Friday, July 25, 2008

The Two Autism Faces of Randy Kamp

The following blog comment was initially written to describe The Two Autism Faces of Conservative MP Greg Thompson, Southwest, New Brunswick but since it also applied equally well to Conservative MP Randy Kamp (Pitt Meadows - Maple Ridge - Mission BC). I am republishing the comment today with slight changes to describe the Two Autism Faces of Randy Kamp.

When it comes to federal financing of autism treatment for Canadians with autism Conservative MP Randy Kamp (Pitt Meadows - Maple Ridge - Mission BC) has presented two decidedly different faces.

FACE # 1 - Opposition MP Randy Kamp

As reported in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times, November 23, 2005

"Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from the citizens of British Columbia, who rightly believe that IBI-ABA therapy can dramatically help children with autism. They are calling upon Parliament to amend the Canada Health Act and corresponding regulations to include therapy for children with autism as medically necessary treatment and require that all provinces provide and fund this essential treatment for autism," said Kamp.

...

"The measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. The question is not whether we have a legal obligation, but whether we have a moral obligation to help these children. We need to do everything we can to ensure that children with autism have the opportunity to become healthy and reach their full potential as participating members of their communities," said Kamp to the crowd, according to a news release.

...

"Minister Dosanjh has been unsupportive of autism groups since his days as Premier of B.C. I understand their frustration with him. As the federal Health Minister, he now has an opportunity to do the right thing and I call upon him to have compassion for autistic children and move forward with a National Autism Strategy," said Kamp.

FACE # 2 - Government MP & Parliamentary Secretary Randy Kamp

HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA 39th PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION No. 115 (Unrevised) Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:00 p.m.

Private Members' Business

Pursuant to Standing Order 93(1), the House proceeded to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of Mr. Murphy (Charlottetown), seconded by Mr. Szabo (Mississauga South), — That Bill C-304, An Act to provide for the development of a national strategy for the treatment of autism and to amend the Canada Health Act, be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health.

YEAS: 113, NAYS: 155


NAYS -- CONTRE

Kamp (Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission)


There it is.

In November 2005 Randy Kamp, wearing Autism Face # 1, while sitting as an opposition MP, spoke to parents of autistic children and then rose in the House of Commons, not at a local backyard Bar-B-Q or in a beer drenched tavern, but in the House of Commons, to urge the federal government to address the important issue of financing treatment for autistic children in Canada.

Then 15 months later, on February 21, 2007, wearing Autism Face # 2, now sitting as an MP and Parliamentary Secretary in the governing Conservative Party Mr. Kamp voted NAY , he voted against, the Private Members' bill of MP Shawn Murphy which, if passed, would have required the federal government to do exactly what Mr. Kamp had previously urged a different federal government to do.

How to explain the Two Autism Faces of Conservative MP Randy Kamp (Pitt Meadows - Maple Ridge - Mission BC)? Was he being shallow and insincere when he wore Autism Face # 1, using the plight of autistic children and their families for political purposes? Or did he simply lack the courage of his convictions; was he afraid to stand up to Conservative Prime Minister Harper when he donned Autism Face #2 and voted against Bill C-304 which would have provided for federal government funding of autism treatment?

Only Randy Kamp knows for sure. And maybe Stephen Harper.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You'll note that Kamp never called for an amendment to the Canada Health Act while in Opposition. He supported a National Autism Strategy.

If Murphy's bill would have simply called for a National Autism Strategy, without the unworkable tag of amending the Canada Health Act (an intrusion into provincial jurisdiction) I suspect Kamp could have supported it.

What's hypocritical is opposition MPs raising false hopes by promising to amend the Canada Health Act to force provinces to fund specific therapies. Read the Canada Health Act. You'll soon note that not a single therapy is mandated by the Act. The decisions on which types of therapies/programs to fund lies entirely with the provincial government.

Instead of wasting time on trying to amend the Canada Health Act to do something that it cannot do, autism therapy advocates should be lobbying their provincial politicians to fund autism therapy, as it's their job to determine what their health systems will or will not fund.

The feds can develop a "national strategy" and they can even give more money to the provinces for health care. But they cannot force the provinces to fund specific programs. Any politician who says otherwise is either ignorant or purposely misleading Canadians.

Autism Reality NB said...

"anonymous"

1) I disagree with your parsing of Randy Kamp's comments. Mr Kamp's call for a National Autism Strategy was made in the context of the statements in the first paragraph cited, and a call for federal financing of ABA/IBI treatment for autism:

"Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from the citizens of British Columbia, who rightly believe that IBI-ABA therapy can dramatically help children with autism. They are calling upon Parliament to amend the Canada Health Act and corresponding regulations to include therapy for children with autism as medically necessary treatment and require that all provinces provide and fund this essential treatment for autism," said Kamp.

2) I understand that the Canada Health Act does not currently require funding of specific therapies. That does not in any way prevent an AMENDMENT to the Act to do so for the first time to ensure proper treatment for all Canadians with autism disorder.

3)The constitutional argument is simply a variation on the argument that the Canada Health Act itself is a violation of Provincial Health care jurisdiction. By that logic there would be no medicare in Canada period. Which of course is the long held view of Stephen Harper. But the Canada Health Act has stood the test of time and even Harper does not, now that he is Prime Minister, dare attack openly an act which has helped so many Canadians.

Deborah Coyne, on her blog site, Canadians Without Borders, has responded to your, and Stephen Harper's, spurious constitutional jurisdiction argument:

"The time is long overdue to establish, at the national level, the services and medical treatments that should be available to all Canadians under Medicare. Canadians in all provinces must have equal access to, for example, extensive services for autistic children, physiotherapy, adequate cancer treatment, or MRIs.

The Harper government is wrong to claim that there is a constitutional barrier to such a step. Medicare funding decisions must be made in a coherent fashion in a national framework given that we invest no less than $160 billion annually, of which $113 billion is from the public purse. (See the analysis in the early 2008 publication of the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation by Colleen Flood, Mark Stabile, and Carolyn Tuohy - "Defining the Medicare Basket.")

The real issue is the lack of political will and determination among our elected representatives to bring coherence, consistency and accountability to the current mess of federal-provincial financial transfers, of which health care is a significant component."