LETTER: Lack of federal action on austism disappoints

Editor:

An Open Letter to Liberal MP, Gordon Hogg

I am the parent of a 15-year-old boy who was diagnosed with autism in 2005 and is seriously affected by this neurological disorder. I am also one of many parents across Canada who has been advocating at various levels of government for science-based autism treatment and services.

As you are aware, your own riding association wrote and saw passed a non-binding health resolution at the Liberal Party of Canada’s biennial convention in May 2016 which called for autism treatment (Applied Behaviour Analysis) to be covered under Medicare. The resolution is available here.

Following your byelection win in December, 2017, you have met with local autism advocates and attended a roundtable discussion in November, 2018 hosted by another Liberal MP (Hon. Ken Hardie, Fleetwood-Port Kells) where the need for a national autism strategy was considered.

To date, nothing has happened on either of these fronts. Even though the above resolution originated in your own riding, you have shown minimal interest in the issue. Surely you are aware of the desperate situation with autism unfolding in Ontario.

So imagine my surprise when I saw on page 153 of the Budget Plan 2019 tabled March 19 that the government is now funding a National Alzheimer’s and Dementia Strategy.

Very interesting. It seems that the current federal government is prepared to involve itself in some pervasive health conditions more than others. Therefore, I must ask, is the Trudeau government about to write off yet another generation of children with autism, just as the previous Harper government did?

Louise Witt, Surrey

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