Wednesday, November 07, 2007

“Paralysis by Analysis” - FEAT BC Comment On Harper Government National Autism Symposium

In Canada FEAT of BC has been a leader in fighting for ABA intervention for autistic children. The fight has been waged in several forums legal, media and increasingly the political arena. In this press release concerning the invitation only National Autism Symposium FEAT BC calls the Symposium what it is - an otherwise meaningless tool to create a false impression of action by a Conservative government which is outrageously indifferent to the plight of autistic children in Canada and, by comparison to the autism efforts of national governments of the United States and Australia, an international embarrassment.

November 7, 2007

“Paralysis by Analysis”

Vancouver, BC – Canada’s no longer so new Conservative government has convened a so-called ‘National Autism Research Symposium’ in Toronto later this week. “For what purpose one wonders,” asks Jean Lewis, a founding director of FEAT-BC [Families for Early Autism Treatment of BC]. “Like the ‘Child Health Summit’ held in Ottawa last April, this is another invitation-only talk-fest. It is designed to produce photo-ops and sound-bites that assist the government in a cynical exercise aimed at manufacturing a societal consensus concerning an approach to autism treatment and its funding; one that suits its transparently manipulative agenda. The exercise is sure to fail.”

This month marks the third anniversary of the Auton decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, in which the jurists stated unequivocally that the question of funding for autism treatment was for parliament and the legislatures. “In three years, all that Canada’s myopic political class and their blinkered bureaucratic acolytes have produced has been delay, disingenuous news releases and, in the case of Ontario, outright mendacity,” states Dr. Sabrina Freeman, founder and executive director of FEAT-BC. “In three years, how many children have been diagnosed with this devastating condition? How many opportunities to provide substantive help, and to learn, have been lost? How many families have come asunder? How much needless suffering has been inflicted, all due to a lack of political will to do the right thing?” While the federal government and its apologists parrot the public relations mantra that ‘more research is necessary’, Canadian courts found, over three years ago, that science-based, proven effective, treatment for autism is available.

In 2006, the United States Congress voted unanimously to put $945 million into combating autism. Recently, the Australian national government has pledged $190 million to this cause. Why is our federal government out of step? Could it be because autistic children and their exhausted parents have to date been absent from the electoral battlefield?

If so, that’s about to change, according to Lewis. “The reckless disregard of this Conservative federal government with respect to these disabled children and their desperate, and often destitute, families verges on the criminal,” says Jean Lewis. “Their callousness is breath-taking and will, come the next federal election, be met with a perfect political storm. That’s not a threat, it’s a promise.”

For further information, contact: Jean Lewis at 604-925-4401 or 604-290-5737, and .

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