Friday, October 26, 2007

CIHR Autism "Partnerships" and "Community Building" LOL

In invitations to its hand picked delegates to the "National" Autism Symposium scheduled for November 8 and 9 in Toronto the CIHR bragged that the symposium was "above all ... an exercise in community building". On the CIHR web site the claim is made that:


From its beginning, CIHR has developed a very broad, inclusive approach to partnership. The multidisciplinary research environment we encourage helps to bring together a wide variety of organizations. Partner organizations include other federal government departments and agencies, provincial funding agencies and relevant provincial and territorial departments, health charities, non-governmental organizations, industry, as well as international organizations.

The CIHR then goes on to elaborate on its philosophy of partnering:

About Partnerships

While working in partnership has many benefits, there also are responsibilities to bear in mind. Partnerships must be: Based on the ethical principles that guide all CIHR activities, Free of conflicts of interest and Operated with managerial transparency and public accountability. Successful partnerships are based on people working well together, which require flexibility, trust and understanding.

How does the CIHR demonstrate its commitments to community building, to a broad, inclusive approach to partnerships, to transparency and public accountability, and to trust and understanding?

By deciding on behalf of the autism communities in Canada who will represent them at the National Autism Symposium. By bypassing the provincial autism societies and FEAT organizations, and in some cases rejecting names that these organizations put forth, by concealing from the public and the media any information whatsoever about who would be attending the conference or the list of scheduled speakers or topics.

The distinguished persons who are organizing the CIHR National Autism Symposium may be good scientists, or may have been before they became bureaucrats and lobbyists for specific perspectives about autism and autism research, but they are lousy "community builders" and they are not even trying to be transparent and accountable. The CIHR bureaucrat/scientists may be working together with some people but it is not the parent driven autism societies in Canada. And trust is clearly not a part of the CIHR diet.

The CIHR organizers are hiding in their offices and are hiding their agendas. The proposed National Autism Symposium is, by any measure, a failure before it begins. It is a waste of government funds. And it absolutely will not reflect the interests of the community which it has ignored and insulted .

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