His response was to ignore the question, give Jean a lecture on the constitutional division of powers and go on to claim that he "had done more for autistic children and their families than any other health minister in our country's history". This man is a disgrace!

While our campaign has been, and remains, strictly non-partisan, it appears crystal clear that a majority Conservative government would most definitely not be in the interests of autistic Canadians, their families or those who care about them. Accordingly, on Tuesday, please vote strategically. Cast your ballot for the candidate who has the best chance of defeating the Conservative. Where my wife and I live, in West Vancouver, BC, that means voting for the Liberal, Ian Sutherland. This will be easy to do as he seems to be a fine individual, one who has publicly committed to doing everything he can for our cause.

I ask you also to forward this e-mail to all you know who are compassionate and generous Canadians, with the request that they both vote to bring help to autistic individuals and pass this e-mail along.

Together we can make a better Canada. Thank you.


1 comment:

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