Thursday, August 28, 2008

Health Minister Clement Hides In Denver But Autism Follows

Alleged federal Health Minister Tony Clement is not known for facing tough issues head on. Although he is the federal Health Minister he refuses to use the federal spending power to send dollars to the provinces to ensure that ALL autistic children receive effective evidence based treatment for their autism disorders regardless of where their parents live. Mr Clement hides behind provincial authority but does not credibly explain why federal money can't be sent to the provinces to be used for autism treatment. There is no dispute that treatment is needed and I find it hard to believe the provinces would refuse federal money to treat autistic children.

Now "Health" Minister Clement is at the Democratic Convention in Denver and avoiding difficult questions over the tragic listeriosis outbreak as reported in the Globe and Mail:

Clement's arrival in Denver on Monday drew fire from the Liberals.

"While Mr. Clement is enjoying himself at cocktail receptions at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, people back home are dying," said Liberal health critic Carolyn Bennett.

Clement fired back, saying that Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz was the lead minister on the massive food recall that followed the listeriosis outbreak.

"Health" Minister Clement may be able to void questions about Canadians dying from listeriosis while wining and dining at the Democratic Convention in Denver but he has been unable while there to hide from autism which he routinely ignores in Canada. Both Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton mentioned autism in their prime time speeches Tuesday and Wednesday.

Senator Hillary Clinton, as reported on ABC news, stated:

I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism, didn't have health insurance and discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head painted with my name on it and asked me to fight for health care.

Former President Bill Clinton, as reported on the Wall Street Journal, stated:

I will never forget the parents of children with autism and other severe conditions who told me on the campaign trail that they couldn’t afford health care and couldn’t qualify their kids for Medicaid unless they quit work or got a divorce.

Although "Health" Minister Tony Clement is oblivious to the challenges confronting families with autistic children in Canada the same can not be said of the Senator and President Clinton. They get it. It is probably too much to hope that some of their autism awareness might rub off on our Minister Clement. But hopefully when he is not enjoying cocktails he can reflect on their words and start taking autism seriously in Canada where he is, in name anyway, our federal Health Minister.

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