Children Abandoned by McGuinty Autism Policies
QUEEN'S PARK - Shelley Martel, MPP for Nickel Belt and the NDP Health and Long-Term Care Critic, is calling on Dalton McGuinty to immediately deliver on his two explicit election promises to Ontario's autistic children.
"The McGuinty Liberal government needs to honour their promises to autistic children and their parents during the 2003 election," said Martel. "In addition, significant funds need to be invested to ensure that all children who need IBI treatment receive it. That's clearly not happening because, as of March 31, 2006, 753 children were languishing on the wait list, waiting for IBI treatment to begin."
In a letter, dated September 17th, 2003, to Bradford, Ontario, parent Nancy Morrison, McGuinty said:
Martel is also concerned that allocated government funding won't even benefit children with autism. A summary of the autism budget and expenditures shows that in 2003-04, six months under the McGuinty government, $80 million was budgeted to be spent, but $2.6 million was diverted to other children's programs, $1.5 million was diverted to the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, and $32 million was returned to the Consolidated Revenue Fund unspent. Then, in 2004-05, $89 million was proposed to be spent, but $21 million was spent on children's programs instead of autism.
Today's rally is the latest in a public awareness campaign being organized throughout Ontario by the Ontario Autism Coalition, a group of five parents of children with autism from across Ontario, who are concerned about the McGuinty Liberal government's autism policies.
McGuinty should never have dragged parents and their vulnerable autistic
children through the courts, at great expense to taxpayers and the families,
just so that he could break his promises. I am calling on the premier
to do the right thing for autistic children and extend IBI treatment
to all children who need it -- without delay."