Monday, April 12, 2010

On World Autism Awareness Day Canadian Government Damned Itself With Faint Praise

Damn With Faint Praise

Compliment so feebly that it amounts to no compliment at all, or even implies condemnation. 

For example, The reviewer damned the singer with faint praise, admiring her dress but not mentioning her voice. This idea was already expressed in Roman times by Favorinus (c. a.d. 110) but the actual expression comes from Alexander Pope's Epistle to Doctor Arbuthnot (1733): "Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer."

The Government of Canada, with its World Autism Awareness Day message from the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health,  damned itself with faint praise for its feeble efforts to help children and adults with autism disorders in Canada:

April 2, 2010

As Minister of Health, I am pleased that Canada is joining other countries in recognizing April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Autism Society of Canada and all autism organizations across the country for their tireless work in creating awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and providing support to those affected by this condition.

ASD affects people from all walks of life, as well as their families, friends and caregivers. Roughly one out of every 150 Canadian children is affected by ASD . While there has been progress in research, care and education, we need to learn more about the causes of ASD and the most effective treatments and interventions.

The Government of Canada recognizes that autism is an important health and social issue which presents challenges for many Canadian families. We are committed to supporting research and raising awareness. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research has provided approximately $35.3 million for research related to autism since 2000. 

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to every autism organization in Canada for their continued dedication to improving the lives of Canadians living with ASD.

Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health
Government of Canada 

You will notice that the Government of Canada's World Autism Awareness Day message makes no reference to any  monies spent  to assist the provincial governments in providing effective evidence based preschool interventions, autism specific training of teachers and education assistants  or autism appropriate residential and treatment facilities for youths and adults.

The sum total spent by the Government of Canada to address Canada's autism crisis, "an important health and social issue which presents challenges for many Canadian families"to quote the Honourable Minister of Health, is $35.3 million dollars for research ....... over a 10 year period from 2000 to 2010.

Alexander Pope, were he with us today, might say that the Government of Canada has damned itself with faint praise,  that it has, without sneering,  taught us all to sneer  ..... at its less than feeble efforts to address Canada's important health and social issue, our national autism crisis.  


Unknown said...

Did you see what the great American leaders had to say? I just about missed it too... TannersDad Tim "Jesus Take The wheel" Because God knows... Kathleen Sebelius on Autism "Awareness." Asleep at the Wheel? #AofA

AutisticWisdom said...

Unfortunately autism treatment and support is provincial jurisdiction. Any "national strategy" that involves giving money to the provinces will probably fail. Why? Because the constitution allows them to "opt out" of any program and take the cash. They can simply take the money and keep their existing programs, no matter how underfunded they already are. The only "national" strategy that would work is direct money to parents using the federal spending power. I doubt you will see that under the current government since it tends to respect provincial jurisdiction.